Comparison Shure SE425 vs Audeo Phonak PFE132 vs Westone UM2
By Nicole Trein
The SE425, UM2, and PFE132 all have a lot to offer but some more than the other.
I found that the best comfort came from the PFE132 and the UM2RC (now replaced by the new UM PRO 20). The UM2s have a better fit if you want to use them while running and exercise because they hold better than the PFE132. The PFE132 would be perfect for travel though. The SE425, despite also fitting well and staying in place like superglue, are a little too big for me so I can’t wear them for hours on end (remember that my ears are very small). The Audeo PFE132 are also lightweight unlike the SE425. The cable is smaller and seemingly more fragile.
When it comes to sound quality these 3 show different strengths and weaknesses. While I really liked the bass and overall volume capacity of the SE425 it didn’t have the precision that the PFE 132 had. The SE 425 has a distinct sound and is great for those pumping workout playlists whereas the PFE132's sound is smoother and gentler. They are also killer if you enjoy listening to jazz and classical because they are light. The UM2 are great for listening to covers, acoustic, or live performances. The UM2s are very balanced in sound.
Maybe that’s due to the dual drivers (the SE425 is also a dual driver) whereas the PFE is a single driver. Those extra speakers do wonders for the sound overall. Great distinction and balance between lows, mids, and highs. Best basses came from the UM2 and SE425. I personally prefer the UM2 because the bass is well balanced and doesn't cloud the highs and mids. The PFE132 is the one that lacks the most in bass, though not by much, making up for it in great highs. As I said, the PFE132 is gentler and the UM2's and SE425's volume capacity make them more eligible competitors when it comes to bass.
In the end, for a more powerful sound I would look to the Westone UM2 and the Shure SE425. Sound-wise Shure never fails to impress me but because of my smaller than average ears the fit isn’t very pleasant. Taking that into consideration I would pick the UM2 RC but that is my personal preference. For a more refined sound presentation, the PFE 132 sound is the one that fits the bill.
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