Shure SE215 Review: An all time favorite of the audio community
It seems to have been around forever but they Shure SE215 remain an extremely popular set of earphones for those looking to step up from the world of budget IEM's. You can easily find the SE215 for under $100 online and in the high street but how do they compare against the wave of cheaper options for the Chinese budget hi-fi gear that has taken over in the past few years.
Build and Design
The Shure SE215 is a set of over the ear monitor earphones utilizing a micro-driver to produce the sound. Build quality is really exceptional as I have had my set over 3 years now and apart from the cable wearing a bit they look almost brand new.
The build is also backed by a 2-year replacement warranty by Shure whose customer service is second to none when something goes wrong. They are designed to be worn as stage monitors by musicians and therefore meant to take a beating.
Available in a few different color options the SE215 are also a very good looking set of earphones. Stylish in their own right they also have detachable MMCX cables so can be used with upgraded aftermarket options.
Fit and Isolation
Getting a good fit with the SE215 is simple. Loop the cable over your ear, lift and insert. The SE215 comes with a great selection of ear tips but the standout is the famous Shure olive tips. These grip the ear and make the earphones very comfortable for long term use.
Isolation is above average due to a combination of medium depth insertion and the large driver housing blocking out unwanted external noise.
The Shure SE215 has what can be considered as the Shure house sound. They sound like less refined versions of the companies far more pricier models like the SE425 and 535.
Bass is elevated its punch but doesn't convey a sub woofer style impact.
Mids are pushed forward and very smooth. They are on the warm side of neutral but definitely, the high point of the earphones overall sound. Absolutely no upper mid peaks exist so these would be an excellent choice for people who are sensitive to sibilance.
The highs are laid back and smooth. With the right tracks this works well but when paired with some jazz I often wish there was a little bit more sparkle to the top end.
The presentation is quite dry, not a highly energetic sound and it best suits rock pop and mainstream genres.
Imaging is ok and at times they sound a bit cramped when it comes to soundstage but we have to praise to low levels of background noise.
Since I first reviewed the Shure SE215 a lot has changed and the rise of budget earphone brands from China has seen a lot of earphones come out that put up a big challenge to western companies.
I would put the build and design of the 215 against the very best in the sub $100 category but when it comes to sound there are plenty of other options that I prefer.
Another earphone that has been around for a few years the MA750 are exceptionally well built and have one of the best warranties in the game. They also have deep punchy bass, smooth airy mids and a touch of sparkle on the top end.
Final Audio E3000
They aren't going to match the 215 of build or styling but the E3000 is one of those crazy amazing sounding earphones. Highly energetic, big soundstage and lots of detail all from an earphone costing $50.
1More Triple Driver
At under $100 the one more triple driver is just outstanding. Build quality is exceptional as is the styling and accessories but it's the sound that you will like most. Highly detailed, accurate and musical they are one of the best sounding headphones for the money without exception.
Sennheiser Momentum 2.0i
Perhaps one of the biggest names in audio Sennheiser produced a winner with the second version of the Momentum earphones. Tight punchy bass, fairly big soundstage and mids that really make vocals stand out they are just an all round great set of headphones. Go for the i version if you want to have microphone and call versions
Final Verdict: Shure SE215 Review
It seems like time and the competition have started to catch up and in many regards even surpass the SE215.
We still love them for their style build quality and the fact that you can buy them in just about any major electronics retail store. However, sound wise there are earphones out there that can now match the sonic performance for less cash and in the case of the 1 More triple drivers even blow them out the water for the same money.
Still a great earphone in its own right but perhaps it's time that Shure thought about updating the 215 to keep them competitive going forward.