The benefit of getting a good fit is, as ever, two fold. First, the SE425s offer excellent exclusion of external noise; second, and because of that first point, they can be listened to at lower volumes than less isolating earphones which is good for your ears. Of course you can turn the SE425s up loud if you want, and they won’t show any sign of distorting – your ears will give up long before these earphones.
It’s at normal volumes the SE425s really impress though. Shure happily admits that the tone of these isn’t much changed over the SE420, and comparing the two sets back to back that proved to be the case – which is no bad thing. Like the SE420s before them, the SE425s work with just about anything you care to listen to, each earpiece’s dual-drivers reproducing music with almost uncanny delicacy and precision.
The low-end isn’t so strong as to kick you in the head, but the SE425s aren’t as flat at the Etymotic ER4 earphones, suggesting that Shure has erred on the side of how its earphones sound to a person, rather than a computer. So while the bass response might strike some as a little weak, to our ears it sounds about right. Even bass-heavy hip hop and pop doesn’t suffer if you can accept that the low end is supposed to underscore, not dominate, such music.
Shure reckons that the high-end is where all the changes to the sound of the SE425s come over the SE420s, with an allegedly improved frequency response on offer. We'll consider it a testament to the excellence of the SE420s, rather than a detriment of the SE425s that we couldn't really notice much difference. The high end reproduction is definitely fantastic; the SE425s making it possible to pick out an astonishing amount of detail even on frantic tracks such as The Who's Pinball Wizard.
Elsewhere, with artists as diverse as Mozart, Frank Sinatra and The White Stripes, the reproduction offered by the SE425s never failed to impress. Comparing to the more expensive SE535s and Grado GR10s we have to admit if we were spending our own money we'd have to seriously consider whether the step up in sound quality was really worth the cost.
The SE425s may not be the best sounding earphones in Shure's line-up, but they're almost certainly the best value. The audio quality offered by the dual-driver design is nothing short of astounding, and coupled with the excellent build quality, makes the SE425s an almost irresistible set of earphones.