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Shure KSE1500 Electrostatic Earphone System
- The first application of electrostatic technology for Sound Isolating Earphones (patent pending) featuring a single MicroDriver design
- Extremely high correlation to the source audio provides unmatched audio clarity and detail
- 4-band parametric EQ features five preset settings and four customizable settings to manage audio playback preferences
- Integrated USB-rechargeable battery can conveniently charge from provided wall charger or computer, even when streaming USB audio from computer
- Lightweight, ergonomic earphone shape minimizes ear fatigue while comfortable Sound Isolating sleeves block up to 37 dB of ambient noise
- Custom-designed earphone cable specifically isolates each conductor
- Streamlined controls for quick and simple, user-friendly navigation throughout the KSE1500 settings
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From the manufacturer
Introducing the KSE1500 Electrostatic Earphone System.
Experience a premium listening environment anywhere.
Whether you’re on an international flight or an undisturbed mountaintop, your ears will be enveloped by luxurious audio in a sleek system designed for the most discerning audiophile.
Featuring unprecedented Sound Isolating electrostatic earphones and a matched digital-to-analog amplifier, the KSE1500 means that high-fidelity portable audio is at last a reality.
Simply luxurious sound, wherever you are.
What's In The Box?
- KSE1500 Electrostatic Earphone System
- USB Wall Charger
- Micro-B-to-Lightning Cable
- Micro-B OTG Cable
- (2) 1/8" (3.5mm) Cables [6" (15.2 cm) and 36" (92 cm)]
- (6.3mm) Adapter
- Leather Carrying Case
- Airline adapter
- Cable Clip
- (2) Security Bands
- Microfiber Cleaning Cloth
The world’s first electrostatic Sound Isolating earphones.
Electrostatic technology provides the fastest, most accurate transient response available. Until now, it has never been applied to Sound Isolating earphones.
Each earphone features a virtually weightless, massless diaphragm surrounded by an electrostatic field generated by back plates that manage charge oscillation. The result is unmatched clarity and detail with an extremely high correlation to the source audio.
Easy monitoring of settings.
Clearly view input source, input level meter, battery level, output volume and EQ setting from the home screen.
Five EQ Presets
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The premium KSE1500 Electrostatic Earphone System is an electrostatic earphone and amplifier system with digital-to-analog-conversion (DAC) for use in-line with portable media players. Featuring single-driver electrostatic Sound Isolating earphones matched to a USB digital-to-analog-converter (DAC) that converts analog or digital audio from portable digital or analog audio sources. The KSE1500 system features a 24 bit/ 96 kHz conversion rate, customizable 4-band parametric EQ with five standard and 4 user-defined settings, recharge ability and input level meters. Able to process both digital audio directly via micro-USB, analog via a direct line in, or bypass entirely for a pure analog signal without conversion. The KSE1500 system defines a new standard of portable listening that brings high-fidelity audio into the mobile demands of today’s active lifestyles. Included: KSE1500 Electrostatic Earphone System, USB wall charger, Micro-B-to-Lightning cable, Micro-B OTG Cable, (2) 1/8" (3.5mm) cables [6" (15.2 cm) and 36" (92 cm)], ¼" (6.3mm) adapter, leather carrying case, airline adapter, attenuator, cable clip, (2) security bands, microfiber cleaning cloth.
Top customer reviews
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A sound in a league of its own, with amazing clarity, balance, and speed.
Need to carry the proprietary DAC/Amp
Not the most comfortable IEM
On the negative side totally insufficient manual. It does not even direct you to charge the battery. I still do not know what some of the accessories are for. And the cable that connects it through micro USB is prone to bending which destroys it and cost $28 to replace.
Second, I want to say that I already own a number of excellent IEMs--JH Audio Laylas, Noble Kaiser 10s, Sennheiser IE800s, Shure SE846s. I also own some Sennheiser HD800s and Stax SR009s. The HD800s are an excellent dynamic headphone, but the Stax SR009s are, in my opinion, just the best headphone I have ever heard. The sound of the Stax is so detailed and the treble and bass so good (to my ears) that I often thought to myself "wow, it would be great to have a portable pair of these".
Well, the Shure KSE1500s come pretty close to the Stax. They are in my opinion the most detailed, best sounding IEMs I have ever heard. So, if you are looking for the best, you need not go further. That said, they are not the most convenient IEMs. In the first place, they require their own dedicated amplifier/DAC. You can't just plug these into your iPhone, DAP or other sound source. You need to use the digital or analog output of the player which feeds the KSE1500 amplifier/DAC which drives the earphones. So, that means that you need to carry around your music source, plus the electrostatic amplifier/DAC plus the earphones. Personally, I use the KSE1500s with an Onkyo DP-X1 and they sound fantastic either through the digital or analog inputs. But I do listen to my other earphones as well sometimes, because I don't want to go through the trouble of all the hookup required.
Here are some more specific attributes:
Comfort: In my opinion, the KSE1500s are as comfortable a universal IEM as I have used, though not as comfortable as my custom JH Audio Laylas. But, in my opinion, the detail in the high frequencies of the KSE1500s is far superior to the Laylas.
Isolation: When inserted properly, these IEMs do in fact isolate as well as my custom JH Audio Laylas. That is very good, because it means you can hear the detail and the bass is not lost either.
Battery life: I have not measured the hours, but the battery of the Shure electrostatic amp seems to last a very long time, much longer than the battery on the DP-X1, though it seems to me that when I use the digital input on the Shure amp it seems to suck power from the DP-X1.
Carrying case: I use an external hard drive carrying case by Case Logic to carry the Shure amp/DAC and my DP-X1. The earphones and cable I carry in their own dedicated Shure earphone case.
Generally, I agree with the other positive reviews on this site. In fact, the Shure amplifier can handle only up to 24/96 music and no DSD. Though that seems a bit behind the times, for me, this is not such a big drawback, because the detail I hear with these earphones is so much better than with others that the 24/96 vs 24/192 or whatever is of secondary importance. But there may be others for whom this is very important.
A note about the user manual: It is not very informative on the settings. I wrote Shure to ask about the settings in the amp/DAC and they wrote me back explaining everything I needed to know.
I would be amiss if I did not note one other issue which I ran up against when using the KSE1500s with my iPhone. When listening to hi-res audio files through my iPhone 6s connected through the digital output and into the Shure amp/DAC I hear occasional popping, cracking and even buzzing. This issue occurs no matter what hi res app I used (I used Onkyo HF player, iAudio gate and Kaisertone). This problem, is not an issue with he Shure amp/DAC, because it occurs with other DACs that I have used with the iPhone. It appears to be an iPhone problem. I agonized over this problem for weeks, testing my iPhone 6s with other DACs, testing the Shure with my iPad (no pops or cracks!) and testing different hi-res players on the iPhone 6s. I contacted Shure about the issue, and they also conducted tests of their own and could reproduce this problem on 1/2 the iPhone 6s they tested. The moral of this story is that if you plan to use an iPhone 6s as your source device, you should probably test it with the Shure KSE1500 (or any other external DAC) before you buy. To repeat, this is not a Shure issue, it is an iPhone issue.