Review: Shure SE215 SPE vs SE215
I would like to thank Hifiheadphones for lending me the SE215, and Shure Asia for lending me the SE215 SPE.
I will try and write as honest a review possible, they both received more than 50hrs of burn-in before review, and the sound did change, so burn-in is advised.
Photos by Felix Speller:
IPod Classic 160gb (rockboxed) > Shure IEM's
(Amping did not bring much of an improvement so I didn't include it)
Frequency response: 21hz - 17.5kHz
Sensitivity: 107 dB SPL/mW
Cable length: SE215 - (162cm) SE215 SPE - (116cm) with wireform memory wire
Packaging, build quality and accessories:
Packaging is a nice card box, slim in profile with a widow showing off the IEM's, some details are listed on the front and side, with specifications and accessories on the back.
Build quality is as expected from Shure, excellent with high quality plastic housings which feel solid, detachable cables which are easy to replace if broken, strain relief is excellent on the jack and y-split, the SPE has a shorter cable than the normal version, which is better for portability.
Accessories are also good, they come with a fabric carry pouch, nozzle cleaning tool and an array of tips, silicone single flange in S, M and L, and foam tips in S, M (pre installed) and L, they don't have triple flanges like the SE425, or a hard carry case, but good accessories included for the price.
Comfort, isolation, driver flex and microphonics
Comfort is great, I love Shure foam tips and find them comfy for prolonged periods of time, the housings are of good shape and fit well in your outer ear, you can achieve fairly deep insertion with them, and the angle of the nozzle is perfect. The memory wire is also comfy and helps support the IEM, even if it is very light.
Isolation is above average with foam tips and find them excellent for all uses and especially public transport.
Driver flex is not present, which is great and microphonics are next to nothing as the cable goes over your ear.
SE215: These pack some punch, great lows which hit hard when needed, but still stay controlled without bleeding into the mids. The lows do extend low but start to roll off around 30-40hz. I would say the bass is quite tight and well rounded being articulare and not too dominant.
SPE: Shure said that these have extended low frequency, and I can say that the rumble is definately more present, they don't roll off quite as early, but I think there is a slight boost around 40-60hz compared to the standard, which makes the bass sound more present when in terms of extension they are similar, but the bass still doesn't overpower and is controlled.
The lows on both are not the fastest in attack, but they still fair well with fast music and metal. Also separaton in the lows on both is very good, bass guitars and kick drums are easily separated, and timbre is slightly on the thicker side.
SE215: I would say quantity wise they are around the same as the bass, not quite as forward as some of their other models, this is always Shure's strong point, these are no exception, lush effortless with no sibilance to be detected in the upper mids, the bass doesn't bleed in to the mids either. Detail is very good, as is separation, both male and female vocals sound excellent, and guitars have good definition, presence and attack. I have yet to hear an IEM that does great bass with lush effortless mids like Shure.
SPE: I think these are a little more forward in presentation and have a slight upper hand in clarity over the standard version, the mids sound a little cleaner, not as congested. But overall great sounding mids, similar to the standard version with slight better separation and clarity, still no sibilance.
SE215: This is usually where Shure don't fair so well, they have the right timbre and highs do sound well defined, but they are always a little behind, making them slightly dull sounding. They just lack presence, extension and sparkle, but at least like this they are not fatiguing.
SPE: I think these are also slightly ahead in terms of presence than the standard, the highs do sound a little better, better definition and clarity, taps and brushes of cymbals sound clearer but still lack a little presence, sparkle and extension up top. But overall an upgrade over the standard version.
Instrument separation, soundstage and imaging:
Instrument separation is good on the standard version and slightly better on the SPE, as it has a little more air, the standard sounds a little darker.
Soundstage is slightly larger than normal on both, but nothing spectacular.
Imaging is something Shure also tends to do well, and these have very good imaging.
Overall I think the SE215 is a great IEM for the price, it comes with good accessories, great build quality and sound to match.
What they did with the SPE is great, they definately are a little step ahead, better clarity and separation whilst still retaining deep controlled bass.
Both models are slightly warm sounding, and very fun to listen to, I higly reccomend them for just throw around everyday IEM's
Thank you for reading
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