Tuesday, June 28, 2011

[REVIEW] Shure SE215

My very first pair of IEM is Shure E3c and I actually still own it (and in perfect working condition too). It was a short tech news section on CNN back in 2004 that introduced me to the E3c and the world of IEM. For a poor colleague student back then, it is quite a leap forward in sonic experience for me. Throughout all these years, Shure has never lost its market dominating status as one of the big three IEM power houses (alongside UE and Westone), continue to evolve with the market yet still holds true to their own house sound. SE215 is the latest and lowest addition to the company new removable cable (SExx5) series, but don’t lets that fools you – this could very well be the best valued IEM Shure has ever made.





SPEC
Transducer: Single Dynamic MicroDriver
Sensitivity (1kHz): 107 dB SPL/mW
Impedance (1kHz): 20 Ω
Noise Attenuation: Up to 37 dB
Frequency Range: 22Hz – 17.5kHz
Input Connector: Gold-plated 3.5 mm (1/8”)
Cable: 64” Detachable (at ear) with wireform fit



Packaging, Accessories, and Build Quality
Packaging is fairly decent and consistent with other models of the new removable cable series. A transparent window to showcase the IEM itself (which is damn attractive when up close) and everything else are stuffed to the back. If anything it is a little tight inside for all the included accessories, including 3 pairs (S,M, L) of black foam eartips (a.k.a. olive), 3 pairs (S, M, L) of grey single flange silicone eartips, a nozzle cleaning tool, the manual and a zippered soft case. All of these are of very good quality, which of coursed is expected. The same conclusion can also be extended to the construction of earpiece and cable. The earpiece is translucent so the inner structure is beautifully presented in front of the user’s eyes. Fit is also comfortable for me, but people wiht very small outer ears might want to think twice. Another warning here - for those who wish to switch the eartips for the first time, do be careful and slow on taking the foam tips off as it can be a little tight, or else you might accidentally break the nozzle. The cable is actually quite similar to the cable on the older Shure– thick and feels fairly durable. There are memory wire on the earpiece’s end of the cable which is good at both holding the over-the-ear shape and providing extra protection to the cable against skin oil. The cable is a bit long, but it is always better to having longer cable then no enough. Microphonics is close to none as it is designed to be wore over-the-ear only. Isolation is great and among the best. All and all the SE215 sounds pretty perfect, right? Unfortunately it is not totally the case. Just read on.





Shure was plagued by cable cracking issue on their early batch of SE530. Though the formula and material were improved after they acknowledged the issue, the complaints never really did go away. For my own opinion, the adaptation of the new removable cable system could very well be Shure’s attempt to fix any cable issue once and for all. With the new system, any faulty cable or crack (even caused by normal wear and tear) can be easily fixed by a replacement cable. Unfortunately it might not be as simple as Shure has hope for. The new cable uses an uncommon free swirling rounded socket that connect the earpiece to the cable instead of the more common two pins socket. The problem with the new socket is that pin on the cable side is actually quite small and it must fit into the tiny tube on the earpiece perfectly or there might be static when the pin is rotating and even worst, cut out at certain angle. The left side of my SE215 has the cut off problem when the cable is swirled close to 180 degree (cable going down instead of over-the-ear) while the right side has no problem at all. Further testing by swapping the cable confirms my theory that it is not an issue of bad cable, but rather bad / loose socket on the earpiece that fails to stay in full contact with the pin at all-time. A bit of google’ing also suggested that the issue seems to be a little more common than what one would expect from simple bad luck and can be found not just on SE215, but also the rest of the series. One must question whether the decision to use a higher-precision-required socket backfires by creating another issue of its own.

While the whole situation might not be as bad as it looks since plenty of users also reported perfectly fine SE215, it is not doubt something to take notice to if you are planning to pick up a SE215 (or actually, any of the new series). My suggestion is to buy the SE215 from a store where you can test it out immediately (or somewhere with a good return policy). If the cable can rotate without causing any issue at first, the chance of a loose socket down the road should be quite small, if any at all. For those of you who already own a SE215 with a loose socket, Shure customer service is known to be very good and you can put the two years warranty to good use.

Overall SE215 is a well made IEM with a small possibility of imperfection. Not enough to get a non-recommendation from me but it is something a buyer needs to be aware of.

Sound Quality
A standard 50 hours of burn-in was given before the review. No significant change was detected. Shure has always had the most consistent house sound among all the IEM makers. It is a sound that is on the warm, rich and generally good in vocal. The SE215 doesn’t deviate much from it, but comes with more dynamic and energy that could punch well above most of its competitor of the same price range.

The sound signature is warm, slightly rich but not obviously full, with good dynamic and soundstage. Bass is well bodied and above decent in quantity. Not enough to call a basshead IEM but more than enough to show good presence / impression. The downsides are that it isn’t a particularly fast or the deepest of bass, nor has the best impact around. It is more about listening to the bass rather than feeling the bass. Mid is the strength of the whole sound. Vocal is well textured, a little warm and sweet but not overly thick, slightly upfront but not in-the-face, keeping in line with Shure vocal centric house sound but not to become overly mid dominance that could drown out the bass and treble as older Shure tends to be. Treble is decently extended to almost 16kHz before rolling off and missing the very tip. Like the bass, it is not quantitatively abundance enough to stand up on its own but still enough presence not to feel lacking. There are some graininess on the upper vocal and around 12kHz~13kHz. Not something annoying or uncommon at this price range but it reduces the overall refinement of sound. Soundstage is actually quite good and it is yet another strengths of SE215. Not the widest or most separated, but still above average and particularly good for its sound signature.

One of the things I like about SE215 is what it has kept and improved upon Shure classic vocal centric sound. It is noticeably less thick and more dynamic, making it much less boring to listen to. It is this ‘fun’ element that injects a new life into the conservative and somewhat dull sounding Shure. In a sense, I guess SE215 is closer to what I would call a consumer friendly ‘popular sound’ that any other Shure that I have listened before, and I don’t consider that a bad thing at all. It reminds me of UM2 - not quite as refined, but livelier and less thick, perfectly fine for fun and casual listening yet doesn’t appear to be incompetent in anyway.



Verdict
I am fairly impressed by SE215 for its price / performance ratio, and that is not something I thought could easily happen with any of the three IEM power houses. When it comes to big brands, I would expect a higher price just for the brand name alone. But for $99, I couldn’t have asked for a better Shure than the SE215. In fact, I would have wholeheartedly given it a Sonic Diamond recommendation for anyone who is looking for a good sounding Shure at a killer price, if not for the hidden concern over some tiny cable sockets. Whether it will worth the trouble of possible return / exchange is a question I will leave for you to answer for your own.

Check out The List for a quick sum-up.

149 comments:

HomoBear said...

A great review which concluded all the important points. Your suggestion to try out the earphone before buying is a great advice.

The only problem now is finding the earphone, most sellers already don't have any more units. Living in KL,Malaysia by the way.

Anonymous said...

Hi, how would you rate this vs Triple Fi?

i found that you dont have a review on Triple Fi, do you mind to do one on this?

how do you feel about upgrading cable?
and how would this usd200 triple fi fare against Vsonic gr07?

Anonymous said...

hi, i also found that you dont buy those high profile iem such as Westone flag ship and sennheiser IE8, :)

any particular reason for that?

Tai / ClieOS said...

TF10 is reviewed way back in 2008 as part of the multiple IEM review. You can find it here: http://www.inearmatters.net/2008/11/past-review-multiple-iem-shoot-out_30.html

If you are looking for an overall ranking, just check out The List. GR07 and TF10 are essentially IEM of the same caliber, with pros and cons of its own as well as difference in sound signature.

The reason why I don't review flagship as often has everything to do with my budget. Big brands usually don't send sample to small times reviewer like me, unless I started to work for CNet or Engadget. So if I want to review these IEM, I will have to pay for them out of my pocket. I don't mind paying for a good IEM, but often I am more incline to buy three cheaper, more interesting IEM to review instead one really expensive flagship. Since I don't sell any samples that is given to me, or in fact any IEM that I bought myself, I can't reclaim any money. As such, I need to spend my money wisely, on IEM that look the most interesting and with better bang for the bucks - on that point, big brands flagship are generally always on MSRP (if not over) in my region of the world, so IE8 is close to US$500 instead of the more common street price of US$250 to US$350 as in U.S. and U.K., that is more than a good reason not to buy one. Westone is about the same here.

AS much as I like my IEM, I am not about to overpay what they worth.

Anonymous said...

thanks for your clarification.

if you ask me, i would say your words carry as much weight(if not more than) those reviewer in CNET/engadget as you yourself are well respected in headfi :)

keep up the good work, really enjoy your blog!

Gene said...

Homobear,

Please visit Lowyat or Lowyat forum garage sales zone, there's more than 3 authorized seller there.

Anonymous said...

Hey cecil I was just wondering would you recommend shure se215 or soundmagic pl50 or sherwood se777 or Brainwavz M3 for female vocal?

Thank you for taking the time to read my comment.

BTW I live in Borneo

Tai / ClieOS said...

Does it has to be among those 4? I would rather recommend you look into Sunrise Xcited, which is right on the same price range as those you mentioned, but better sounding.

Anonymous said...

So sunrise xcited not the xcape impressive edition? then so I'll check out the review and btw where can buy them in M'sia? You're from J.B right?

Anonymous said...

Or can you suggest other earbuds or iem within the same price range for female vocal?

Once again thanks for taking the time to read my post and reply

Tai / ClieOS said...

X-IE is good, but for female vocal, Xcited is better. The really good female vocal IEM under $100 are HifiMan RE0 (which required an amp to sound best, or at least a good source) and Spider realvoice (which is only sold in U.S.). They are not as easy to use / get so I didn't recommend them.

Sunrise can be bought from lendmeurears.com (Singapore). HifiMan can be bought from Jaben Malaysia.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the quick and informative reply so I'll be considering the xcited and re0

Anonymous said...

Sorry to bother again but now i decided to go for the re0, i saw the re1 at jaben for the same price. So which 1 should i go for?
i'm currently using a fiio e5 but planing to upgrade linearrossa w1 so which 1 should i choose?

Tai / ClieOS said...

RE1 is not for female vocal. It sounds dark unless you pair it with a good analytical amp. RE0 is the better bet.

If you get the RE0, my advice is to get the FiiO E11, which is cheaper yet better.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the info^^

Anonymous said...

Hi,

What in ear earphone would you recommend for female vocals that doesn't require an amp. Price range is around $170 or less. I currently have a cowon j3. Thanks. BTW i'm from the UK. Thank you for your time.

Tai / ClieOS said...

This might be a little counterintuitive because of its 150ohm impedance, but I'll suggest HifiMan RE262 for you. It is some of the best vocal around, and it should be sensitive enough to be driven unamped. All you really need is to push the volume up a little bit more.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. I listen to a lot of female Japanese vocalists would the RE262 be suitable. Do you listen to any Japanese music?

Thanks again for replying back.

Tai / ClieOS said...

No, I mainly listen to English and Chinese music.

Anonymous said...

I heard audio-technica headphones are good for female Japanese vocalists but i'm not sure about in ear earphones, do you have any recommendations. Thank you.

Tai / ClieOS said...

generally speaking, AT's headphone are indeed goof for Japanese vocalist. I don't have any particular model in mind, but whatever AT's IEM you pick up, avoid the Solid Bass and lower end models and you should be fine.

Anonymous said...

Which one would you suggest i get. The HifiMan RE262 or Audio-Technica earphones. I'm really not sure which one should i get. Is the Audio-Techinica only good for Japanese female vocalists if its a headphone or are they good with earphones too?

Thanks again.

Tai / ClieOS said...

Since I don't own any top end Audio Technica IEM at the moment or have reviewed them before, I can't really recommend any particular model to you. All I can say is that RE262 is great for vocal and it is my recommendation to you.

Anonymous said...

is the HifiMan RE262 good for high notes. Also how does multiple instruments playing at the same time sound like e.g guitars, drums, piano. Thank you you are really helpful.

Tai / ClieOS said...

I'll say RE262 is more than decent on treble. Not great but more than decent. There is no IEM that does everything right, especially in your price point.

Anonymous said...

I decided i'm going with the HiFiman RE262. Although i've heard good things about the ATH-CKM99s as well. Would the RE262'S work for pop songs also. I might also consider getting an amp-which one would be suitable for my cowon j3. Is the fiio e5 and 11 good enough. Or do i need to get an more expensive one.

Tai / ClieOS said...

That depends on your budget of an amp. An expensive portable amp can go for $500, but for starter, I'll recommend you keep it belows $150. E11 should be enough. The other amp to consider is JDS cmoyBB (if you can't find E11). If you don't want to spend that much money, the new E6 is okay as well.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. is the RE262 ok with jpop and rock songs.

Tai / ClieOS said...

Definitely.

Anonymous said...

My cowon j3 will become a bit harsh and ptchy when it reaches over 30 in sound. Is it because of the earphones. I currently have the sony mdr ex-500. Will the RE262 get rid of that?

Tai / ClieOS said...

I have no idea.

Anonymous said...

Could you also recommend an earphone that will be better than the RE262 if i was willing to pay more and will be suitable for my music tastes? Thanks.

Tai / ClieOS said...

There is only one IEM that I rated higher than RE262. You can find it on the List and search for its review in the site.

Anonymous said...

I listen to alot of old Japanese music. If i don't use an amp for RE262 will it be suitable because the music volume of these songs is already low or should i wait for RE272 since it has 20ohms and also promises good treble along with the good mids and vocals which the RE262 offers?

Tai / ClieOS said...

As long as the DAP is up to par, it will drive RE262 to pretty loud volume. Unfortunately RE272 is not a direct upgrade of RE262. It has an analytical sound which is totally different from RE262.

If you are really just aiming for Japanese vocal and willing to spend a bit more, I actually think Ortofon e-Q7 is a great choice for you. If anything else, e-Q7 is great with female vocal, especially the Japanese type.

Anonymous said...

Would you say that the Ortofon e-Q7 will be suitable for any type of Japanese music from new to old. Because i listen to both.

Tai / ClieOS said...

Since I don't really listen to that much Japanese music, I'll say I have no answer for you.

Anonymous said...

In the list on this websitr it says that the Ortofon eq-7's sound quality is lower than the RE 262 why is that? What is the difference between the two. Thanks

Tai / ClieOS said...

First, find and read the review of both. Second, rating is just a subjective assessment to give the reader a rough idea on how each IEM compares to other. It is not an absolute fact.

Anonymous said...

The ortofon eq-7 looks a bit big. I have really small ear canals would they fit me?

Tai / ClieOS said...

This sort of things require the user to try the IEM first to confirm. If you don't think you want to risk it, then you have to settle for something else.

Anonymous said...

Thanks 4 your comments. In your opinion which one do you think has better detail, clarity and smoothness, the re262 or ortofon e-q7. Also which one does better on vocals?

Tai / ClieOS said...

e-Q7 has more treble detail, but RE262 has better mid and bass detail. e-Q7 has better clarity than RE262, but RE262 is smoother sounding. e-Q7 does better with female vocal than male, RE262 does them both equally well, but not quite as highlighted on the female vocal.

Anonymous said...

You said you listen to chinese music right? Do you listen to Teresa Teng? will the e-q7 be better for that type of musical style?

Tai / ClieOS said...

Sure, e-Q7 is definitely good for Teresa Teng.

Anonymous said...

Can i ask is there a considerable difference between the ortofon e-q7 and IEM's thats 100 USD or more. Because i haven't tried that high priced IEM's before because there isn't any places to try them in the UK. Would a person who's not an audiophile tell the difference?

Tai / ClieOS said...

What you means by 'considerable difference' is always different for everyone. A well trained ears might find it worth while but a regular stock iBud user might find it subtle at best. Unless you are born with golden ears, every audiophile I know learns from their experience, trains themselves to recognize the small difference that are often missed by others and ultimately be able to fine tune their own listening preference precisely. Audiophiles do this by buying and selling headphones in regular basic, this of course is not practical to non-audiophiles. If you believe you are not the type of person that is willing to go the extra miles, then you should just set yourself a low but acceptable budget, and stick to a common, well received brand / product. In this case, the SE215 in this review should be good enough for you and there is no reason why you must have the best around.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all your help and recommendations. I think i will buy the Ortofon e-q7 though as i want to get the most out of my music. I just need to know if the e-q7's is good with Zard and ikimonogakari songs. Here is a link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3D8yAVl2c0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bz_PWwllS1M

Tai / ClieOS said...

I'll said they both sound very good to me.

Anonymous said...

So the e-q7 would sound good with those types of songs. It wouldn't sound harsh. So the e-q7 doesn't have a sharp treble?

Tai / ClieOS said...

I can only tell you I didn't hear any sibilant on those youtube video. As for sound signature, please refer back to the e-Q7 review.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your reply. I have read the review of the e-q5 here and was wondering what will be more suitable for Japanese female vocalists, the e-q5 or e-q7? Especially with the youtube videos i had sent previously. Thanks.

Tai / ClieOS said...

Between the two, e-Q7 is more suitable for female vocal.

Anonymous said...

Hello,

is Jaben Hong Kong safe for buying the Ortofon e-q7? They do not sell fakes do they?

Thanks.

Tai / ClieOS said...

Sure they are legit. Jaben is probably one of the largest headphone chain store in the world right now.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

Are there any silicone tips with a bigger bore size than the grey flex that can be usex with the se215s?

Tai / ClieOS said...

Eartips with larger bore won't fit securely unless you use some kind of spacer (the cut out core of another eartip, for an example).

Anonymous said...

Hi ClieOS

Have you tried the UE700? How does it compare to the SE215 in terms of bass impact, clarity etc?

Thanks!

Tai / ClieOS said...

Unfortunately, no. I have not listened to UE700 before. But from what I have read about UE700, it should belong to the analytical category which means really high in detail. As for bass. I really doubt it can pump out more than SE215. Even among dynamic IEM, SE215 is quite good when it comes to bass performance. These are of course just general info and might not apply to UE100 in 100%.

Anonymous said...

Will the SE215 for ideal for K-pop? Or would you recommend other IEMs for that genre?

Tai / ClieOS said...

Given that I almost never listen to K-pop, I think I'll pass on this question - then again, I do feel SE215 is quite adaptive on most genre except classical and such, so why not?

Szetolf said...

nice review!

I am looking to replace my klipsch s4...

How does Shure SE215 compare to:
Head Direct RE0
Sunrise Xcape Impressive Edition
ME A151

Tai / ClieOS said...

SE215 is comparable to RE0 and X-IE and quite a bit better than A151, but the real question is what kind of sound you are looking for. S4 is v-shaped sounding with big bass and harsh treble, SE215 on the other hand is warm, rich with a good vocal performance.

Szetolf said...

Thanks!
Forgot to mention, I listen to a variety of music... more on JPop (Female singer mostly), KPop and HK Pop...

I guess I am looking better treble and less on bass...maybe better vocal since i find the S4 not as good?

Tai / ClieOS said...

SE215 should be fine for what you are looking.

Yulius said...

Hi ClieOS, very nice review!


I am looking to replace my ER6i

And i'm interested with the overall IEM rank you've posted on other pages.


Therefor i'd like to ask, just by overall how is SE215 compare against Sunrise Xcape Impressive and Sunrise Xcited?

If possible, could you give opinion on which one has better comfort? which one has better sound quality?

Thanks again for the review, very helpful information.

Tai / ClieOS said...

Over, X-IEM and Xcited both sound a tad better than SE215, but it really isn't night and day. They are all quite comfortable, but Shure offers better build quality and warranty.

Yulius said...

Thanks for the respond.

But i still have a difficulty to choose. So if it come to your experience, if you have to pick one from Xcape IE, Xcited, SE215, and HifiMan RE0, considering overall pros and cons, which one would you prefer to pick?

Tai / ClieOS said...

I think you should have a read on this first:
http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/541204/

It is better to pick an IEM that fits you taste than an IEM that is ranked higher but you don't like.

If you are looking for the same sound signature as ER6i, RE0 is probably the best match out of the four. Xcited is a good choice as well. I'll also recommend the new TDK EB950 (still under review), which is also a great choice as well

Koi said...

Hi Tai, i would like some opinion on PFE perfect bass 02x vs SE215? Ive tried both and both have some similar taste, the fun-tight bass, full sized superb sounds, and all that jazz. Yet i still cant decide which to pick. If you ignore the cable problem n 215, how is it?

I personally liked the phonak fitting, but liked the 215 sound, maybe because phonak needed more volume than 215? Cmiiw, thank you!

Tai / ClieOS said...

Actually I would rate them to be on par on SQ. PFE0xx is slightly better technically but SE215 is more fun to listen. There is no bad choice between the two as far as SQ is concerned. I'll suggest you to pick the one you believe you are most likely to use if you have both at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Hi!

Thanks for the very informative review!

Could you comment on how they compare to the Westone 1? (or eventually also to Shure SE315. Shure SE425 would really be the very maximum for cost: I would like to keep costs lower)
Those are the IEM's I can find at a reasonable price considering my budget and aims.

I'm looking for IEM's for use while commuting (train/metro/airplane), for music genres like classical, jazz, (classical) rock, pop etc.
(= a little bit of every genre, but only very seldomly rap or R&B)
So I'm not in need for bassy headphones, yet I like 'good' basses. I give more importance to presentation (soundstage, positioning, not too much 'in' the head)

As it's for commuting, I'm looking for good isolation, good comfort, and also good durability, in a small package. (possibly also falling asleep with them) Therefore I'm looking at Shure & Westone.
Is any of both better than the other for this?

Thanks in advance for any insight or thoughts!!

Tai / ClieOS said...

I have not heard the W1, SE315 or SE425, so I can't comment much on them. Since you listen to a bit of everything and need good isolation, I'll say SE215 should fit your need well. There are other IEM that are better sounding, but not all of them fit your criteria better.

Anonymous said...

Hi ClieOs,

I've always read your reviews. I want to buy some headphones/earphones mainly for use with my laptop and a Samsung Galaxy S (which I understand is a nice source).

I know that you only review IEM but how do you compare to full sized headphones? I am looking for the best sound quality for my sources. I have a fiio E5 that I never use but I could.

The thing is that I don't want to buy something expensive for the sources that I have. What do you recommend?

I own the Etymonics MC5 that I don't really like, I had to glue them and also a lack of bass, really lacks it.

My choices where I am working now are Yamahas EPH-100(I've read good reviews for this one), Shure SE215, Sennheiser HD598, Sennheiser MM 450, Shure SRH 440, 240, klipsch s4, T-Jays two, v-moda.

Thanks!

Tai / ClieOS said...

I really don't know enough about full size to say anything definitive. I have not heard the EPH-100 or any of the V-moda, but at least I know SE215 sounds better than both S4 and t-JAYS Two.

Anonymous said...

Hi ClieOS!!

Thanks for you're honest review and recommendation for the se215 for my use (on commuting for a mix of genres)!

I've been looking for further reviews on the W1 and se315, but it seems very hard to find direct domparisons between the W1 and the se215. But, during that search, I read about the HifiMan RE262, which is in the same price-bracket and gets very good reviews.
As you've also reviewed the RE262, could you give your opinion on a direct comparison between the se215 and the RE262?
Am I correct to deduce from the reviews that the RE262 has better sound quality, but, while still good (!), the RE262 has lower build quality, isolation and comfort than the se215?

I'm curious as to how big those differences are, especially for my use while commuting, for music genres like classical, jazz, (classical) rock, pop etc.
However, I suppose it might be hard to explain/quantify to me how big the differences are without having me trying them both myself. :-)
It's a pitty my Yuin G2 of Sennheiser mx880 don't isolate nearly enough and my Sony MDR-7506 are 10 times bigger. Otherwise I wouldn't be struggling in this vast new world of/lecture about IEM's :-) (though it's fascinating!)

Thanks for all the info!!

Tai / ClieOS said...

The general logic of your deduction is sound. RE262 is indeed better sounding but lose on other areas. Of course, you also have to taken into the account that they don't share the same sound signature. RE262 is primary a vocal centric IEM while SE215 is warm and sweet. Oh, and RE262 is 150ohm and not suitable for weak source.

Anonymous said...

mmh. Thanks!
Do you consider the Sansa Fuze to weak for the RE262? If so, would a Fiio E6 fit the bill, or should I go further to e.g. a Fiio E17, iBasso T5 or D-zero?

I'm also a little bit worried about the comfort offered by the RE262: it might be just an illusion of me from the pictures, but the RE262 seems to me to need deeper insertation and to offer less comfort with their bi-flanges than the se215/Westone 1/... , while the isolation of the RE262 would still be a little worse!?

If that is correct, I would love to have the RE262's sound quality and presentation within the ergonomy and build quality of the Shure or Westone. :-) ...Am I asking to much already for my first IEM's? :-)

Tai / ClieOS said...

You don't have to insert RE262 deeply. Actually the big bi-flange it uses only go into ear canal about half way. The isolation will not be as good as Shure or Westone.

Fuze is only okay for RE262. You will need an amp to get the best out of RE262. E6, though okay, isn't the best sounding amp around. The other three are better. I'll rank their SQ in this way - T5 > E17 > D-zero.

Malin said...

Hi! Thanks for a great site. I have recently bought studio head phones, but it's not working out well... (I wear glasses and have a sensitive jaw, which together have caused me to painful headaches when I use them).

So I thought that I had to go for proffesional in ears instead! I want something that works when I record for in my "home studio" (semi proffesional), but of course I will use them lots for just listening to music. Pop and rock is what I mostly listen to.

I just wonder what you would recommend for me! I'm into Shure since I like the detachable chord and have read much good about them. Some say, though, that the bass is quite low.

I would be very happy if you had time to write a sentence or two of what you think.

Malin

Tai / ClieOS said...

Shure's IEM do get used as stage monitor from time to time. However, stage monitor doesn't always make a good studio monitor since studio monitor usually need to be very flat in frequency response (which stage monitor isn't). It is not to say you can't use it - you just have to know what to compensate for when mixing the track. Other than that, I don't see why it won't work for you.

Anonymous said...

Hi - Really basic questions. I had 2 pairs of Bose and was pleased with quality on my ipod although on certain albums which weren't so 'Loud' the Bose's struggled. Are the Shures any louder? as this will make my decision for my next pair. Thanks for all/any replies

MachineAbuse said...

I've had these for 3 weeks now, picked the up as my everyday IEM to use on the train. Love them! The sound is decent and the isolation is phenomenal, it pretty much cuts out 95% of the train noise letting me focus on the music. Running it off an ATH-PHA10 is an ideal transit set up.

The caveat here is that that it isolates perhaps TOO well; situational awareness is severely impaired. It's definitely a bad idea to wear these walking across a busy road. Also a definite nono if you're around friends/colleagues who need to get your attention. Another downside is that they are a pain to get on and off in a hurry for obvious reasons.

For that reason I use them interchangeably with my ATH-SJ55s as my portable setup depending on what I'm doing that day. Love them anyway! :)

Tai / ClieOS said...

@Anonymous, it depends a lot on what models of Bose we are talking here. You can generally compare to things in the spec to give you some idea of how loud it will be: the sensitivity and impedance. What you want to see if higher in sensitivity and lower in impedance.

Ben said...

I am actually off to buy these now, thanks for the great review! I will be sure to check the cable connections as you say. One thing though, how expensive are the replacement detachable cables should the original ones go? I cant find any pricing details anywhere..

Tai / ClieOS said...

I don't know the online price for genuine Shure replacement cable, but I have seen them in store and priced about 2/3 of the price of SE215, which is rather expensive for the cable itself. Actually I believe the mic+remote cable (which is designed to used with iPhone) is cheaper than just the regular cable, which makes no sense for me on how Shure prices their products.

Ben said...

Thats one expensive cable! In the end I bought the headphones shortly after I posted (had to drive a fair bit to find a store that had them in stock - but was worth it). The cable on these feels sturdy as hell, especially the L-shaped plug, so im not too worried.
The headphones are fantastic, the best pair of headphones I had up until now were the Klipsh image s4's and I can safley say the bass on these shures blows them out of the water (I listen to a lot of bass heavy music). I was a bit worried before buying them that they wouldnt fit as i've read that some people simply dont have the right ears to fit these headphones but they fit perfectly. Fitting them the first few times was a bit confusing but now I have got the hang of it its easy - and they sound great. Thanks for the detailed review and the fast response. Good luck with the blog!

Ashneel99 said...

Hi..how would it compare to the Spider RealVoice.I know you must have answered this several times before, but I ain't getting any clear comparison.I have the se215 for some months now, and I love it. However sound occasionally cuts off from the left channel (milli second under certain angles) and it pisses me off.

Tai / ClieOS said...

RealVoice is a really good vocal centric IEM, but overall I won't say it is better than SE215, nor is it quite as versatile. It will serve as a good alternative if you are mostly listen to vocal based music. Seem like your SE215 has a semi-faulty connector (as I have described in the review). I'll suggest you contact Shure for warranty replacement.

Anonymous said...

Hi. How do you think about the sound quality and value of the aurvana in ear 2s? Are they worth the buy and sound good in their price range or are they overpriced?

Tai / ClieOS said...

You can fidn my review of In-Ear2 here: http://www.inearmatters.net/2010/08/review-creative-aurvana-in-ear2.html

It is a decently good buy, but not going to best SE215 on sound quality or value.

Anonymous said...

Ok thanks. So I checked your the list and it seemed that the aurvana in ear 2 s had a rating of 4.8. Even so, the se215s are a better option?

Anonymous said...

Btw , is the aurvana in ear 2s lacking in bass? I saw some other reviews which stated this problem and said that it was a downside for this pair of earphones.

Tai / ClieOS said...

It has adequate amount of bass for a balanced armature, but not quantitatively big by any mean. For overall rating, check out The List: http://www.inearmatters.net/2009/01/list_01.html

Anonymous said...

ok thank you very much for your help

Anonymous said...

This the by far the most informative Review about the shure se215 Ive read.
Really good job.
Im looking for an inear with a similar sound signature like the Ultrasone hfi 580.
A bit fun sounding yet still clear with female vocals without the bass being annoying after some hours of listening.

I consider the Brainwavz M4 might be the right one for me. Can you give me a little comparison between these two?

Second question is, what do you do with the long cable when you are on the go?
thanks in advance!

Tai / ClieOS said...

Never heard the HFI580 before, just Edition 8. Wiht that as a reference, I think SE215 could very well fit into the similar/same category as the Edition 8 - fun, great vocal, musical yet sufficiently technical.

M4 is really a very different sounding IEM with a deep V-shaped sound, plenty if bass and treble but vocal is not a strong point. It will be what I consider to be an opposite sound when compared to Shure.

I just leave the cable as it is. You'll get used to it after a while.

Anonymous said...

Up until recently, I've been using a pair of Sennheiser CX-300 mkIIs. They were great for their price and also doubled as ear plugs at metal gigs. They died on me a few days ago, and I'm looking for a replacement.

Apart from buying another pair of CX-300s, I've been looking at the Shure SE215s. Are they a worthy replacement? Also, is the cable-socket issue really that abundant?

The genres I listen to are death-metal/dubstep/ska-punk/ambient.

Tai / ClieOS said...

I only have the old CX300 but not the CX300 II, so I can't really make any comparison there. But SE215 is a good sounding IEM nonetheless. I am not sure whether the current batch of SE215 still suffer from socket problem or not, and thus the safest thing to do is to buy it from a reliable place where you can either test it or return with minimum effort.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the advice Tai.

Another replacement I've been looking into, are the Sennheiser CX880s. Here in the UAE where I live, the Shure SE215 and the Sennheiser CX880 are priced the same.

If you have tried the CX880, could you give me an idea as to which is superior to the other, considering the kind of music I listen to?

Tai / ClieOS said...

Never heard the CX880 myself, so I can't comment on it.

Anonymous said...

Alright, no worries. Just to conclude, would you consider the Shure SE215 suitable for the kind of music(death-metal/dubstep/ska-punk/ambient) I listen to?

Also, I don't equalize my music, I prefer listening to it on flat.

Tai / ClieOS said...

I'll say SE215 is a good all-arounder - well adapted to different genres but doesn't excel with any particular.

Anonymous said...

Hey Tai:

Thanks a lot for the review! It was real comprehensive. Just a a question, how long do the shures seem to be able to last for? Cause here in SGP they come with only a one year warranty, and blowing SGD$200 on them, only for them to last a year, is ridiculous. even though i‘ve tried them on before and can safely say that they are worth their price if they last long. Also, is the issue on the audio cutting off very prevalent with the se215? Like, does most of the consumers get the problem with a brand new set of se215s?

Anonymous said...

hi there.

is it will be good for rock?


THX :D

Tai / ClieOS said...

@ 1st Anonymous, Warranty used to be two years before Shure cut it short. Like I say the biggest issue is likely the socket - but as long as you get a pair without an issue in the first place, the likelihood of a problem later on is low. It is usually there at the beginning or no problem at all. I really don't know how widespread the issue goes but it does seem Shure has fixed the problem on later/current batch so you shouldn't face much problem. However, do try it on immediately when you buy it.

@ 2nd Anonymous, as I have said above, SE215 is a good all-arounder.

Anonymous said...

Erm, can i clarify 2 questions i have?

1. What exactly is it meant by audio cutting out?

2. i don‘t really get it when you mentioned that when the cable was rotated 180° with the wire going down instead of over the ears, the cut out issue occurs, but why would anyone want to wear it that way?

Sorry for sounding dumb, but i really didn‘t understand that part of the review :(

Tai / ClieOS said...

1. It means the complete lost of sound.

2. Sure, no one would wear his/her SE215 that way, but you miss the point - it is not about what angle the cable is going, but the fact that cut-off can happen at any angle. It just so happen that my SE215 has that issue on that particular angle, but there are reports from other users that their SE215 cut-off at the normal over-the-ear wearing angle. It is pure (bad) luck.

Anonymous said...

@Tai: Ah i see. Thanks a lot for your help, will be popping into the stores to get em soon. When i tested em at stereo singapore they sounded real sweet, delievering a smooth mid range and a commendable soundstage. But bass wise for me is slightly lacking, cause i came from the sennheiser cx300ii.

Thanks again for your help :)

Anonymous said...

Hi. Thanks for the review tai! After reading this i bit the bullet and bought a set of Se215 from jaben. Its the newer batch so accordingly (and hopefull), shure might have fixed the cable problems with it. But a downside, if the cable of the shures spoil, its not covered under warranty by the distributor, because they deem it as an accessory. So just a question, where can we get replacement cables for shure Se215 without spending too much? My preferred price range would be between $40-$60 SGD i suppose. Are there any reputable online and physical shops that sell the cables for a good price?

Tai / ClieOS said...

Unfortunately, Shure replacement cable is very expensive. In fact, it will cost over half the price of SE215, making the cable more expensive than the earpiece themselves (not really understand Shure pricing logic here).

You can either get the Shure mic cable, which is cheaper than the regular cable (another Shure mystery here), or try your luck on eBay.

Aaron chiuman said...

ya really want buy one but i am in Australia..
the only way is buyy it in amazon hope it be alright ...

Anonymous said...

How good is the noise isolation on the se215? And is the sound quality better than the Bose Mie2i? Thanks very much!

Anonymous said...

How good are the klipsch image s4i compared to the se215?

Tai / ClieOS said...

Never heard the Bose myself, but I never know Bose has much isolation either. That being said, isolation on SE215 is really good.

S4 series is much lower class compared to SE215.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your fast responses. You are amazing. So, to be sure, if I had $100 to spend on headphones, I should buy the se215? I like listening to pop and ballads, thanks.

Tai / ClieOS said...

For a versatile, all-around choice, I think SE215 is hard to beat at its price point.

Anonymous said...

Are these better than the beats tours? And is there a better piur of IEM at the $150 range?

Anonymous said...

Are there there better headphones for $150?

Tai / ClieOS said...

Never heard the Beat Tours.

There are a few better (than SE215) choice out there, but you will need to consider what kind of sound signature you want to go for. Check out my Multi-IEM comparison here: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/541204/

Anonymous said...

Would you recommend the Hifiman RE-262 over the Shure SE-215?

Tai / ClieOS said...

RE262 is 150 ohm in impedance, which means it will need an amp to truly shine. Without extra amping, it will still sound good but not at its best. Also, it has more of an mid centric sound, meaning it is less versatile in music genre when compared to SE215. These are all things to consider, and not just whether an IEM is rated higher or lower.

Anonymous said...

Ok, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Hi Tai. Am considering d SE 215 or Final Audio Adagio 3 and I mainly listen to Jazz music and occasionally vocals. Any idea which to recommend? Tq

Tai / ClieOS said...

Unfortunately I only have Adagio V but not the III, so I can't give you any useful suggestion.

Anonymous said...

Ok. Thanks Tai

Bromeh said...

How do these compare to your Shure E3c? That was my first pair of IEM and I loved the sound (other than the fit) but I left them on an airplane a year ago. In your opinion, is the SE215 comparable in sound?

Tai / ClieOS said...

SE215 is what I'll consider as a major upgrade over E3c. If you like Shure house sound, then I see no reason why you won't love SE215.

Colin said...

Hi. Thanks for your writing you review on the SE215. I have a couple of questions if you can spare a minute.

I'm looking at low cost IEMs for occasional stage use (I sing and play guitar) and while I would like a flat response such as the VSonic GR07 they are difficult to find in the UK. I know the SE215 has some bass emphasis; is this particularly noticeable when compared to a flat-response alternative, or is it quite subtle?

Also, whatever I get would need to be reliable. I have seen references to Shure having updated the design of the SE215 to fix the cutting out issue in the connection, but that could just be optimism and hearsay. Do you know if there has actually been a design update on these or is this just speculation?

Tai / ClieOS said...

Most stage monitor are actually designed to be warmer and smoother instead of being totally flat and neutral. This is done to avoid fatigue in long use. For vocal, I don't think you will have any issue with SE215. However, listening to guitar might be a difference situation as I personally don't find a lot of IEM that are capable of rendering guitar very accurately (especially the timbre). SE215 can do a decent job there but it is far from perfect. However, given the price range (~$100), we simply doesn't have many choice that is suitable as stage monitor.

Shure has since improved the overall build quality of the connector after this review was posted, but occasionally we still see report of failed connector. I don't think it will ever be 100% fixed.

Colin said...

Thanks. I reckon I'll go for it and just deal with any connector problems if they happen. It would be nice to get something like the SE535 but I can't really justify spending a lot on IEMs - I'll only use them on stage about once a month - and if the sound isn't quite perfect it'll still be better than working from a wedge monitor on the floor.

Anonymous said...

Hi there awesome reviews. So my dilemma I own a pair of klipsch s4 running off a sony mp3 player. Altgought im happy with the s4s they are starting to wear a bit. I mainly listen to rnb and hip hop was looking at at getting a pair of shure se215. In your opinion would this be a noticeable upgrade?

Tai / ClieOS said...

More controlled bass, textured and detail mid with no grainy treble - it is not just noticeable, I'll say SE215 is a significant upgrade over S4.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the quick reply will definitely get a set now.

Rafael T. said...

hi,my vsonic gr07 cable is broken after 1 year and i want to buy new inears where its possible to change the cables what do you think will i be dissapointed with se215 after i had gr07 ?

Tai / ClieOS said...

In term of SQ, likely yes.

yohanes setiawan said...

hi,Tai..
i would like to buy either shure 215 or fischer audio silver bullet.
would you hep me to pick, which one does sound better, and how about each of its sound character? i personally like jazz, country, pop, female voices.. thanks for your help :)

Tai / ClieOS said...

Both are about equal in SQ. SE215 is warm in good mid and bass, while Silver Bullet is more v-shaped in sound and particularly good in soundstage. For the kind of music you listen to, SE215 might be a better choice. However, for the same price you could also consider the even better sounding HifiMan RE400.

yohanes setiawan said...

great. thanks a lot.

Unknown said...

Hi !
Do you think theses earphones are the best at this price for listening to jazz-funk and acid-jazz ?
I thinh i might need a very neutral soundstage for that type of music, with no particulary emphasis on bass, mids or hight. But can neutral sound be tiring for the ear ?

I'm wondering if they are not too bassy for a clear sound.

Tai / ClieOS said...

I don't think SE215 will fit into the description of neutral. Yes, a neutral sound (which tends to sound more detail) can be more tiring compared to a warmer, smoother sound - so the choice is really up to you. If you don't have a particular reason to stick to SE215, I'll suggest the HifiMan RE400 instead for the same kind of warm'ish sound. There isn't many good neutral sounding IEM under $100 so I am not sure you will find something as good as SE215 but neutral sounding with the same budget. If you can push your budget higher, Etymotic HF2 / HF5 will fit your description.

NATHAN KIM said...

Great review.
I have recently bought the SE215SPE from South Korea and was worried about the occasional noise from the left unit. Now problem solved. Didn't know that it was a matter of connection. Thanks a lot!

Debojit Biswas said...

I mostly listen to trance music, which earphone do you suggest me, Bose ie2 or Shure se215?

Tai / ClieOS said...

Sorry, no experience with the IE2.

Shanawaz Golamhosen said...

Hi!I've been planning on buying a new pair of iem to replace my s4.but I'm torn between the se215 and the gr07.I listen all types of music.I would have tried them if I could but they are not available in my country.I'll be using them with my ibasso dx50.which one would u recommend?

Tai / ClieOS said...

SE215 and GR07 should all be fine, but GR07 is better sounding overall. Note that there are two version of GR07 and I'll recommend the Bass edition since it is smoother.

Shanawaz Golamhosen said...

I think I'll be getting the shure.the clear one just looks awesome.

Cvk Abhiroop said...

Hey man sorry to bother you, I did a search on google and there seems to be some issue with using the se215 on a galaxy s4? Is this legit? Or is it something I can overlook?

Tai / ClieOS said...

I did a quick google search and it seems the it is mainly a problem for S4 and not the SE215. It very likely due to the low output power of the S4. When you try to push for higher volume, the amp section of the S4 'clip' and produce distortion. Either you have to turn the volume down, uses a portable headphone amp or even an S4 compatible headphone amp+DAC.

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