The biggest complaint coming from people is that either the left or right side may go out on you after a period of time (anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months).
A lot of folks were also saying that the bass has a tendency to drown out the mid-range, causing it to become recessed.
The good news is that the build quality here is very good, and the soundstage also shines, especially for a pair of IEM’s (In ear monitors). What is Soundstage? The fact that you can adjust the bass is also a nice addition.
Good mid-range and clean highs.
Adjustable bass. Bass response is clear.
Nice carrying case/portable/good for travel.
Good instrument separation.
Degraded audio/no sound in the right or left ear anywhere between 2 weeks – 6 months.
Bass drowns out the mid-range, causing it to to be recessed and the bass to be muddy.
Not noise cancelling/isolation isn’t the greatest.
They have trouble staying in your ear/not comfortable due to the large housing.
Headphone cable keeps breaking where it wraps around the top of your ear/cheap.
Don’t think I would bother with an amp, but one reviewer mentioned that he did like them with the FiiO Mont Blanc.
Who these IEM’s benefit?
Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
Beware of fake and defective units.
You have to use a mini screwdriver to fine tune the bass ports, which transforms the sound based upon your preference (either more neutral, or more “fun”).
Make sure you’re getting songs from a good sound source.
They come with 8 rubber tip sets and 2 foam pairs. You will have to do some experimenting to find the right tips and the right fit. Some people disliked the stock options and instead went with the Comply Premium replacement earphone earbud tips.
The IE80’s give you more of a fun and enjoyable listening experience. They aren’t considered neutral.
You may be inspired to listen to your entire music collection again. The IE80’s reveal a lot of details previously lost in other headphones/earbuds.
Replacement cables for this model tend to be pretty expensive.
Some say the hooks that go around your ears are problematic and quite useless. They do “memorize” after a few days and will retain the shape that conforms around your ear.
This model does not have an inline control or mic.
Not sure I would spend 400 big ones on this pair, but they do have their strong suits. It’s a bit of a gamble considering the issues with the right/left going out, as well as some problems with comfort.
People generally have a hard time justifying the cost of these, even though they are a very good set of IEM’s. They just may not be $500 good due to some glaring flaws that cannot be ignored. More on that later.
The good news is that the mid-range here is phenomenal, which is a quality that is somewhat lost in this day and age of bass bass bass.
Overall they have an accurate sound, and work best with genres that aren’t bass heavy.
Accurate sound/good clarity & detail.
An array of tips to choose from.
Fun listening experience.
May lose contact between the cable and the ear piece. Left or right channels cutting out/bad seal.
Cheap chord/sub-par build overall.
Swivel design causes sweat to seep into the buds, causing them to break over a short period of time.
Takes awhile to get a good fit.
Lacking bass. Some say that the response is meant to be quality over quantity, and that the 535’s were never meant to be bass heavy.
They sound good with or without amplification. Nearly all accounts praise them with your iPhone, iPod/portable device, Macbook Pro, etc. The FiiO E12’s are said to do very well for amping, just be aware of that dial. They don’t need to be turned up too high to get great sound. How to choose a headphone amp!
Also goes well:
Who these IEM’s benefit?
Vocals, especially female.
Not good for:
Cardio at the gym. The sweat starts to accumulate in the filter, attenuating the signal.
Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
As with the IE80, make sure you purchase from an authorized dealer.
People are saying that the 530’s are actually better than the 535.
Make sure your source audio files are of a good quality.
Custom fitted ear pieces may be the solution to discomfort/bad fit.
A good seal is critical for these to shine at their fullest potential.
Comes with 2 cables. One is for volume control only, and the other is for volume control and phone accessibility. The one for phone accessibility only works on iPhone. Both cables are pretty long and not conducive for on the go situations.
Customer service is hit or miss. Some have had great experiences, others have not.
Incredible mid-range, crisp highs, and an accurate sound. Overshadowing this somewhat is an uncomfortable fit, issues with the right or left going out, and a sub-par build overall. Perhaps not quite worth the asking price.
Similarities & Differences
Be aware of your sound source with both models.
Both have a tendency for the right or left ears to short out.
Both have some comfort issues, as well as finding the right fit.
The SE535’s have better clarity while the IE80’s have a wider soundstage and better frequency response.
The SE535’s have a more natural bass response, whereas the IE80’s bass may drown out the mid-range and treble. The 535’s present to you the bass as it was meant to be heard.
The IE80’s have a much wider soundstage than the 535’s.
The 535’s have better clarity and detail.
The 535’s have a better mid-range.
The IE80’s have more of a “crunch” if you will, and do better with genres like Rock and Metal.
With the IE80’s you can customize the bass to your liking.
The mid-range of the 535’s is far superior to that of the IE80’s.
The 535 works better as an all around earphone.
The 535 does better with female voices.
The IE80’s cable is made of Kevlar.
The 535 has a longer cable.
The 535 has a higher impedance. (36 Ohm vs. 16).
The 535 has a volume remote.
Both of these IEM’s have their downfalls, and to be quite honest, I most likely would not purchase either due to some glaring flaws. Even though both have very good sound, I can’t justify spending the money and ending up with a earful of regret when they eventually break down. 😛
Instead I’m going to point you in a different direction. The Shure SE846’s are a bit more expensive, but unlike the 535’s are really worth their price tag. They represent the final step up in this particular line of Shure earbuds, and are considered the pinnacle. The build quality is light years better, as well as the comfort and isolation factor. They also don’t need amplification. Interested in learning more?
Stu is determined to provide the truth about all things audio, and strives to deliver excellent content to you the reader! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, attend church, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His attention to detail and perfectionist attitude are what allow him to excel, but it can be both a blessing and a hindrance at times.