Shure KSE1200SYS electrostatic in-ear headphone system Review

March 18, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“A problem with armature-based IEMs, such as my Ultimate Ears 18 Pros, is that their vibrating reeds start to run out of excursion with high levels of low-frequency tones, producing “doubling” (second-harmonic distortion). This was not the case with either the KSE1500 or KSE1200SYS earpieces, which played the low-frequency, 1/3-octave warble tones on my Editor’s Choice (CD, Stereophile STPH016-2) cleanly and with full weight down to 32Hz, provided the sleeves were making good seals with my ear canals. The combination of low-frequency clarity and weight in “Happiness Is Easy,” from Talk Talk’s The Colour of Spring (DSD64 file ripped from SACD, EMI 591452), made the sparse interjections from Danny Thompson’s double bass and Alan Gorrie’s electric bass sound suitably forceful. No, in terms of low-frequency weight, the in-ear Shures still couldn’t match my long-term headphone reference, Audeze’s LCD-Xes, driven in balanced mode by Ayre Acoustics’ EX-8 integrated amplifier. However, the over-ear LCD-Xes weigh my head down after the first couple of hours; the lightweight Shures remained comfortable throughout far longer listening sessions.”

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