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Overrated - too fussy about what music is being played

A Review On: Shure SE215

Shure SE215

Rated # 3 in Universal Fit
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Posted · Updated · 32997 Views · 16 Comments

Pros: Bass detailing

Cons: Mids completely lack details, flat soundstage, harsh treble with a nasty metallic upper treble range

My rating may at first appear harsh but I just want to clarify up front that it is an absolute subjective rating not comparative.


I really thought these would blow me away given all I have read about these but once again Shure have failed to live up to the hype. I cannot argue that the price is very attractive given the build quality and fantastic comfort but that does not influence my feelings on the sound character of these.


In summary I found the following:

Highs - Nasty metallic 'piercing' sibilance with a lot of tracks not matter what was driving them (iBasso DX50, Xperia Z, FiiO E17, Denon MC6000 etc.) There is a good amount of detail but these were so fatiguing I could not listen for more than 20 - 30 minutes at a time.

Mids - Subdued and with certain tracks can completely disappear behind the highs/bass. Very disappointing. When the mids are there they lack deepth and width. Instruments fudge into one another instead of being nicely seperated.

Bass - For me this is the strongest point of the SE215s. Well extended but not 'mega bass' levels. Controlled, detailed and fade in and out nicely. Not too boomy. Very good overall.


I just want to reiterate my score is based on an absolute rating NOT when taking price into consideration. I personally do not like to include price into the equation as is muddys the results as prices of new/used earphones can vary so wildy.


Are you sure you listened to (real) se215 ?
I've got a pair and although it's not the best IEM in the world, the se215 is pretty good with a warm sig and recesseds highs . Bass and mids are clearly forward although this shure IEM is far from a basshead dream. Warm & smooth overall tone and a kind of old school sound as for example the Koss Porta pro IMO .
Very enjoyable although not very "audiophile".  I didn't notice any harshness or recessed mids for sure 
Weird...harshness in the treble and recessed mids, that can't be SE215; it has super smooth, recessed highs and a pretty forward midrange. Maybe there are fakes now...where did you buy them?
Hey guys, I have always found all Shures to have very 'bright' presentations. I am 100% sure they are real, not from eBay etc. From a local company who has had a Shure account for years.
My rating may appear a little mean but I am rating these in isloation, not relative to anything else at any other price point.
I didn't enjoy them much and have found the same with other Shure prodcuts I have owned. I am sensitive to certain higher frequencies and get ear fatigue easily with anything that is too bright. I have the same issue with a lot of Ultrasone products.
Nothing I can do about it :(
I know many Ultrasone products and there's nothing common between se215 signature and any Ultrasone I owned or tried. and se215 are definitely smooth & recessed .  Shure is known to produce mid centric headphones & IEM . 
Everyone's ears are different for sure but from my experience, your review is totally at the opposite of mine. ;)
That is the beauty of an open forum...we are all free to express our experiences equally :)
That just strikes me as so strange, since its the total opposite of how I hear them; in fact I got the TF10 because I wanted more treble than the SE215 can put out. Are you sure you're getting a proper fit?
Totally sure. Not just me but colleagues/friends and fiancee! :) Used foam tips for everyone. What were you using to drive them? Maybe I just had bad luck combining them with my sources or you are not as sensitive to treble as I am?
Used a variety of sources on mine and I always find myself wanting MORE treble. 
Guess we just hear differently or maybe like you said I am not that sensitive to treble. 
Damn. To think I was going to get these not 2 months ago. I ended up with JVC frd80 instead and saved 80 bucks on the process. Still, I like the detachable cable. Not something you see often in this price range.
@ Krisman!
The problem isnt the Shures, its your haircut!
I dont know bout your backround, but im a musician, producer and dj, and i have owned shures for a long time, both when it comes to microphones, miers and DSPs, and they have nerver let me down, never!
I happen to own two pair of Earphones as well, SE535 and SE846, and they are just blowing the competition right out of the water.
However, i bought a pair of SE 215 for my kid, and the eraphones are just great, the treble is defined even if its a amateurlevel phone, the bass is rich, does not tire, and the buildquality is great, the only gripe i have is that the the cord is way to long, and they did not include a quarter inch adaptor like you get with $10 phones.
I agree with people here, the way you describe it, you must have gotten some other phone, as you seem lost, totally lost.
Ive used the SE215 on MC 6000, Dacmagic Plus, Iphone 5, Ipad Mini, Pioneer 900 / 2000 Nexus, and they really deliver.
So get your bearings straight, just sayin, "dont bash if you dont have the right trash!"
Dont buy Shure, if your not Sure!, simple as that!
there are way cheaper and worse phones that you can dig into if you dont like shures!
@ Master of coin
Thanks for your patronising comments. :)
I am also a musician, producer and DJ but not sure that makes anybody more qualified to judge over anybody else?
I have many friends who also hate the Shure 215s say I am most definately not alone. I get why people like them but they are just not for me and I personally do not find their signature realistic. Simple as.
Each to their own and as you suggest, if you are not S(h)ure try before you buy!!!!! Golden rule of this time consuming hobby :)
Not many shops offer the try you buy when it comes to in ear, not shure i want to demo a pair that someone else has used before.
so no, its most likley just to buy and be happy or not,
But why hate and keep it instead of just get rid of it, simple as that.
I know i rid myself of stuff i dont like, and keep the things i enjoy, like my shures!
Just to be on the safe side, get your hearing checked, i know i have, its easy to get a hearing impared if you are woring in a noisy enviroment!
You can buy online and send back to retailer if you don't like.in the UK we have long distance selling regulations and if a product doesn't match your needs you have 7 days (I think) to return for a full refund.
What makes you think I still have them? If you look at my inventory you can see I do not have them anymore!
I go to an audiologist twice a year to check my hearing thanks, so I know that is fine (for now) :)
Love the heated comment argument , I support HIGHLY Krisman as I found the Shure SE215 to be SERIOUSLY UNDERPERFORMING in terms of SQ for the price. The money is better spent on other IEMS.
Sure, this may be decent for the price at its time of release but now its just JUNK. If you want nice sound and build quaity you can get the Audio Technica E40 which has SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER sound compared to this overrated piece of ****.
Sean Wee, over and out.
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