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For SO: Shure SE215 or SE535? Assistance needed!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hello there, I'm in desperate need of help!


I'm buying my SO some new IEM:s since the cord got damaged on the last (very cheap) ones she owned. You know, one IEM starts failing... Shure headphones are then an obvious choice and already decided, because of the ingenious ability to replace the cables as well as the special cord-over-ear ergonomics.


She's never had anything remotely good headphone wise, which is why I'm taking the moment to introduce her to some good audio quality that's highly valued. SE215 and SE535 are the ones that really stand out on getting your money's worth; the problem being that I can't decide if it's worth it to go the whole way to 535 or not. It's quite a price difference we're talking!


The main problem here is that they will be used mostly with a smartphone (audio quality may not be superb), without any dedicated amp. We own a FiiO E17 that can be used in the home (that mostly I use at the moment; with an E9 and HD 650), but it will only be the smartphone on the go. A reasonable DAP could be bought in the future, but as of right now, it's lacking.


SE215 are way cheaper and maybe more "fun" (less analytical), which could be a smarter choice to such a novice as her. But when investing in electronics, I aways get the nagging feeling that I really should think of the future and not waste money on products that may very well be upgraded. Also, for SE215 the cable replacement costs like half the price of the IEM:s themselves...


How stupid/smart is SE535 in this situation? Is it better to go for an entry level SE215? What would you do? Thoughts and opinions?

post #2 of 7

I would, and did, go with the se215 myself. I have trouble with most IEMs and the way they fit. Apparently I have mutant shaped ears or something, but the se215 were actually the first ones I have found that actually fit me perfectly. You're probably right about the fun sound being more enjoyable to her; especially out of a smartphone where songs can sometimes sound too bright or thin with a more analytical IEM. I'd say go with the se215 rather the se535. They sound great out of my ipod/E07k (though there is a hiss with the amp, but it isn't noticeable except between tracks) and they sound even more phenomenal out of my AK120. They have to be the best bang for your buck IEM and if something ever happens to them (like getting lost or damaged beyond repair), it won't cost you an arm and a leg to replace them. 

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Yes, that's pretty much what I thought as well! I would guess the fit in the ear is pretty much the same for the whole SE series? Thank you so much for your answer, it's really helpful to get some input from other people!

I guess my main standing question regarding SE535 is how much you “loose” by using it with an inferior DAP (such as a non-audiophilic smartphone). Do you loose pretty much all magic that sets it apart from SE215?

The decision has to be done soon, and it's really been killing me for a while. Every time I think I've settled, the doubt and “what if” creeps in... It's difficult enough to decide for yourself on matters such as theese.
post #4 of 7

I'd imagine the fit is the same across the entire SE line. Why fix what isn't broke, right?

Honestly, EVERYTHING seems a lot more dull coming straight from my Galaxy S4s headphone output directly, but gains a much more full sound when paired with an amp. I'd imagine it would be the same for you with the se535, but don't take my word for it. It'd be best to listen for yourself if you can, though I don't know any place that allows people to demo IEMs.. But there can't be anything worse than dull AND analytical.. At least in my opinion. I'd go with se215... Or why not get both and let her choose? :tongue_smile: You can always keep the one she doesn't like or sell it on the classifieds here.

post #5 of 7

I have owned four models of Shure IEMs, my last pair were SE 210's and I recently purchased the 535's. Here are my thoughts/opinions:


I've enjoyed all the Shure products I've had, and I don't think your wife will be disappointed, no matter what model you choose. I have found that gradually upgrading equipment over time has helped to train my ears. So, I started with one of Shure's low-end models (E2c's I think) and worked up.   


Sound? Since your spouse is a novice, I would recommend the 215's for her. I've been thrilled with the sound on my 210's for years, and as someone else suggested, you can always upgrade later. Is there a difference in sound between the 215's and 535's? Of course! The main thing I notice is the depth and range of sound. With my 535's I can hear little sounds that don't exist when I listen to the 210's. But - my ears know to look for them. 


SE535 - yes they have wonderful sound, Kevlar-reinforced cables that can be moulded to fit behind the ear. They are comfortable to wear for long periods. I've tested mine with my laptop and my iPhone, with and without the DAC/AMP. They are a great investment. But once I got them home and tested them, I decided to get the custom-moulded sleeves to get the best sound and comfort out of them. 


I also have a Fiio E17. I have tested it with both of my IEM's. With an iPhone 5c it doesn't make any difference in the sound, that I could discern. However, I like the volume feature it has, it allows gradual fine-tuning of the volume and shows you a number on the screen. I found that when I was first using high-end earphones, it was easy to accidentally turn the volume up too loud, and end up with ringing ears afterwards. The Fiio helps to prevent that. 

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you again for the great answers and helpful advice you've given me. I wanted you to know that I've ordered SE215 since it seems reasonable to introduce her to a less audiophilic extreme as a start, she's a novice after all. It can always be upgraded to a better product in the future, if she shows that level of interest.


The fact that you're happy with the SE215 in itself was also quite comforting to hear!

Edited by Lakmuji - 6/15/14 at 2:29pm
post #7 of 7

I'm glad we were able to help you make a choice. I hope she enjoys the IEMs!

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