All iPods (but not iPhone)
Terrifically clear, crisp sound
Good bass response
Good noise isolation
The Shure SE530 PHT Sound Isolating Earbuds crown the top-end of Shure’s product line of high-quality earbuds. It shows. The SE530s offer terrific sound quality, solid bass, a good fit, and noise isolation. They also offer a $449.99 price tag, but for true audiophiles, it will be more than worth it.
Like Shure’s consumer-grade offering, the SE310, the SE530PTH produces a crisp, clear, distinct sound. Music sounds terrific coming through them.
The quality of the sound is created, in part, through the earbuds’ sound isolation. This feature, achieved by filling the ear canal to block outside noise from entering, does a lot to remove the ambient noise of the world during the listening experience. People nearby need to talk loudly, or nearly shout, to be heard when you have a good seal between the earbuds and your ears (Shure includes a number of different earbud covers to best fit the various shapes of ears).
Bass on the SE530PTHs is much better than on the SE310s. Whereas bass on those was weak, the bass response offered by the SE530s is clear and strong. Though not as powerful as the bass you might get out of much bigger headphones, for such small devices, the bass here is awfully good.
The SE530PTHs also offer a feature that allows you to let noise of the world return: a Push-to-Hear (PTH) device. The PTH module sits in-line between your audio source and the earbuds. This allows you to mute the music, or even adjust its volume, to have a conversation or listen to something else while not unseating the earbuds and needing to reseal them.
There’s no question that the Shure SE530 PTH earbuds are great products. But I see a problem: I can’t hear a substantial difference between them and the SE310s.
No doubt, the sound quality produced by them is better, but to my ear it’s not better enough to justify the $200 difference in price. This may be a limitation of my hearing, but I tend to think my hearing is good. Maybe it’s just not good enough to tell the difference?
Regardless, if your ears are good, or if you are a real audiophile, the Shure SE530 PTH Sound Isolating Earbuds have to be at the top of your shopping list.