Westone TrueFit 4 vs. Shure SE535
• The MSRP of the TrueFit 4 is $449, while the Shure’s retail for considerably more—$549.
• The TrueFit 4 is a three-way, four-driver design, while the SE535 is a two-way, three-driver design. Both earphones do a good job of smoothly integrating output from their multi-driver arrays, though I would say the TrueFit 4 achieves a more articulate sound overall.
• In terms of tonal balance the two models are fairly evenly matched, though I think the Westones achieve superior treble extension while still maintaining a desirable degree of treble smoothness. Both earphones offer a welcome touch of natural warmth (linked in both cases, I think, to a subtle touch of bass emphasis), but with the Shure exhibiting perhaps a touch more midrange emphasis.
• Both earphones emphasize a smooth, natural sound with decent (indeed generous) amounts of sonic detail, but I think the Westones achieve finer levels of overall resolution and transparency, with a top end that sounds noticeably more open and airy. But the Westone’s sound is really defined and differentiated by its inherent qualities of sonic vividness and vibrancy, which really help bring the music to life.
• Both earphones are compact and comfortable, and both come with broad, useful array of eartips. The comfort factor contest is pretty much a draw; the TrueFit feature a well thought out earpiece shell design and Westone’s cool EPIC signal cables, while the SE535’s benefit from Shure’s absolutely ingenious swiveling (and, please note, user-replaceable) signal cable design.
• The TrueFit 4’s carry Westone’s 1-year warranty, while the SE535’s carry Shure’s excellent 2-year warranty.
The Westone TrueFit 4’s include the following accessories:
• Eartips: one pair of triple-flange tips, two pairs of compressible foam tips (sizes M and L), three pairs of “bulb-shaped” gray rubber tips (sizes S, M, and L), and three pairs of “bell-shaped” silicone tips.
• Cleaning tool.
• Line attenuator.
• 3.5mm mini-jack to ¼” phone jack adapter.
• Sturdy fabric shell travel case with zipper closure and a patented Westone carabiner-style belt clip.
As discussed above, the TrueFit 4 is easy to handle, insert, and adjust thanks to the inherently ergonomic design of its earpiece shell (a design also shared with Westones’ TrueFit 3 model). Not only is the TrueFit 4 comfortable to wear for long periods of time, but its design and EPIC cables also help to suppress noise that might other wise be transmitted through the cable into the earpieces.
Westone’s TrueFit 4 is very well balanced performer that does most things extremely well, and whose few performance compromises take the form of relatively minor sins of omission. This is without a doubt one of the finest universal-fit earphones on the planet, whose greatest strengths are an accurate and inherently vivid and vibrant sound.
For those unwilling or unable to take the plunge into the world of custom-fit in-ear monitors, the universal-fit TrueFit 4 may well be the next best thing.
Westone TrueFit 4 Universal-Fit In-Ear Headphones
Type: Three-way, four-driver universal-fit in-ear headphone
Driver Complement: Four balanced armature-type drivers (two woofers, one midrange, one tweeter)
Accessories: See above
Frequency response: 10Hz – 18 kHz
Weight: Not specified
Impedance: 31 Ohms
Warranty: 1 year, parts and labor
Price: $449 MSRP
WESTONE LABORATORIES INC.