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? ;)