Listen to KT Tunstall's Black Horse and The Cherry Tree and you'll hear an array of subtle background noise that is easy to miss on other headphones. For example, during the verses the faintest click of a drum kit's hi-hat can be heard in the background. This is easily noticeable through the SE530s. Throughout the song there's also a rhythm played on the hi-hat's metal stand. It's a sound that's easy to hear during the percussion-driven verses, but with these headphones it's still possible to hear the beat clatter in the background during the significantly louder and more complicated chorus.
Listening to quality music through the SE530s feels as revolutionary as the first time you heard music coming off a CD. It's exciting to listen out for subtle and previously hidden sounds in your favourite songs and to any music fan this is a wonderful experience.
Good performance comes at a cost -- �330 in fact. You'll need to be sure that you're going to get the most out of these, either by frequently -- nay, obsessively -- listening to a wide range of music styles, or by using them in semi-pro studio environments.
The other downside to the SE530s, as with the previous E500PTH model, is the awkward way in which you need to insert them into your ear. You're essentially required to put them in upside-down, then loop the headphone cable over the back of your ear. Rest assured it gets very easy with a bit of practise, and is extremely comfortable, but newbies to Shure may find this a little off-putting.
The SE530s will make your music collection come alive like never before -- you'll feel like you're standing at a live show and the band is funnelling their sound directly into your head.
These headphones make every other pair of earbuds seem vastly inferior and rightly so. At �330 you're going to pay for the luxury, but audiophiles and devoted musicians take note: you owe a pair of these to your music and to yourself.
Available from AdvancedMP3Players.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Kate Macefield