Shure SE530 noise-isolating Earphones review: Shure SE530 noise-isolating headphones

The Good Incredible sound quality; loud; comfortable.

The Bad Tricky to put in your ears at first; high cost.

The Bottom Line The SE530s are quite simply the best noise-isolating headphones you can buy, and they cost less than their predecessors -- the Shure E500PTH. They're still pretty expensive but audiophiles will appreciate how truly worth the dosh they are

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8.8 Overall

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The SE530s are the top model in Shure's new line of noise-isolating headphones, the SE series. They're backed and used by such artists as KT Tunstall and Rocco DeLuca and sit alongside their less-expensive siblings, the SE210s, SE310s and the SE420s.

This new model from Shure builds on the performance of the previous gen, the E500PTHs, but are around �100 cheaper. We put them snugly into our ears wondering if anything has been sacrificed in the process

Simply put, the SE530s are the best noise-isolating headphones you can possibly buy (which at that price they should be). Not only that, but they also come with a headphone cable that splits in half, giving you just 0.5m of lead to tangle instead of over 1m in length. This is handy if you clip your iPod Shuffle to your lapel or store your hard disk player in your shirt pocket.

Shure says that these 'phones feature the most effective noise-isolation technology it has ever produced. The foam earbuds in the box come in a range of sizes that allow you to experiment in finding the most suitable fit. Finding the correct fit is crucial as the sound-isolation feature is solely dependent on your headphones being snugly lodged in your ear canal. Once in, however, the isolation is impressive. It's very difficult to even hear people speaking when they're properly in place, even when no music is playing.

The SE530s are built using twin bass woofers and an accurate tweeter, collectively referred to by Shure as 'Triple TruAcoustic Micro-Speakers'. At lower volumes you may not be able to notice the difference in performance between the SE310s and the SE530s, but crank the volume up to its higher levels and prepare to have your brain hammered from the inside.

Tricky to fit into the ears, but with performance that more than makes up for your efforts

Together these three separate drivers produce a beautifully rich and accurate reproduction of all frequencies throughout the audible spectrum, from 18Hz to 19kHz. Bass booms into the skull at apocalyptic proportions while clearly defined mid-range frequencies flow gracefully, with power and warmth. Alongside this superior amalgamation of audible performance, the tweeter bleeds crystal-clear high frequencies into the mix with excellent clarity and precision.

For bass performance testing we'd lined up the drum and bass club favourite, Slam by Pendulum. So loud are these headphones, even we daren't crank the volume up past 90 per cent. Even at this level bass was blisteringly heavy and deep, while drums and cymbals retained accuracy and clarity.

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