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Shure SE215

  1. FloEisX
    Review Shure SE215
    Written by FloEisX
    Published Apr 18, 2019
    Pros - Warm Mids, Ok Bass, Build-Quality mostly good, Price
    Cons - Bad Cable, Bad Highs, Narrow Sound

    Altough I am fairly new to the whole Audio-Community-and altough most of you may not trust my review- I still made the desicion to post my experiences with my Shure SE-215 In-Ears here, hoping that some of you at least appreciate my effort. Furthermore I don't speak english as my first language, so if some of the sentences sound bad, or if there are mistakes concerning my grammar or anything, please don't hate me.

    I am using my Headphones ONLY on my Smartphone (Huawei P20 Lite) and my Computer. Why am I posting on an audiophile platform then, you may ask yourself now. I bought those headphones for exactly that- Listening to music in better quality than with the standard airpod ripoffs.

    Since those headphones weren't expensive, and I only heard good things about them, I decided to give them a try.

    NOTE: I would have bought nicer headphones, more expensive ones, but since Im going to school my budget is very limited.

    They cost around 100€ a year ago, in the box were a pouch to store the InEars (which i sadly lost), Silicone-Eartips in different sizes as well as Foamtips in 3 different sizes and a Cleaning-Tool.

    Build-Quality (Extras)

    The pouch was pretty good, soft but well built, it had an extra compartment for the eartips or really any extras you have. The only real problems I had with it was firstly that it wasn't very protective against pressure or anything (for example if you accidentally sat on it it wouldn't have protected much), so if you travel a lot with your headphones and maybe want to have them as long as possible, get yourself a nice travel case made out of hard plastic for 10 bucks off of AliExpress. But, if you just want your InEars to be protected from dust or water, or not just leave them in your pocket, then this pouch is good enough.

    The silicone eartips are pretty good quality, the inside of my ears are huge, so I was a bit worried that they wouldn't fit my ears, but the biggest eartips fit me perfectly, so i recon that theres at least one pair of eartips that would fit most of the people out there. The foamtips on the other hand didn't really convince me. The isolation was quite horrible with most of them, the biggest ones fit me, and still the isolation wasn't as you'd expect it. I used them for a quarter of a year and suddenly the foam didn't "work" anymore, I could squish them as much as I want but the foam would go back to full size in an instant, so I stopped using the foamtips and just used the silicones, better fit, better sound, but not as comfortable sadly.
    I know that that's maybe useless criticism for most but I still want to show you every aspect of the InEars.

    Not losing too many words on the cleaning tool, it works, it's made out of plastic, nice to have and easy to use.

    Build-Quality (In Ears)

    Now onto the part that matters most, the In Ears themselves. I will start with the build quality, then the sound and my impressions with it.

    The build quality is amazing, at least the build quality of the InEars themselves. They are made out of hardplastic, mine are black, but you can get them in clear and white as well I believe. The case is a 2 part construction, on the inside its hollow with the driver in them, so they are VERY light, I bet you would even notice them without a cable. On the inside, the words "SE 215" are printed on the case (obviously the name of the InEars) on the outside the name "Shure" is printed on, both in a silverish color, on the top, so nearly where the connector for the detatcheable cable is, and depending on the side, theres either a "L" or "R" printed on a molded letter, which is my only complaint about the case, the R, as well as the L, both wore off after 2 months, which is a little bit dissapointing, maybe they should use better color or something there. 15555952086947681762305400211204.jpg

    Now onto the cable.
    Oh lord, the cable. The most dissapointing thing about the whole thing. I've had the InEars for 3 years now, I bought a new original cable once, then bought cheaper ones off of different websites, all of them being better than the original cables. The first one, the cable that came with the InEars broke after one year, which can happen but obviously is quite dissapointing. Well I thought, Ill just buy the same cable again. This cable broke after 5 MONTHS (!). As you may expect already, I wasn't happy with that and I bought another cable off of a different brand which held up 6 months, only that it cost not even close as much compared to the original cable and it even improved the soundquality considerably. Companys name was "Ultrasone", I think. Either I had bad luck or the quality of shures cables are a joke, but be prepared to buy new ones once in a while.


    The headphones sound amazing for the price.

    Please keep in mind that I am fairly new in the Audiocommunity, so my experiences may be not as well described as many other reviewers. The audio-files on my Smartphone are the highest quality possible, downloading them off of the app-store.

    The lows sound good enough, the bass is detailed and punch, altough it might be too loud or crunchy sometimes, I have tried other headphones from friends and not a single one ever had the same bass as the Shure ones, so if you are searching for something with a considerable amount of bass in the mix, those may be to consider.

    The mids are pretty warm in my opinion, soft and they don't stick out as much as other headphones mids do, but I think they sound good, well balanced and in my opinion perfectly fine for the price.

    One thing that was quite dissapointing was the lack of wideness in the sound. It sounded VERY narrow, even for 100 bucks i would have expected more.

    The other thing that dissapointed me a little bit were the higher frequencies. They sound (in my opinion) thin, and, after longer sessions of listening to music, I noticed that they also get quite exhausting to listening to, maybe thats just my ear but the highs really aren't as welcoming and pretty sounding as the rest of the frequencies, also they don't stick out but even stay in the background, making the listening experience warm and deep.

    The isolation on the InEars is amazing, I never thought I could block out so many things without active noice cancelling, all you have to do is find the right size of eartips for your ears and trust me, it's hard to hear anything around you to a certain point.


    Now- would I say that you should buy them.

    Yes, defenitely. For 100€ they sound good and the quality is mostly great. If you like to listen to music that isn't focused on the higher frequencies they are a perfect choice for every beginner out there, or really people that just enjoy listening to music but don't want to spend a couple of hundrets on better InEars.
    Please keep in mind that you may need to change the cable sometimes, so if you want to spend 100€ once and never think about it again, those may not be for you.

    I hope that the review was good enough, it is my first review ever and I know that it isn't really good, but please tell me how to improve so my next one is better.

    Best wishes and enjoy your music,
      voxie likes this.
  2. sonyfan501
    Wonderful introduction to Shure's SE line
    Written by sonyfan501
    Published May 23, 2017
    Pros - Deep bass with long decay, decent mids, cheap, good fit, durable, accessories, noise isolation.
    Cons - Treble roll off, fatiguing during long listening sessions, bass can bloat at times, narrow soundstage.
    The Shure SE215 is a nice introduction to Shure's SE line of in ears. They have a fairly low impedance (box says 17 ohms, but online websites state 20 ohms). Amps aren't necessary as a result for these in ears.

    I bought these at around $89, and I will say that these are wonderful for the price I paid for them. They are a great bang for the buck so to say.
    The Shure SE215 comes packed with an abundance of accessories. It includes around 6 pairs of ear-tips, a cleaning tool, and a carrying case. The Shure Olive tips and silicone tips are decent, but I prefer to use the Westone Star-tips as I find them more comfortable and less fatiguing. Build quality is very nice, and they have lasted me for almost a year now.

    What I liked about the Shure SE215:
    The things that stand out from these in ears are: the deep bass, lushes mids, and noise isolation. The noise isolation of these in ears are among the best when compared to the other in ears that I have tried. Once you get a good fit with these, you'll be isolated from the world around you. The bass on these in ears are also really good once you get a good seal. I also loved the mids on these in ears.

    What I didn't like about the Shure SE215:
    The one thing that I feel the Shure SE215 lacks is treble. This in ear monitor does not extend too high in the frequency range which results with a dark and rich sound. Soundstage is also lacking, but I didn't expect too much from a closed in ear.

    Overall the Shure SE215 is a decent in ear monitor and a nice introduction to more expensive in ear products. It is definitely a great value for $99.

    Note: The tips on these are the thin and long Westone Silicone Star tips.
  3. ame85
    First step into serious IEMs' territory ... with some downsides for me
    Written by ame85
    Published Dec 29, 2016
    Pros - Good value. Built like a tank. Decent overall sound quality.
    Cons - Not so comfortable. Very narrow soundstage. Fatiguing in long listening sessions.
    This is my first review here on Headfi, so I'd like to apologize in advance if I make any mistakes or unwillingly break any rules with this post.
    I am not going to do a very thorough review of my SE215, just wanted to give anybody who's interested my impressions on these IEMs after roughly three years of use, now that I am letting them go for something (hopefully) which better suits my taste (Sennheiser IE80).
    I came to buy these IEMs essentially because of Headfi, and because of the very good reputation they have among audo-specialized websites and youtube channels. It has not been my first pair of good IEMs, as I came from a pair of Beyerdynamic DTX 101 ie, which I loved and broke too soon for my taste. I've also owned a number of good quality headphones (Shure SRH440, Philips Phidelio, Beyerdynamic DT 770 pro, Sony MDR 7506). I listen to many kinds of music, ranging from hard rock to classical, from acid jazz to blues, from instrumental (mostly acoustic guitar) to pop. My main sources are my smartphone (currently a One Plus 3) and my PC (no special audio device here, just a Fiio Olympus 2 to help driving my DT 770 pro).
    My overall experience with the Shure SE215 can be called positive, with some flaws. Here are my impressions, divided in sections.
    Comfort (and Design)
    This is one of the main reasons (together with the fatigue, read below) for which I've finally decided to move on and replace the SE215. Right from the start I've had issues with the fit of these IEM into my ears. The fit problems were not so much related to the eartips, as after an initial period of experiments I've found the M-size silicon tips to be the best choice for me. What has put me off right from the beginning with these IEMs is the actual shape of the earpiece. They are in fact just a tad too big for my ears, which means that they constantly press against the outer cartilage when I'm using them. This has limited my listening sessions to no more than 45-60 minutes each, as I had to remove the earpieces to let my ears rest from the (slight) pain every time. I'm well aware that this issue can be virtually non-existent for someone else, but I wanted to give you my eperience nevertheless.
    Another slightly annoying feature of these IEMs are the memory-foam parts of the cable, the ones which go over your ears, just to be clear. Not one time in these three years I could put the SE215 on without having to adjust the cable, being it just a bit or completely. No deal breaker here, but to me there's room for improvement.
    Build Quality
    Nothing much to say here, other than the fact that these SE215 are built like a tank. Simply put, you cannot break them with normal (and even a bit careless) use, and it looks like they won't fail on their own, at least for a very very long time.
    Sound Quality
    Some good and bad here for me. I am no proper expert, so bear with me if I don't use the correct terms. The sound from the SE215 is overall pleasing enough, with very flattering mids, enough bass (a bit muddy and slow, though), and present trebles. The treble itself is where I've found weakness on these, as to me they tend to sound a little bit too harsh sometimes, making me turn the volume one notch down, and sometimes making me take a pause from listening, as my ears felt a bit fatigued after a while. Equalizing them is out of the question for me. I like to listen to my headphones and IEM as-they-are-made.
    Other than that, soundstage appears to be quite narrow. You can of course distinguish the various instruments pretty well, but it's very difficult to locate them in space, and the SE215 sound comes from inside your head, if you know what I mean. I'm aware that the construction of these earbuds makes them prone to low soundtsage, but that's my impression from them anyway.
    Hope this is of some help to someone. 
    1. theveterans
      Your impressions seems like you didn't use a dedicated DAC/amp for this IEM.
      Plug it in to something like Chord Mojo and now the bass becomes fast/tight and deep, treble fuller sound without being harsh, mids sound even sweeter and faster.
      theveterans, Dec 29, 2016
    2. ame85
      Hi, thyanks for your comment. I've tried the SE215 trhough my Fiio Olympus 2 DAC several times, but I did not notice a change in bass response so significant to alter my impressions above: the harshness of the trebles still remained (it could be that I am too sensitive to this) and yes, the bass response improved a little bit like you say, but still remained not so tight, at least for me.
      ame85, Dec 30, 2016
  4. sK0pe
    All hype no sound
    Written by sK0pe
    Published Dec 20, 2016
    Pros - cheap, emphatic mids
    Cons - poor isolation, narrow soundstage, recessed treble, not clear, sluggish bass
    I bought these for a friend for Christmas based on positive reviews, price point and that my friend wanted IEMs that didn't stick out (with a negative or neutral profile.
    Mostly my friend's fault to start off with but also design and packaging has to have had some impact, she was wearing them incorrectly, didn't realise they rotated and didn't realise that the stock tips were memory foam.  The way she was wearing them there was no chance of giving them a fair shot.
    So I don't use around the ear IEMs myself on a daily basis, I use a pair of ER4Ps with silicone tri-flange tips (I hear a difference in sound between the silicone tips and foam plus I must be one of the rare people who can stand the tips and feel they provide a comfortable fit).
    Insertion and Design
    I tried putting them on and realised how obnoxious they would be to a beginner, I worked it out in a minute or two and showed her how to put them in.  Once they're in they don't feel snug like Etymotics do but they don't fall out either.  The bendable memory wire seems to need adjusting every time i put them on but I guess with time people would get good at it.  These were the medium tips which work for me in other IEMs and 3rd party sellers.  The large was too large.

    Whether the ear phone fits the way your ear cartilage is more than a coin flip, it can be too large and apply pressure where the driver casing sits, it can be too lose and move about or apply pressure inappropriately.
    Terrrible, like there is barely any isolation it's a hair better than ear pods.  It cuts out very high frequency noise like on old electronics that make a buzzing noise but that's about it, I literally hear everything else going on which interferes with the music.  Etymotics (I've used ER6's when they were around and then moved up to ER4P and 4S usually means I almost can't hear anything outside of very high frequency very loud sounds, it dampens these lound sounds too or blocks them completely.
    Audio Quality
    While I was expecting it to be a bit less refined than I expected, I didn't think it would be too bad considering all the reviews, but these IEMs are definitely overpriced for what they put out,  I guess in Shure's mind they sell as many 215's to people who don't expect audio quality and rake in the cash when you start spending over $300 - 500 or more.
    Ok so mids are really good, great for spoken words, rap anything our ears are specifically attuned for as humans and they are jammed right in there.
    Bass is there, some would say too much, it is indeed far warmer than my Etymotics or Beyerdynamics almost as much as Sennheiser 650s however the bass is not clear, punchy or fast, it is slow laid back and to my ears sloppy.
    Trebles seems to have an insane drop off there is no sparkle let alone any extension.  There is literally a bunch of high end detail in songs that are missing.
    Sound stage is narrow, like super narrow, are these supposed to be good?  Maybe I'm spoiled by Etymotics and full sized open back headphones but these were inside my head and anything that would otherwise be imaged outside of the head in a head phone was imaged correctly but just incredibly recessed.
    When combined, EDM tracks were not enjoyable the lack of treble and sound stage just gave an incredibly narrow bassy sound signature with the spatial presence of tracks that I love just muted to the point where it was so distant that I could barely here it.

    Rap and hip-hop was initially enjoyable with the bass and the emphasised mids but as soon as you put in the treble from the underlying track or a female vocals were introduced I was reminded how poor the quality was compared to what these tracks should sound like.

    The above could be the trash stock ear tips so I applied as much pressure to the IEMS to both block exterior sound and pressure the drivers closer to a better position and I could hear what the expected sound should be but the trash isolation and fit could have been the issue.
    Oh yeah to actually drive these things the source was dialled to 5/10, this is 5 times higher than any other IEMs I've used.  Even on ear headphones are driven at half the volume required for me to hear.
    So it's comfortable once you finally have it in position but at the massive cost of audio quality and isolation, might as well be using earpods.  On top of this pumping the volume too high to hear any detail can cause some insane wear with loud mids.
    3rd Party Eartips
    Tried out Spinfits, these improved isolation and fit, they don't feel like they're about to drop out and music can be driven at 3/10.  The sound signature was moderately better, the music sounded closer to how it should, a bit more treble but I don't think there is too much more to get out of this IEM.
    Tried out Comply Isolation tips, better isolation, better security, about the same as the Spinfits but a tad warmer than the Spinfits.
    I can't recommend anyone buy these for audio quality or isolation.  They may also be uncomfortable to begin with and may just not be great for your ear shape.
    This IEM is for the person that wants to blow an unnecessary amount of money as an upgrade to earpods.  Just buy better earpods for $20 or buy Westones or Etymotics.
    Very warm sounding, narrow sound stage, lacking detail, treble cut off with bloaty bass and boosted mids.  These IEMs have been engineered to produce sound that is comfortable for the general populace rather than reproduce the music as it should be and results in some thing dull.  If they were excitable to do something different that would be great but they're not designed to be exciting different or neutral they are designed to be bleh.
    Don't buy these for yourself, your friends or enemies.
      seanwee likes this.
    1. RERO
      Hmmm... perhaps these don't play well with your ear shape. Poor fit must be the reason, considering you are getting isolation that is just "a hair better than ear pods".
      RERO, Dec 20, 2016
    2. sK0pe
      Well that's why I had to buy Comply and Spinfit tips to make them usable.
      My quote there is an over embellishment, but that's kind of how I felt when comparing them next to a pair of Etymotics right next to them, once music starts playing on the Etymotics I don't hear very much else at all, while with the SE215, I had to mess around with them so much to get a nice fit and when playing music I could almost hear things around me at full detail.  I could imagine myself getting annoyed on my commute to work where all the train sounds and people around me could be heard.
      sK0pe, Dec 20, 2016
  5. SoundApprentice
    While the Shure SE215 isn’t a glitzy newcomer to the portable audio world, it’s a no-nonsense IEM that simply sounds damn good.
    Written by SoundApprentice
    Published Sep 20, 2016
    Pros - Easy to listen to, good comfort, solid looks and build
    Cons - Cheap case, not the most resolving

    If you frequent my blog or The Sound Apprentice Instagram, you know that I’m a fan of Shure headphones. So it should come as no surprise that I intervened with a set of Shure in-ear monitors (IEMs) when I found out that my dear friend who loves everything music has been “blowing” cheap earbuds like crazy (and probably going deaf at the same time). Enter the Shure SE215 Sound Isolating Earphones.

    To me, with its inviting Shure house sound and moderate price of entry ($99 MSRP), the SE215 is a no-brainer. Performance-wise, you get a lot of bang for the buck, which is why I have no qualms recommending this IEM to friends that really want to enjoy their music, the veteran audiophile that’s only a passing IEM user, or the beginner audiophile that’s looking to step up to hi-fi sound without the high-end price tag (while still getting near pro-level build quality). After all, the SE215 evolved out Shure’s line of professional monitoring products that are used by some of the most acclaimed musicians around the world.


    Like most IEMs and earphones in this price range, the SE215 arrives in a minimalist no frills box and inner plastic tray that displays the IEMs while keeping the accessories securely in place. It's nothing fancy, but at this price point, I wouldn’t expect anything more. Despite the cheap packaging, when you first handle the SE215 I am certain you will be impressed. The styling, fit and finish of the SE215 is very pleasing, particularly the clear models that let you see the inner workings. It’s a solid IEM with a detachable high-quality cable with gold-plated connectors, a feature not often found among the majority of Shure’s consumer-level competitors.


    The SE215 comes with a reasonable assortment of accessories. I say reasonable, because even with bargain-price Brainwavz offerings (see my XF-200 review) and entry-level Westone earphones (see my ADV Beta review) you get a few more accessories and a wider assortment of tips. But let’s focus on what you do get. The SE215 comes with a soft zippered case, a small cleaning tool, and 6 sets of Sensaphonicssound-isolating ear tips (S, M, L in flexible silicone and foam). I personally would prefer a hard case to be included, as well as a shirt clip, a 1/4” jack adapter and some spare tips, but maybe that’s nitpicking.

    Fit and Finish

    Accessories may not be the SE215’s strongest suit, but performance is. Shure packs a lot of bang for the buck in the fit, finish and sound of the dynamic SE215.

    The SE215 is considered a universal-fit IEM, meaning that it’s intended to sit comfortably in the ears of most users to ensure good stability and sound isolation. I find the shape to fit well in my ear, and the low-profile nozzle and light weight helps with comfort quite a bit. My ears are very sensitive to earphones and IEMs, but I was able to wear these throughout most of my workday without ever feeling a real need to take a break from them. 

    I particularly like their over-the-ear cable routing, which moves the cable away from my face and chin so I don’t get snagged up as easily. What’s more, the portion of the cable that wraps over the ear has a flexible wire inside that allows you to bend and twist it to your liking, offering increased stability and a custom fit. The fact that the cable connector at the IEM swivels 360 degrees also helps with insertion and removal from the ear. Just a further note on the cable—I think it’s one of the nicer IEM/earphone cables I have experienced to date. Being detachable/replaceable is a huge plus, and the heavier gauge, braided internal shielding, and gold-plated connectors and termination exude quality and lead me to believe that it'll hold up to some abuse without fail. Some may complain that it’s not as flexible as others, but it seems to loosen up a bit with use.

    Moving on, the ear tips come in two options: Foam or silicone. Then you decide which of the three sizes fit best. As with most earphones/IEMs, tip selection is critical. I strongly recommend taking the time to test the different sizes to determine which tip fits best—emphasis on “best” and not just one that “fits”—because the audio quality, comfort, and noise isolation improve greatly when the ideal tip is used. (For me, the medium foam tips worked best and offered better sound quality, bass impact, and isolation over the silicone version.) The foam Sensaphonics tip is similar in look and feel to a traditional foam earplug. These particular tips claim that they block out 37 dB of ambient noise. I think they perform better than the Comply foam tips that I've previously tested with Brainwavz earphones. This makes the foam option on the SE215 great for commuting, noisy offices or use in professional music environments. For me, the silicone tips didn’t offer the same level of comfort or sound quality (I think the highs were more emphasized and the bass a little less controlled), but your results may vary.


    Speaking of results, that’s probably what you're really here to find out about. As I opened with, the SE215 has a very inviting sound. If you’re familiar with Shure’s SH840 (see my review) or SH1540 headphones (see my review), I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to hear that the SE215 isn’t too far off in its overall sonic signature. It’s got that traditional Shure house sound—warm, a bit dark, a bit forward in presentation at times, with highs that roll off well before ever getting sibilant or harsh. In other words, it’s just really easy to listen to. 

    The SE215’s sonic signature falls somewhere right between the SRH840 and SRH1540, and it also reminds me a bit of Sennheiser’s famed HD650. With the SE215 you get a clean, rich midrange that emphasizes the twang of tom toms and acoustic guitar strings and puts your favorite vocalist front and center. Mids are where I’ve always thought that Shure shines. For an IEM, I find the mids to be fairly smooth and full-bodied with enough texture and air to get my ears really immersed in the music. No, you’re not going to get the same 3-D soundstage of a full-sized headphone, but the SE215 doesn’t disappoint with its ability to position instruments in space. I also think it does a good job of handling music with lots of layers, like much of Moderat’s album III

    If you’re like me and use the SRH1540 at work all day and then switch over to the SE215 for the commute home, the transition will be relatively seamless. The treble of the SE215 is certainly rolled back a bit and the soundstage compresses in comparison, but the mids and bass are very similar. 

    About that bass, the SE215 delivers fairly weighty bass with ease, depending on your source. When spinning tracks off of my Spotify Electric Vibes playlist I find that my Droid Turbo delivers a pretty full bodied performance, maybe a bit sloppy in the sub-bass at times, but certainly well via a smartphone. With a Hidizs AP-100 DAP my buddy at CTC Audio hooked me up with, I found I needed to tinker with the EQing quite a bit. I don’t know what it is about the AP-100, but I’ve never been happy with it with any earphones/IEMs, so I am just chalking this up as the Hidizs’ fault. The SE215 really comes to life when hooked up to my ALO Audio The Island headphone amp/DAC. This sweet little desktop unit has the SE215s absolutely singing. So despite the SE215’s 20-ohm rating that should help it sound good out of most devices, using a dedicated DAC/amp definitely takes it to a higher level.

    While it’s undeniable that the SE215 has a bass hump that bleeds into the midrange, it manages to do so smoothly enough that the overall sound of the IEM isn’t too dark or bloated. In fact, it’s not the bass at fault as much as the treble (to some). 

    One thing I can’t live with is peaky, edgy treble—especially in an IEM. The SE215 doesn’t have that, not even close (unless you listen to terribly recorded music or don’t put them in your ears right). The SE215’s treble is admittedly dark and relaxed compared to many earphones/IEMs, and that’s part of why I like it so much. Sure, the soundstage closes in when there isn’t enough sparkle in the highs, but much like the SRH1540, I think the SE215 manages to strike a nice balance between the dark and the bright. The SE215 has pleasing, grain-free treble that’s not the least bit fatiguing during long listening sessions, even with the volume cranked up. Detail retrieval is compromised, but still good. All in all, it’s just a very easy IEM to listen to and enjoy.

    Bottom Line

    Overall, I really like the SE215. It’s easily the best of the earphones/IEMs I have owned to date. No, it won’t replace my preference for obnoxiously big headphones, but it takes what I liked about a lot of my headphones and packages it into a totally portable unit that I can toss into my work and travel bags without worry. 

    While the Shure SE215 isn’t a glitzy newcomer to the portable audio world, it’s a no-nonsense IEM that simply sounds damn good. Shure consistently puts out quality products that I think go underrated in the audiophile world. Yeah, the SE215 could be more neutral, and maybe a bit more refined, but to Hell with that. The SE215 has sound you can be Shure of. Get it? Shure’s signature house sound is safe, it’s easy on the ears, and it performs well with a wide range of music. So do yourself a favor and spend a few extra Andrew Jacksons and get yourself a pair of the high quality SE215 Sound Isolating Earphones. As my buddy Phil says, “For everyday bangers, the 215s are perfect. The best hundo you can spend on earphones.”

    Insider tip: Check eBay and audio forums like Head-Fi.org for deals. While the SE215 retails new for $99, new open-box, refurbished and used sets can be had for around $60-80.
      Headzone and stalepie like this.
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    2. thatcow
      As far as sound quality goes, I think there is both some truth and some exaggeration in what others are saying. I quite like the ~$100 price bracket of IEMs and have owned a lot of them. Some that immediately strike me as having comparable or better sound than my SE215s would be the OSTRY KC06/KC06A, which resolve more detail and have a tighter, more controlled mid and sub-bass presence, and the Hifiman RE-400s, which resolve way more detail, have an incomparable soundstage for their price, and also have amazing mids. A complaint frequently leveled at the SE215s over the years is that they have a darker or more "veiled" sound than some of their similarly-priced counterparts, which I believe is true, but I interpret this as just a difference in sound signature where many others seem to feel that it's an out-and-out weakness. "Smooth, dark and listenable" vs "bright, analytical, and resolving" is a pretty common dividing factor. I personally think the SE215s are still "in the same league" as these IEMs as well as others in this price range, and if you're okay with the sound sig I doubt you'll be disappointed by their performance, but others are certainly free to disagree.
      However, I think others would also do well to remember that when you buy IEMs, you aren't just paying for the sound, you're paying for the complete package--build quaity, convenience of use, etc. and it's in use cases where those qualities are valued that I believe the SE215s still justify their price. Much as I love the two aforementioned IEMs and some others in this price position, they're not the most comfortable or the most isolating, they're relatively delicately built, and the lack of a replaceable cable means that if it breaks, they're done for. I've always wanted one pair of "take 'em anywhere and do anything with 'em" IEMs--built tough, replaceable cable, comfortable enough to sleep in or wear all day, isolating, yet cheap enough that if I accidentally drop them in a river or they get stolen I won't break down in gentle tears. I view the SE215s as that kind of "workhorse" IEM. Best sound ever? No, nothing of the sort, and I've no illusions about that, but they're perfectly listenable, and it's nice to have one pair of 'phones that I know I can pretty much take to war with me. That makes them worth $100 to me, but everybody's looking for something different.
      Either way, nice review! You write quite well, and it's good to see someone give a detailed opinion of an "old favorite" in 2016.
      thatcow, Oct 7, 2016
    3. MickeyVee
      Nicely said @thatcow I do a lot of cycling and worry about my SE535's getting ruined.  So today, I went out and got a pair if SE215's and I have to say that I really, really like them. I was in a hurry so I actually picked the up without even auditioning them. They were perfect on my ride today running from an iPod Shuffle. Extremely listenable and to be honest, I like the darker sound signature especially on the bike with the wind howling around my ears.
      Now at home, I'm listening to music out of my iPad switching between the SE215, SE535 and SE846 and they still hold their own. Are the SE535 5x better or the SE846 10x better.. well, No. But there is that growing level of refinement peaking out with the SE846.
      I've tried a number of sub $200 IEMs including Westone, Etymotic {a brand I've been using for over 10 years}, Sennheiser and a few others and so far, I prefer the SE215. With the replaceable cable {I'm using the Shure iCable for my Apple devices}, great build qualit, decent sound signature, extreme comfort for me and for the price, if I lose these, I'll definitely replace them. Using the Westone Star Tips on the SE215/SE535 and SpinFits on the SE846's.
      By now, you've figured that I like the Shure house sound. SE215 for sports, SE535 for everyday and commuting and the SE846/ADL Cable with the AK300 for at home enjoyment, I'm pretty much set with IEMs.
      The SE215 nicely fill the void/use case/price point that I was missing.
      MickeyVee, Oct 8, 2016
    4. mvtt971
      Fantastic review. I loved my 215's. The only con I encountered is after a couple hours of use, you would be subject to ear fatigue. I, however, feel like this is more from the foam canals as opposed to the sound coming from the IEM's. 
      mvtt971, Oct 11, 2016
  6. Nick Walters
    good warm sounding earphones. Nozzle broke within 1 month (unusable)
    Written by Nick Walters
    Published Aug 25, 2016
    Pros - strong bass, detatchable cable , good resemblance of mids.
    Cons - design - the thin plastic nozzle broke easily, very very uncomfortable for most ears
    I dont want to waste my time writing an essay for something that lasted only 1 or 2 months.
    My Rant and broken Shures in link above 
    The bass and mids were surprising for its pricepoint. There is a drop off in the higher frequencies such as treble for my music tastes.
    Not reccommended as a purchase, as the durability of the actual earpiece is below par. Nozzle broke very easily (as mentioned in cons). I wish shure re-inforced the nozzle with at least a thin tube of metal if we are paying  high price. Knowing that shure also uses these plastic nozzles in their higher end models is a disgrace.
    Comfort of the earphones is terrible for my ears (they are not for everyone). So make sure you have your warranty prepared if the durabilty and comfort crap out for you. It would irritate my ears constantly (like piercing). When compared to the similar style RHA T20s that i have now, the comfort is far beyond shures and the T20s dont irritate my ears at all, even though they have the same design.
    I would recommend the audio technica ATH-IM50s , RHA MA750is and RHA T10(for bass heads). And would reccomend ATH-IM70s and Dunu DN-1000 to the more mid and treble refined.
    1. voxie
      That exactly happened to my se425's. Feel your pain!! 
      voxie, Aug 25, 2016
    2. chicken beer
      Very normal thing to happen. Bad part for SE215 is that it's not worth repairing. They need careful handling and a case is always recommended when not using them. 
      chicken beer, Aug 26, 2016
    3. Redcarmoose
      Past about 40, my nozzle quit working so good, still works, though not as good?
      Redcarmoose, Aug 27, 2016
  7. redpops
    Not for everyone
    Written by redpops
    Published Aug 19, 2016
    Pros - Fairly neutral and accurate. Highs do not hurth your ears.
    Cons - The cable is not as pliable around the ears as it could be.
    These are excellent value for money. Paired up with a basic Fiio X1, these shures sound really good to my ears. They are not for everyone though. those that want thumping bloated bass will be looking for something else. having said that once you get used to it you can actually hear the bass quite separated from the music which is great. Personally I wouldn't describe these as fun, boppy, foot tapping earphones but you will have a lot of fun rediscovering listening to music in a new way (which actually doesn't make sense now I read it). I think they get you listening to music maybe a bit more critically and taking note a little more, especially of your favourite songs. Took awhile for comfort but once you get that they isolate more than enough and are very comfortable. I would say to anyone who is looking for a step up from entry sennheiser, sony etc - do yourself a favour and get a set of these. You wont regret it.
  8. SoundTown
    The Good Overall Package of Questionable Value? – In-depth Review of Shure SE215
    Written by SoundTown
    Published Apr 1, 2016
    Pros - Smooth sound, strong isolation, good build, detachable cables, decent accessories
    Cons - Questionable value due to "underwhelming" sound performance

    I wouldn’t use the word hate (it’s a rather strong word) but I can definitely say that I used to have a heavy dislike for the Shure SE215.
    At its price, I’ve always felt it simply underperformed in terms of sound. The Audio-Technica ATH-IM70, ATH-E40, Vsonic VSD3S v2, OneMore Triple Driver, the list goes on – what all the mentioned earphones have in common is that subjectively, in my humble opinion, they all sounded leagues ahead of the underwhelming SE215.
    Simply put, I felt the SE215 sucked for audio enthusiasts. I thought it was only a safe option for beginners and/or people looking for a gift for non-audiophiles.
    And then I, self-proclaimed headphone nut, received the SE215 as a present myself.
    I couldn’t sell it or give it away, so I thought, “What the heck. Let’s keep an open mind, first impressions from demos be damned, I’ll try this.”
    Now, it’s the earphone I use on the train every morning when I’m off to work.
    How did this happen? Let’s take a look.
    Edit Notes: this used to be a review of the Shure SE215 Special Edition that was not only posted to the wrong product page, but I later realised my SE215 Spe, while very close to the real deal, was likely not authentic. Since receiving the standard SE215 as a gift, I have re-purposed this review to reflect both the correct model and thoughts on the authentic product. Apologies for past and future confusion – I was very new to audio and Head-Fi when I first posted the original review. Since I can’t delete reviews, I hope this effort to edit my past mistake would suffice. Cheers!
    Packaging & Accessories
    Within a standard windowed cardboard box, you get the SE215 with a pair of foam tips along with 3 Shure olive silicon tips. You also get a soft zip case with a clip, and I really wish the case were stiffer or more substantial but otherwise, the accessories are pretty fair in my opinion. More foam tips would’ve also been nice too.
    One of the championing characteristics of the SE215, many owners will tell you the build on the SE215 is great. Not gonna lie, I feel the same way too.
    I could go on and on to describe what hundreds of others have already, or I could give you a succinct summary – the SE215 isn’t flashy or even particularly pretty, but it’s practical, its proven to be durable for a majority of users, and I generally like its construction quality.
    One notable weakness lies in the thin earphone nozzle, which some users have noted to have had snapped off on them. All I can tell you is to be careful when swapping out tips. Also, I personally would not use this earphone at the gym if you’re looking for absolute longevity, since sweat and watery wax could clog up those same thin nozzles. In short, ymmv.
    Isolation and Comfort
    Another Key plus on the SE215, isolation is pretty good. Hands down, I cannot name any other IEM at and below the SE215’s price point that has equal or better isolation. I’m sure there’s some floating around here and there, but certainly not from the big boy brands *ahem Sennheiser Momentum and its giant ass vents*.
    Also, the earphones conform rather well to my ear, though some reports from owners have suggested that the ear pieces were a little too thick to fit in their ear comfortably. I will admit that Shure did improve the fit and comfort on the SE215 Special Edition models, but in general, I’d still say the standard SE215 is pretty solid in the comfort department.
    With good isolation and decent fit, I don’t think it’s hard to imagine why the SE215 is my preference while commuting – it works, end of story.
    Since the SE215 are often touted as “good value” because of a solid combination of rugged build, good comfort, strong isolation, and great sound performance–and the earphones have been doing good so far–the sound is what’ll make or break this highly regarded earphone here.
    For a $100 earphone, the SE215’s bass digs surprisingly deep, deeper than my handful of first impressions from demos at various stores would’ve suggested to me personally. Sure, sub-bass is slightly rolled off from the comparatively meaty mid-bass, but lo and behold, this earphone does actually have some sub-bass rumble and authority. Emphasis on the word “some”, due to the slight roll-off mentioned earlier. Still, the deep bass is a definite plus.
    Moving up in frequencies, the mid-bass and upper-bass are not overbearing or muddy, actually being very controlled in quantity. Managed, but present, thick and meaty, but not wild or flabby. The only gripe I’d have is that it’s a little wooly and lacking resolution, but it’s still what I’d call defined, controlled, and absolutely acceptable – there are definitely worse at this price and beyond. The flabby low-end of the Sony XBA-N1 comes to mind.
    As a result of good bass presence, the SE215 fares quite well when it comes to bass guitars, drumming impact, and even the thumping beat on some synth-pop, but I wouldn’t say the resolution of the bass nor the sub-bass authority would make it jaw-dropping enough for fast, hardcore EDM. My personal preference would be for more defined bass, even if it had to come at the cost of lower quantities, but of course, this is just my opinion.
    Many proclaim that the Shure “house sound” is liquid smooth and clear mids. Though “clear” is most definitely up for debate when referring to the Shure product line-up in its entirety, it’s very fair to say that the SE215’s mid detail presentation is incredibly smooth, even forgiving.
    While not quite muffled or unclear, the SE215 does have a distinct lack of sparkle or presence in the upper mids section, creating a mild sense of mutedness to the sound. I have stated that this is what I find much more preferable to blare or splashy-ness in my Panasonic RP-HTF600-S review, and this still holds true here.
    Especially when commuting, when the volume does need to be louder, this is a very favourable signature. Electric guitars, brass instruments, and other mid-band instruments lose quite a bit of bite when compared to something like the MEE Audio M6 Pro or the much more expensive Etymotic EX4XR, and vocals can sound a tad dull. That said, when outdoors, this is a small compromise when considering the alternative is losing my sense of hearing.
    Similarly, the treble on the SE215 is noticeably rolled off, though I wouldn’t quite say the SE215 is undetailed. Sure, strings, cymbals, harmonicas and other shrill/sharp-sounding instruments can sound relatively clear though a little distant and blunted, but again, the lack of piercing highs is favourable when listening outdoors.
    Sound Stage and Separation
    Both the width and separation of the sound is pretty much in line with the price competition, neither being compressed or tiny in image, but not impressing with outstanding performance either. Imaging and positioning is similarly fair, and I never got the sense that I couldn’t place instruments – that said, it’s not anything that’ll floor me like the Sony XBA N3, for example.
    Overall Sound
    The SE215 is flat, a tad hazy, almost dull and boring sounding. These, however, aren’t necessarily bad traits.
    Critics would say the SE215 is “undetailed”, “not worth the money”, and “over-rated”, pointing their fingers towards other options like the Vsonic GR07 and the OneMore Triple Driver as better value propositions that present more excitement and detail.
    Fans of the SE215 will say this is “balanced”, “low distortion”, and “safe”, the latter point referring not only to sound, but the build, accessories, Shure’s renowned customer service, and overall product likability – yes, people like safe products, and the SE215 is likable because it’s super super safe.
    I personally think both have a point, so this is what I personally tell most people who send me inquiries of the SE215: it’s a good earphone, a tad expensive – a good overall package that isn’t the best absolute value. It’s safe, it’ll please the majority of people, but for some, this sound signature would simply not do. Ultimately, sound is highly subjective, so give as many earphones as you can the chance to demo and decide for yourself.
    There’s plenty of new entries at and below the SE215’s price point that have been threatening its position as “king of value”. I’ve mentioned a few at the start of the review, and have, in fact, owned some of these supposed SE215-killers.
    On the other hand, the SE215 remains a good balance of alright sound, good build, nice comfort, solid isolation, and excellent retail distribution. This is why even today, the SE215 still comes recommended.
    And yes, I’d recommend this IEM now. Time with it has slowly changed my mind.
    I definitely have gripes with the SE215–it’s not perfect-sounding in any stretch of the imagination–but would consider the sound good enough to pass, especially given it’s a clear winner in other categories.
    Not the most resolving, competition-defying, or even awe-inspiring sounding IEM, it’s easy to see why some people, past me included, would abstain from recommending this product. Simply put, it doesn’t sound very impressive against the other excellent sounding alternatives these days.
     That said, the SE215 still does have a unique selling point – it’s uniquely still the only IEM that ticks every single box handily in sound, comfort, isolation, price, and availability. This is why the SE215 persists in popularity, and this is why it is a great product.
    Are there better values? Absolutely. Will sound improve dramatically if you pay more (or less)? Yes, I’d say so. Plenty of other IEMs sound much better.
    That said, the SE215 is practical, easily obtained, and doesn’t really make a fuss, which is why despite its questionable value, it’s still a great overall package that’d make most people happy.
    So, Shure, I hope you’re working on an entire refresh of the SE line, because if you want to retain this position, you’ve got to work for it. Competition is catching up.
    But for now, the SE215 is what many will continue to enthusiastically or begrudgingly recommend, and it’ll be what many–like me–will simply live with.
      groucho69, Adam16 and B9Scrambler like this.
    1. thefaceless0529
      You got the fake shure dude.. Shure's logo doesn't come off very easily.. also the memory wire rubber coat is not as strong as the original..I've got the same problem with the memory wire

      I can tell because i have one..
      though the accessories can make you think you bought the legit one, but it's not..

      I also have legit shure se315 and the cable is way stronger than the fake one..though they look identical but the feel differs
      thefaceless0529, Mar 25, 2017
    2. SoundTown
      @thefaceless0529 I think we're on the same page, I'm pretty sure mine's not legit after having met a handful of people with SE215 SpE units.
      I got the standard SE215 as a gift late last year, so I've replaced the old content with impressions on the actual SE215 now.
      SoundTown, Apr 16, 2017
  9. Voyageur
    Fair value for money
    Written by Voyageur
    Published Mar 30, 2016
    Pros - Full mids and bass; fair soundstage; musicality; rugged design and detachable cable; value for money
    Cons - Weak treble presence and extension; metallic sounding high mids; slightly boomy bass; average comfort
    Design/durability: Excellent build quality as per always on behalf of Shure. The cable feels nice and thick, with a lot of strain relief, and is detachable which is a great feature in this price range. A good thing is that the MMCX connector feels rugged enough to withstand moderate use, unlike with some other brands. The earpiece is made of thick plastic, and the latter feels and looks sturdy. Overall a very good design and beyond expectation at that price.
    Fit/comfort: Average. I am not fond of Shure's memory wire, as it tends to be pretty stiff and could hurt the ear. other than that, the earpiece is quite ergonomic (but could be bulky for smaller ears, not my case). The cable is also heavy, better use a shirt clip, especially for portable use.
    Isolation: Very effective as expected. Low microphonics.
    Sound: Having owned both the SE425 and SE535 (which I both returned) I didn't expect their little brother to actually sound that good. The sound signature of the SE215 is highly colored, but not unpleasantly so. It has full sounding bass, with good texture, but not the best pace/control, as expected with a dynamic driver. As a result, the low frequencies can sound a little boomy from time to time. Mids are typical of Shure: slightly forward, smooth with good definition. Excellent with vocals, saxophones, guitars,.. very silky and coherent overall. However the higher mids do sound a bit metallic and aggressive to my ears. Treble is alright. I didn't find them to be as annoyingly recessed and toned down as on the SE425/535, but this part of the spectrum clearly isn't Shure's biggest asset. It still seems to be lacking definition and presence. Detail retrieval isn't great, they do have a certain veil and can sound too compressed on certain complex tracks. Soundstage is better than most $100 competitors. It is fairly wide but has no 3D feel to it. Instrument separation is good.
    Overall the SE215 have a quite enjoyable sound for most genres, especially jazz, acoustic, pop. They are very forgiving and do sound good should you listen to a 128kbps MP3s or a FLAC file. Funny thing is that I prefer these over the more expensive members of the SE family, and this is no sound signature preference as I equally like the cold and analytical ER-4 and the warm and bassy IE80. To me the SE215 just sound more coherent, natural and musical than many of its bigger brothers.
    Bottom line: One can safely say that the SE215 are a good bang for the buck (got them for 40EUR). I am not a fan of the Shure house sound, but these earphones prove to have a pleasant, laid back sound coupled with good build quality.
  10. dragonchi
    Great while it works
    Written by dragonchi
    Published Nov 20, 2015
    Pros - Warm sound, great seal with olives or comply tips, stock cables have very low microphonics
    Cons - Connection between cable and IEMs deteriotate over time, requiring constant maintenance or replacement
    These are great while they work. There are a bunch of methods to fix them when they eventually lose connection and start cutting out. I've had three of these in the past 5 years. They're pretty awesome while they work. So good, that put up with bending the cable pins back in place, tried to make the connection better by using conductive grease, but now, on my third pair in 5 years, I'm at my wits end with these. On to CIEMs!