Excerpt: I have been in search of quality, noise-canceling, in-ear headphones for a long time. In truth, I have delayed investing in a really good pair of headphones because it was always a tough cost-benefit analysis for me. However, I am also a professional vocalist and have been considering investing in a really good set of earphones that can serve as in-ear stage monitors as well. I am now so glad I purchased these headphones...
Excerpt: The sound quality is amazing, and the sound isolation is fantastic. Initially, as many have reported, they can be slightly painful, but I believe the material softens up over time, I've had them a few weeks now and they don't hurt at all. I had owned a set of similar Shure earbuds for years, they were great! They had survivied a severe rain storm (I figured that'd be the end of them, but no), and I accidentally ran over the with my motorcycle, yet they kept going strong.
Summary: First of all, I don't think we should be comparing these to anything else but in ear monitors (IEMs), and generally in the price range. However, my only experience is with Sure SE 110s that I used for over 5 years. Those were about $99, and I got the 425s for about $270. I've now had them for about four months, and have gone through the slightly disappointed stage which seems to occur for a lot of people with a lot of headphones.
Pros: Balance, imaging, speed from top to bottom, mids
I got mine open-box off of ebay for 249.99 compared to other prices of 299.99. Couldn't tell the box was opened.
My other and only "high end" headphone was the bass heavy Turbines. Initially, I was disappointed by the 425's as they were really flat and lacked that bass punch.
My friend suggested I burn them in, though I doubt it would do any difference.
Pros: Flat sound, over ear design, eartips hard to get off
Cons: Eartips hard to get off, hard for audio newbies to put on
Summary: These are my second pair of Shure IEMs. I had enjoyed the SE210s for a long time before taking the plunge on these. Since these are meant to be worn up only and the cable rotates freely where it attaches to the monitor, it took some getting used to the new cable design. Sound quality is definitely leaps and bounds above the SE210s. The bass is IMO much more substantial on the 425s but very fitting to the music I listen to (all shades of rock).
Pros: New modular cable design feels very solid and well executed, relatively flat sound signature, Bass is present but not obtrusive.
Summary: I bought these at an online music store for a price much lower than elsewhere. This is my 3rd pair of Shure In ear monitors. The first pair where E2's which broke the tip when replacing the foam cushion, I tried to repair them but they lacked bass after this. The second pair where E310 in black, I loved these but unfortunately left them on a plane.
Pros: Neutral correct sound, extremely deep bass when fitted properly
Cons: More difficult to fit correctly than previous Shure IEM, neutral sound might not be liked by the average loudness and boom bass lover
Summary: I've been holding off the write this review because I wanted to give myself a good long time with these headphones before I broke them down. Starting off with look and comfort these are above par, the clear models give you the sense of technology added to the already quality given by them.
Pros: Sound Stage is very wide, Dual Driver separates tones, Comfortable Fit
Summary: I'm not as experienced as other members here in headfi, but I can assure you that you won't be disappointed a single bit if you are coming from sub 200 dollars price range. I've been using earphones all the way from Apple's stock earphones, Audiotechnica sub 100 dollars, to Sennheiser sub 150. This SE425 just rocks.
Pros: Excellent sound quality, fit, and soundstage