Shure SE215

  1. riless
    Best Headphone Purchase
    Written by riless
    Published Sep 24, 2015
    Pros - long-term comfort, noise cancellation, great sound quality, durable
    Cons - n/a
    Before purchasing the Shure SE215's, I'd spend $15-30 on a pair of buds that would always break after a few months, at most.  Fed up with spending God knows how much after several years, I decided it was time to invest on some good quality earbuds.  The popular "luxury" headphones to buy are obviously Beats, but after some time researching, I decided I'd go with these. The return policy (free repair / new pair within two years of purchasing if broken) from the Shure website was what motivated me to go through with buying them.  Three years later I'm glad to say these puppies are still as amazing as they were day one.  The sound quality is pristine, and the isolation is almost too good - many a time I've had people tapping me after several failed attempts of shouting my name.  By far my best use of $99.  The only headphones I can wear for over an hour without my ears screaming in pain.  Oh, and I should mention these took a full trip through the washer and made it out good as new.  It makes me wonder how much better the more expensive models can be...I wouldn't be surprised if they blow me away as well! 

    I did see some negative reviews about either of the earbuds being staticky or malfunctioning, and so far that hasn't happened to mine.  I know there is the option to detach the whole earbud from the wire, but my suggestion is just to leave it on, there's no need to do that and potentially mess the connection up.  The foam in-ear pieces can be a little flustering or strange at first, but you'll get used to them after a day or so, and they're much better than the rubber ones.  Along with that, the wire going behind your ear felt abnormal to me, probably because I wasn't used to that type of earbuds, but you'll get used to that as well.  

    Overall, these headphones basically no cons and a ton of pros so if you're on the fence for headphones, BUY THESE! You'll thank me later. 
    1. whitemass
      Eh, I feel your love.
      But as far as you enjoying these, I'm assuming you probably fell in love with their marshmallow deep warm sound, which you won't find much in their upper priced IEMs in that line.
      They're more for reference, and if I were to suggest you try something, who knows.
      whitemass, Oct 7, 2015
  2. Chiek
    Are there any Shure headhones that don't sound good?
    Written by Chiek
    Published Sep 10, 2015
    Pros - Outstanding audio quality for acoustic music, base just right, secure fitting to ear, sturdy detachable cable
    Cons - No remote control device
    I am a big Shure fan given my sweet  experience  with SRH940 and SRH1840 for indoor use. Being an avid mountain biker conscientious of safety (hence a helmet is obligatory), I need a pair of good IEH to pipe in pleasing music that stay secure while I navigate those bumpy trails in the forest. I am ecstatic to say that Shure fails me not yet again with their affordable and simply put, outstanding SE215. 
    Rather than using technical audiophile jargon (which I am poor at and probably mislead with malapropism) to describe the pleasing sound of SE215, I will tell you that folk, indie rock, gospel, pop ranging from Pat McGee Band, Howie Day, Griffin House, Matt Hires, Cary Brothers, Trent Darbs,Jack Savoretti, Unkle Bob, Josh Ritter, Cold Play, Ari Hest, Jon Peter Lewis, Stephen kellogg, Greg Laswell, Matt Nathanson, Jonathon Jones and Brandan Heath (just to name a few) that I listen to, SE215 does an excellent job taking me to Nirvana while I gaze at the reflection of the forest on Lake Songsvann (outskirts of Oslo, Norway). 
    Indeed the design of the earpieces and the hooking cables around the ears are tricky to put on and requires higher than average IQ to do it. But when you get it right, the ear piece stays on. Tugging on the V-shape junction of the cable will actually make it even more secure if you put it on right. 
    Hence it is just perfect for mountain biking. 
    I love you Shure. I am saving money for SE 425. Got to have it for Christmas. 
  3. KewStone
    5 f***ing stars for the best entry IEM in the market!
    Written by KewStone
    Published Jul 30, 2015
    Pros - EXCELLENT isolation! Great low end extension and overall great for fun earphone when you're gymming or just out and about.
    Cons - at $99 this piece has no cons
    The Shure SE215 is the first IEM I owned and was the one that brought me in head-fi. I got mine for around $95 at the time after reading some reviews online here and there. Since then, I've learned to put some faith in reviewers and not assume that everyones a shill for promoting a product.
    I still have not forget the first time I wore this. I was clueless on how over ear earphones worked and I fumbled around but once I got it in, the world outside just completely shut out.
    I was there with my music turned on and it was heavenly
    There is absolutely no reason for anyone not to hear this device once in their life -- audiophile or not, this provides the best value:performance ratio.
    1. ppdv
      @KewStone: Enjoy the SE215. I have been using the SE215 for like 4+ years now... though i got it for a bit higher price at that time. I would agree with the impressions that you have written down. its a VFM product with a clean sound, period. The only thing, purely my opinion, is that damn hard cable that comes with it. I Would prefer a shorter cable (< 1m) and a bit of the braided types, though the only one i can find is a replacement from FIIO cables and honestly don't know how much of value add that cable makes to the headphone ( in terms of comfort, sound signature and durability/usablity.)
      ppdv, Jul 30, 2015
    2. Rearwing
      I agree with everything you have said, a great starter item that rewards the listener instantly............but can be the start of a slippery slope to empty pockets!
      Rearwing, Jul 31, 2015
    3. whitemass
      Eh, I can't agree... I feel the IM02, or the SE315 have more to offer. The SE215 is a good pondering point for people who want a Warm NOT Fun Sounding IEM. And I'm confused on how you got fun sound from this. It's a much more laid back piece. Fun usually is Treble with a fall off, Bass that is boosted, non recessed Highs, & Mids, and a slightly neutral sound.
      This is the Dark Chocolate, meets the Subtle Coffee of Warm Sound, and that's why its reputation for Warm Sound is so appreciated. 
      I'm glad you enjoyed it!
      whitemass, Jul 31, 2015
  4. TRapz
    Fun & Isolating IEM For Only $100
    Written by TRapz
    Published Jan 13, 2015
    Pros - FUN, Isolation, Price, Removable cables, Build quality
    Cons - Cord a bit long, Other IEMs in the same price range may outperform it by now
    I started getting into audio about a year ago; I got my first headphone, the Shure SRH440, shortly after, and have since picked up a FiiO X1, FiiO E1 (used with my iPod Touch 4), an Optimus CD-3450, and, obviously, the Shure SE215. I mainly stick to the cheaper side of things, being a student and not having a job. I listen mainly out of my X1, though I used to mainly listen straight from the iPod Touch. A large majority of my listening on the SE215 was done on the X1; almost none has been none on any other sources, so for this review, all impressions of the SE215 will be from having it paired with the X1. The SE215 has had no modifications (original cable), and is using the small Shure Olive tips. I listen mainly to rock (almost all forms of it), metal, and rap, though I do sometimes listen to a little pop and electronic. Some artists I have on my X1 and may use for my review include Slipknot, Led Zeppelin, Porcupine Tree, blink-182, Jason Mraz, AWOLNATION, and Train. I will list some songs throughout, but I have no particular group of test tracks; all files are CD rips in WMA Lossless, ALAC, AIFF, or WAV. I listen to the SE215 for at least an hour or two a day; I would say there has been at least 20 hours put on them, possibly more. Unfortunately, I cannot provide pictures for this review; I have no camera of my own, so any pictures will not be mine. Also, this is my first review.
    Packaging was simple; just a small box holding the headphones, which were on display through clear plastic. Nothing special, but everything was well-packaged, nothing just floating around and everything securely in place. For accessories, you get a pack full of tips, a cleaner, and a small carrying pouch. I found the tip assortment appropriate for the price. The SE215 has the medium Olives on it, with small and large Olives, as well as small, medium, and large flex tips in the bag. For $100, this is pretty good; two sets of tips, of all sizes, and a strong, but soft case is included. Again, nothing special but appropriate for the price, like the packaging. There's not much to say here because there's nothing special about the packaging and accessories; it's simply appropriate for its price. Design is where things start to get special.
    The SE215 is made out of very solid plastic. I'll admit, I actually slept on them and had them shoved in the side of a recliner, with me shifting around on top of them for a whole night. There was absolutely no damage to anything. It's shape fits well, even in my small/mediumish ears; it's actually pretty comfortable. I've heard others say that the memory cable is a bit short, but I think it's fine; I find nothing wrong with it, and I believe it works very well. The cord is my only complaint, and it's a very small one: it's just a bit too long. I don't find it being a large problem, as I'm used to longer cords, having a long coiled cable on my SRH440, but a shorter cable would be nice. One of the great things about this IEM is it's removable cables. I believe it was the first in it's price range to have them, and if one found the cable much too long, another cable could be purchased. Some say the design where the cables connect to the IEMs was bad due to connection issues, but I've never had any. I have twisted them all the way around, while listening, to see if any problems would arise. None did; I believe Shure has made some small changes over the years, this being one, as well as one to the headphone jack. It's no longer very bulky where the gold-plated jack goes into the plastic, it has a thin section, allowing the jack to fit better though some device cases. This helps a lot for my X1, allowing me to leave the case on. I also enjoy my SE215's clear design. It's pretty cool to look inside and see the wires and components that it contains. Some have claimed that the plastic wasn't incredibly clear, possibly somewhat foggy, but mine are very clear, and look good. Overall, the design is very good.
    I'm making isolation it's own category, separate from design, because it deserves it's own category. Simply put, with the Shure Olives, insert the IEMs, turn on your music, and you hear nothing. I ride possibly the loudest bus I've ever had the displeasure to be on every day, and the SE215 will totally separates me from it. Without music, you'll obviously hear a little sound; I doubt any headphone would block out absolutely everything with no music playing. But turn on the music (between 20-35 on my FiiO X1) and you're encapsulated in your own world, full of music of your choosing. Put in the IEMs, and suddenly your friend, a couple feet away, becomes Freddie Mercury, putting on a personal concert for you, but for some reason mouthing the words wrong. I doubt you could get any closer to total isolation, and for only $100, isolation is incredible; in fact, I think the isolation would be incredible for any price.
    This from Shure's SE215 page:
    Sensitivity107 dB SPL/mW
    lmpedance20 Ω
    Frequency Range22Hz – 17.5kHz
    Cable Style64” Detachable (at ear) with wireform fit
    ColorsAvailable in Clear or Translucent Black
    Speaker TypeDynamic MicroDriver

    These are very easy to drive. I'm sure just about anything could drive them, including a Sansa Clip (not tested by me though). 
    Obviously the most important part. I'll put a couple songs that show my feelings for each section after I review them. Let's work backwards:
    Yes, the highs are somewhat recessed compared to the bass and midrange. No, it's not the most resolving treble you'll ever hear. But it's not bad. For the price, I'm sure you could find something with better treble, but the treble is and never will be a main feature of this IEM. Some cymbals can sound recessed and missing some detail. When there's a lot going on, like in AC/DC's "High Voltage," cymbals are certainly in the background. For this reason, I normally bump up the treble a little on my FiiO X1, though I have not when writing this review. Overall, highs aren't bad; just okay.
    1. The Black Keys - Little Black Submarines
    2. Porcupine Tree - Blackest Eyes
    3. AC/DC - High Voltage
    If you're interested in the SE215, I'm sure you've heard of the famous Shure mids. The mids on these are wonderful. Guitars sound great. Good texture, and pretty forwards. You MUST listen to Porcupine Tree's "Trains" with the SE215. The acoustic guitar seams to be speaking to you. It's addicting. Great detail, incredibly clear. With something like "High Voltage" by AC/DC, guitars are in your face, and the riff being right there in front of you while the rest of the instruments play is very fun and enjoyable. They'll full and powerful, much like the bass, and are addicting to listen to with a good guitar riff. 
    1. The Black Keys - Little Black Submarines
    2. Porcupine Tree - Trains
    3. Led Zeppelin - Living Loving Maid (She's Just A Woman)
    4. AC/DC - High Voltage
    Please listen to Slipknot's "Snuff." It's a song everyone should hear at least once. It's one of my favorite songs and I believe it's a masterpiece. Corey Taylor's vocals are incredible. Now, imagine the vocals being right there in front of you. Imagine the emotion of his voice being displayed privately, only for you, strong and speaking to you. That's what the Shure SE215 does. Vocals have good body, a fullness that surrounds you. Vocals on the SE215 are a joy to listen to because of this. They're very clear, and I would call them detailed. Nothing sums up vocals more than the words absolutely excellent.
    1. Slipknot - Snuff
    2. Jason Mraz - I'm Yours
    3. RHCP - Snow (Hey Oh)
    This is a fun IEM. It's not meant to be totally neutral. Hence, when you put on "Dani California" by The Red Hot Chili Peppers, you're given a strong drum line; that's right, with these headphones, you can actually hear the drums! (Okay, maybe it's just because I'm a drummer, but headphones that are precisely neutral don't bring the drums up enough for me. These do.) The thump of Chad's drums is there with the rest of the music; it's not overpowering in any way. Let me repeat that; bass IS NOT overpowering. I stress this because I was afraid that it would be, and that everything would be smothered by bass, like they were in an older Monster Beats Solo I tried. The SE215's bass isn't like that. It's very much there and it has power, but it isn't shoved to the back. It's certainly not left behind. I find bass to be present enough, while still being tame enough to let everything else be heard clearly and allowing other pieces to still stand out. It's not the most detailed, but it does have pretty good control. It's not muddy or all over the place. Overall, bass is very good on the SE215.
    1. Paul McCartney - Alligator
    2. RHCP - Dani California
    3. The Black Keys - Gold On The Ceiling
    4. Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc.
    This being a single dynamic driver IEM, separation isn't going to be the best. Things can get congested on the SE215, but it isn't terrible. I find Porcupine Tree's "Blackest Eyes" to do very well on the SE215 during the heavier parts, but the instruments don't sound like they're in totally different rooms; just in their own space, while only occasionally spilling over into another's.
    1. The Black Keys - Money Maker
    2. Porcupine Tree - Blackest Eyes
    Overall, I think the Shure SE215 is a great IEM for the price, if it fits your needs. If you want an exciting sound, something that can use bass to pump some fun into you or use vocals to speak to you, and doesn't cost much, this is it. Could you find something with better sound quality for the price? I'm absolutely sure you could. But could you find something with tank-like build quality, near-total isolation, an overall great design, and a fun sound signature for the price? I think that would be a challenge. The Shure SE215 meets my needs perfectly; I needed isolation, I needed good build quality, and I needed a more fun sound, and this IEM delivered that. If you want something perfectly neutral, with tons of detail, this isn't your IEM. If you want a good, fun, isolating IEM for not much money, I highly recommend the Shure SE215.
      ScOgLiO likes this.
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    2. TRapz
      Thanks Tom. I'd love to see a video review on them from you; I've watched many of your reviews, mainly the Havi and VSD3S when I was looking into those. You did a great job on their reviews.
      I agree about the Shure Olives. The isolation is wonderful, exactly what I needed. As evidenced by the my review, the isolation is one of my favorite parts of the SE215
      TRapz, Jan 14, 2015
    3. Lady blabla
      Well written review!!!
      I have also the Fiio x1 and i order this in earphone. (comes today) I hope it will work becouse my ears are so small!
      I have the phillips uptown headphones, but i also have in earphones so i think this ones are a good choice. I only have my old nokia 800 phone in earphones (Sound great btw) But this is i think another level haha.  I had never heard of the band porcupine tree, thanks for that!!
      Lady blabla, Mar 20, 2015
    4. Coldfate
      Great review! I agree to what you have said. Despite having that "fun" sound, i switch to MeE A151P from shure due to having a more neutral sound
      Coldfate, Jul 22, 2015
  5. Dte102
    Great IEMs!
    Written by Dte102
    Published Sep 8, 2014
    Pros - Isolates Great, Glorious Mids, Dem Vocals, Good Bass, Good Fit(Once you find the right tip).
    Cons - Highs were okay, Memory Wire was a "Meh"
    Hiya! These shures were my first into the world of IEMs and the beginnings of my journey to being an Audiophile. Back then, I was skeptical of Beats(and I was right on track back then) and thought Bose was where it was at.  I owned the Bose IE2 before getting my shure pairs, and after that, entered the realm of the audiophile.  Recently these guys broke after around a year of constantly listening to these, and I'm sad to let them go.  Now I have a Sennheiser IE8 which has about a week of burning in. Which I will be using for comparison. 
    Sound quality, The Shure's bass doesn't compete with IE8s, but the bass was still there, just never felt as prominent or warm as the IE8s.  The best thing about the SE215 is that IE8 doesn't compete with the vocals on the SE215.  The Mids were great, and The Vocals were crisp and clear, and whenever it gets to a prominent vocal part on my SE215s, I've always had goosebumps.  The highs on the SE215 isn't that bad, but it isn't crisp and clear as in the IE8s, I would say it's a step lower the IE8s sound for highs.
    The Isolation on these IEMs are great, Shure has done a great job with their olive foam tips, as they are comfortable and give great isolation, I had to mod my olive tips just to put on my IE8s so that I could get somewhat the same isolation as I had before on my shures. Comfort wise, it depends on the cables.  I've used the original stock cables for some time and found the memory wire to cause discomfort at times, other times it worked out.  I then picked up the Fiio aftermarket cables which improve the sound slightly, and gave me a lot more comfort when wearing my shures.
    All-in-all, these are a great little pair of IEMs and a great step for becoming an audiophile, and i would recommend these to anyone
  6. Calbert
    One of the best for the price
    Written by Calbert
    Published Sep 26, 2013
    Pros - Solid mid and bass, price, comfortable, good isolation.
    Cons - tremble rolls off/veiled, bass is not very deep, needs a bit more detail.
    I rate these IEM 5 stars considering their price.
    They are probably the best IEM out there for $100 and below.
    These fits well and are very comfortable.
    Compared to IEMs of similar price, these are rather balanced with a slightly forward mid and a bit more bass.

    The highs are rolled off but I'm ok with that as I don't really like bright ones. It could use some more sparkle though.
    Mids are good, quite detailed but still have some room for improvement, pretty good for the price.
    Bass is rather solid and punchy, although it's not deep, it does a good job making up for the "lack of details" and masking outside noise, thus "improving" the already good isolation.
    I did not have any disconnection issues, the cable snaps into the IEM and is rather secure, but because of the "coaxial" shaped connector, it still rotates after being snapped into place and it's the only thing I dislike about the design.
    Oh, and replacement cables. I wish you luck in finding a aftermarket replacement cable that is cheaper than the IEM themselves.
    Conclusions: You will probably be very satisfied if you are replacing your free earbuds that comes with your phone or ipod with these, and you won't be disappointed if you are looking for replacement of similarly priced IEM. 
    1. CJG888
      Fiio make a good quality, reasonably priced cable which is a noticeable step up from the stock item (on my SE425s, at least...).
      CJG888, Sep 26, 2013
  7. devaeron
    what now?
    Written by devaeron
    Published Sep 5, 2012
    SGS2 with MIUI Rom music player
    Go Vibe's Vest
    Dacport LX + Objective 2
    put these iem's into sgs2 and already doing nice
    give some portable amplifier/dac, in this case i'm using govibe vest and she's already doing great
    put some better amplification and dac, and my ear says that she's a marvelous player
  8. bcasey25raptor
    Good for my first set of real iems.
    Written by bcasey25raptor
    Published Sep 6, 2011
    Pros - Good sound, detachable cords, price
    Cons - a little to much bass, i have heard people having issues with them breaking, annoying design
    So after a month of debating weather I should spring for the Shure SE215 I went for it. I only went for it because Shure has a really good warranty and if I need to use it I can.
    Regarding durability and looks I find they look good because you don't even notice them under my hair. But durability wise i have heard reports of one side stop working. They look solid to me so far so only time will tell. The design and way they fit in the ear is annoying at first but you get used to it. IT irritates me though because i always have to move my hair all the time just to put them on. But once they are on they are solid and stay in place. I also find they are wonderfully comfortable and i can wear them all day. Just make sure you select the right tips.
    Sound Quality
    Here is the part everyone cares about the most. How do they sound? Well to answer that i will have to separate it into 3 categories.
    This is where the headphones shine the most. They have plenty of bass and to me it is a little much but i think they would be good for bass heads. They tend to reach fairly low and seem rather fast in the bass.
    The mids are rather scooped to the extent that vocals and guitars are a little faint. I have some issues with this but overall i am very satisfied with the mids on these. Just don't buy these expecting Shure's well known midrange.
    Highs, what highs? Yes there is a somewhat high range here but it seems to be little. Although i am not surprised considering these drop off at 17khz but i feel the highs are very laid back and are very smooth sounding.
    I find these are very bassy iems and not to be purchased if you want mid or high range performance. These would suit bass heads well imo. They are also very smooth and easy on the ears. Not harsh at all and that makes them very good for sensitive ears.
    Overall Conclusion and Value
    If your looking for sub $100 iems that are very easy on your ears are comfortable and have good bass get these. I feel they compare with my Shure SRH840 decently enough to justify the price. But be warned that these seem to have bad quality control.
  9. seaskimmer
    Amazing bang for your buck
    Written by seaskimmer
    Published Jul 6, 2011
    Pros - Comfortable, nice sound
    Cons - Fit takes a bit getting used to
    Well here's what I have to say about the SE215. I am a high school student so I don't have too much experience with hi-fi stuff but I am an semi-pro musician so I know what good sound is and that stuff. But then again, everything here in this review is purely subjective and should be left for you to decide when you buy :)
    I picked up my SE215's at Best Buy for $99.99 which was a pretty nice deal. I was debating getting these or Klipsch S4's but I eventually caved into buying my first Shure earphones. I am not disappointed at all with my purchase. I have owned Shure mic's and turntable cartridges so I know that they have great quality and customer support.
    These earphones are built quite sturdy with some tough looking plastic. At first, I thought the driver was encased in full arcrylic but it is only a plastic shell. The cable is thick yet soft and the stress reliefs seem adequate. The accessories included are enough for everyday use: carry case, 3xFoam tips, 3x silicone tips. I was a bit surprised though that there were no multi-flange tips included though.
    The fit kinda took some getting used to for me. The primary IEM's I had been using before were the TF10 and SoundMagic Pl30. The TF10 is just weird and the PL30 sit fairly loose in the ear so the Shure fit was different at first since it actually fit inside my ear taking up all the space. It took me about 15 minutes to mold the memory cable into a position that suited me but afterwards it was fine.
    The SE215's definitely sound amazing for their price. I burned them in for ~50 hours using various noises and music. I find the burn in balanced out the sound a bit compared to straight out of the box. The bass is definitely the strong point of these IEM's. The bass is quite punchy and feels accurate. I find there is a mid-bass hump though which gets kinda annoying in some tracks with vocals. Also, it might of just been me, but I find that the bass distorts a bit when the notes go low and the volume is turned up. The mids are adequate: not great but they don't suck either. I find that they just don't sound as smooth as I would prefer. The highs are nice and I find they are able to reproduce quite a bit of detail. I haven't found the high's to sound harsh yet. These IEM's don't have large soundstage and you definitely feel as if you are listening to a recording. But then again, you feel that way when using alot of IEM's.
    I don't have too many IEM's to compare to so I'm just going to skip that part.....
    Overall, I find these SE215's are excellent value considering their price point. They are now my new 'everyday' earphones so I hope that they will be able to withstand some abuse :p They definitely surpass Monster Beats and many other 'mainstream' headphones that may cost even more than these. They can't compete with multi-driver BA IEM's but are good for what they're worth.
    1. Darwin258
      Excellent review in hitting all the relevant categories and in being candid about the weaknesses which makes your review most credible unlike times when a reviewer says the thing is the greatest. I think the small sound stage would kill the IEM option for me. I love my Sony street cans: MDR G54LP which are totally open for $19 and stick with them on top of saving up forf LCDs which are now the real fad and rage. I mention the Sony cans because they are small and that means small soundstage--the thing you get from decent speakers, even cheap ones regardless of crappy tone.
      Darwin258, Jul 8, 2011
  10. Dan S
    A smooth bargain
    Written by Dan S
    Published Jun 2, 2011
    Pros - Isolation, smooth & non-fatiguing sound, comfort
    Cons - Minor cable issues
    With a trip to Vancouver coming up, I didn't have any decent traveling earphones. The best thing I had was a pair of closed-back Shure SRH440s, but they don't isolate well enough to really cut down on airplane noise. Meanwhile, the Shure SE215s were on sale, so I decided to try my first IEM.
    Before I pulled the trigger, I wondered if I should just step up to the flagship SE535s. I have some nice headphones already, and budget headphones can be disappointing. But then I thought, what if I find Shure IEMs uncomfortable? My local Shure dealer does not allow returns on IEMs for "sanitary" reasons, so I'd be stuck with an expensive purchase.
    Sanitary reasons...that seems a little stupid to me. How am I supposed to try them out and see which ones I like best? And can't they just charge me a restocking fee for a new set of eartips? Or have cheap eartips just for testing? It's not like you're getting bodily gunk over any other part. (Ewww...sorry.)
    Here's what I expected from these IEMs after reading many reviews: bass emphasis, smooth sound, treble roll-off, possibly a V-shaped sound signature, good isolation, best-of-breed comfort.
    For the most part, the SE215s lived up to the hype. There is a slight bass emphasis, although not as big as I expected. The treble is definitely rolled off, although the detail's still there for the most part. The sound is very smooth, very listenable. I can't see any recording sounding too bright and sibilant and drilling into my brain. That's something the Shure SRH440s do to me after a while.
    A while ago I bought the SRH840s, looking for a better budget closed headphone to replace my SRH440s, and they had a wild, boomy mid-bass emphasis and muffled, overly rolled-off treble. So I wondered if the SE215s would do much the same thing. Thankfully, the bass emphasis of the SE215s is not distracting or too mid-bass heavy, and the treble roll-off isn't overdone.
    My lack of enthusiasm for the SRH440s and SRH840s makes you think, why does this guy keep buying Shure products? I've used their microphones for years and love 'em. And I guess I'm an optimist. :)
    So the SE215 sound good overall, especially for $90 Canadian. On the negative side, the dynamics aren't amazing, so instruments don't really pop. They sound less live, less 3D, more like they're coming from a recording. Not a big deal, but noticeable.
    Fit-wise, they seal as well as any earplugs I've used, and they're comfortable for an hour or so. The cord is a little bit weird. You run it up and over your ears, either to the back of your head or below your chin. There you have to tighten it, otherwise the wires around your ears pop up, things get unruly, the IEMs start to droop out of your ears, etc.
    I find when I tighten them below my chin, the cord itches my skin for some reason. When I tighten it behind my head instead, it's much more comfortable but awkward to get in place. I guess I'll get used to it.
    Overall, a great value from the perspective of someone who's used many full-sized headphones, but no other IEMs.