The Shure SE425 is an update to the well-loved SE420 and seeks to provide a well-balanced sound inspired by on-stage monitors. These midrange Shure IEMs sit right in the middle of the Illinois-based company's line of premium headphones and offer premium audio reproduction for any listener to enjoy. The SE425 is available in metallic silver or clear.
These in-ear headphones feature everything from Kevlar-reinforced MMCX cabling to dual high-definition drivers that pump out an excellent balance of sound that allows for a great deal of EQ customization, whether you love vocally-driven music or want more bass in your tunes.
The Shure SE425 has a lot to offer in terms of comfort, including a strong seal to pair with the high-end sound quality. Right out of the box, you can find the earphones and a premium hard carrying case. You can also find several ear tips, also referred to as "sleeves" by Shure, which include both foam and silicone tips so you can tailor your fit to your ears. It is well worth it to take the time to test the fit of each ear tip, as this will help determine how you can optimize the auditory experience these earphones can give you. A perfect seal with the right ear tips will improve your audio experience tenfold with any earphones, but this proves especially true for high-end models like the SE425.
The Kevlar-reinforced MMCX cable is bulky compared to many cables on the market, but standard for Shure products and very durable. For Apple users, you can upgrade your experience from the standard 3.5mm cable to the Plus cables that are compatible with the audio output jacks on newer iPhones, iPads, and other Apple devices currently available.
The body of the earpiece, while large, sports a beautiful sheen, especially the metallic silver model. The section of cable that goes over the ear ensures a great deal of comfort and stability while listening, and is great for hours of use while working, doing chores, or handling other tasks. You can also find that, once you have the right ear tips for your ears, the seal masterfully cancels out noise while staying in your ear so you can run for extended periods in these without worrying about them falling out.
As far as accessories go, the SE425 comes with a total of 8 types of sleeves for customizing your fit: small, medium, large, both in silicone and foam; a universal fit yellow foam sleeve set and a pair of triple flange sleeves. Much like earplugs, when you insert foam ear tips, be sure to pinch them before inserting to create the proper seal needed for optimal listening. When done right, these foam tips can block out a whopping 37 dB of ambient noise, whether you're on the train, on the street, or at home. These in-ear headphones also come with a 1/4" adapter and the aforementioned hard carrying case.
While the standard SE425 does not include a remote, you can pick up designs that include a microphone or remote for your convenience. You can get a 3-button set for devices that use iOS or a single-button remote for other types of devices. The three-button setup features a variety of options, including volume adjustment, audio/video playback options, answering or ending calls, and recording voice memos. The single-button setup handles audio and video playback and answering or ending calls.
Shure is a company renowned for its dedication to comfort and practicality in design. Shures stand out even among other high-end brands like Dits, 64Ears, and Campfire Audio because of their size and incredibly comfortable fit. The plastic shell helps keep the body of these in-ear earphones lightweight, and the fit, rather than sticking out of the ear the way the SE420s did, fits snugly in the curve of the ear. This over-ear fit also means whether you're using these on stage or casually on your morning jog or commute, you can expect minimal displacement and wind noise from your earphones.
The beautiful thing about the setup of the cabling behind the ear is the thickened design that makes it easy to mold to fit your ear correctly. While extremely practical, those looking for an optimally lightweight or fashionable earphone may not find what they're looking for with the SE425s. However, if you want high-quality sound and masterful practical design, you can expect exactly that from these IEMS.
The dual high-def micro drivers sport dedicated woofers and tweeters for delivering a carefully balanced sound that prioritizes clarity at a frequency range of between 20Hz and 19kHz. Because of the vast frequency range and soundstage, listeners may notice much more out of recordings they listen to regularly, mainly because their natural audio balance isn't particularly bass-heavy. The inherent noise isolation of the design may not scratch the itch for listeners that expect active noise canceling options, but with the right ear tips, having ANC is not necessary for removing most ambient noise.
The MMCX cable is a detachable 64-inch, Y-shaped cable that is Kevlar-reinforced for maximum stability and reliability. Most earphones break near the earpieces, so the option of detaching cables extends the lifespan of these earphones considerably. These cables can also swivel to increase flexibility and comfort while wearing them. The SE425 also features a 3.5mm audio jack that tapers off to accommodate plugging into a phone case. The two-year limited warranty is quite lovely, especially for replacing cables, but replacing them outside of warranty isn't a terrible expense.
It's safe to say that the SE425s have a lot to offer in terms of comfort and durability, from the easily moldable, reinforced, interchangeable cabling to a plethora of ear tips to choose from, whether you prefer silicone or foam. This comfort enhances listening during a variety of activities, whether you're listening to a podcast during a brisk walk or enjoying your favorite playlists while going for a run.
Audio & Sound Quality
When you listen to the SE425s for the first time, you will find clear mids, excellent response, and well-balanced lows to emphasize clarity in listening. These are great for everyday use and will enhance your day-to-day listening experience tremendously. If you want to experience music as the producers intended, uncolored by heavy bass or overwhelming treble, you will get that with the Shure SE425s.
Bass is a controversial subject when it comes to listening. Because music is so subjective, bass holds a different place in many listeners' minds and can stir up a lot of debate as a result. For those seeking a balanced sound, the drivers in the SE425 will perform admirably and deliver tight, punchy lows to satisfy most listeners. However, if you want to maximize the lows in your listening, these earphones may not be ideal. Something that helps enhance the bass, too, is choosing the right DAP. While you may find bass lacking somewhat when streaming Spotify on your phone, you may notice a considerable difference when using a high-quality audio player or DAC for playback. Tidal streaming features lossless audio and is well worth subscribing to get the most out of premium headphones.
Optimizing midrange clarity and output is easily Shure's forte, especially in the 425s, where mids are very forward in the mix while maintaining a comfortable smoothness and fullness. This clarity allows the listener to feel like the singer is right in their ear, and creates an auditory intimacy that can only be found with high-quality in-ear earphones. The SE425s can even compete with higher-end models in midrange output, including JH Audio and Campfire Audio models like the Dorado. The micro-detail retrieval is immense in the mids, and listeners may notice things in their audio that they may not have noticed with other earphones previously. Realism and intimacy are emphasized in the mixing over detail retrieval; however, so while there is quite a bit of detail in the mids, it is certainly not the most substantial priority.
Treble is a tricky subject for many listeners because the perception of sound is subjective. Some may find the signature too weak for their liking while others may want it toned down. Several factors affect this perception of sound frequencies, including age and condition of ears. The treble is, however, quite detailed, with a reliable separation between notes that prioritizes clarity in listening. Those looking for sparkling, crystalline highs that complement their treble-heavy tunes may be disappointed, but listeners seeking a healthy balance will be satisfied with the audio output.
On the more technical side, you can expect a sensitivity of 109 dB SPL/mW with an impedance of 22 ohms that makes it well-suited to long-term listening without blowouts, even at higher volumes. This, paired with the frequency range of 20Hz-19kHz, creates a durable, broad soundstage that holds up under most conditions.
The soundstage and overall signature of the SE425s are excellent, especially compared to competitors at its price point, but does not match the depth of higher-end models like the SE535. The imaging is precise in execution, especially for earphones, and provides a dark, thick sound with molasses-smooth vocals that entice the listener without overwhelming bass or shrill treble. Airy, treble-heavy music, as well as bass-heavy tracks, may not get the treatment they deserve from these, but the natural balance of sound is suitable for most songs and tailored to comfortable everyday listening.
The SE425s feature secure noise isolation and well-balanced reproduction for professional or personal use, making these an excellent option for most purposes. Bass heads may be disappointed with the lack of emphasis on developing the lows, but a well-balanced sound makes room for EQ customization to suit any genre of music. If you already love using over-ear cabling or wouldn't mind getting used to it--which, frankly, does not take long--you will find a lot to love in the SE425s, whether you're using them onstage or at home.
The SE425s can best be summed up as a niche set of in-ear monitors that are suited to a specific group of listeners, especially those focused on vocals when listening to their music library. While the Shure 535s have more horsepower behind them, the SE425s provide a full, organic sound that is pleasing and transformative in listening, and worth a shot if you want a pair of premium earphones to enhance your day-to-day music listening experience.
While Shure's SE425s are a massive improvement over their predecessors, the SE420s, it's safe to say that comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges in terms of quality and features. The SE425 has plenty to offer any audiophile or casual listener who wants a premium experience with carefully-balanced audio hardware and easy setup for longterm listening. The natural noise canceling is on par with the AMC on many headphones today, and the Kevlar-reinforced removable MMCX cable is ideal for durability and customization. Whether you want to jam to your favorite workout playlists or enjoy some of your favorite tunes and podcasts at work, the SE425s have the staying power and a delicate balance of sound to keep you coming back for more.