Shure SE215

Average User Rating:
4.00877/5,
Tags:
  1. slavetical
    4.5/5,
    "RATTLEHEAD"
    Pros - • Value for Money • Styling • Durability • Sound Profile
    Cons - • May be too "heavy" for some (comparing to Image X10, for example) • Not for sweat-inducing activities (snap-fit cables WILL oxidize)
    The review title suggests two things: A love for metal and hard rock, as well as an urge to have these IEMs surgically implanted into my skull. Yup, noise isolation is great. No need to turn the volume up to dangerous levels and screw up my hearing even more. No unnatural sibilance with cymbals, and PUNCHY double kicks (sample album: Suffocation's latest "Pinnacle Of Bedlam" SHINES through this set. 

    They are excellent for what they are (Single Dynamic MicroDriver) and for their price. My music is neatly set up in 2 identical 2TB drives, one drive in all FLAC and AAC LOSSLESS and the other drive with 320KBPS CBR rips, all from original discs as master. The 215s + FiiO e17 help me keep volume levels down and avoid tinnitus, while not missing too much dynamic range in the music. Comparing the 215s to Triple-Fi's or the Westones, as well as the higher-end of the Shure family (except for the 315, which this model blows away IMO) would be unfair. Different technologies, different audiences. The appeal and versatility of the se215s for me allows me to not worry about using it whenever, wherever.
     
    I've accumulated a healthy arsenal of both reference and performance headphones and IEMs over the years, and my go-to's for work are my Westone4s, with the 215s coming in as the "everything else" set. I have a pair of se210s that I've been using as studio and live performance monitoring, and Shure has graciously taken back a pair that died due to excessive sweat (yes, I'm one of those drummers you have to take a mop after =) ) so I'm pretty wary about using the se215s in this setting. I do use them everywhere else - even sleeping, as the isolation is on point. 

    BOTTOM LINE: Highly recommended. Best value in its class. I echo the sentiments of fellow users on this forum - the 215s are a lock. 
  2. VolkswagenFox
    4.0/5,
    "Great value for the money"
    Pros - Good sound, forgiving sound signature, great isolation, detachable cable, you can use them as earplugs
    Cons - Bass can get a bit annoying, highs are rolled-off
    I've been a fan of Shure IEMs for a while. I had the E2c, E3c (two of them), and SE210 previously. Problem was the cable over-the-ear design. The cable going over the ear sucked in moisture, became hard and brittle, and finally broke. I wore my E3c like earbuds, which thankfully saved them from their demise and today they still live on, unlike the others. I was thrilled when I found out that the SE215 came with a detachable cable. Broken cable? Just replace the cable with another one. An excellent feature, especially for an entry level IEM.
     
    Sound
    There is a bit too much bass, though it's fun for electronic music. The treble roll-off gives an illusion of lack of detail, but also enables them to work well with badly recorded music or low bitrate files (like youtube videos). Midrange is very good, as is with all Shure products I've experienced. Over all the sound signature could be considered as warm.
     
    Comfort
    I find these very comfortable. The medium black olives are the best for me. I can wear them all day, and sometimes I do.
     
    Overall I like these quite a lot. Cheap, portable, isolate really well (I use them as earplugs in noisy situations), forgiving sound signature, great comfort, and detachable cable make these a winner for the price.
  3. mathchris
    2.5/5,
    "comfort?"
    Pros - seal, cables
    Cons - comfort
    I like these more than my Monster Turbines. Less good than the Shure e4c, different price point I know. They're more difficult to insert than the average IEM. Other users seem to find them comfortable enough but not me, not at all. Extended listening gives me a bit of pain. The ear tips are fantastic, it's the phones themselves & how they angle into my ear plus the cable. Initially I wanted to replace my broke e4cs with a current $300ish Shure IEM, I'm glad I picked these up so I know not to go with the current Shure designs on the pricier models. The sound is good but I've never "loved" these headphones like I have others in the past.
    Being disappointed with three well reviewed $100ish IEMs (Turbines, SE215 & Bose IE2), I might save for pricier IEMs and stick with "out-ear" when there's only $100 in my pocket. 
  4. julian67
    4.5/5,
    "Very good design, well made, good sound"
    Pros - Sound, comfort, great value, long life
    Cons - Replacement cable price (complaint is specific to UK). Case not as good as older Shures.
    I bought these in February 2012 for £75 at amazon.co.uk and have used them every day except for about one week when I was awaiting delivery of a replacement cable. Typical use is with a variety of personal players (iRiver H140 and H340, Sansa Clip+, Archos A43IT) as well as with PC audio and occasionally with home audio. I listen to many kinds of (usually lossless) music but most often orchestral, choral, vocal, instrumental, rock, pop.

    Price and value:

    These are very decent value and the price in the UK is close to the US price. This is quite unusual as UK consumers are typically ripped off to the tune of 1.5 to >2 times the US price for the same Asia manufactured products. Shure UK get some goodwill for not playing that game with the price of the SE215. They lose a sliver of that goodwill because in the UK they maintain super high prices for aftermarket products such as tips, cables, and replacement left/right phones. After 14 months I needed a new cable. UK price is £45! That is US $69. I bought the same genuine cable from a Canadian retailer for about half that price including international delivery. And when I need new tips I can save about 35% by buying from North America, or by buying a 3rd party replacement.

    Durability:

    These things are built to last. I haven't been particularly careful with them. They have been sat on, snagged, dropped, trodden on and once even immersed in salt water (I fell in the sea with them in...whoops) and I often sleep with them in. I needed to replace the cable after 14 months as the thicker "memory" section cracked, leading to sound dropping out and wires actually being exposed. In the last few years I've had two pairs of Sennheiser IEMs fail (cable), some Klipsch IEMs fail (?), and a pair of Sony headphones fail (cable). Being able to replace the cable on the Shures is a massive plus point.

    My SE215s have kept working and been maintainable while several other IEMs and headphones have died on me. That makes them better value than every other 'phone I've ever bought except a pair of Sennheiser HD 500 which worked for over 10 years before blowing a driver.

    Comfort:

    Very comfortable. They sit flush in the shell of the ear and cause no irritation or pressure and can be worn all day or night without discomfort. Having the cable route behind the head is ideal for me. In daily use these are as comfortable as smaller, lighter IEMs such as Sennheiser CX series, and if you need something suitable for sleeping in or wearing under a hat/helmet then the Shures are surely as good as it gets without paying for a custom fit.

    Isolation:

    Very good but depends on good fit and on choice of tips to a small degree. With the supplied tips the isolation should be good enough for most people most of the time. You don't get quite the isolation as with long, thin IEM that sit relatively deep in the ear canal but it is far superior to Senn CX type tips which sit at the entrance. Triple flange tips aren't part of the retail package but are available. They do offer more isolation but many will find them irritating to the ear canal. Tips that fully seal the ear probably aren't ideal because these Shures aren't designed with any tiny breather hole to relieve the pressure, which can be obvious if using triple flange tips. The regular silicone and foam tips are very nearly as good.

    Sound:

    Slightly emphasised bass, good midrange, slightly rolled off highs. To me this is a fine combination. I don't want bass heavy IEMs but I do want slight emphasis to make up for the lack of bone conduction or air being moved or whatever it is that goes missing with neutral IEMs/headphones compared with speakers. The highs might be slightly rolled off, probably to avoid harshness. With really powerful high tones (soprano voices or similar) you might occasionally be reminded that these cost £75 and not £175 as some harshness can become evident, but overall it's very hard indeed to fault these IEMs. I've used them for many hours almost every day for 14 months and they aren't tiring or irritating. That in itself is probably better compliment than any description of their sound quality or technical analysis (which I can't offer anyway).

    If worn as recommended by Shure, with the cable held snug to the back of the neck/head by the keeper, then there is no annoying noise from the cable. Because the IEMs sit flush in the ear there is no wind noise or whistling effect when used outdoors.

    Other:

    The supplied soft case was a little disappointing. I used to have a pair of Shure E2C IEMs and they came with a really tough little case. The new soft case is made of heavy cordura but isn't of the hard clamshell type and I think it doesn't offer enough protection.

    Overall it's hard to find fault with these IEMs at £75. Criticisms are few, small and qualified while positive attributes are plain and abundant. You get the same mature design, easy comfort and good build as with the most expensive Shures, and sound quality that doesn't feel in any way modest. I would unreservedly recommend these to anyone who wants to spend a moderate amount to get a huge sound upgrade over the buds supplied with their player/tablet.
  5. gunnertown
    3.5/5,
    "Not that amazing as I read everywhere "
    Pros - Tight bass, good seal, clear mids
    Cons - Lacks sparkle
    Good one to have as a backup. Dynamic driver is not a complete letdown. But won't suggest this as a daily driver.
  6. Gilly87
    4.0/5,
    "Unbeatable for the combination of price, sound, and durability"
    Pros - Cheapest IEM I've seen with a removable cable, great bass and vocals; full, dynamic sound. Ultra durable, excellent isolation. Option for mic cable.
    Cons - Treble lacks extension, fit not for everyone due to bulky connectors and so-so memory wire (not a problem with mic cable)
    I will report back for a more in-depth review of the sound, but for now suffice to say that I love the SE215 and it is my go-to beater IEM when I'm not willing to risk my UM3X. It does bass and vocals exceptionally well, which are my two biggest desires from any headphone. Durability is unparalleled, especially for the price. I take these everywhere: workouts, running, beach, etc. and never feel like I have to worry for even a moment about anything going wrong. They are isolation monsters, too; they made great commuting companions when I took the train and bus to work. They are usually my first recommendation to non-audiophiles who are sick of crappy Skullcandies giving out after a month or two of regular use, unless the person in question has small ears and/or is after a cleaner sound.
     
    Overall these have my full support; if you don't have small ears, and want an IEM with great bass and awesome isolation that is built like a tank, you can't go wrong here.
    Jube and egosumlux like this.
  7. Bubbanator
    4.5/5,
    "Great for EDM"
    Pros - Great bass. Comfortable. Great Value. Masters at EDM/Electronic music.
    Cons - Cable/Connections. Takes awhile to get used to the fit.
    I bought these to use on the go (Bus, Plane, Car). The first time I put them in my ears they were not comfortable. But after a week or so they were like tiny marshmallows in my ears. The sound is great and they are really good for electronic music. Over time they have replaced my my full-sized headphones in both sound quality and comfort. And for 100$ why not just give them a try?
  8. thepiper92
    3.5/5,
    "A decent set of headphones for the price"
    Pros - Excellent build quality, Comfortable (once you get used to them), thick cable, bass, good isolation especially with foam tips
    Cons - Lack-luster mids and highs, 90 degree headphone jack (personal preference)
    I cannot recall when I purchased the Shure SE215's, but I know that I immediately enjoyed them. This was of course before I moved on to more expensive models, and then shifted to on ear and over ear headphones, which offer better sound overall. The only reason I went with IEM's is because they were often easier to drive and ended up being louder. As a bagpiper, it is clear I like music loud, and before I knew about amps, headphones weren't good enough. The SE215's aren't the easiest in-ears to drive, and near full volume is needed to listen to them for me.

    The SE215's have excellent bass, especially for the price of $100. The bass doesn't sound false, although clearly enhanced. The bass does fairly well in not hurting the mids, although the headphones have little soundstage, so seperation is not perfect, and the bass does bleed into the mids at times, along with the mids bleeding in the highs. What hurts this bleed more is that the mids and highs are very recessed and are merely there, never standing out or sparkling. I prefer a v curve in headphones, although over time the v curve has become closer to a level line for me. At the time, I enjoyed a strong v curve. The SE215's have a V curve, but only slightly at the highs, and with the bass being so strong, nothing else is ever focused on. The odd thing is, while recessed, the mids and highs became shrill at times, almost like the sound from mids and highs are blocked off somewhere, and when volume is high enough, only the shrillness comes through. I really enjoyed the headphones, and eventually shifted into foam tips, to deal with the shrillness. This helped, but seemed to dull the music even more. It was a worthy sacrifice at the time. Listening to the SE215's recent, a while after I last really used them, I can say I really don't like the sound, due to a lack of clarity, and too heavy of a bass, which I actually find to be unclear as well. With an amp, a FIIO E11 a the time the clarity improved, but the E11 boosted bass further. I have yet to try them on the E07k, but I suspect they will still not suit me well. My tastes have changed clearly, focusing more on musicality and clarity, rather than enhanced bass and highs, although I still do like small v-curve in the sound. As was stated before, the SE215's also lack any form of soundstage, and especially with foam tips, sound very closed in. With the amount of bass and lack of soundstage, these headphones will suit music such as rap and hip hop. These headphones will work with any current (mainstream) music really, which, for the most part, has abandoned musicality and any art form which music once had, for heavy, synthetic bass, and autotune. Sorry for the attack on anyone who likes current music, but I feel music of today, at least the stuff by artists like Bieber and Rihana, does not require audiophile level headphones, as there is no soundstage and naturalness that is needed to be displayed. Essentially, I believe a $40 pair of bass heavy phones will sound better that a less bass-emphasized high end headphone, for bass is the only thing that matters in the music. The SE2015's are bass heavy, and will suit current stuff just fine.


    While the sound no longer impresses me, the quality of the SE215's continues to impress. The driver housings of the SE215's look somewhat week, but are made from a decently strong plastic. Better yet is the cable, it being 3-4 times thicker than the cables of many other in-ears, such as the Klipsch S4's. The drives can also be removed from the cable, which is nice if the cable were to fall apart, but I don't see the point if they provide such a great cable (not saying it is a bad thing though).


    Price-wise, the SE215's were a good price I felt. $100 isn't cheap, but these headphones provide better sound and are of better quality than many other headphones in a similar price range.
  9. leogodoy
    4.0/5,
    "The phone that started my addiction"
    Pros - Great value, amazing sound for its price
    Cons - Exposed connection may suffer from shorts
    This is the phone that brought me to the IEM crowd. After a few weeks using this I was hooked. Bought them on a trip to Hong Kong on an impulse, I was with a friend who was getting a LOD for his iPhone + amp + Westone 4 setup. We asked about budget choices besides the Klipsch S4 he was used to suggesting and the vendor said we should try the Shures.

    Great value, I have upgraded to a W4R and even when someday I jump to the customs ship I will keep the Shures, they are perfect for running.
  10. Fuzaken
    4.0/5,
    "Great Price to Performance"
    Pros - Good mids, decent bass, great build, removable cable, isolation, comfort
    Cons - May not fit some people, removable cord socket can get flimsy,
    These were my first entry level IEMs which I purchased after growing sick of the horrible sound of iPod earphones, bundled earbuds and $20 buds from electronics stores

    And I must say, it was more than well worth the money, still working perfectly albeit with some wear and tear on the wires, but nothing major. The sound quality for the price is awesome, matching and even surpassing some that are twice the price that I've auditioned.

    All in all, if you're looking for your first IEM, these are a great place to start :)