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Shure SE215

93% Positive Reviews
Rated #3 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: Built to last, very comfortable, luxurious mids, lows are detailed but not overpowering.

Cons: Pricey (specially with emergence of it's competitors costing well below 99$) , rolled off treble.

SHURE SE215 REVIEW

 

Notes: This is my first review in the head-fi community and I'm just starting my journey as an enthusiast. So please be kind to my mistakes. Thanks!

 

 

 

Accessories: IEM and detachable cable,

                        Soft carrying pouch (Does not provide adequate protection, hard clamshell cases would be appreciated),

                        Foam and silicone tips (Each of them come in small,medium,large sizes),

                        Cleaning tool.

 

Build: Sturdy shiny plastic. These were built to last years,Specially if just a little care is taken. My pair has been thrown inside backpacks, front pockets, almost got stepped on, dropped from a few feet several times for the past 16 months and it's still running. Detachable cables are quite useful, the one's that came with it are just beginning to wear down and replacements cost about 20-25$.

 

 

 

Isolation & Comfort: Put both in the same segment because, both of them are excellent. Foam tips block more noise than silicone tips, maybe hybrid tips will help in getting isolation and treble. The IEM's very comfortable to wear. I've fallen asleep with them many times and my ears didn't hurt. The cable has slight microphonics , but I noticed them only when the cable above the Y-split brushed against cloth. The cables do become stiff after long storage periods so it is a bit hard to wear , but it relaxes soon as the cables warm up from your body heat.

 

 

Sound: This is the most essential part of the review, eh? It might vary person-wise.

               

                  Highs: Highs are recessed. Cymbals lack the "Fizz and fun factor" that you might get from something a lot more cheaper. It is highly recommended to use the silicone tips to get a bit more out of the highs. The foam tips just absorb the higher frequencies leaving it blunt. Treble isn't all that bad, but if you like treble these won't impress you.

                  Mids: Say hello to the sound signature which is known as the "Shure-house-sound". Warm, wonderful, detailed mids. Guitars and other string instruments sound amazing. In one word the SE215's "Shure" emphasizes on it's mids without being obtrusive.

                  Lows: This is where things get interesting. To some it may lack bass, others may think bass a bit of thump. To me, there was ample amounts of bass,The silicone tips also help clear out the confusion by making the bass a tad bit tighter and detailed.

                  Vocals: Both male and female vocals sound smooth,crisp and have a fullness to them that gives that "live" reproduction. I found sibilance in only a few songs and can not confirm if it is because of the way it was recorded or because of the IEMs.

 

 

 

Long story short : If you want the best isolation and comfort in this price range, go for them. 

 

 

Competition and recommendations: While comparing sound quality the Ostry KC-06 and the TTpod T1e are highly recommended for the price. SQ wise, the fiio EX1(90$ish on amazon) is one of the strongest competition the SE215 has.

Posted

Pros: Easy to listen to, good comfort, solid looks and build

Cons: Cheap case, not the most resolving

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If you frequent my blog or The Sound Apprentice Instagram, you know that I’m a fan of Shure headphones. So it should come as no surprise that I intervened with a set of Shure in-ear monitors (IEMs) when I found out that my dear friend who loves everything music has been “blowing” cheap earbuds like crazy (and probably going deaf at the same time). Enter the Shure SE215 Sound Isolating Earphones.

To me, with its inviting Shure house sound and moderate price of entry ($99 MSRP), the SE215 is a no-brainer. Performance-wise, you get a lot of bang for the buck, which is why I have no qualms recommending this IEM to friends that really want to enjoy their music, the veteran audiophile that’s only a passing IEM user, or the beginner audiophile that’s looking to step up to hi-fi sound without the high-end price tag (while still getting near pro-level build quality). After all, the SE215 evolved out Shure’s line of professional monitoring products that are used by some of the most acclaimed musicians around the world.

Unboxing

Like most IEMs and earphones in this price range, the SE215 arrives in a minimalist no frills box and inner plastic tray that displays the IEMs while keeping the accessories securely in place. It's nothing fancy, but at this price point, I wouldn’t expect anything more. Despite the cheap packaging, when you first handle the SE215 I am certain you will be impressed. The styling, fit and finish of the SE215 is very pleasing, particularly the clear models that let you see the inner workings. It’s a solid IEM with a detachable high-quality cable with gold-plated connectors, a feature not often found among the majority of Shure’s consumer-level competitors.

Accessories

The SE215 comes with a reasonable assortment of accessories. I say reasonable, because even with bargain-price Brainwavz offerings (see my XF-200 review) and entry-level Westone earphones (see my ADV Beta review) you get a few more accessories and a wider assortment of tips. But let’s focus on what you do get. The SE215 comes with a soft zippered case, a small cleaning tool, and 6 sets of Sensaphonicssound-isolating ear tips (S, M, L in flexible silicone and foam). I personally would prefer a hard case to be included, as well as a shirt clip, a 1/4” jack adapter and some spare tips, but maybe that’s nitpicking.

Fit and Finish

Accessories may not be the SE215’s strongest suit, but performance is. Shure packs a lot of bang for the buck in the fit, finish and sound of the dynamic SE215.

The SE215 is considered a universal-fit IEM, meaning that it’s intended to sit comfortably in the ears of most users to ensure good stability and sound isolation. I find the shape to fit well in my ear, and the low-profile nozzle and light weight helps with comfort quite a bit. My ears are very sensitive to earphones and IEMs, but I was able to wear these throughout most of my workday without ever feeling a real need to take a break from them. 

I particularly like their over-the-ear cable routing, which moves the cable away from my face and chin so I don’t get snagged up as easily. What’s more, the portion of the cable that wraps over the ear has a flexible wire inside that allows you to bend and twist it to your liking, offering increased stability and a custom fit. The fact that the cable connector at the IEM swivels 360 degrees also helps with insertion and removal from the ear. Just a further note on the cable—I think it’s one of the nicer IEM/earphone cables I have experienced to date. Being detachable/replaceable is a huge plus, and the heavier gauge, braided internal shielding, and gold-plated connectors and termination exude quality and lead me to believe that it'll hold up to some abuse without fail. Some may complain that it’s not as flexible as others, but it seems to loosen up a bit with use.

Moving on, the ear tips come in two options: Foam or silicone. Then you decide which of the three sizes fit best. As with most earphones/IEMs, tip selection is critical. I strongly recommend taking the time to test the different sizes to determine which tip fits best—emphasis on “best” and not just one that “fits”—because the audio quality, comfort, and noise isolation improve greatly when the ideal tip is used. (For me, the medium foam tips worked best and offered better sound quality, bass impact, and isolation over the silicone version.) The foam Sensaphonics tip is similar in look and feel to a traditional foam earplug. These particular tips claim that they block out 37 dB of ambient noise. I think they perform better than the Comply foam tips that I've previously tested with Brainwavz earphones. This makes the foam option on the SE215 great for commuting, noisy offices or use in professional music environments. For me, the silicone tips didn’t offer the same level of comfort or sound quality (I think the highs were more emphasized and the bass a little less controlled), but your results may vary.

Performance

Speaking of results, that’s probably what you're really here to find out about. As I opened with, the SE215 has a very inviting sound. If you’re familiar with Shure’s SH840 (see my review) or SH1540 headphones (see my review), I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to hear that the SE215 isn’t too far off in its overall sonic signature. It’s got that traditional Shure house sound—warm, a bit dark, a bit forward in presentation at times, with highs that roll off well before ever getting sibilant or harsh. In other words, it’s just really easy to listen to. 

The SE215’s sonic signature falls somewhere right between the SRH840 and SRH1540, and it also reminds me a bit of Sennheiser’s famed HD650. With the SE215 you get a clean, rich midrange that emphasizes the twang of tom toms and acoustic guitar strings and puts your favorite vocalist front and center. Mids are where I’ve always thought that Shure shines. For an IEM, I find the mids to be fairly smooth and full-bodied with enough texture and air to get my ears really immersed in the music. No, you’re not going to get the same 3-D soundstage of a full-sized headphone, but the SE215 doesn’t disappoint with its ability to position instruments in space. I also think it does a good job of handling music with lots of layers, like much of Moderat’s album III

If you’re like me and use the SRH1540 at work all day and then switch over to the SE215 for the commute home, the transition will be relatively seamless. The treble of the SE215 is certainly rolled back a bit and the soundstage compresses in comparison, but the mids and bass are very similar. 

About that bass, the SE215 delivers fairly weighty bass with ease, depending on your source. When spinning tracks off of my Spotify Electric Vibes playlist I find that my Droid Turbo delivers a pretty full bodied performance, maybe a bit sloppy in the sub-bass at times, but certainly well via a smartphone. With a Hidizs AP-100 DAP my buddy at CTC Audio hooked me up with, I found I needed to tinker with the EQing quite a bit. I don’t know what it is about the AP-100, but I’ve never been happy with it with any earphones/IEMs, so I am just chalking this up as the Hidizs’ fault. The SE215 really comes to life when hooked up to my ALO Audio The Island headphone amp/DAC. This sweet little desktop unit has the SE215s absolutely singing. So despite the SE215’s 20-ohm rating that should help it sound good out of most devices, using a dedicated DAC/amp definitely takes it to a higher level.

While it’s undeniable that the SE215 has a bass hump that bleeds into the midrange, it manages to do so smoothly enough that the overall sound of the IEM isn’t too dark or bloated. In fact, it’s not the bass at fault as much as the treble (to some). 

One thing I can’t live with is peaky, edgy treble—especially in an IEM. The SE215 doesn’t have that, not even close (unless you listen to terribly recorded music or don’t put them in your ears right). The SE215’s treble is admittedly dark and relaxed compared to many earphones/IEMs, and that’s part of why I like it so much. Sure, the soundstage closes in when there isn’t enough sparkle in the highs, but much like the SRH1540, I think the SE215 manages to strike a nice balance between the dark and the bright. The SE215 has pleasing, grain-free treble that’s not the least bit fatiguing during long listening sessions, even with the volume cranked up. Detail retrieval is compromised, but still good. All in all, it’s just a very easy IEM to listen to and enjoy.

Bottom Line

Overall, I really like the SE215. It’s easily the best of the earphones/IEMs I have owned to date. No, it won’t replace my preference for obnoxiously big headphones, but it takes what I liked about a lot of my headphones and packages it into a totally portable unit that I can toss into my work and travel bags without worry. 

While the Shure SE215 isn’t a glitzy newcomer to the portable audio world, it’s a no-nonsense IEM that simply sounds damn good. Shure consistently puts out quality products that I think go underrated in the audiophile world. Yeah, the SE215 could be more neutral, and maybe a bit more refined, but to Hell with that. The SE215 has sound you can be Shure of. Get it? Shure’s signature house sound is safe, it’s easy on the ears, and it performs well with a wide range of music. So do yourself a favor and spend a few extra Andrew Jacksons and get yourself a pair of the high quality SE215 Sound Isolating Earphones. As my buddy Phil says, “For everyday bangers, the 215s are perfect. The best hundo you can spend on earphones.”

Insider tip: Check eBay and audio forums like Head-Fi.org for deals. While the SE215 retails new for $99, new open-box, refurbished and used sets can be had for around $60-80.

Posted

Pros: Warm, relaxing sound, comfort, durability, replaceable cables, decent accessories

Cons: Relaxed (aka sleepy) sound equals lacking detail, does not suit everyone’s needs, case could be better

The Good Overall Package of Questionable Value?

 

Introduction

The Shure SE215 is an earphone that has had enduring popularity over the many years of its existence. Many have claimed it is the “Best Earphone at $99 (USD)”, and the SE215’s popularity means it is constantly compared to many other IEMs below, at and above its price point.

More recently, there have been other popular, great-sounding earphones which can be found for well below the SE215’s recommended retail price. For instance, the ME Electronics M6 Sport, the Audio Technica ATH-IM50 and the Vsonic VSD3. With these significantly cheaper yet great sounding earphones, whether the SE215 is still a good value for the money has become a point of contention among audiophile circles.

So when Qoo10 Singapore had the Special Edition Blue SE215 available for less than half the retail price at SGD $69, I couldn’t resist and had to get a pair to put through its paces.


Shure SE215 Special Edition Earphones

 

Edit (4/9/2016): Before I begin, I’d just like to preface this by apologizing that I posted this review on the wrong product page. I posted this on the Shure SE215 page and not the SE215 Special Edition page. I didn’t check properly before submitting and as far as I know, I can’t find a way to delete reviews on Head-Fi. I’m very new to this site and am still trying to learn how to use it properly. Very sorry for the confusion.

 

Notes

1)    This review is meant to discuss the Shure SE215 in great detail. If you’re only here for my input on the SE215 Special Edition’s sound, feel free to skip ahead. Simply hit Ctrl+F and type the word ‘encounter’ for the start of my impressions under the Sound section.

2)    There are 2 versions of the Shure SE215. First is the original version that is just called the Shure SE215 and comes in black or clear. In Singapore, the SE215 original retails for around SGD $149. The second version which is the one I own is the SE215 Special Edition (SpE) that comes in blue and retails in Singapore for around SGD$179. The supposed advantage of the SpE is there’s more bass and a slightly different ear piece shape for better fit.

3)    For the purposes of this review, I would be referring to the SE215 SpE Blue version as the SE215. I am not talking about the original, cheaper model that I do not own.

 

Packaging & Accessories

The SE215, its box and the accessories it comes with

 

The packaging is simple, just a plastic box and the earphones in a plastic tray. The given accessories include 3 silicon Shure olive ear tips, 3 foam ear tips, a soft zip carrying case with a carabiner and an earphone / tip cleaning tool. No replacement cable is included in the box.

The case is a bit of a let down at the price, and I felt Shure could have refreshed the SE215 at some point to include a harder, more protective carrying case. Other than that, the given accessories are more than acceptable.

The $5 hard plastic case I use (Left) versus the soft Shure zip case (Right)

 

Comfort & Build

In terms of comfort, the SE215 are known to be some of the most comfortable earphones at any price point. From the handful of IEMs I’ve demoed and owned so far, I’d agree quite readily. The negative profile fit, unlike something like the ME Electronics M6 Sport, truly allows for comfortable lying on your side with them on. The thin nozzle also means the sides of the nozzle aren’t constantly pressed against the insides of your ear canal. It actually is quite amazing, if you think about it, how Shure managed to nail ergonomics so early on.

A quick note on isolation is that it’s rather good. You still can hear ambient noise around you and I certainly could hear announcements made on the train with these on but with no music playing. When you are playing music, however, noise should not be a problem and isolation is improved with the Shure foam tips. I think most people should be very happy with the SE215’s isolation for portable use while traveling.

The build quality is what I’d expect at the retail price point, not exceeding it but not falling below expectations. The earpiece shells are made of a durable feeling hard plastic and the cables are indeed detachable MMCX, prolonging the earphone’s potential lifespan. The cable is thick and resilient, sometimes a bit too much so. In particular, the 90 degree headphone jack and the rubber Y-split I think are way too chunky. Take a look at the comparison below between the SE215 and the Future Sonics Atrio and you tell me if it doesn’t look like the SE215 is overkill.

 

Comparison of cable and 3.5 mm jacks of Future Sonics Atrio MG7 (below) and SE215 (above).

 

Forum posts suggests that some people have had issues with the detachable cable mechanism in many ways, but I haven’t encountered any issues of that sort. I will say, though, that the memory wire for the ear guides would be a concern since they will snap if you bend them too far. This, however, shouldn’t be a problem for those who keep their earphones in a case and don’t just chuck them in a pocket.

Yes, Linus, people need to take care of their expensive IEM’s, despite your pocket-friendly experience with the IE80.

 

Sound

My first encounter with the SE215 were with my friend’s pair that I tried and immediately thought were garbage. I thought they were way over-priced and sounded muddy, unclear, congested and had no place in the lives of audiophiles. After having owned the SE215 for slightly over 3 months, let’s see if I still hate them.

Bass

The SE215 is definitely rich, warm and bassy, emphasizing mid-bass in particular. Comparing to another bass-heavy IEM, the Future Sonics Atrio (MG7), the bass is not tight and controlled, instead being rather loose at times. Bass often bleeds into the mids and this, with the very pronounced mid-bass hump, makes the SE215 sound generally slow, sleepy and sometimes downright clumsy.

However, another interpretation of the bass presentation is dark, rich, relaxed yet with enough bass quantity to be a little fun. The bass and the treble (which I will discuss soon) would really be what makes it or breaks it for many people in my opinion.

Mids

The mids to my ears are very intimate sounding and smooth, creating a rich, lush sound that I find particularly pleasant with female vocals. Male vocals can often be overshadowed by the bass bleeding over, but I personally don’t take offense to that blunder since most of my music currently doesn’t include male vocalists.

What I appreciate greatly about the SE215 is how there isn’t any splashy-ness, brassy-ness or grating peaks in the sound around low treble and upper mids. I typically have great issues with this area of any given headphone’s or earphone’s frequency response since I’m seemingly very sensitive to these sounds. Thankfully for me, no such peaks coming from the SE215, just liquid smooth mids.

Treble

The treble is rolled off, which means there is no harsh sibilance or metallic qualities in the sound to be heard. However, this also means the sound stage is rather congested most of the time and a large amount of micro-detail is under-emphasised.

Overall Sound Presentation

The SE215 has a rich, lush sound that is easy on the ears. I feel the SE215 produces a relaxed, sleepy yet sometimes fun bassy sound that can actually be very pleasing if all you want to do is lie in bed, listen to music and forget the world exists for a couple of hours.

However, the SE215’s relaxed sound does come with obvious drawbacks. The treble roll-off and bass emphasis means the earphones lack detail and can sound slow on more complex tracks. If there are too many instruments in a track, the SE215 can get very clumsy in its representation of the sound, not being able to reproduce so many different sounds at the same time.

Sound staging is not particularly spacious but enough to point out the placement of instruments within that small area in which the SE215 projects sound. However, like I said, the separation of instruments goes a little haywire when too much is going on, making sound imaging at the price poor overall.

Finally, the mid-bass can also bleed into the mids and vocal regions on many bass-heavy tracks, overshadowing detail in those aspects of the sound. As I said, this is particularly noticeable with male vocals.

 

Competition

I am not an IEM aficionado by any means, but I own the ME Electronics M6P Sport (SGD ~$35) and the Future Sonics Atrio with MG7 drivers(bought used for SGD $100). I have also demoed a handful of other earphones, like the Audio Technica ATH-IM50 and IM70, Vsonic VSD3 and GR07 Bass Edition and many more. Without a doubt, I feel all the earphones I’ve name dropped have a technical advantage in some way that makes them out perform the SE215 when price is taken into account. This is immediately disheartening for those interested in owning an SE215, usually having heard good things about it from a friend or through reviewers online.

However, I do not think, despite all the cons I have brought up, that the SE215 is completely redundant or obsolete. Based on sound alone, I think the SE215 has several redeeming qualities.

I think the relaxed treble, pronounced bass and smooth, intimate mids makes the SE215 a prime candidate for outdoor use, particularly when travelling. The SE215’s sound signature lends itself well to noisy environments, since it will not pierce your ears with aggressive treble and cause high frequency hearing damage when you inevitably turn up the volume. The bass is thick and forward, which is what a lot of people like and this means bass is still engaged even at lower listening volumes. Finally, you have mids that are engaging yet peak-free, creating a sonic experience I can only describe to be highly pleasant and painless when the volume is turned up. Not to mention the noise isolation is great and you have a winner to preserve your hearing.

That said, the SE215 is rather expensive at the price of SGD $179 I commonly find at retail. So let’s break down what prices I would recommend them at.

 

Pricing

I said that the SE215, specifically the Special Edition that I have, is quite steep at SGD $179. However, there are several ways to get the SE215 cheaper.

First, how I got them, at massive online sales. I got mine at SGD $69 on a Christmas Qoo10 sale and that, frankly, was a steal. Do take note, though, that I am not entirely sure the seller was an official distributor and hence I’m not sure Shure would honour the warranty. That said, Paypal and Qoo10 are pretty good with products that arrive non-functional and refunds, so there is a risk, albeit one I feel is minimal.

Next, second hand. The SE215 are really popular and I often find people upgrading from their SE215 to something higher-end. On Karousell, I often find “Pre-Loved” SE215 (both original and Special Edition) for more than acceptable prices. Sometimes you don’t get all the ear tips or even the original Shure cable, but at prices like SGD $40 I once found, I don’t think that’s worth complaining about. Just remember to try the earphones before handing over your cash for in-person dealings.

Lastly, playing the game with physical retailers. You can either buy multiple items at the same time at physical retail and try haggling your way down or you can wait till a sale comes around. I didn’t check last year, but I’m sure the SE215 are bound to be a featured item during seasons like Black Friday and the Great Singapore Sale. That said, you’ll definitely pay more this way, but would get the obvious benefits of purchasing from a retailer like auditioning, easy warranty and sales expertise. The most I’d personally pay at retail for the SE215 Special Edition would be SGD $150 but I’m fairly confident you can get a better deal if you do a lot of hunting.

 

Conclusion & Extra Thoughts

The key with the SE215 is they are easy to enjoy, despite their lack of technical performance. They have a rich, warm sound that is comforting and relaxing. Not everyone wants to have treble so detailed that it scratches the insides of one’s ears clean. Not everyone needs bass so tight it places an 18 year-old virgin’s behind to shame. Sometimes, all people want with their music is the ability to block out the world, forget about all of life’s problems and perhaps be able to fall asleep with IEMs on that produce music enchanting enough to seduce one into a slumber.

The SE215 are relaxed, thick and sleepy, which are other ways to say they aren’t analytical and technical in their sound, but really that can be a good thing.

I will say, however, that not everyone needs to buy the SE215. If you don’t need IEMs to listen to music while travelling, you probably don’t need it. If you aren’t in the habit of sleeping or lying down with IEMs on, you probably don’t need it. If you want excellent technical sound at a bargain price, look at other options, there are plenty. If you already have a pair of customs that are your daily drivers, I wonder why you’re reading this review.

My verdict? Not everyone ‘needs’ to buy the Shure SE215 like some people say, but it can be a solid choice for those who want good isolation, a relaxing sound to preserve your hearing and want something that can last for a while.

To wrap things up, let me tell a story. In a situation that perfectly demonstrated what I feel they are meant to do, I was listening to music using my SE215 while waiting on my group’s turn to carry out a project presentation at school. I just sat in my chair, slouching and listening to my music and bam, fell asleep. The SE215 were just relaxing, exactly what I wanted to have after a hard week of preparation for all the projects and presentations I had to juggle at the time.

Comfortable, noise isolating and music to keep me in my bubble of sensory perception, I wouldn’t have achieved that same level of sleepy, relaxed bliss if I had my M6P Sport or an ATH-IM70 for example. The energy in those earphones would’ve just woken me up, while all I wanted was a nap.

And that, my friends, is what I feel the SE215 are really for: sleeping in school.

 

About Me, Josh Tseng:

A self-proclaimed “boring person”, I’m interested in audio gear, music, current events and having thought-provoking conversations with people I meet. Right now, SoundTown is a personal passion project of mine to improve my writing skills while being able to explore all things audio. I also happen to be visually impaired, which is why music has, for me, eventually become one of the most important forms of media I can consume.

If you want to talk to me, feel free to email me at soundtownmail@gmail.com or you can also find me on Twitter at @JoshSoundTown. PMs on Head-Fi, for now, would be rather challenging for me to access so that’ll have to be something I’ll have to work on. Oh and by the way, all feedback on my writing would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for reading and happy listening!:beyersmile:

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: strong bass, detatchable cable , good resemblance of mids.

Cons: design - the thin plastic nozzle broke easily, very very uncomfortable for most ears

I dont want to waste my time writing an essay for something that lasted only 1 or 2 months.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBnJ9zrnhGU

My Rant and broken Shures in link above 

 

The bass and mids were surprising for its pricepoint. There is a drop off in the higher frequencies such as treble for my music tastes.

 

Not reccommended as a purchase, as the durability of the actual earpiece is below par. Nozzle broke very easily (as mentioned in cons). I wish shure re-inforced the nozzle with at least a thin tube of metal if we are paying  high price. Knowing that shure also uses these plastic nozzles in their higher end models is a disgrace.

 

Comfort of the earphones is terrible for my ears (they are not for everyone). So make sure you have your warranty prepared if the durabilty and comfort crap out for you. It would irritate my ears constantly (like piercing). When compared to the similar style RHA T20s that i have now, the comfort is far beyond shures and the T20s dont irritate my ears at all, even though they have the same design.

 

I would recommend the audio technica ATH-IM50s , RHA MA750is and RHA T10(for bass heads). And would reccomend ATH-IM70s and Dunu DN-1000 to the more mid and treble refined.

Posted

Pros: Fairly neutral and accurate. Highs do not hurth your ears.

Cons: The cable is not as pliable around the ears as it could be.

These are excellent value for money. Paired up with a basic Fiio X1, these shures sound really good to my ears. They are not for everyone though. those that want thumping bloated bass will be looking for something else. having said that once you get used to it you can actually hear the bass quite separated from the music which is great. Personally I wouldn't describe these as fun, boppy, foot tapping earphones but you will have a lot of fun rediscovering listening to music in a new way (which actually doesn't make sense now I read it). I think they get you listening to music maybe a bit more critically and taking note a little more, especially of your favourite songs. Took awhile for comfort but once you get that they isolate more than enough and are very comfortable. I would say to anyone who is looking for a step up from entry sennheiser, sony etc - do yourself a favour and get a set of these. You wont regret it.

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