With apologies to Shure, the SE535 earphones don't really need to exist. Frankly, the outgoing model which this upgrade replaces, the SE530 earphones, in turn an update to the E500PTH earphones, which have been with us for nigh four years now, were good enough.
In the technology world, where one month's time often seems to have produced one decade's worth of new products, it's a rare product that stays at the top of its game for four months, let alone four years. Nevertheless that's exactly what the SE530s have done; ever since we reviewed them, and declared them as such, they've remained the best universal-fit earphones money could buy, they've remained so.
The SE535 earphones have a lot to prove, therefore. Admittedly that they are the SE535s and not the SE540s, or any larger a numerical increment over their predecessor, should indicate the nature of the improvements. The SE535 earphones aren't meant to be a radical overhaul, but rather aim to offer a number of small tweaks which should add a new level of refinement to the flagship of Shure's range.
There's no denying that the SE535 earphones have their work cut out in one particular. Over the past years the SE530s have fallen in price dramatically. The drop from about £420 when we reviewed them, to under £250 as of now, has only cemented their position of being an incredible buy. The SE535 earphones are entering the market at a much less compelling price; the cheapest we could find them was a little under £420. That was expensive in 2006, and it's no less so now.
By anyone's reckoning, Shure needs to have produced something very special to persuade anyone to spend £170-plus more on its newer model. At least while any stores have an inventory of the SE530 earphones remaining.