Shure SE425 £189
It’s five years on the bounce for the Shure SE425 headphones, which is a pretty phenomenal achievement all told.
Their recipe for success is all in the detail. To say it’s an immersive experience is an understatement. Get some music going and it’s as if the headphones disappear, leaving simply superb sound. The level of finesse on offer is astonishing – you’ll hear things you never thought were there, even on recordings you know inside out.
Play John Martyn’s Small Hours and the ambiance these Shures create is mesmerising, with each flicker of sound and individual instrument placed carefully in the soundstage.
But they don’t only do delicate. The War on Drugs’ Pain shows the SE425S are more than capable of handling tight rhythms and driving rock. There’s enough going on at either end of the spectrum to grab your interest, while the balanced presentation ensures they will keep your ear.
The midrange performance is as solid as you like – and that vein of detail continues all the way down the frequency range. Vocals are nuanced and placed to the fore, yet they never conflict with other elements of the composition in the same frequency range.
Move down to the bass and there’s still a decent amount of thud. The sense of isolation helps with low-frequency extension too – these really do block out almost everything around you.
If you have up to £200 to spend on a pair of headphones, there’s simply no point looking much further than the Shure SE425S – you won’t find better value than these.
The Shures’ level of detail makes for an immersive experience