Shure’s top of the line IEM was a crowd favorite for a long time, until newer offerings like the Sennheiser IE8 and the Westone 3 comes up. Being one of the oldest IEM in this review certainly hasn’t take the shine off of the Shure. We find the Shure to perform very well with the newer offerings from Sennheiser and Westone. It definitely still wins our heart more than the Sennheiser IE8.
One thing that you get with the Shure that you won’t get anywhere else, is its rich and liquid midrange. The Shure is so superb in its midrange, and nothing else in this shootout comes close in terms of midrange. Overall, the sound is fairly well balanced, smooth, and full bodied. You won’t find anything to be lacking from the Shure, and the magical midrange comes as a bonus. Its presentation does focus a little on the midrange, and I know that some people will prefer less prominent midrange than what the Shure is presenting.
Be warned that the Shure sound signature is smooth, and may lack the edge and the attack needed for Rock music. Moreover, the cables turns out to be a big weak point, as on earlier versions, the cables were reported to be breaking up and disintegrating. The version that we have is a more recent one, and though it doesn’t disintegrate, we find the cable to get significantly stiffer after some time, something you may want to know about.
Overall, the Shure SE530 remains a superb IEM in the midst of all the newcomers, and we’ll gladly recommend the Shure SE530, especially if you’re a midrange lover.
The ER4P doesn’t really belong to the $300 price bracket, but an APureSound recable does put it above the $300 mark, and so this should be quite a valid comparison.
This is an old favorite that has a loyal following for years. Utilizing a single balanced armature design (everything else in this shootout utilizes three balanced armatures, with the exception of the Sennheiser IE8 and the Stax), the ER4P presented audio signal with such surgical precision that will keep up with the most complex forms of music. It is famous for speed and detail that is often associated with Electrostatic headphones. The ER4P is also superb with treble, and in my opinion, the best treble that this group has.
The sound quality throughout its frequency range is superb, from the bass to the treble, everything has such a precision to it. However, we have to be honest and say that the ER4, both P and S version, sound a thin and lacking body. It has a great bass quality, but the quantity and the overall body is lacking. For Classical and Rock listeners, the ER4P may be a good choice, but the majority of listeners will find the ER4P to be dry and clinical.
The ER4P is the only IEM in this shootout to be equipped with an aftermarket recable. The reason is that most people doesn’t really think about recables when purchasing their IEMs, but somehow the APureSound cable has gained a legendary status as the ultimate upgrade that will cure the ER4P of all its weaknesses, most especially bass quantity. Contrary to what we’ve been hearing, we find the APureSound cable to be a small improvement that doesn’t live up to its hype.
I owned the ER4P and S for a while, and I enjoyed them. But it’s hard to recommend these IEMs to the general listener.