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Shure Sound Isolating Earphone SE315 Hi-Definition Micro Speaker with Tuned Bass Port (Black)

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #200 in Universal Fit


Pros: Isolation, accessories, comfort, okay sound quality

Cons: Bass, too bright sound, fatiguing at loud volumes

 Disclaimer: I use the earphone without an AMP, and the point of reference is a HiFiMAN HE-400i, i know they are not nearly similar, but they produce sound (only similarity) and I don't have another earphone (or headphone) in this category to compare it to. One more thing: I am a headphone guy, the only reason for me having an earphone is the need of on the go and away from home music listening sessions due to increasing addiction. :D


 So, in June, as the summer begun, I knew I was going to be away from home a lot, and won't be able to take with me or use in all cases my HiFiMAN HE-400i, I had to buy an earphone. In my opinion, earphones are the most convenient for portable use because of their versatility. You can use them in a lot of ways and situations when headphones would be too big or uncomfortable (for example: when running). I chose this because of it's form factor and style, the amount of included earpieces, and the way it's worn, which makes it sit very safely in your ear (earphones slipping out was a big problem for me). After that, I started to look for used ones, to get the most out of my money. After a few days, I found a guy selling this barely used SE 315 for half price (purchase price was 107$), it was a no-brainer for me, I bought it. Now, that you heard the backstory, let's get to the review.


First of all, the sound signature: bright. For me, very bright, which has it's certain pros and cons (probably more cons than pros) that I'll talk about later on. 


 The Bass: It's very odd, for me. The fact that the earphone is bright, should make you assume that it doesn't have outstanding bass. Well, this is correct, but the bass is rather just odd, than bad. This is because it delivers pretty nice, it's tight and has a satisfying humph. Until a certain point, because the extension and depth isn't very outstanding, although, it's quite difficult to find truly good, neutral/warm/balanced sounding earphones in this price range that have good bass and mids/treble at the same time. Also, the upper bass loses it's power and gets a bit quieter as well as becoming rather hear-able instead of feel-able, that is, unnatural, because of this, I feel like the mids and bass are a bit separated, not merging properly, and this can be disturbing. Moreover: the bass doesn't give a nice, enjoyable body, or warmth to the music. It's just there, lying around on the side, alone, with his own little "territory" separated from all other sound. This might be the biggest complaint I have according to sound quality.

 The Mids: I am in trouble when talking about mids, because in my opinion, this range is the most difficult to describe without having a respectable amount of experience with different headphones, for example: I've never listened to a Grado, or other mid kings yet :( But, as far as I can tell: little bit messy (especially on lower end, not merging with the bass). It's not nearly bad, it's just might not be as good as the other ones, it's neither recessed, nor raised, seems to be on point. Different layers of sound cannot be differentiated as easily though, mostly due to the nature of earphones, and lack of multiple drivers, the slightest details in that 5th layer won't catch your attention that easily or take control of you, this earphone has only one driver each side and that's just incapable of recreating a sound this complex and diverse. It isn't as good as a headphone with the same cost, but then again, it's "only" my earphone, and I am satisfied with it.

 The Treble: It's nice, pretty, sparkly, though sounds aren't pronounced enough, for me. Treble should be the fastest, most responsive, and very strong, distinct, while being as accurate as possible. A lot of treble sounds, for example a cymbal should be a very edgy, very fast and aggressive starting and insanely quickly ending sound, to a degree that when it's over, you start to think about if the sound was really there in the first place. Just come and go like a lightning, by the time you'd realize it's there, it isn't anymore. It lacks a bit of that, though this is in fact a quality of pricier sound equipment (like the HiFiMAN HE 400i). 


Other sound attributes: the soundstage is better than what i expected, which makes me happy, because of how important it is to me, you don't feel like the source of the sound is literally in you ear, you can feel it moving in space, coming from different directions, changing constantly with different layers of sound, sometimes you even move your eyes involuntarily to look where the sound is coming from. This is something that not every earphone is capable of delivering, and gets a lot better with more expensive ones. Now, one more thing that might make you reconsider buying an earphone over a headphone is that the sound is not very fluid, you don't feel very immersed with the sound (more on this in previous parts), there isn't enough body and detail to the sound to be able to fully merge the layers together (bass and mids for example) which would achieve a constant flow of sound, without it, it doesn't you suck in to take hold of you to only let go after the track ended and you start to wake up from delirium, it's just not good enough, although, again, better headphones in this price range might be capable of it.


The miscellaneous: The eartips are wonderful and you get a lot of them, so that you will surely find the one that fits your ears best and achieves the best possible isolation. The cable is very very good, it's a normal plastic cable but there is just no problem with it whatsoever, it's replaceable as well. Big thumbs up! You'll also get a nice soft-cover case/pouch, to keep it tidy and together in a compact space, when you take it away and don't want a cluster of cable in your pocket. Comfort-wise the earphone is very good, even outstanding... as soon as you get used to it, because you'll have troubles with correct insertion, and placement in the first few weeks, which can cause pain in your ear, to a degree that it could even discourage you from using it in the future (almost happened to me), even though it's just a beginners lack of experience in correct insertion. This isn't the earphone you crank up the volume with and enjoy music even more, because you will hurt yourself that way, better sound equipment just don't get fatiguing with increasing volume, because of their sound which you rather feel instead of hear, and feelings don't really hurt us physically. And one more thing: take your time and try ALL the included eartips, because finding the right one is crucial for having optimal isolation, comfort, and a non-slippy experience.


Overall, I'm satisfied with the Shure SE 315, it does what I wanted it to do, serves me well in all the situations my beloved headphones can't, and in spite of the worse audio-quality, I enjoy listening to it, some tracks can even sound better with the emphasis on the main melody. You probably won't be using this as your daily driver, either because you are a headphone guy (or speaker or earspeaker, or whatever else) or you really are an earphone-guy and you're using a better one. And while there might even be a better choice for this price, I think this is still a pretty strong competitor for someone who wants a really versatile earphone for activities.


Enjoy your music!



Pros: Detailing, comfort, accessories, build quality, tight bass

Cons: Low overall sound quality, messy mids, metallic sounding highs

Just want to state up front my review rating is an absolute rating, not one based on comparative performance, pricing etc. 


Having had the Shure SE215s for a while and not enjoying them I thought I would go up the range and try the SE315s. At first I was impressed as the nasty spiky highs and wooly bass seemed to have gone but alas it was not to last. My overall thoughts are:

Highs: Good detailing, much better than the SE215s. Can get a bit sibilant but mostly are under control. Can sound a bit 'metallic' at times and if you get ear fatigue with bright earphones then you may want to audition these first. I did not find these as bad as the SE215s but they are not hugely improved.

Mids: Again some good detailing but there seems to be a complete lack of depth. I tried these with different tips and there was a slight improvement on this front going with the silicone tips but not much. I felt the mids were really muddled and some instruments came through nicely and others stayed mixed with others. Overall the soundstage felt narrow and flat.

Bass: This is where I feel Shure have made the biggest improvement over the SE215s. Detailing, particularly in the mid bass, was much more insightful. There was a good extension but never boomy. These are fairly bass light so bass heads steer well clear!


Overall: With certain more laid back types of music these perform well. However their tendency to make highs sound unnatural combined with a very narrow and shallow soundstage make these a non-keeper for me. In this price range there are some cracking earphones with a much better overall sound 'quality'. These sound too forced and metallic for my liking. Shame :(


Pros: Sound Quality, Comfort, Design, Isolation

Cons: Price, Minor design flaw with the wire plug

Backstory: (skip if not interested :))

I never liked IEMs. Never found them comfortable. They gave decent sound quality at best when they had a good fit but the fit wouldn't stay. If it did, it wouldn't be comfortable. I never found the perfect IEM.

So I stuck with regular earbuds and for a long time, I was fine with it until I wasn't. I first came over on head-fi because I was considering the Bose IE earphones which were incredibly comfortable and from my 2 day experience of the one my friend had, it produced a good "warm" sound. It was going to be my first 100 USD pair so I thought I should check head-fi especially considering the bad rep Bose generally has.


I read about how Bose can be overpriced for it's quality and got a few suggestions as to what I should get. The Shure SE215 was available for $99 and the TF-10 and SE315 for $150 at the time. I decided to pay the extra money and get either the TF10 or the SE315. The only reason why I didn't go for the TF10 was it's reputation of being uncomfortable for some folks (which as you've probably read was important to me). So I got the SE315. Now, may be some day, I might get the TF10s but certainly I don't need to..



I waited 4 months to get this piece of equipment because the package was delivered a day after my friend left the US. Another friend of mine gave it to me earlier this month and I instantly loved it. I had read all about how this pair can be difficult to wear at first but once you get used to it, it's great. I had seen a video 3 months ago on how to wear it and on my first go, I had a great fit! I've never felt as comfortable as this ever! Put them on and they isolate sound well. Put the music on even at low music and I left the world behind as I did my work. Good thing I can do a decent job at lip reading ;)


This is my first "good pair" of earphones (before this I used stock earphones from my mp3 player/phone) so the review might not be "professional. But to an enthusiast who loves to listen to rock, classic rock, alternative, a bit of heavy rock/metal and some pop/good old fashioned vocals filled music, this is a good pair of cans. Sound is clear and crisp.


After the first 5 minutes of me thinking to myself "did I just waste a ton of money on earphones that suck?" I got used to the sound and then started liking it. This also had to do a lot with me turning off the EQ (something I was used to doing on my stock earphones) ;)


The vocals were crisp and the sound was clear. It played a good range of music but never made it feel over powering. The earphones were never felt loud but felt comfortably producing enough power to give me unbelievable sound.


I remember the first time I had my music ripped to 128kbps CBR then moved to 194-240kbps VBR. When I went back, I felt the difference in quality and couldn't stand it so I re-ripped my music. I've not had that feeling with FLAC just yet but I must say, I can't put another pair of earphones back on now.


Down to the numbers:

Value: 3.5 Stars

The earphones are expensive IMO. Do they produce the good sound? S(h)ure. Are they good value for money? Maybe.


Audio Quality: 4 Stars

The audio is good. Plays a good range of music well and shines on vocals. Doesn't have much of a bass thump but gives a good balanced sound. If you're looking for the thump, these are not the IEMs you want. If you want a good balanced sound that produces a good sound for vocals and a range of instruments, then you should consider these :)

The reason why I cut a star here is that it could do with a bit more bass thump. Not a lot. Just a bit. The other thing is that though the sound was good, it didn't well and truly blow my mind. Or may be that's just me :P If the TF10s don't outperform this by much (it does have DA instead of a single driver), I'll give it another half star.


Design: 4.5 Stars

The design of these earphones are great and they help with the comfort level provided (details below). The earphones sit well into your out ear cup thingy (lol? :p) and the wires seem to be of good quality. Replaceable wires are a plus though I hope I don't ever have to replace them :P

Half a star cut for the wires being a bit weird at times and getting tangled though the bigger reason would be the thing that can be used to tighten the earphones isn't that easy to use.. takes a lot of effort to move it up/down :(


Comfort: 4.75 Stars (rounded to 5; read below)

As I mentioned earlier, I need comfort. These pairs definitely provide that. I can wear them for 4-5 hours and not get tired of them (after that I don't want to listen to music/have to go somewhere so I take off my earphones). I have worn these for an entire night while travelling on a bus and slept with them till morning. While my friends complained of a not so comfortable night's sleep largely in part due to the sound, I happened to sleep like a baby oblivious to what's going on around (I figured if it was something important, my friends would wake me up :))

Note, sometimes, quite rarely, after 10-15 minutes of listening, I need to take off the earphones for 2-3 seconds and put them back in.. I feel like hot air is coming out of my ears and there was some pressure built in there. It's not painful but just a bit of discomfort. I'd take off 0.25 stars but I can't :P


Isolation: 5 Stars

As soon as I put this on, I can barely hear others. Put on music even at the lowest volume and I can't hear people :P That's the whole point, isn't it? :) I like how I can listen to music at 20-30% volume and hear it perfectly :)


Overall: 4.5 Stars

Pretty darn good. What else can I say? ;)

Shure Sound Isolating Earphone SE315 Hi-Definition Micro Speaker with Tuned Bass Port (Black)

The SE315-K utilizes a single vented High-Definition MicroDriver for extended range audio with optimized low-end. Designed for both professional monitoring and personal listening, this model integrates a detachable cable at the ear for increased durability and easy replacement, and formable wire for a comfortable and secure fit.

FeatureAvailable in Clear and Black
Height7 inches
Length2.2 inches
Weight2 pounds
Width6.2 inches
List Price$200
Package Quantity1
Product GroupCE
Product Type NameHEADPHONES
TitleShure Sound Isolating Earphone SE315 Hi-Definition Micro Speaker with Tuned Bass Port (Black)
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
Head-Fi.org › Head Gear › Headphones › In-Ear › Universal Fit › Shure Sound Isolating Earphone SE315 Hi-Definition Micro Speaker with Tuned Bass Port (Black)