Head-Fi.org › Head Gear › Headphones › In-Ear › Universal Fit › Shure SE215

Shure SE215

93% Positive Reviews
Rated #2 in Universal Fit

Posted

Pros: Sound, comfort, great value, long life

Cons: Replacement cable price (complaint is specific to UK). Case not as good as older Shures.

I bought these in February 2012 for £75 at amazon.co.uk and have used them every day except for about one week when I was awaiting delivery of a replacement cable. Typical use is with a variety of personal players (iRiver H140 and H340, Sansa Clip+, Archos A43IT) as well as with PC audio and occasionally with home audio. I listen to many kinds of (usually lossless) music but most often orchestral, choral, vocal, instrumental, rock, pop.

Price and value:

These are very decent value and the price in the UK is close to the US price. This is quite unusual as UK consumers are typically ripped off to the tune of 1.5 to >2 times the US price for the same Asia manufactured products. Shure UK get some goodwill for not playing that game with the price of the SE215. They lose a sliver of that goodwill because in the UK they maintain super high prices for aftermarket products such as tips, cables, and replacement left/right phones. After 14 months I needed a new cable. UK price is £45! That is US $69. I bought the same genuine cable from a Canadian retailer for about half that price including international delivery. And when I need new tips I can save about 35% by buying from North America, or by buying a 3rd party replacement.

Durability:

These things are built to last. I haven't been particularly careful with them. They have been sat on, snagged, dropped, trodden on and once even immersed in salt water (I fell in the sea with them in...whoops) and I often sleep with them in. I needed to replace the cable after 14 months as the thicker "memory" section cracked, leading to sound dropping out and wires actually being exposed. In the last few years I've had two pairs of Sennheiser IEMs fail (cable), some Klipsch IEMs fail (?), and a pair of Sony headphones fail (cable). Being able to replace the cable on the Shures is a massive plus point.

My SE215s have kept working and been maintainable while several other IEMs and headphones have died on me. That makes them better value than every other 'phone I've ever bought except a pair of Sennheiser HD 500 which worked for over 10 years before blowing a driver.

Comfort:

Very comfortable. They sit flush in the shell of the ear and cause no irritation or pressure and can be worn all day or night without discomfort. Having the cable route behind the head is ideal for me. In daily use these are as comfortable as smaller, lighter IEMs such as Sennheiser CX series, and if you need something suitable for sleeping in or wearing under a hat/helmet then the Shures are surely as good as it gets without paying for a custom fit.

Isolation:

Very good but depends on good fit and on choice of tips to a small degree. With the supplied tips the isolation should be good enough for most people most of the time. You don't get quite the isolation as with long, thin IEM that sit relatively deep in the ear canal but it is far superior to Senn CX type tips which sit at the entrance. Triple flange tips aren't part of the retail package but are available. They do offer more isolation but many will find them irritating to the ear canal. Tips that fully seal the ear probably aren't ideal because these Shures aren't designed with any tiny breather hole to relieve the pressure, which can be obvious if using triple flange tips. The regular silicone and foam tips are very nearly as good.

Sound:

Slightly emphasised bass, good midrange, slightly rolled off highs. To me this is a fine combination. I don't want bass heavy IEMs but I do want slight emphasis to make up for the lack of bone conduction or air being moved or whatever it is that goes missing with neutral IEMs/headphones compared with speakers. The highs might be slightly rolled off, probably to avoid harshness. With really powerful high tones (soprano voices or similar) you might occasionally be reminded that these cost £75 and not £175 as some harshness can become evident, but overall it's very hard indeed to fault these IEMs. I've used them for many hours almost every day for 14 months and they aren't tiring or irritating. That in itself is probably better compliment than any description of their sound quality or technical analysis (which I can't offer anyway).

If worn as recommended by Shure, with the cable held snug to the back of the neck/head by the keeper, then there is no annoying noise from the cable. Because the IEMs sit flush in the ear there is no wind noise or whistling effect when used outdoors.

Other:

The supplied soft case was a little disappointing. I used to have a pair of Shure E2C IEMs and they came with a really tough little case. The new soft case is made of heavy cordura but isn't of the hard clamshell type and I think it doesn't offer enough protection.

Overall it's hard to find fault with these IEMs at £75. Criticisms are few, small and qualified while positive attributes are plain and abundant. You get the same mature design, easy comfort and good build as with the most expensive Shures, and sound quality that doesn't feel in any way modest. I would unreservedly recommend these to anyone who wants to spend a moderate amount to get a huge sound upgrade over the buds supplied with their player/tablet.

Posted

Pros: FUN, Isolation, Price, Removable cables, Build quality

Cons: Cord a bit long, Other IEMs in the same price range may outperform it by now

INTRODUCTION & ABOUT ME:

 

I started getting into audio about a year ago; I got my first headphone, the Shure SRH440, shortly after, and have since picked up a FiiO X1, FiiO E1 (used with my iPod Touch 4), an Optimus CD-3450, and, obviously, the Shure SE215. I mainly stick to the cheaper side of things, being a student and not having a job. I listen mainly out of my X1, though I used to mainly listen straight from the iPod Touch. A large majority of my listening on the SE215 was done on the X1; almost none has been none on any other sources, so for this review, all impressions of the SE215 will be from having it paired with the X1. The SE215 has had no modifications (original cable), and is using the small Shure Olive tips. I listen mainly to rock (almost all forms of it), metal, and rap, though I do sometimes listen to a little pop and electronic. Some artists I have on my X1 and may use for my review include Slipknot, Led Zeppelin, Porcupine Tree, blink-182, Jason Mraz, AWOLNATION, and Train. I will list some songs throughout, but I have no particular group of test tracks; all files are CD rips in WMA Lossless, ALAC, AIFF, or WAV. I listen to the SE215 for at least an hour or two a day; I would say there has been at least 20 hours put on them, possibly more. Unfortunately, I cannot provide pictures for this review; I have no camera of my own, so any pictures will not be mine. Also, this is my first review.

 

PACKAGING & ACCESSORIES:

 

 

Packaging was simple; just a small box holding the headphones, which were on display through clear plastic. Nothing special, but everything was well-packaged, nothing just floating around and everything securely in place. For accessories, you get a pack full of tips, a cleaner, and a small carrying pouch. I found the tip assortment appropriate for the price. The SE215 has the medium Olives on it, with small and large Olives, as well as small, medium, and large flex tips in the bag. For $100, this is pretty good; two sets of tips, of all sizes, and a strong, but soft case is included. Again, nothing special but appropriate for the price, like the packaging. There's not much to say here because there's nothing special about the packaging and accessories; it's simply appropriate for its price. Design is where things start to get special.

 

DESIGN:

 

The SE215 is made out of very solid plastic. I'll admit, I actually slept on them and had them shoved in the side of a recliner, with me shifting around on top of them for a whole night. There was absolutely no damage to anything. It's shape fits well, even in my small/mediumish ears; it's actually pretty comfortable. I've heard others say that the memory cable is a bit short, but I think it's fine; I find nothing wrong with it, and I believe it works very well. The cord is my only complaint, and it's a very small one: it's just a bit too long. I don't find it being a large problem, as I'm used to longer cords, having a long coiled cable on my SRH440, but a shorter cable would be nice. One of the great things about this IEM is it's removable cables. I believe it was the first in it's price range to have them, and if one found the cable much too long, another cable could be purchased. Some say the design where the cables connect to the IEMs was bad due to connection issues, but I've never had any. I have twisted them all the way around, while listening, to see if any problems would arise. None did; I believe Shure has made some small changes over the years, this being one, as well as one to the headphone jack. It's no longer very bulky where the gold-plated jack goes into the plastic, it has a thin section, allowing the jack to fit better though some device cases. This helps a lot for my X1, allowing me to leave the case on. I also enjoy my SE215's clear design. It's pretty cool to look inside and see the wires and components that it contains. Some have claimed that the plastic wasn't incredibly clear, possibly somewhat foggy, but mine are very clear, and look good. Overall, the design is very good.

 

ISOLATION:

 

I'm making isolation it's own category, separate from design, because it deserves it's own category. Simply put, with the Shure Olives, insert the IEMs, turn on your music, and you hear nothing. I ride possibly the loudest bus I've ever had the displeasure to be on every day, and the SE215 will totally separates me from it. Without music, you'll obviously hear a little sound; I doubt any headphone would block out absolutely everything with no music playing. But turn on the music (between 20-35 on my FiiO X1) and you're encapsulated in your own world, full of music of your choosing. Put in the IEMs, and suddenly your friend, a couple feet away, becomes Freddie Mercury, putting on a personal concert for you, but for some reason mouthing the words wrong. I doubt you could get any closer to total isolation, and for only $100, isolation is incredible; in fact, I think the isolation would be incredible for any price.

 

TECH SPECS:

 

This from Shure's SE215 page:

 

Sensitivity 107 dB SPL/mW
lmpedance 20 Ω
Frequency Range 22Hz – 17.5kHz
Cable Style 64” Detachable (at ear) with wireform fit
Colors Available in Clear or Translucent Black
Speaker Type Dynamic MicroDriver

 

These are very easy to drive. I'm sure just about anything could drive them, including a Sansa Clip (not tested by me though). 

 

SOUND:

 

Obviously the most important part. I'll put a couple songs that show my feelings for each section after I review them. Let's work backwards:

 

Highs:

Yes, the highs are somewhat recessed compared to the bass and midrange. No, it's not the most resolving treble you'll ever hear. But it's not bad. For the price, I'm sure you could find something with better treble, but the treble is and never will be a main feature of this IEM. Some cymbals can sound recessed and missing some detail. When there's a lot going on, like in AC/DC's "High Voltage," cymbals are certainly in the background. For this reason, I normally bump up the treble a little on my FiiO X1, though I have not when writing this review. Overall, highs aren't bad; just okay.

 

  • The Black Keys - Little Black Submarines
  • Porcupine Tree - Blackest Eyes
  • AC/DC - High Voltage

 

Mids:

If you're interested in the SE215, I'm sure you've heard of the famous Shure mids. The mids on these are wonderful. Guitars sound great. Good texture, and pretty forwards. You MUST listen to Porcupine Tree's "Trains" with the SE215. The acoustic guitar seams to be speaking to you. It's addicting. Great detail, incredibly clear. With something like "High Voltage" by AC/DC, guitars are in your face, and the riff being right there in front of you while the rest of the instruments play is very fun and enjoyable. They'll full and powerful, much like the bass, and are addicting to listen to with a good guitar riff. 

 

  • The Black Keys - Little Black Submarines
  • Porcupine Tree - Trains
  • Led Zeppelin - Living Loving Maid (She's Just A Woman)
  • AC/DC - High Voltage

 

Vocals:

Please listen to Slipknot's "Snuff." It's a song everyone should hear at least once. It's one of my favorite songs and I believe it's a masterpiece. Corey Taylor's vocals are incredible. Now, imagine the vocals being right there in front of you. Imagine the emotion of his voice being displayed privately, only for you, strong and speaking to you. That's what the Shure SE215 does. Vocals have good body, a fullness that surrounds you. Vocals on the SE215 are a joy to listen to because of this. They're very clear, and I would call them detailed. Nothing sums up vocals more than the words absolutely excellent.

 

  • Slipknot - Snuff
  • Jason Mraz - I'm Yours
  • RHCP - Snow (Hey Oh)

 

Bass:

This is a fun IEM. It's not meant to be totally neutral. Hence, when you put on "Dani California" by The Red Hot Chili Peppers, you're given a strong drum line; that's right, with these headphones, you can actually hear the drums! (Okay, maybe it's just because I'm a drummer, but headphones that are precisely neutral don't bring the drums up enough for me. These do.) The thump of Chad's drums is there with the rest of the music; it's not overpowering in any way. Let me repeat that; bass IS NOT overpowering. I stress this because I was afraid that it would be, and that everything would be smothered by bass, like they were in an older Monster Beats Solo I tried. The SE215's bass isn't like that. It's very much there and it has power, but it isn't shoved to the back. It's certainly not left behind. I find bass to be present enough, while still being tame enough to let everything else be heard clearly and allowing other pieces to still stand out. It's not the most detailed, but it does have pretty good control. It's not muddy or all over the place. Overall, bass is very good on the SE215.

 

  • Paul McCartney - Alligator
  • RHCP - Dani California
  • The Black Keys - Gold On The Ceiling
  • Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc.

 

Separation:

This being a single dynamic driver IEM, separation isn't going to be the best. Things can get congested on the SE215, but it isn't terrible. I find Porcupine Tree's "Blackest Eyes" to do very well on the SE215 during the heavier parts, but the instruments don't sound like they're in totally different rooms; just in their own space, while only occasionally spilling over into another's.

 

  • The Black Keys - Money Maker
  • Porcupine Tree - Blackest Eyes

 

OVERALL:

 

Overall, I think the Shure SE215 is a great IEM for the price, if it fits your needs. If you want an exciting sound, something that can use bass to pump some fun into you or use vocals to speak to you, and doesn't cost much, this is it. Could you find something with better sound quality for the price? I'm absolutely sure you could. But could you find something with tank-like build quality, near-total isolation, an overall great design, and a fun sound signature for the price? I think that would be a challenge. The Shure SE215 meets my needs perfectly; I needed isolation, I needed good build quality, and I needed a more fun sound, and this IEM delivered that. If you want something perfectly neutral, with tons of detail, this isn't your IEM. If you want a good, fun, isolating IEM for not much money, I highly recommend the Shure SE215.

Posted

Pros: Amazing sound (for the price) flat profile, value for quality, good cable connector, removable cable

Cons: Expensive acessories, hard to fit (takes a few moments of stupidness to fit them to ear after storage), thick cable splitter

I bought the SE215ltd from Headphonic.
Cost me $139.00.
This almost completely knocks out my V-MODA M100 and V-MODA XS out the water.
If you fit them improperly, they're amazingly uncomfortable. This is probably where the bad reviews come in, because they don't read the manual.

Songs used (with a FiiO E17 DAC.

Flume & Chet Faker - Left Alone [FLAC]
Everything I just said. But 10 times better. The vocs shine, I can't really find fault in the treble at all. There's a bit of clipping, I turned it down and it seems to have stopped. I just wish the E17 was as slim as an iPod touch so I could carry it everywhere.

Chet Faker - Cigarettes and Loneliness [FLAC]
Chet's vocals came out clean. The intro is my favorite bit, with the intro vocs, and the Shure / E17 combo nailed it.

PALMCO - SALT [FLAC]
The DAC doesn't really do much but make the sound cleaner and smoother for this track. It makes it less fatiguing and easier to sleep to.

Melech - Hate God [FLAC]
Melec's vocals shine. Amazingly. It sounds almost like I'm hearing the live recording of his voice. I love it.


I don't have much energy to write a full review on the DAC side, but basically almost everything said was subsidized and all the problems disappeared with the DAC. Next up I'm going to buy a good DAC, as the E17 is okay but clips due to the quality.

The guy who served me was great and it was a nice drive down to pick them up. I'm so happy with my SE's as I went from mid/low end in ears to an actual canalphone. Couldn't be better, can't get over the comfort and the sound!!!!

I prefer IEMs now over headphones. I hate the effort it takes to wrap cables, carry cases when you can have the IEM and be done with it. There's so many cables you can get for the SE215, you wouldn't really need over or on ear phones again with this quality of IEM, talking about mid-range headphones but everyone's preference is different.

Posted

Pros: Cheapest IEM I've seen with a removable cable, great bass and vocals; full, dynamic sound. Ultra durable, excellent isolation. Option for mic cable.

Cons: Treble lacks extension, fit not for everyone due to bulky connectors and so-so memory wire (not a problem with mic cable)

I will report back for a more in-depth review of the sound, but for now suffice to say that I love the SE215 and it is my go-to beater IEM when I'm not willing to risk my UM3X. It does bass and vocals exceptionally well, which are my two biggest desires from any headphone. Durability is unparalleled, especially for the price. I take these everywhere: workouts, running, beach, etc. and never feel like I have to worry for even a moment about anything going wrong. They are isolation monsters, too; they made great commuting companions when I took the train and bus to work. They are usually my first recommendation to non-audiophiles who are sick of crappy Skullcandies giving out after a month or two of regular use, unless the person in question has small ears and/or is after a cleaner sound.

 

Overall these have my full support; if you don't have small ears, and want an IEM with great bass and awesome isolation that is built like a tank, you can't go wrong here.

Posted

Pros: Great isolation, high overal build quality

Cons: Disconnectable jack required a tweak to work 100%

Recently, I went shopping for a $100 pair of earphones to replace my aging set of UE MetroFi 220 earphones.

 

After much deliberation, I settled on the Sure SE215 series in the clear variant.  They were purchased from Amazon.com directly from Shure.  I am a Prime member, as such I paid the $3.99 and had them sent next-day air.

 

They arrived without incident and well packed in all manner of UPS-proof air based packaging.

 

The actual carton which contained the earphones was relatively standard fare and more or less unmentionable.  Inside the carton was the usual wadge of manuals and warnings printed in every language I've heard of and a few that I haven't.  Also, there was a small bag containing six silicone tips as well as four foam tips (the other two were already on the device) and a cleaning tool.  Finally, there was a zippered pouch with an internal pocket that is just perfect for the bag containing the tips and the tool or in lieu of that a small player such as an iPod nano or shuffle.

 

The first impression on removing the earphones from the package was that they are a quality device.  The cables, which in my case are clear, show off the braided metal sheathing over the signal cables which is interspersed with a copper conductor woven into it.  The plug itself as well as stress reliefs on the cable appear to be much more stout than other offerings, the cable has a very durable look and feel.

 

The cable disconnects appear to be a relatively high grade coaxial-type affair with a signal pin on the cable end sliding into a tube on the headphone end.  Some folks have had some problems with these, but we'll get to that in just a few minutes.  The entire connector assembly was covered in what appears to be a very thin oil, which was removed with a q-tip so as not to present any potential problems.

 

Moving along to the earpieces themselves, the quality craftsmanship shines in their appearance.  The shells are very solid, and inspection of the internal construction reveals meticulously soldered connections as well as a very substantial support for the single dynamic driver.

 

The first listen out of the box revealed good sound quality with a "punchy" quality to the bass, strong definition in the mid frequencies, almost to the point of roughness, and some attenuation in the high registers.  They went for my standard 72 hour burn-in combining equal parts of white, pink and brown noise played at a high listening level.  The burn in period didn't make a huge difference, but there were some minor changes to the sound quality in the form of lesser recession of the high frequencies and a smoothing of definition in the mids without a notable loss in imaging.  Down low, the reproduction gained a bit of force but is still favors mid-bass over sub-bass.

 

In casual listening, they have a very "fun" sound to them.  They are dynamic in their representation and don't tend to get overly sibilent at high listening levels unless the sibilent tendencies are present in the recording.  The tradeoff here is that highs don't have much of any sparkle to them.  That said, I feel they have more than adequate sonic capabilities and qualities.  Listening to them for several hours casually has not been fatiguing or irritating in the least.

 

Moving over to critical listening, their sound tends to accentuate the full mid range with an excellent degree of accuracy across the board.  The high end is rolled off enough to both avoid sibilient harmonics within the listening device itself unless otherwise noted above.  The entire sound envelope of the Shures has a great deal of accuracy with regard to imaging.  The sound stage is both wide and well defined and has more positional accuracy than I would have originally anticipated given the price point.  Isolation while using the foam tips was second to none and provided a very clean sound floor in environs ranging from the office to my quiet living room.  As far as bass reproduction is concerned, the lower frequencies were definitely there in complimentary fashion.  Some feel that these earphones lend themselves to bass heads, however I do not agree with this viewpoint.  While the mid-bass is certainly amazing with a moderate of impact and fantastic texture, I can't describe the sub-bass as anything aside from accurate and complimentary.  To clarify, the entire bass spectrum is represented accurately but without an overpowering amount of presence with regards to the middle qualities.

 

The only issue that I've run into with the device is the oft-posted problem of having one of the earpieces drop connection periodically.  The left ear on my set would cut to silence when turning my head a certain direction or holding the cable at that angle.  I blame the connectors specifically.  To remedy this, I used the tip of a knife* to exert very slight pressure on the pin in the cable-side of the connectors in order to bend it a less-than-readily-visible amount in order to facilitate better connection.  After several tweaks of this type, I am having no more connectivity issues in either ear, and it is smooth sailing.

 

To summarize, I am completely impressed with the devices aural qualities and would definitely buy them again if I needed to.  While they will not please the crowd which demands cymbal sparkle with their rock and roll, and they will not please a true bass-head, I believe that they will please folks who want accuracy, control and an overall fantastic musical reproduction with great isolation.

 

*If you do this modification to your pair, please disconnect them if using a conductive item to tweak the pin to avoid shorting the amp, and be gentle.  To much of a bend and the headphones will not connect properly.  It is better to have to tweak twenty times and do this right than tweak once and have a broken device.

 

List of music auditioned with this device:

Jon Schmidt - All of me (Piano)

Jon Schmidt - Micheal means Mozart (Piano and Cello)

Handel - Assortment of pieces from "Messiah" (Orchestra and Choir)

Mord Fustang - Lick the rainbow (Electro House)

Mord Fustang - Milky Way (Melodic Electro House)

Skrillex - My Name Is Skrillex (Dubstep)

Skrillex - Cat Rats (Dubstep Disco)

Pendulum - The other side (DnB)

Pendulum - Encoder (Vocal Percussive DnB)

 

All tracks were reviewed in all contexts using loss-less files obtained from reputable download sources or created from stamped CD.

 

Posted

Pros: Noise Isolation,Comfort,Bassy

Cons: Build Quality,Soundstage,Word fading in the body

I owned a SE215 without a month and I discovered the word SHURE already began to fade...OMG! I am so depressed with the quality control.They should keep an eyes on their qc...Really sucks.The sound is not clear and muddy.

Posted

Pros: Good bass quantity, Smooth vocals, Outstanding build quality

Cons: Overall sound resolution, Bass is slightly boomy, Treble extension lacking

Before reading below, Please check out my in-depth YouTube review of the Shure SE215 as well! Please support my new channel by clicking "like" and sharing it with your friends :)

 

 

Background Information

 

Before I begin, I picked these up at my local music store for $99 CAD. They currently retail for $124 CAD and I believe $99 USD. Street and used prices vary widely with the SE215s.

 

First of all the reason I rate the SE215 4/5 stars is primarily because of the value it presents under the $100 mark. You will be extremely hard pressed to find a pair of IEMs at this price with such rugged build quality along with its very likeable Shure house sound. Although it is not the most detailed IEM out there it is one of the best in this price point and users who are looking for this type of sound will be satisfied. I also find that this IEM directly caters to the average consumer's preferences due to its plentiful mid-bass impact as well as the forwardness of the midrange especially with male vocals. 

 

First of all, being a dynamic driver IEM, it does have its strengths and weaknesses. However, it is hard to fault the 215s due to the price you can obtain them for and these shortcomings are nothing major. I personally, am a huge fan of the Shure house sound. Having previously owned the SE315, SE535 and currently own both the SE215 and SE425s I can easily say the SE215 hands down present the best value out of all of these. 

 

  

 

 

Accessories

 

The SE215s don't come with the full Shure "fit kit" that you get with the SE315s and up. Therefore, it is lacking the 1/4inch adapter, the yellow foams, and also the triple flanged eartips. Although you do get a good enough selection with the SE215s with 6 pairs of tips in total (3 pairs of foams + 3 pairs of rubber). Included is also a soft shell case which is a nice touch but don't expect it to protect your IEMs if you plan to toss it around in your bag as it is prone to getting squished. For that, I would recommend a hardshell case like the Pelican 1010.

 

 

 

Build Quality

 

Two words - Simply Outstanding! Definitely a class leader in the build department rivaling many competitors at the $1000+ range. I am happy to see that Shure did not cheap out on the SE215s and maintained the rugged build quality from the SE215's older brothers. Although the SE112 which was released not too long ago does not have this rugged build (which is forgiveable considering the price). The SE215s build just exudes quality and durability. I can clearly see that these were built for professional use.

 

The L-Shaped 3.5mm gold-plated jack has a very bulky and industrial design. Strain relief is probably the best I've encountered on any IEM. Although it is important to note that there is a high chance that the SE215s will not be able to fit in your phone cases.

 

 

The Y-Splitter is even more impressive. At no time do I feel that the cable will break or tear apart.

 

 

The detachable cables are the selling point of the SE215s IMO. Although the Shure connectors are hard to pry off at first, once you get used to them it should be quick and painless. If the cable does die on you (which I highly doubt) replacements can be found for under $50 a piece.

 

 

Comfort

 

Overall decent for me. You will either love the over-the-ear design or hate it. I'm impartial. Although I do still kind of lean towards just a traditional wearing style. It's a lot easier and doesn't require 2 hands. It can be a hassle to put on at first when you are not used to it after a couple days of putting them off and taking them off you get used to it. However, with the over-the-ear design, the SE215s reduce microphonics to a minimal. This is also great for stage use as it keeps the IEMs from moving around while you are moving on stage. 

 

The negative profile and ergonomics of the SE215s are also a plus. They are suitable for listening in bed as the driver housing does not protrude out so you can lie on your side comfortably. The design of this is very reminiscent of a Custom IEM (CIEM). 

 

Sound Quality

 

Probably what most of you guys are expecting! However, I am slightly dissapointed to report that the overall sound quality (SQ) is the SE215s weakest point in comparison to its build, comfort, etc. This is not to say they sound bad, but at this price if you are solely looking for sound quality, you may need to look elsewhere. 

 

Bass

 

With the SE215s you can expect thumping bass with good body and impact. The lows do bleed into the mid frequencies but due to the abundance and forwardness of the mids, the midrange is never masked. However, the bass at times can get slightly uncontrolled and boomy on tracks that have quick transients as the dynamic drivers of the SE215s are unable to keep up with the quick decay. Electronic music therefore sounds a bit slow and congested in the lower regions. That is why I prefer slower tracks with the SE215s such as Hip-Hop/R&B. I wouldn't say the SE215s have a good amount of sub-bass but on the contrary, they are more mid-bass focused. They lack the rumble in the lower regions sometimes (Dru Hill - Angel).

 

Midrange

 

Definitely the highlight of these IEMs. As with every Shure SE model that I've heard (up to the SE535s) I find the midrange to be extremely forward and very likeable. You get that warm midrange that works well with vocals and genres such as R&B, Soul. Great also for slower songs such as acoustic and singer-songwriter stuff. Jack Johnson sounds particularly good with these (Jack Johnson - Banana Pancakes). Great amount of detail retrieval in the midrange and just overall a pleasing and buttery smooth experience. Male vocals sound great but female vocals can sound slightly restrained (depending on the singer) as it does lack that upper-midrange to treble sparkle and energy.

 

Treble

 

Only the SE535's have only slightly impressed me with the upper regions. The SE215s I can confidently say that they lack of any sparkle or shimmer in the treble regions. Cymbals and triangles seem forced at times and it feels like trumpets have their mutes on (even when it is being played without the trumpet mute). Many times I can't even hear or barely hear passages in the upper registers without looking for it closely. Not at all impressed with the treble extension on the SE215s.

 

Soundstage / Imaging

 

A very narrow soundstage both vertically and horizontally. Due to the fact that these IEMs lack extension on both the top and the bottom, it is a very mid focused with everything sort of congesting in the centre. The sound is therefore in your face which is a good thing for music professionals who need that sort of reproduction on stage. Not too good for HiFi listening though as the instruments are slightly harder to pick out.

 

As described above, the instrument separation is just average, therefore the imaging is just decent as well. Most instruments are heard but once you get up to more demanding tracks the SE215s start to fall apart. On more convoluted tracks, the drivers of the SE215s are only able to pick up the main instruments in the mix leaving a lot of background / secondary instruments not able to be heard clearly or even at all sometimes. Therefore, it does lack transparency in this sense. The placement of instruments does not give you a 3D feel but the 2D left and right panning is done well.

 

Final Impressions

 

All in all, I love the SE215s and use it for work (DJ) where I can throw it around and not worry about breaking it due to its rugged professional design. I also have the Sensaphonic custom sleeves on there which improves the isolation and bass response. It also has the bass quantity that I need when performing on stage. These are my go-to IEMs for under $100 for a well-rounded warm sounding IEM.

 

The Shure SE215 deserves a solid recommendation for me due to the fact that it is comfortable, and most of all built like a tank! Sound quality is quite good as well but if you are critical about the finest details, then I would suggest the HiFiMAN RE-400 or the VSonic VSD3 both under $100. To many people who are not used to flat sounding headphones/IEMs these will sound amazing and are very versatile. However, to the more discerned individual who listens to nothing but neutral headphones, these may sound bloated (although most likely an exaggeration) and lacking in detail.

 

Tracks Discussed:

Dru Hill - Angel

Jack Johnson - Banana Pancakes

 

--

 

Happy Listening!

 

Kevin

Posted

Pros: Sound

Cons: Quality Control... or defect in the design?

I barely used them... got one pair and a few months later the left earpiece started cutting sound. The retail shop opened them and did a messy job, were working and then stopped. Got a 2nd pair, same issue.

 

Please don't buy them. I got a SE535 and they don't seem to have any problem, time will tell.

 

I'm writing half star because so many people have this issue too... cannot write anything about the sound if they keep breaking.

Posted

Pros: Clarity, Great Mids, Detachable Cables, Comfort, Flush Design

Cons: Rolled-off Treble

Ah, yes. The SE215, quite possibly the most popular entry-level IEM on the market at the moment, and for good reason. These headphones are perfect for any budding audio enthusiast thanks to its exceptional performance in the mids and its welcoming warm profile. While not as bass heavy as its counterparts, its still plenty serviceable. The treble is a tad rolled off, but this is common with IEMs in this tier. Additionally, the building quality is superb. There's an adequate amount of stress relief on the cables, and the cables themselves are detachable; a feature rarely seen in earphones at this price. As an added bonus, the earpiece sits flush against your ear, allowing you sleep with them on if you'd like. Come on, I can't be only person who listens to music as they sleep . . . Anyway, if you're someone who's looking to enter the world of audiophilia, these are the IEMs for you. :)

Posted

Pros: Reasonable price for a detachable cable IEM, good sound quality, comfy, can sleep with it due to its negative profile fit

Cons: Highs are a little lacking, IEM nozzle looks fragile,cable’s although good but not as good as the clear cables from Shure

Before I begin with my review of the Shure SE215, all of the belows are solely what I’ve managed to get out of the SE215, I suggest to give it a try or read some other people’s review to get a clearer picture of the IEM, as my opinions are not absolute and other ears might have listened differently 

 

Sound: Mids are good on the SE215 but not the best, vocals sounds great, clear and crisp, highs are thin ( I notice a slight muddiness on the highs * maybe it’s just me ) the lows although it’s considered to be bass oriented, but I can’t really feel that this earphone is anywhere bassy, although I have to say that the bass that the SE215 are clear and sounds like a live session than those night club type of bass ‘ XP 1 kinda bass ‘ many people actually misunderstand that. It’s safe to say that the bass the SE215 produces is a clear bass and not “bassy” bass. 

 

Soundstage: More of “V” shape staging, not extremely wide not too narrow.

 

What’s in the box: IEM and cable, Soft carrying pouch, foam and silicone tips.

 

Verdict: The SE215 is no doubt a good IEM, reasonable pricing for an IEM that uses detectable cable, tho the highs can use a little extension but at the end of the day it's a 4/5

 

Happy listening :)

Shure SE215
By:
Description:

First High-End In Ear headphones with replaceable cables under $100! The SE215 earphones are the newest earphones of the new generation of the prestigious Shure in ear headphones family. We got a sample and they sound absolutely fantastic. The dynamic drivers move a ton of air and deliver an unmatched fun and musical sound. The flush fit and comfort are amazing. Aside from the 2 Year Warranty provided by Shure when you have an invoice from Earphone Solutions, the new SE215 has a removable cable, once found only in the $200+ models. You can now have the same technology and high quality snapping detachable cables on a sub-$100 earphones. The SE215 is now the best earphones under $120. With its comfort and flush fit is also the best earphones for sleeping, wearing under a helmet, running and for an active lifestyle. The new SE215 headphones feature dynamic microdrivers and formable cables that fit snugly behind the back of the ear. We love them! They sound, feel and fit like $200!

Details:
DetailValue
Cord Length162cm
Driver TypeDynamic MicroDriver
Impedance20Ω
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
Head-Fi.org › Head Gear › Headphones › In-Ear › Universal Fit › Shure SE215