The Shure SE535 has so far been a go-to for presenters, speakers and singers. Now thanks to the wireless version and its Bluetooth connectivity, plus control of smart devices, it receives a makeover for everyday applications and listening on the go. High-quality workmanship and initial delivery of the product are top-tier, even if the remote control intricacies of these headphones take some getting used to. To be on the safe side, it’s advisable you pencil in some practice time with the meddlesome middle button when you’re not in company or out and about. Using SBC for Bluetooth instead of the aptX codec is another slight downer. When it comes to sound however, things are impressive enough. Most genres get a great showcase with these in-ears, with pop, classic music and spoken word recordings in particular benefiting the most.
These in-ears from Shure’s SE series come updated with new wireless technology. From now on, these dependable headphones can work wirelessly thanks to Bluetooth connectivity.
What’s Included, Design & Manufacturing
The Shure SE 535 Wireless comes with its own carry case, a jack adapter, eights pairs of earmolds (including a choice of foam and silicone inserts), plus a volume control adapter. There’s also a USB charging cable included in the package, along with two new highlights. These new additions include a cable with universal remote control that has an integrated microphone for wired operation> This replaces the purely audio cable supplied with the standard version of these in-ears, with space-saving MMCX connectors again used in the design. Additionally, these wireless update includes a cable with integrated Bluetooth receiver unit. In lieu of the aptX codec, which is superior in terms of sound quality, it uses SBC (Sub-Band Codec). A lapel clip is also thrown into the mix for easy attachment of your wires. As befits a big manufacturer like Shure, all contact surfaces of plugs and adapters are gold-plated for longevity and anti-corrosion properties. For users of smartphones or tablets who don’t rely on iOS and Android, a manual external volume control is also included that can be attached via a mini extension cable.
In terms of the design from a purely technical standpoint, I struggled to see any innovative new additions at first glance. This is reassuring on some levels, however. For one, the reliable robustness of the wired version of these headphones remains intact. They’re still perfectly suited for use on stage or for those more intensive applications when only durable and dependable will do. If you’re interested in wearing comfort, delve into the detail with our original review for the wired version of these headphones, the Shure SE 535.
Functions & Usability
To be able to use the Bluetooth functionality of these headphones, you’ll need to use the enclosed receiver unit. This unit transmits the received signal to the in-ears via cable connection. This means that both hemispheres of the headphones are connected via a cable, with the receiver itself located in the centre of the cable. A remote control for handing smart device functions is also integrated into it. Its operation capabilities are for the most part identical to the wired variant of these headphones, with only the removal of “I” and “A” modes noticeable here. Pairing itself is effortless. A nifty feature is that maximum operating time of the battery is announced when the device is switched on, giving you plenty of time to plan for a recharge if needed. A micro-USB socket on the Bluetooth receiver is used as your charging input port.
The MMCX connectors of both cables are firmly attached to the in-ears. Once plugged in, you don’t have to worry about them falling free while you’re on the move, even if the tug is a significant one. The remote control that’s integrated into the new audio cable has a switch on the underside that can be used to switch between modes “I” and “A” now that they’re designated buttons are gone. This means that the remote will work with either iOS or Android devices. At the top of the remote, there’s a simple selection of three buttons.
Unsurprisingly, the plus and minus buttons found here control the volume. The middle button, however, is more complex. Pressing it once plays and pauses tracks, while two pushes takes you to the next track. Press three times to skip back to the previous selection. Repeat play functionality is also integrated into this button. Operating instructions inform that the user needs to click three times after six seconds in order to trigger repeat. However, the question of when to begin waiting for those six seconds leaves things in a rather ambiguous place. At first, it seemed to me that this meant six seconds after playback of the next track has started, but this only resulted in skipping back to the previous selection.
Operation becomes a little more confusing when both the audio and Bluetooth cable remote decide to acknowledge the same keystroke combinations of the middle button with different control functions. For example, the middle button is held down after a double click, it will fast forward the wired remote control. However, it will activate the speech assistant for mobile devices thanks to the Bluetooth cable. There’s plenty more crossed wires I could comment on here, but we’d need a separate review just to itemise them.
Yes, it’s all rather complicated. And unfortunately, you’ll probably find it even more frustrating in practice yourself. For my taste, a remote control can easily justify four or five buttons and still call itself a simplified interface, especially if it strips down operation significantly. However, the problem here is that the user is faced with two different controls that require a considerable amount of experience with before you start pre-empting clashes and confusion. This will be a big drawback for the occasional user of such a device. That being said, if you do find the time to understand the intricacies of the remote issue, you’ll be rewarded by an involved set of command functions you can control via a very stripped-back interface.
In the bass range, the Shure SE535 requires equalizer or bass boost support activated on your listening device, at least for my tastes. With this little helping hand, the headphones are capable of much more clarity and a clearly contoured bass that’s still a long way from being too dynamic. Higher bass frequencies in particular are made audible with this helpful push. These headphones are significantly reserved in low bass ranges, although utilising EQ support as previously mentioned will enrich your listening pleasure of urban music titles and the like.
The SE535 is well positioned in the middle, without losing a sense of balance. As with the Special Edition designed for the Asian markets, the SE535 is dominated by highly assertive mids. However, in this case the highs are also brilliant and much silkier in comparison. There’s no significant instance of cutting highs and hissing to endure, making the overall sound that fills my ears a more balanced and pleasant affair when enjoying audio with this wireless version of that same Special Edition model. Although the frequency spectrum is not utilised to the fullest, reaching up to highs of 19 kHz, there’s still the impression of hitting the highest reaches, the upper limits of listening capability. The lack of 1,000 Hz that competitor devices might offer as standard is not a dilemma you have to worry about developing. The signal resolution is respectable, particularly with classical recordings where a sufficiently rich depth is established, making for a lively listening experience. I’ll wrap up this section by noting a distinct different in sound between cable and Bluetooth operation.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)18 - 19.000 Hz
- Impedance36 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)119 dB
- Weight with cable30 g
- Cable length162 cm
What's in the box
- Black foam ear tips (S, M, L)
- Silicone ear tips (S, M, L)
- Yellow foam ear tips
- Triple flange sleeves
- 6.35 mm stereo jack adapter
- Airplane adapter
- 3.5mm universal earphone cable including three-button remote control
- Bluetooth 4.1 earphone cable
- USB charging cable
- Premium transport case
- BT version: 4.1
- BT codecs: SBC
- Battery: up to 8 hours battery life