Comparison Shure SE535 vs Phonak Audeo PFE232 vs Westone W4R

By Nicole Trein

Wow, these three earphones really are top of the line! Considering their price range I was expecting a lot out of these. They truly are great. If you’re looking for sound that will blow your mind look no further than the Shure SE535. Those speakers are loaded. I was surprised that such a small device could generate such powerfull sound.

What the W4R (now replaced by W40) and PFE232 have that the SE535 doesn’t is comfort. The SE535 are good for shorter amounts of time. Maybe a jog or a drive to work but when I started to pass the 90 minute mark, they may hurt. Too bulky for my small ears. The Westone W4Rs are extremely comfortable as are the Audeo PFE232 but the W4Rs fit a little better without slipping. They are great for traveling. 

The PFE 232 has a much lighter and clearer sound than both the Westone W4R and SE535. The sound is crisp and precise. I liked listening to cover songs on YouTube by Boyce Avenue because it sounds extremely clear. The PFE232 has amazing highs but the bass isn’t as strong. The bass on the SE535 on the other hand was out of this world. Crazy good and strong - definitely distinguishable. 

The W4 with Removable Cables also had a great bass but it wasn’t as prominent as in the SE 535. The mids and highs of the W4R also stuck out and it was very well balanced. I loved being able to hear all parts of the song because it wasn’t a constant battle between bass and not bass. The only downside on the W4R is that I felt like at times I was losing some of the sound. Maybe my seal wasn’t as secure as it was in the PFE232 and the SE535.

Overall amazing quality from all manufactures. The PFE232 is more delicate, the Shure SE 535 was rockin’ and intense, and the 4 drivers in the W4R made for amazing balanced sound.

In the end, I loved the clarity of the PFE232 and the powerful bass of the SE535 but the comfort and balanced sound of the W4Rs was what sold them to me. My ears are quite smaller than average so the structure of the SE535 hurt my ears a bit. Other than that, the superb sound quality of the SE535 is unbeatable, and would be my top choice.


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