Shure Sound Isolating Earphone SE315

General Information

The SE315-CL utilizes a single vented High-Definition MicroDriver for extended range audio with optimized low-end. Designed for both professional monitoring and personal listening, this model integrates a detachable cable at the ear for increased durability and easy replacement, and formable wire for a comfortable and secure fit.

Latest reviews

Pros: Isolation, fit, fast well weighted bass.
Cons: Honky midrange, splashy treble. Not an easy listening experience.
To start this off, i did not pay for my pair of 315. If i had payed for them the disappointment would be vast. 
 
I have a pair of SE215 and while they are not my favourite iem, they have their place. Isolation is great, and the sound is warm and quite mid-forward and matches easy with many genres of music. 
 
The 315 is well, not as good. Simply put. 
 
I had high hopes on the 315, i really had. However upon first listen i though they sounded a bit strange. On some tracks like some 90s death/black metal or Bob Dylans earlier work they shine. Clear midrange and nice air and separation. Overall clarity and balance is a joy. 
 
But on some tracks there is a honky shrill in the midrange. Almost like a shout. It´s hard to explain but i think most listeners with some experience will notice this. To name some examples: Dream Theater, Soundgarden, Incubus, Ghost are not really enjoyable with the 315 just because of that honky midrange. 
 
If you want to monitor vocals and bass during a live performance, they will do a good job. But for a purely enjoyable listen, not so much. 
 
I am by no means a bass-head and i do like a forward prominent midrange and i absolutely like my treble. 
 
Oh i better say something of the overall design as well.
 
They have a very nice fit and good isolation. The connectors had held up well for me but i don´t remove the cables very often. The eartip selecton included should fit all users and are of very high quality. 
 
However the Cable on the 215,315,425 and 535 is crap. It´s to long and it gets very stiff over time, even more so if you live in a colder part of the world. I have bought a third party cable for my two pairs and i would suggest you do the same. There are many to choose from and the price is about 10-15 USD. 
 
Save your money and get the 215 if you want a pleasing slightly warm and forward sound signature. The 315 definatly have some tuning issues which is a shame. The single BA have some great potential here, but the tuning is off to my ears. 
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RERO
RERO
It's not a balanced armature though...
Arvan
Arvan
Well, it´s not a dynamic driver. Shure SE215 looks totally different inside and you can clearly see the driver. In the PDF for the 315 they first say balanced armature, and in the spec sheet they call it a "Single High-Definition MicroDriver" Is it magic?
Pros: Isolation, accessories, comfort, okay sound quality
Cons: Bass, too bright sound, fatiguing at loud volumes
 Disclaimer: I use the earphone without an AMP, and the point of reference is a HiFiMAN HE-400i, i know they are not nearly similar, but they produce sound (only similarity) and I don't have another earphone (or headphone) in this category to compare it to. One more thing: I am a headphone guy, the only reason for me having an earphone is the need of on the go and away from home music listening sessions due to increasing addiction. 

 
 So, in June, as the summer begun, I knew I was going to be away from home a lot, and won't be able to take with me or use in all cases my HiFiMAN HE-400i, I had to buy an earphone. In my opinion, earphones are the most convenient for portable use because of their versatility. You can use them in a lot of ways and situations when headphones would be too big or uncomfortable (for example: when running). I chose this because of it's form factor and style, the amount of included earpieces, and the way it's worn, which makes it sit very safely in your ear (earphones slipping out was a big problem for me). After that, I started to look for used ones, to get the most out of my money. After a few days, I found a guy selling this barely used SE 315 for half price (purchase price was 107$), it was a no-brainer for me, I bought it. Now, that you heard the backstory, let's get to the review.
 
First of all, the sound signature: bright. For me, very bright, which has it's certain pros and cons (probably more cons than pros) that I'll talk about later on. 
 
 The Bass: It's very odd, for me. The fact that the earphone is bright, should make you assume that it doesn't have outstanding bass. Well, this is correct, but the bass is rather just odd, than bad. This is because it delivers pretty nice, it's tight and has a satisfying humph. Until a certain point, because the extension and depth isn't very outstanding, although, it's quite difficult to find truly good, neutral/warm/balanced sounding earphones in this price range that have good bass and mids/treble at the same time. Also, the upper bass loses it's power and gets a bit quieter as well as becoming rather hear-able instead of feel-able, that is, unnatural, because of this, I feel like the mids and bass are a bit separated, not merging properly, and this can be disturbing. Moreover: the bass doesn't give a nice, enjoyable body, or warmth to the music. It's just there, lying around on the side, alone, with his own little "territory" separated from all other sound. This might be the biggest complaint I have according to sound quality.
 The Mids: I am in trouble when talking about mids, because in my opinion, this range is the most difficult to describe without having a respectable amount of experience with different headphones, for example: I've never listened to a Grado, or other mid kings yet :frowning2: But, as far as I can tell: little bit messy (especially on lower end, not merging with the bass). It's not nearly bad, it's just might not be as good as the other ones, it's neither recessed, nor raised, seems to be on point. Different layers of sound cannot be differentiated as easily though, mostly due to the nature of earphones, and lack of multiple drivers, the slightest details in that 5th layer won't catch your attention that easily or take control of you, this earphone has only one driver each side and that's just incapable of recreating a sound this complex and diverse. It isn't as good as a headphone with the same cost, but then again, it's "only" my earphone, and I am satisfied with it.
 The Treble: It's nice, pretty, sparkly, though sounds aren't pronounced enough, for me. Treble should be the fastest, most responsive, and very strong, distinct, while being as accurate as possible. A lot of treble sounds, for example a cymbal should be a very edgy, very fast and aggressive starting and insanely quickly ending sound, to a degree that when it's over, you start to think about if the sound was really there in the first place. Just come and go like a lightning, by the time you'd realize it's there, it isn't anymore. It lacks a bit of that, though this is in fact a quality of pricier sound equipment (like the HiFiMAN HE 400i). 
 
Other sound attributes: the soundstage is better than what i expected, which makes me happy, because of how important it is to me, you don't feel like the source of the sound is literally in you ear, you can feel it moving in space, coming from different directions, changing constantly with different layers of sound, sometimes you even move your eyes involuntarily to look where the sound is coming from. This is something that not every earphone is capable of delivering, and gets a lot better with more expensive ones. Now, one more thing that might make you reconsider buying an earphone over a headphone is that the sound is not very fluid, you don't feel very immersed with the sound (more on this in previous parts), there isn't enough body and detail to the sound to be able to fully merge the layers together (bass and mids for example) which would achieve a constant flow of sound, without it, it doesn't you suck in to take hold of you to only let go after the track ended and you start to wake up from delirium, it's just not good enough, although, again, better headphones in this price range might be capable of it.
 
The miscellaneous: The eartips are wonderful and you get a lot of them, so that you will surely find the one that fits your ears best and achieves the best possible isolation. The cable is very very good, it's a normal plastic cable but there is just no problem with it whatsoever, it's replaceable as well. Big thumbs up! You'll also get a nice soft-cover case/pouch, to keep it tidy and together in a compact space, when you take it away and don't want a cluster of cable in your pocket. Comfort-wise the earphone is very good, even outstanding... as soon as you get used to it, because you'll have troubles with correct insertion, and placement in the first few weeks, which can cause pain in your ear, to a degree that it could even discourage you from using it in the future (almost happened to me), even though it's just a beginners lack of experience in correct insertion. This isn't the earphone you crank up the volume with and enjoy music even more, because you will hurt yourself that way, better sound equipment just don't get fatiguing with increasing volume, because of their sound which you rather feel instead of hear, and feelings don't really hurt us physically. And one more thing: take your time and try ALL the included eartips, because finding the right one is crucial for having optimal isolation, comfort, and a non-slippy experience.
 
Overall, I'm satisfied with the Shure SE 315, it does what I wanted it to do, serves me well in all the situations my beloved headphones can't, and in spite of the worse audio-quality, I enjoy listening to it, some tracks can even sound better with the emphasis on the main melody. You probably won't be using this as your daily driver, either because you are a headphone guy (or speaker or earspeaker, or whatever else) or you really are an earphone-guy and you're using a better one. And while there might even be a better choice for this price, I think this is still a pretty strong competitor for someone who wants a really versatile earphone for activities.
 
Enjoy your music!
 
Pros: Built Like A Tank, Overall Sound Is Great
Cons: Memory plastic over ear can be uncomfortable, Cable is a little stiff
This is a review for the Shure SE315's, first a little about myself I don't consider myself a hard core audiophile like most people on this site. I am 38 years old and I am just your everyday listener who appreciates quality sound. I have been into Hi-Fi audio since I was a teenager mostly full size speakers. What do I consider an audiophile, someone who pulls those ear buds out that came with your phone or ipod or mp3 player, someone who takes the time to download there music in a lossless format, someone who reads a ton of reviews of the sound quality before they buy it. I work in a machine shop so I wear iem's for 8 hours straight, and I have tried many and have quite of a collection. But the Shure SE315's are one of my everyday go to iem's keep reading and you will find out why. I will not bore you with a long detailed review since there are many other detailed reviews and I try to aim this at your every day listener that seeks something better.
 
I purchased these about 7 months ago for about $199.99 before these I was using V-Moda  ear buds that I was quite happy with for work but they got caught on a machine and ripped the wire right out. I try not to use any thing over $70 for work incase the cable gets caught or snagged on a machine, that's why I was using V-Moda ear buds for the price they sounded pretty good and they lasted a long time.
 
 
Specifications
Frequency Range                  22Hz-18.5kHz
Sensitivity                              115db SPL/mW
Impedance                             27Ohms
Noise Attenuation                  Up to 37db
Input Connector                     Gold Plated 3.5mm plug
Cable                                      64" with wireform fit
Single balanced armature with tuned base port
 
The Package
The Shure SE315 come in a package that pretty much serves its purpose for shipping and taking home. Its nothing to right home about, it protects them pretty well with the plastic housing they sit in. Its not the typical box I would keep or display but I keep all my boxes for resale if I decide to part with them(not going to happen).
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Accessories
S,M,L Foam Sleeves
S,M,L Flex Sleeves
1 pair of Yellow Foam Sleeve
1 pair of Triple Flange Sleeve
1 Black Carrying Case
1 Ear wax cleaner
1 Shirt clip
 
All the accessories fit nicely in the carrying pouch even all the sleeves.
 
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Build and Fit
Like I said I wear iem's for 8 hours or more a day, comfort is one of my most important things I look for. I started off with using the foam medium sleeves the ones you have to roll between your fingers. I find these the most comfortable for me after about an hour I forget that there even there and the isolation is pretty good. Even though these were my favorite sleeves I couldn't use them. Since I work in a machine shop I found that they isolated to good and having to remove them to talk to people. And I couldn't roll them between my fingers to stick back in and out all day especially with my hands full of oil and coolant. So I switched over to the medium grey olives, these I found were not as comfortable, but I could easily take them out all day and just jam them right back in. The only problem with these is in the summer with sweat they tend to slide out a little bit but nothing major. Now the cable is a different story I prefer a shorter cable I have to take the excess wire and coil it up and stick it in my pocket I guess I could always buy a shorter one. The cable is very stiff when I first got these after a couple weeks the loosened up a little. Here is the biggest problem I have with these the memory plastic that wraps around your ear is to thick and very uncomfortable after a couple hours. Also the slide on the cable to secure them on the back of your head doesn't work to well, I find myself messing around with it all day. It might sound like I have a lot of problems with the cable, there actually very minor complaints for the type of work I do. The Y splitter is pretty durable and every part were strain relief is needed is pretty sturdy.
 
One of the reasons I choose to wear these most of the time is there built like a tank. I store them in there little black pouch and toss them in a book bag with a lot of other crap, so they see some abuse and hold up very well. These things can take a beating. The cable is indestructible I constantly get it caught on something all the time and it is still in great shape. I also wear these all summer long with no air conditioning in the shop, I can work up a good sweat and they have never failed or have I ever had any issues with the signal cutting out.
 
Connection Shure uses is a MMCX connector, I like these over 2 pin connectors because they swivel and just feel better for my liking.  When I first got them they were very hard to take off I was afraid I was going to brake the shell. But the female port is mounted in the shell pretty good and after time they loosen up for removal. I don't take them off that often except to clean the terminal.
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Sound
The most important part of any iem or any kind of speaker. For every day use at work I pair the 315's with a Sony Walkman NWZ-S764 mostly mp3's. One of the reasons I use this source is because of the radio function I listen too a lot of talk radio at work. You can pretty much drive these with anything and they sound good, they don't sound bad at all with compressed music. I don't know why but when I listen to mp3's the lower end sounds better with the volume turned up. When I have the volume down it sounds a little distorted and muddy. It is very easy to crank these up they don't break up or distort at high volumes so be carful not to over do the volume. When I am at home I use WAV files and either use one of 2 dac's my Audioengine D1 or FIIO Andes E07K hooked up to a Lenovo Ultrabook. It pairs the best when I use the FIIO, for being a single armature everything sounds like it should  there is plenty of low end when the music calls for it. The low end isn't as deep as the 215's but its sounds more natural and smoother. The highs are crystal clear but they are not bright at all they sound balanced with everything. The mids sounded a little forward when playing rock or alternative music it seemed to jump out on you. In my opinion the mids sound the best with hip-hip and electronica. With hip-hop the lows are very clean and sound as if it were coming from a full size speaker. Also with pop music the mids sound more natural then with rock. With live music the lows sound so life like as if you were there, you can hear the singer breathing into the microphone, you can tell the difference of all the instruments playing. Its amazing what you can hear compared to cheap ear buds. My daughter listens to Ariana Grande, in one of here songs you can hear her take a big gulp of air in before she hit an extended note and it wasn't even a live recording.
 
Overall
Sorry I don't get to in depth they way I describe music, its just not me and I am a terrible writer. I think the price for these is just right, maybe a little cheaper as they continue to add to the SE lineup. For your ever day user that wants more then using ipod buds or the ones that come with your phone and can spend a little money these cant be beat. The average person doesn't want to spend more then double digits on headphones, ear buds, or as we call them in ear monitors. The build quality alone is worth it, you will get many years of service out of these, cheap ear buds last teens about a month before they tear them apart and have to get a new pair. So do your kids a favor or your self and buy them something they can appreciate for the sound. The sound of these is impressive especially how they don't over emphasis any frequency and reproduce sound naturally. At this price point the Shure SE315's are way overlooked, if you have the 215's and are looking to upgrade and don't want to shell out a lot of money these are for you. I want to say thank you to everyone that contributes to Head-Fi since I made an account there hasn't been a day I haven't been on it. 
whitemass
whitemass
Thanks for this! I don't usually buy into the High End range, but I want a Balanced Armature Driver IEM for a risky, but cheap price to fit into my collection. So far from what I've read, your review varies from a realm of other I've watched, but is much appreciated.

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