Shure SE215 Special Edition

General Information

Featuring Dynamic MicroDrivers, the SE215 has a newly tuned acoustic network to deliver detailed sound with extended low frequency performance. A distinctive translucent blue earphone color offers an exclusive look, and a detachable cable and multiple sleeve sizes ensure a comfortable fit and lifetime of use.

Latest reviews

CK Moustache

100+ Head-Fier
Link to my review and measurement index thread where one can also find a full review overview, more information about myself as well as my general-ish audio and review manifesto: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/956208/




I only give full stars. My ranking/scoring system does not necessarily follow the norm and is about as follows:

5 stars: The product is very good and received the "highly recommended" award from me.

4 stars: The product is very good and received the "recommended" award from me.

3 stars: The product is good/very good, but not outstanding/special enough to get any of my two awards. ["Thumbs Up"]

2 stars: The product is only about average or even somewhat below that and somewhat flawed/flawed in some areas. [neither "Thumbs Up" nor "Thumbs Down"]

1 star: The product is bad/severely flawed to outright bad. ["Thumbs Down"]





Shure SE215m+SPE


Source:

Personal unit.


Miscellaneous:

One could definitely call the Shure SE215 true modern classics when it comes to single dynamic driver in-ears.

Honestly, the white shell colour was definitely a major factor for why I bought the SE215m+SPE.

Decent unboxing experience but rather simple compared to my SE425 and SE846.

Carrying case included and protective against moisture and dirt as well as dust, but quite soft and therefore not nearly as protective as that of my SE425.

I love the white shell colour with grey logos.
Typical Shure design and ergonomics.
Shells flatter than those of my SE425 and more rounded in the front.
Build quality seems decent although the finish is somewhat below that of the SE425.

Removable cable with MMCX connectors.
The cable is quite a disappointment – it is clearly of lesser quality than the SE425s’ and doesn’t feel nearly as robust; the only thing they have in common is the y-splitter. The SE215m+SPEs’ cable is definitely thinner, the 3.5 mm plug is straight instead of angled and has got a minimalistic, fragile appearing strain relief.
At least a chin-slider is still present despite the three-button remote control unit. Speaking of which, the mic-remote unit is fairly large, nonetheless the buttons are unnecessarily close to each other, although easy to distinguish from each other; the accentuation force is a tad too high.

As the shells are closed, noise isolation is very high.




Sound:

Largest included silicone ear tips.

Tonality:

Very warm with strong bass boost; relaxed treble.

At about 800 Hz, the bass’ level begins to rise slowly and reaches its climax at about 60 Hz and can be maintained practically down to 20 Hz without any roll-off. The strongest emphasis here is about 11 dB compared to in-ears like the Etymotic ER-4S/SR which are tuned close to the diffuse-field target in the bass.

Since the upper bass is already not really all that much less emphasised, however, it gives the in-ears a powerful, punchy upper bass character.

Even though the SE215m+SPEs’ bass is undoubtedly quite prominent, it doesn’t tend to bloom too much and the sound isn’t too bass-heavy (in the price range around 100€, where the Shure fit in, there are definitely many in-ears with an even stronger bass focus). Nonetheless the lows have got an ample amount of warmth, and undeniably radiate into the lower mids, although the midrange is not overshadowed by the lows.

As voices are not masked too much by the bass despite being clearly warm, the midrange tuning is done quite well, with a correct to just slightly recessed/dark upper midrange, which is the reason for the mids still having enough presence and proximity in the mix without drowning in the ample warmth and bass.

Above 3 kHz, the level is slightly in the background just to form a peak at 5 kHz when listening to sine sweeps, but to my ears it just barely, if even at all, crosses the neutral baseline wherefore it is neither annoying nor does it lead to any sort of metallicness/reduced realism, although it ultimately leads to cymbals gaining a minimally metallic impact/edge, wherefore they are ultimately not 100% accurately reproduced in timbre.
Above that, the highs are in the background and therefore inoffensively relaxed and sloping down, wherefore hi-hats/cymbals are actually softened and never sharp, but not lacking either.
Thankfully the SE215m+SPE don’t really appear muffled, although one could argue that they perhaps lack some “air”/”snap”.

Frequency Response:


ER-4S-Compensation

To my ears, the 5 kHz lift is less present even to the point of being pretty much somewhere around neutral in quantity, wherefore the actually perceived treble response is darker than on the graph.


ProPhile 8-Compensation

Resolution:

In terms of resolution/details, the Shures’ delivery is definitely solid and worth the price for single dynamic driver in-ears, although they are not the “best” in their field and ultimately outperformed by offerings such as the Etymotic ER2XR, Moondrop Starfield, Fidue A65 and iBasso IT01/IT01v2, especially when it comes to midrange and treble micro details, while the SE215m+SPEs’ bass quality is ultimately among the better/best for similarly-priced dynamic driver and hybrid in-ears.

The bass is quite a positive surprise – it is, despite the strong elevation, nicely fast, tight, punchy and maintains high control. Softness is avoided nicely. While the lows surely don’t reach the speed and tightness of the iBasso IT03, IT02, Fostex TE-02 or most in-ears with Balanced Armature woofers, the Shure don’t appear stressed in most situations, and especially avoid muddiness. Solely very fast material leads to single bass notes’ being reproduced mushier, although they still distinguishable from each other.

Midrange resolution and speech intelligibility are decent, but one shouldn’t expect the performance of higher-priced dynamic driver or single-BA in-ears, as there is a bit of grain in the mids’ details.

Basically the same as for the midrange also applies to the highs.

Soundstage:

To my ears, the stage is rather wide, which is somewhat of a surprise compared to Shure’s multi-BA in-ears.
Expansion is quite exactly from my left ear to my right one, without really exceeding that base; there is not much spatial depth and the soundstage appears fairly flat to minimally elliptical.

Instrument separation is fairly precise for this price range and doesn’t suffer too much even when more demanding tracks are played, although the “empty” room between tonal elements isn’t perceived as fully but with a little bit of bleed instead.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Comparisons:

ORIVETI BASIC:

The BASICs’ bass is slightly more lifted in the sub-bass whereas their fundamental range and upper bass are elevated slightly less wherefore their lows radiate somewhat less into the lower midrange.
The Shures’ vocal reproduction is warmer whereas the ORIVETIs’ is darker due to somewhat less level in the presence range.
The reble response is fairly similar with the BASIC only being slightly brighter. Above 10 kHz, though, the ORIVETI are more present wherefore they appear “airier” and offer more subtle sparbke.

The BASIC are somewhat softer and slower in the lows.
Resolution, on the other hand is a little higher on the ORIVETI.

The BASICs’ stage is somewhat larger to my ears (slightly wider but especially somewhat deeper). Both are about even when it comes to imaging precision.

ADVANCED Model 3 (wired Use):

The Model 3s’ bass boost is even stronger and they feature an even warmer fundamental range that radiates more into the midrange than the Shures’.
The ADVANCEDs’ mids are brighter and consequently more “balanced” sounding due to the upper midrange boost compensating for the lower midrange warmth.
Their upper treble is also clearly brighter, with cymbals not being dampened, while extension past 10 kHz is about the same.

The Model 3 are clearly slower and softer in the lows and audibly muddier. When it comes to midrange and treble resolution, the Shure are ahead as well.

The ADVANCEDs’ stage is narrower but deeper.
Instrument separation is somewhat better on the Shure.

iBasso IT01:

The Shure sound warmer, thicker and darker whereas sub-bass quantity is comparable.
Mids are closer in the mix on the SE215m+SPE.
Their treble response is also noticeably darer and more relaxed.

In terms of resolution, the iBasso are ahead, and are one of those rare cases that outperform the Shure when it comes to bass quality.
Even though the Shure have got a nicely tight, fast and punchy bass for dynamic driver in-ears, the IT01 manage to be even a bit tighter and faster in the lows. But it definitely doesn’t stop here, since their definition and details are also on a higher level in the lows.
Generally, separation and resolution are cleaner on the IT01.

When it comes to soundstage, the Shures’ is slightly wider while depth is comparable (perhaps a tad deeper on the iBasso, but the difference is fairly negligible). Instrument separation and imaging precision are somewhat superior on the iBasso.

NuForce HEM Dynamic:

Below 400 Hz, the Dynamic rise stronger towards the sub-bass and have no less than around 8 dB more quantity in the true sub-bass than the Shure.

Otherwise, their midrange and lower midrange is fairly close, although due to their stronger lower fundamental range and midbass, the NuForce appear to be more bloated.
Treble response is remarkably comparable, with the exception being that the HEM Dyamic do not cross the border of neutrality around 5 kHz but are relaxed here, wherefore their treble response is ultimately smoother and more realistic than the Shures’.

When it comes to technical presentation, though, the NuForce are a fair bit below the Shure and sound much softer, boomier and slower, and not even remotely close when it comes to control – in fact, they seem to reach their limit very early, even with rather slow to normally-paced music, and become muddy very soon.

Westone UM Pro 10:

The Shure are tuned considerably bassier and warmer, with the fuller presentation in comparison.
Vocals on the SE215m+SPE are more intimate.
The Shure sound a bit darker in the upper highs (cymbals) but extend a bit further above 10 kHz.

While the Shure have got a quite tight and quick bass for dynamic driver standards and are among the better models in this regard, the single-BA driver used in the Westone is nonetheless a bit superior when it comes to tightness, and also slightly when it comes to speed. Therefore the Shure have got more of the typically recognisable dynamic driver slam and texture in comparison, while being ultimately not as controlled or detailed in the bass as the Westone when more complex and faster tracks are being played.
Overall the UM Pro 10 sound just a bit cleaner than the Shure, but not by that much, however they definitely remain better controlled with more complex music material; altogether they are the slightly more refined appearing in-ears when it comes to technical presentation.

The Shures’ soundstage is overall somewhat wider and sounds a bit more open.




Conclusion:

Recommended.

Bassy-warm, inoffensively dark tuning that is executed well. Punchy, fast and tight bass response. Resolution decent for dynamic driver in-ears in this price range, and while not among the very best, still reasonably good.
The cable doesn’t seem very durable, though, and should be treated with care.


Photos:







434497

New Head-Fier
Pros: Splendid Bass, Amazing Isolation.
Cons: The amount of time it takes to put these on, especially with the memory foams.
I decided to purchase these earphones as I was looking for one to replace my other sets that had been broken a while back.
 
I took my time to look around for some earphones that fit around the price range of $100-$150 and found that these are the way to go.
 
I do recommend these to the people who really listen to music that are bass-heavy or look for good sound quality in earphones. The bass is very controlled and does not affect the highs and the mids at all.
 
The only issue I really had with these earphones was the fact that it takes some time to actually put them on. The way to fix this problem is using another tip (gray silicone tip) if you want to save yourself some time of sorting out the memory foam and putting it in your ear.
  • Like
Reactions: thediceman

ineed911

New Head-Fier
Pros: Relatively low cost. Good build quality. Excellent value.
Cons: Cable length might be frustrating.
Let me start by saying that this is the first pair of decent pair of headphones that I have ever purchased. I have had very good equipment for home, but always got by with OEM headphones from portable MP3 players and mobile phones. I have been craving a better music experience lately, and started researching portable players (Ibasso, etc) however decided that I am happy with my HTC One M8. The only component that I felt was worthy of an upgrade was the OEM headphones that came with the phone. 
 
I have not tested the other headphones I had considered (DN1000/2000, IE80, XBA-H3, A83), but chose these because the reviews I read made me think they would work best for my listening preferences. I also started to realize that there is too much to know about "good" headphones for someone like me to make a ~$300 purchase. So, for $130, these seemed like a safe bet. 
 
I am very pleased with this purchase. So far, this was money easily and well spent. I can also say that this will probably be the first of several headphone purchases, for me. Not because I am dissatisfied, but because my eyes are starting to open. Through all of my research, I have judged others for statements like, "You can hear things you never heard before." Well, these headphones have alerted me to two things, quickly:
 
1. Good headphones make a very significant difference. Listening to Eulogy, by Tool, I truly can hear parts of the song that I have never heard before. The beginning of the song is quite different than I ever remember it. I will need a good amount of time to get used to the new sound. I keep listening to them and realizing how much different these are from my OEM headphones.  
 
2. Tips matter a LOT. I have tried four different size/material combinations. Some are clearly better than others, but I have still not settled on one yet. I can see now where this plays a significant role also in the overall sound from any headphones. 
 
All-in-all, I am very pleased. I think this was a very good spend for what I feel I am getting - with my sample set of 1 headphone, I can say that these are perfect for me.
 
My listening so far has ranged from Tool to Rush to Mobb Deep to Dave Brubeck to Porcupine Tree. Everything has sounded MUCH better. 
 
I am planning on wearing these to the gym, so time will tell how well these work in that environment. I think that the shorter cable will be good for working out, but would likely be very frustrating as a dedicated length in my home. As a mobile application, it works for me.

Comments

There are no comments to display.
Top