Shure E500PTH Noise Isolating Headphones - Shure E500PTH

By Riyad Emeran



Our Score:


The Push To Hear module is a truly inspired idea, and anyone that uses in-ear headphones like this will fully appreciate how useful it is. Unfortunately, the PTH unit itself doesn’t exhibit the same level of quality as the rest of the package. For a start the module is very large – to be fair, Shure has had to make space for a battery and microphone, plus all the circuitry, but I still feel that it could have been smaller. Also, there’s a wheel to increase or decrease the gain on the microphone, but this is set so far into the housing that it’s almost impossible to turn, unless you have frighteningly long fingernails. Lastly, the belt clip doesn’t snap tight, so it just hangs from your belt or pocket, without ever feeling that secure.

Unfortunately I can’t really comment on what comes in the box, since the review sample that I was sent didn’t come with any packaging or documentation. What I did receive was a set of silicone tips that were too large to fit in my ears, but thankfully I also got a few pairs of disposable foam tips, which I used. According to the Shure website, you get three pairs of silicone tips (small, medium and large), a set of triple flange tips and a single set of foam tips. You should also get a mini-jack to full-size headphone adapter, a carry case and a level attenuator – to stop you blowing your ear drums by mistake.

Now, Shure headphones have never been cheap, but the company has really raised the bar with the E500PTH set, with a retail price of £419.99. That’s a staggering amount of money for a pair of headphones, especially when you consider that you could buy three pairs of Ultimate Ears super-fi Pros for that money. However, fantastic as the Ultimate Ears headphones are, these Shures are better, but how much better depends entirely on the sort of person you are.

There’s no doubt that Shure is going after the serious audiophile with these headphones. There is no way that this type of user would ever touch a lossy compression method, so it’s likely that the E500PTHs will be fed a steady diet of losslessly encoded, or uncompressed files, which will show off their talents admirably. It’s also worth remembering that you also get the Push To Hear module, which is very cool, despite its size and build quality issues. Ultimately though, if you find yourself flabbergasted at the price, you’re not Shure’s target customer.


These are the best in-ear headphones I’ve ever used and the innovative PTH module is a great addition. Unfortunately, the high price means that these fabulous headphones will only be available to a select few, but if money really is no object for you, you won’t be disappointed.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Value 6

Nick Thorp

June 21, 2008, 3:07 pm

Is the design of the current SE500pth identical to these?

Some punters say they find that instruments sound like small models when using these (and all earphones) compared with over-the-ear headphones or hi-fi speakers. Do others agree with this analysis, or is it possible to effectively "retrain" one's brain with time to perceive the sound as being very similar to being in front of a live band or orchestra? There was talk some years ago of being able to "reprogram" the signal to be output to headphones sound that it was nearly the same as would be received by each ear under live conditions.


December 13, 2008, 10:23 pm

Seems like a fine pair of speakers, maybe I should hear them out some time.

But for the reviewer's and other people's benefit, there are in fact still 'phones notches up the Shure's - take a look at the Westone 3, ACS T1, and the Futuresonics Customs. I have not heard them personally but they are great IEMs also - and the first two are also triple-driver IEMs. Futuresonics however, only use dynamic drivers - and their customs are no exception. Of course their prices are also similiar, so that's why I suggested them too ;)


March 3, 2009, 3:24 am

And to think that people waste good money (and these) buying these to go with iPods - some people are just so silly...

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