Shure SE215

cuiter23

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Good bass quantity, Smooth vocals, Outstanding build quality
Cons: Overall sound resolution, Bass is slightly boomy, Treble extension lacking
Before reading below, Please check out my in-depth YouTube review of the Shure SE215 as well! Please support my new channel by clicking "like" and sharing it with your friends :)
 
0.jpg

 
Background Information
 
Before I begin, I picked these up at my local music store for $99 CAD. They currently retail for $124 CAD and I believe $99 USD. Street and used prices vary widely with the SE215s.
 
First of all the reason I rate the SE215 4/5 stars is primarily because of the value it presents under the $100 mark. You will be extremely hard pressed to find a pair of IEMs at this price with such rugged build quality along with its very likeable Shure house sound. Although it is not the most detailed IEM out there it is one of the best in this price point and users who are looking for this type of sound will be satisfied. I also find that this IEM directly caters to the average consumer's preferences due to its plentiful mid-bass impact as well as the forwardness of the midrange especially with male vocals. 
 
First of all, being a dynamic driver IEM, it does have its strengths and weaknesses. However, it is hard to fault the 215s due to the price you can obtain them for and these shortcomings are nothing major. I personally, am a huge fan of the Shure house sound. Having previously owned the SE315, SE535 and currently own both the SE215 and SE425s I can easily say the SE215 hands down present the best value out of all of these. 
 
View attachment   View attachment
 
 
Accessories
 
The SE215s don't come with the full Shure "fit kit" that you get with the SE315s and up. Therefore, it is lacking the 1/4inch adapter, the yellow foams, and also the triple flanged eartips. Although you do get a good enough selection with the SE215s with 6 pairs of tips in total (3 pairs of foams + 3 pairs of rubber). Included is also a soft shell case which is a nice touch but don't expect it to protect your IEMs if you plan to toss it around in your bag as it is prone to getting squished. For that, I would recommend a hardshell case like the Pelican 1010.
 
View attachment  View attachment
 
Build Quality
 
Two words - Simply Outstanding! Definitely a class leader in the build department rivaling many competitors at the $1000+ range. I am happy to see that Shure did not cheap out on the SE215s and maintained the rugged build quality from the SE215's older brothers. Although the SE112 which was released not too long ago does not have this rugged build (which is forgiveable considering the price). The SE215s build just exudes quality and durability. I can clearly see that these were built for professional use.
 
The L-Shaped 3.5mm gold-plated jack has a very bulky and industrial design. Strain relief is probably the best I've encountered on any IEM. Although it is important to note that there is a high chance that the SE215s will not be able to fit in your phone cases.
 
View attachment
 
The Y-Splitter is even more impressive. At no time do I feel that the cable will break or tear apart.
 
View attachment
 
The detachable cables are the selling point of the SE215s IMO. Although the Shure connectors are hard to pry off at first, once you get used to them it should be quick and painless. If the cable does die on you (which I highly doubt) replacements can be found for under $50 a piece.
 
View attachment
 
Comfort
 
Overall decent for me. You will either love the over-the-ear design or hate it. I'm impartial. Although I do still kind of lean towards just a traditional wearing style. It's a lot easier and doesn't require 2 hands. It can be a hassle to put on at first when you are not used to it after a couple days of putting them off and taking them off you get used to it. However, with the over-the-ear design, the SE215s reduce microphonics to a minimal. This is also great for stage use as it keeps the IEMs from moving around while you are moving on stage. 
 
The negative profile and ergonomics of the SE215s are also a plus. They are suitable for listening in bed as the driver housing does not protrude out so you can lie on your side comfortably. The design of this is very reminiscent of a Custom IEM (CIEM). 
 
Sound Quality
 
Probably what most of you guys are expecting! However, I am slightly dissapointed to report that the overall sound quality (SQ) is the SE215s weakest point in comparison to its build, comfort, etc. This is not to say they sound bad, but at this price if you are solely looking for sound quality, you may need to look elsewhere. 
 
Bass
 
With the SE215s you can expect thumping bass with good body and impact. The lows do bleed into the mid frequencies but due to the abundance and forwardness of the mids, the midrange is never masked. However, the bass at times can get slightly uncontrolled and boomy on tracks that have quick transients as the dynamic drivers of the SE215s are unable to keep up with the quick decay. Electronic music therefore sounds a bit slow and congested in the lower regions. That is why I prefer slower tracks with the SE215s such as Hip-Hop/R&B. I wouldn't say the SE215s have a good amount of sub-bass but on the contrary, they are more mid-bass focused. They lack the rumble in the lower regions sometimes (Dru Hill - Angel).
 
Midrange
 
Definitely the highlight of these IEMs. As with every Shure SE model that I've heard (up to the SE535s) I find the midrange to be extremely forward and very likeable. You get that warm midrange that works well with vocals and genres such as R&B, Soul. Great also for slower songs such as acoustic and singer-songwriter stuff. Jack Johnson sounds particularly good with these (Jack Johnson - Banana Pancakes). Great amount of detail retrieval in the midrange and just overall a pleasing and buttery smooth experience. Male vocals sound great but female vocals can sound slightly restrained (depending on the singer) as it does lack that upper-midrange to treble sparkle and energy.
 
Treble
 
Only the SE535's have only slightly impressed me with the upper regions. The SE215s I can confidently say that they lack of any sparkle or shimmer in the treble regions. Cymbals and triangles seem forced at times and it feels like trumpets have their mutes on (even when it is being played without the trumpet mute). Many times I can't even hear or barely hear passages in the upper registers without looking for it closely. Not at all impressed with the treble extension on the SE215s.
 
Soundstage / Imaging
 
A very narrow soundstage both vertically and horizontally. Due to the fact that these IEMs lack extension on both the top and the bottom, it is a very mid focused with everything sort of congesting in the centre. The sound is therefore in your face which is a good thing for music professionals who need that sort of reproduction on stage. Not too good for HiFi listening though as the instruments are slightly harder to pick out.
 
As described above, the instrument separation is just average, therefore the imaging is just decent as well. Most instruments are heard but once you get up to more demanding tracks the SE215s start to fall apart. On more convoluted tracks, the drivers of the SE215s are only able to pick up the main instruments in the mix leaving a lot of background / secondary instruments not able to be heard clearly or even at all sometimes. Therefore, it does lack transparency in this sense. The placement of instruments does not give you a 3D feel but the 2D left and right panning is done well.
 
Final Impressions
 
All in all, I love the SE215s and use it for work (DJ) where I can throw it around and not worry about breaking it due to its rugged professional design. I also have the Sensaphonic custom sleeves on there which improves the isolation and bass response. It also has the bass quantity that I need when performing on stage. These are my go-to IEMs for under $100 for a well-rounded warm sounding IEM.
 
The Shure SE215 deserves a solid recommendation for me due to the fact that it is comfortable, and most of all built like a tank! Sound quality is quite good as well but if you are critical about the finest details, then I would suggest the HiFiMAN RE-400 or the VSonic VSD3 both under $100. To many people who are not used to flat sounding headphones/IEMs these will sound amazing and are very versatile. However, to the more discerned individual who listens to nothing but neutral headphones, these may sound bloated (although most likely an exaggeration) and lacking in detail.
 
Tracks Discussed:
Dru Hill - Angel
Jack Johnson - Banana Pancakes
 
--
 
Happy Listening!
 
Kevin
ActiveTechREV
ActiveTechREV
Thanks for suggesting an alternative for more detail.
cuiter23
cuiter23

TRapz

500+ Head-Fier
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
INTRODUCTION & ABOUT ME:
 
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 & ACCESSORIES:
 
View attachment
 
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.
 
DESIGN:
 
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.
 
ISOLATION:
 
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.
 
TECH SPECS:
 
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). 
 
SOUND:
 
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:
 
Highs:
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
 
Mids:
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
 
Vocals:
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)
 
Bass:
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.
 
Separation:
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:
 
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.
  • Like
Reactions: ScOgLiO
TRapz
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
Lady blabla
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!!
C
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

damianmb

Head-Fier
Pros: Sound
Cons: Quality Control... or defect in the design?
I barely used them... got one pair and a few months later the left earpiece started cutting sound. The retail shop opened them and did a messy job, were working and then stopped. Got a 2nd pair, same issue.
 
Please don't buy them. I got a SE535 and they don't seem to have any problem, time will tell.
 
I'm writing half star because so many people have this issue too... cannot write anything about the sound if they keep breaking.
PrincessZero
PrincessZero
I'm sorry to hear that, but I own both the CL and LTD 215's and have beat my 215-CL half to death and they still work and sound great. Even with my now owning the 846 I plan on using my 215's for sleeping and traveling. 

Dinerenblanc

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Clarity, Great Mids, Detachable Cables, Comfort, Flush Design
Cons: Rolled-off Treble
Ah, yes. The SE215, quite possibly the most popular entry-level IEM on the market at the moment, and for good reason. These headphones are perfect for any budding audio enthusiast thanks to its exceptional performance in the mids and its welcoming warm profile. While not as bass heavy as its counterparts, its still plenty serviceable. The treble is a tad rolled off, but this is common with IEMs in this tier. Additionally, the building quality is superb. There's an adequate amount of stress relief on the cables, and the cables themselves are detachable; a feature rarely seen in earphones at this price. As an added bonus, the earpiece sits flush against your ear, allowing you sleep with them on if you'd like. Come on, I can't be only person who listens to music as they sleep . . . Anyway, if you're someone who's looking to enter the world of audiophilia, these are the IEMs for you. :)
asarin
asarin
Thanks for the review.  Count me in as another budding audio enthusiast who began his journey with the SE215.  Comfort - check.  Isolation - check.  Relaxed, mid-bass centric sound - ditto.  That said, other IEMs have been added to the collection and in this price range, the AT IM70 is worth a listen if you like mid-centric sound with the advantage of deeper, cleaner bass and better treble reach  but retaining the overall relaxed presentation.
Dinerenblanc
Dinerenblanc
@asarin Thanks for the recommendation! I did a quick search for them and man are they in limited quantities. They also seem to be a Japanese import, am I correct? Anyway, I'll definitely try to pick them up and give them a whirl.
asarin
asarin
You are correct. I got mine from  Amazon Warehouse Deals (for the convenience of an easy return if needed).  Needless to say, it turned out to be a worthy IEM and definitely a keeper!  

SawItComing

New Head-Fier
Pros: Reasonable price for a detachable cable IEM, good sound quality, comfy, can sleep with it due to its negative profile fit
Cons: Highs are a little lacking, IEM nozzle looks fragile,cable’s although good but not as good as the clear cables from Shure
Before I begin with my review of the Shure SE215, all of the belows are solely what I’ve managed to get out of the SE215, I suggest to give it a try or read some other people’s review to get a clearer picture of the IEM, as my opinions are not absolute and other ears might have listened differently 

 
Sound: Mids are good on the SE215 but not the best, vocals sounds great, clear and crisp, highs are thin ( I notice a slight muddiness on the highs * maybe it’s just me ) the lows although it’s considered to be bass oriented, but I can’t really feel that this earphone is anywhere bassy, although I have to say that the bass that the SE215 are clear and sounds like a live session than those night club type of bass ‘ XP 1 kinda bass ‘ many people actually misunderstand that. It’s safe to say that the bass the SE215 produces is a clear bass and not “bassy” bass. 
 
Soundstage: More of “V” shape staging, not extremely wide not too narrow.
 
What’s in the box: IEM and cable, Soft carrying pouch, foam and silicone tips.
 
Verdict: The SE215 is no doubt a good IEM, reasonable pricing for an IEM that uses detectable cable, tho the highs can use a little extension but at the end of the day it's a 4/5
 
Happy listening :)
lsamod
lsamod
Can you do some comparisons?

Dte102

New Head-Fier
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

Allucid

Caution: Incomplete trades.
Pros: Amazing sound (for the price) flat profile, value for quality, good cable connector, removable cable
Cons: Expensive acessories, hard to fit (takes a few moments of stupidness to fit them to ear after storage), thick cable splitter
I bought the SE215ltd from Headphonic.
Cost me $139.00.
This almost completely knocks out my V-MODA M100 and V-MODA XS out the water.
If you fit them improperly, they're amazingly uncomfortable. This is probably where the bad reviews come in, because they don't read the manual.

Songs used (with a FiiO E17 DAC.

Flume & Chet Faker - Left Alone [FLAC]
Everything I just said. But 10 times better. The vocs shine, I can't really find fault in the treble at all. There's a bit of clipping, I turned it down and it seems to have stopped. I just wish the E17 was as slim as an iPod touch so I could carry it everywhere.

Chet Faker - Cigarettes and Loneliness [FLAC]
Chet's vocals came out clean. The intro is my favorite bit, with the intro vocs, and the Shure / E17 combo nailed it.

PALMCO - SALT [FLAC]
The DAC doesn't really do much but make the sound cleaner and smoother for this track. It makes it less fatiguing and easier to sleep to.

Melech - Hate God [FLAC]
Melec's vocals shine. Amazingly. It sounds almost like I'm hearing the live recording of his voice. I love it.


I don't have much energy to write a full review on the DAC side, but basically almost everything said was subsidized and all the problems disappeared with the DAC. Next up I'm going to buy a good DAC, as the E17 is okay but clips due to the quality.

The guy who served me was great and it was a nice drive down to pick them up. I'm so happy with my SE's as I went from mid/low end in ears to an actual canalphone. Couldn't be better, can't get over the comfort and the sound!!!!

I prefer IEMs now over headphones. I hate the effort it takes to wrap cables, carry cases when you can have the IEM and be done with it. There's so many cables you can get for the SE215, you wouldn't really need over or on ear phones again with this quality of IEM, talking about mid-range headphones but everyone's preference is different.
  • Like
Reactions: awry
awry
awry
Nice review. Agreed on how these punch above their price point. Still a very relevant pair of IEMs despite new competition like the IM70 from ATH which sound better to my ears but definitely loses out on build and fit. No regrets getting a used pair of the old 215s for jogging and gym. Still going strong after 3 years. 
 
Disagree on foam tips killing the bass though. Quite the opposite for me.  
Allucid
Allucid
Foam tips for me just don't cut it.
Brought out my E17 with a LOD for my iPhone 5, it's like half a DAC haha. The low end is increased this way, but what annoys me the most is the GOD DAMN cable at the back of your ear, with the flimsy 'memory wire' which makes it annoying to take off. Easy fix, buy the FiiO cable. Doing so, will post impressions. Stock cable costs way too much to replace, build quality is eh, rather get a silver / gold plated Teflon cable that's braided.
awry
awry
The stock cable is quite meh but is pretty hardy. I never believed in spending more or even an equal amount for a cable than the actual IEM/Headphone itself. Doesn't make sense to me. Fiio or Oyaide cables, both less than 60usd I think, would be the only change I would do for a 215. 

squallkiercosa

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Decent sound quality, detachable cable, sealed (not vented), strong bass response, reinforced cable, did I mention detachable cables?
Cons: Expensive mic cable, despairing treble response, swiveling mechanism can be annoying, the ear pieces are quite big for the small dynamic driver
I don't consider them nice or even fun thinking about sound, but every time I'm working out I feel like I made a great investment. Going out with my Westone 4R or my customs make me feel paranoid to some extend. 
The Shure isolates incredibly well, just like an Etymotic without the (tips reaching my brain) sensation. I was amazed to see such an extraordinary achievement in a non-vented dynamic driver. I haven’t heard anything like it (leaving aside BA)
The Shure sound natural despite the treble attenuation, guitars sound more or less right but the bass bump is discouraging (not a bass heavy person) A proper description will be like a musician from a pop band: He might play like a pro but never will be at the center of the stage. 
I just hope to see more IEMs in a few years like this one. 

zach8278

New Head-Fier
Pros: Cheapest IEM i've seen with a removable cable, great bass and vocals; Great durability, excellent noise isolation. Optional mic cable
Cons: Treble could be better. Earphone jack could be slimmer
Introduction:
My big sister purchased the SE215s from the Shure website a long time ago, so forgive me if I do not know when they were purchased exactly. She ended up giving them to me because she was having some complaints about the earphones giving her headaches... Anyway, I have been listening to them for quite some time now and i thought i could write a review. Let's give it a shot.
 
Bass: Deep, well extended, and punchy. They nailed it with the bass. I don't have much to say about the bass other than it is great.
 
Vocals: Rich and detailed. For $99 dollars, they knocked it out of the park by setting a $99 standard for how earphones at this price should sound.
 
Treble: Acceptable given the price. While the treble is not the star of the show, it has enough detail to make the earphones sound solid, although it could be better.
 
Conclusion:
Now, this world is filled with plenty of good sounding earphones and headphones, but as i said before, these have set the bar in my opinion for how every $99 pair of earphones should sound. The removable cable is a really nice feature, so you can replace it when the time comes. It comes with foam and silicon eartips, so finding a suitable eartip should be no problem. With all these things combined, i find it very hard to skip consideration with these.

10shot9miss

New Head-Fier
Pros: Sound isolation, removable cable, confortable for long listening period, well built
Cons: not really, cables are bit too hard

The sound isolation is really good with the sponge ear pieces, IMO better than a few of Sony’s active noise cancelling in ears (maybe active noise cancelling work better for low frequency e.g. during fight) I can hardly hear people talking right beside me. It’s also quite confortable. I won’t comment on the sound since it has dynamic drivers, out of the box it sounds average, give it some time and the sounds should improve quite a bit. Real good earphones!
 
Update:
i thought these are going to sound better after burn in, but it dosen't, still sounds bit dark.

Krisman

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Bass detailing
Cons: Mids completely lack details, flat soundstage, harsh treble with a nasty metallic upper treble range
My rating may at first appear harsh but I just want to clarify up front that it is an absolute subjective rating not comparative.
 
I really thought these would blow me away given all I have read about these but once again Shure have failed to live up to the hype. I cannot argue that the price is very attractive given the build quality and fantastic comfort but that does not influence my feelings on the sound character of these.
 
In summary I found the following:
Highs - Nasty metallic 'piercing' sibilance with a lot of tracks not matter what was driving them (iBasso DX50, Xperia Z, FiiO E17, Denon MC6000 etc.) There is a good amount of detail but these were so fatiguing I could not listen for more than 20 - 30 minutes at a time.
Mids - Subdued and with certain tracks can completely disappear behind the highs/bass. Very disappointing. When the mids are there they lack deepth and width. Instruments fudge into one another instead of being nicely seperated.
Bass - For me this is the strongest point of the SE215s. Well extended but not 'mega bass' levels. Controlled, detailed and fade in and out nicely. Not too boomy. Very good overall.
 
I just want to reiterate my score is based on an absolute rating NOT when taking price into consideration. I personally do not like to include price into the equation as is muddys the results as prices of new/used earphones can vary so wildy.
Master Of Coin
Master Of Coin
Not many shops offer the try you buy when it comes to in ear, not shure i want to demo a pair that someone else has used before.
so no, its most likley just to buy and be happy or not,
 
But why hate and keep it instead of just get rid of it, simple as that.
 
I know i rid myself of stuff i dont like, and keep the things i enjoy, like my shures!
 
Just to be on the safe side, get your hearing checked, i know i have, its easy to get a hearing impared if you are woring in a noisy enviroment!
Krisman
Krisman
You can buy online and send back to retailer if you don't like.in the UK we have long distance selling regulations and if a product doesn't match your needs you have 7 days (I think) to return for a full refund.
What makes you think I still have them? If you look at my inventory you can see I do not have them anymore!
I go to an audiologist twice a year to check my hearing thanks, so I know that is fine (for now) :)
seanwee
seanwee
Love the heated comment argument , I support HIGHLY Krisman as I found the Shure SE215 to be SERIOUSLY UNDERPERFORMING in terms of SQ for the price. The money is better spent on other IEMS.
 
Sure, this may be decent for the price at its time of release but now its just JUNK. If you want nice sound and build quaity you can get the Audio Technica E40 which has SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER sound compared to this overrated piece of ****.
 
Sean Wee, over and out.

starlan

New Head-Fier
Pros: Build quality, accurate mids, deep but well-behaved bass, detachable cables, excellent isolation
Cons: Sparkle could be better, not the most comfortable, don't love the memory cable
Bought those as a portable go-to set (subway use, airplanes, travelling, etc.) and am so far very pleased. I previously used Etymotic IEM's (ER-4P and HF3) which are known for their clarity and brightness but also lacking in warmth and bass impact. However, after loving the sound of my new over-ear full-size Sennheiser Momentum's wanted something a little more fun and dynamic sounding. The SE215's fit the bill. They have a nice warm sound with emphasized (but typically not overpowering) bass, very good and forward mids and slightly rolled-off highs.
 
The dynamic drivers sound fun and are engaging. The isolation on these is superb, easily blocking out subway noise without having to turn it up high (I use the black foam tips, also know as the 'olives'). 
 
On the negatives the sound could benefit form a little more sparkle and treble extension but otherwise the music coming out of these is very pleasing to me. On occasion (depending on genre) the bass can also sound a little over-emphasized if you're paying close attention. But more often than not it basically makes me rock my head! Basically if you like the full-size over-ear V-Moda M100's these will provide a similar sound and impact in IEM form but with better and more forward mids but less emphasized treble (less V shaped sound profile). Surely, there are better IEM's in the market (including higher-end models by Shure) but as the title says these provide great bang for the buck.
 
Other complaints are that I don't find them the most comfortable for long durations but I think that may be par for the course for IEM's as many people don't love Etymotics either (though I always thought they were quite comfortable with foam tips).
 
All of this has to be put in context however and for $99 these are just great sounding headphones with very good isolation capability and build quality. In fact, I think the same comments would apply even if they cost twice as much which to me makes these achieve a great price to performance ratio.
Gilly87
Gilly87
Agreed on all fronts! I have trouble taking those who say these are "muddy" or "bloated" seriously; either they exaggerate snobbishly, or haven't heard consumer headphones in way too long :p
sannychez
sannychez
Hi there i had a question for you. Are the 215's any good for rock i've been looking for some rock/alternative iem's and i guess these might be it i just wanted some input on someone who has them.

Calbert

New Head-Fier
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. 
CJG888
CJG888
Fiio make a good quality, reasonably priced cable which is a noticeable step up from the stock item (on my SE425s, at least...).

thelostMIDrange

1000+ Head-Fier
Pros: nice fit
Cons: sound
these did not quite work for me. there was an oddness imparted to the sound for the music I listen to. Did not really want to use these. but boy they did fit nice....perhaps I got a bum set or should try the upper end shure's, as I do love their old V15 phono cartridges, but then I think of how much I dislike their modern cartridges......and you see my dilemma? 
rololo88
rololo88
I need to change my Klipsch S4i, the right driver is dead (works a while then stop) . Do you recommends the Shure SE215 over the Klipsch?
 
I was very happy with the way they sound just sometimes too much bass lol

slavetical

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

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

BOTTOM LINE: Highly recommended. Best value in its class. I echo the sentiments of fellow users on this forum - the 215s are a lock. 

VolkswagenFox

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Good sound, forgiving sound signature, great isolation, detachable cable, you can use them as earplugs
Cons: Bass can get a bit annoying, highs are rolled-off
I've been a fan of Shure IEMs for a while. I had the E2c, E3c (two of them), and SE210 previously. Problem was the cable over-the-ear design. The cable going over the ear sucked in moisture, became hard and brittle, and finally broke. I wore my E3c like earbuds, which thankfully saved them from their demise and today they still live on, unlike the others. I was thrilled when I found out that the SE215 came with a detachable cable. Broken cable? Just replace the cable with another one. An excellent feature, especially for an entry level IEM.
 
Sound
There is a bit too much bass, though it's fun for electronic music. The treble roll-off gives an illusion of lack of detail, but also enables them to work well with badly recorded music or low bitrate files (like youtube videos). Midrange is very good, as is with all Shure products I've experienced. Over all the sound signature could be considered as warm.
 
Comfort
I find these very comfortable. The medium black olives are the best for me. I can wear them all day, and sometimes I do.
 
Overall I like these quite a lot. Cheap, portable, isolate really well (I use them as earplugs in noisy situations), forgiving sound signature, great comfort, and detachable cable make these a winner for the price.

mathchris

New Head-Fier
Pros: seal, cables
Cons: comfort
I like these more than my Monster Turbines. Less good than the Shure e4c, different price point I know. They're more difficult to insert than the average IEM. Other users seem to find them comfortable enough but not me, not at all. Extended listening gives me a bit of pain. The ear tips are fantastic, it's the phones themselves & how they angle into my ear plus the cable. Initially I wanted to replace my broke e4cs with a current $300ish Shure IEM, I'm glad I picked these up so I know not to go with the current Shure designs on the pricier models. The sound is good but I've never "loved" these headphones like I have others in the past.
Being disappointed with three well reviewed $100ish IEMs (Turbines, SE215 & Bose IE2), I might save for pricier IEMs and stick with "out-ear" when there's only $100 in my pocket. 
Master Of Coin
Master Of Coin
Nothing wrong with the comfort, for me its a nobrainer, you cant find many iEMs that you can use in your sleep, but you can that with these
and if you can sleep with them on you no matter what side, then its comfortable enough.
 
Nuff said!

julian67

500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Sound, comfort, great value, long life
Cons: Replacement cable price (complaint is specific to UK). Case not as good as older Shures.
I bought these in February 2012 for £75 at amazon.co.uk and have used them every day except for about one week when I was awaiting delivery of a replacement cable. Typical use is with a variety of personal players (iRiver H140 and H340, Sansa Clip+, Archos A43IT) as well as with PC audio and occasionally with home audio. I listen to many kinds of (usually lossless) music but most often orchestral, choral, vocal, instrumental, rock, pop.

Price and value:

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

Durability:

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

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

Comfort:

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

Isolation:

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

Sound:

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

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

Other:

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

Overall it's hard to find fault with these IEMs at £75. Criticisms are few, small and qualified while positive attributes are plain and abundant. You get the same mature design, easy comfort and good build as with the most expensive Shures, and sound quality that doesn't feel in any way modest. I would unreservedly recommend these to anyone who wants to spend a moderate amount to get a huge sound upgrade over the buds supplied with their player/tablet.
Master Of Coin
Master Of Coin
@ Julian, and cheaper if they get stolen, dont matter if you have azzexpensive earphones if you have to watch out all the time, and get the hazzle with the police and insurancecompanies, you can only get so much out of an insurance until they start to question your motive!
 
For me its a nobrainer, they are not the cheapest, i have three shures in my collection, the SE 215 my kid has most of the time, but anyway, if i go outside, i bring them, not the 535s for example, i only use them in my studio!
Maybourne
Maybourne
Good review Julian.  I've had the SE215s for about a year now and I'd say your review is spot on.
 
Well done.  
GoingInIEM
GoingInIEM
I can't agree more with your review.  The SE215's is definitely a great value pick. 

gunnertown

New Head-Fier
Pros: Tight bass, good seal, clear mids
Cons: Lacks sparkle
Good one to have as a backup. Dynamic driver is not a complete letdown. But won't suggest this as a daily driver.

Gilly87

Member of the Trade: ApeSonic
Previously worked for Echobox Audio
Pros: Cheapest IEM I've seen with a removable cable, great bass and vocals; full, dynamic sound. Ultra durable, excellent isolation. Option for mic cable.
Cons: Treble lacks extension, fit not for everyone due to bulky connectors and so-so memory wire (not a problem with mic cable)
I will report back for a more in-depth review of the sound, but for now suffice to say that I love the SE215 and it is my go-to beater IEM when I'm not willing to risk my UM3X. It does bass and vocals exceptionally well, which are my two biggest desires from any headphone. Durability is unparalleled, especially for the price. I take these everywhere: workouts, running, beach, etc. and never feel like I have to worry for even a moment about anything going wrong. They are isolation monsters, too; they made great commuting companions when I took the train and bus to work. They are usually my first recommendation to non-audiophiles who are sick of crappy Skullcandies giving out after a month or two of regular use, unless the person in question has small ears and/or is after a cleaner sound.
 
Overall these have my full support; if you don't have small ears, and want an IEM with great bass and awesome isolation that is built like a tank, you can't go wrong here.
  • Like
Reactions: Jube and egosumlux
Top