Shure SE-215 – PREFACE
I have always been a Shure man. The first set of higher audio phones that I have ever owned and started this mad obsession was the Shure E2C and what was to follow was a love affair, since I have owned the E3C, SE210, SRH440, SRH840 (I still use the pads on my Fostex t50rp) SE530 and se535 along with my favorite the se425. There was always something about the design, they look like proper bits of kit and fit me perfectly. This is my first extended period with the se215 and thanks to Audio Affair for providing them for review.
THE MEAT OF THE REVIEW
Shure SE-215 – Packaging – (7.5/10)
Pretty simple really, no real fanfare, and that’s what you can come to expect of Shure. Small box with the usual marketing bumf and presented nicely.
Shure SE-215 – Accessories – (8/10)
It’s pretty good, nothing too fancy or crazy but everything you would want with the kit including a selection of tips to ensure a good seal and a nice carry case. I would have preferred Shure still gave out the old hard case for a little added protection, they used to include this with the e2c, no biggie this one actually has space to hold a small MP3 player such as a Clip or Fuze so that’s a bonus.
Shure SE-215 – Looks and Build Quality – (9/10)
Stunning, simply stunning. That on both the looks and build. I mean come on look at the picture to if that isn’t just gorgeous I don’t know what is. The build is also stellar, gone are the cable problems of old that used to plague earlier Shure models, and here we have the best stock cable in the business (yes I include the GR07 in that). It will last for ages I am sure and is also covered under the brilliant 2-year warranty. In case something goes wrong after those 2 years are up the cable is detachable so feel free to add your cable worth many times the price of the phones themselves.
Shure SE-215 – Isolation (8.5/10)
These isolate extremely well with the tips being as good as they are you almost always get a good seal. They aren’t up there with my customs or my er-4s but they are great nonetheless. It would be increased further if you wear them with a deep insertion but really to get the best out of them you want to go shallow.
Shure SE-215 – Fit (9/10)
They are monitors after all and the over-ear design combined with ear guide technology keeps them snuggly in place. They would be perfect for the gym and musicians on a budget who don’t want to yet go full custom.
Shure SE-215 – Sound Quality (8/10)
A very very good sound quality was observed during the Shure SE-215 review.
They adhere to the Shure focus on the mids and simply put I would find it hard to justify the increase in price for the 425 for the average listener. Consequently, it is much preferred to the 315 of which I wasn’t a fan of. Unlike the others higher up in the range the SE215 still uses a dynamic driver as opposed to a balanced armature, this is absolutely no problem as the driver never feels slow or lagging in the way that other dynamics in the price range do.
The soundstage is big here the sound is open and airy a particular quality that I am fond of as it emanates a sense of analog reality.
The lows – Bass is certainly bigger than the balanced armature big brothers, however, I had expected it to be a lot bigger given other opinions I have read. It does have authority but keeps pace and never muddies. It has a few decibel bumps off a flat response but to me, this is the way it should be.
The mids – It’s Shure! what more would you expect? The mids are lovely they always seem to get them right in this regard they have a slight warmth and realism especially on guitar and piano. Vocals are outstandingly clear and engaging.
Treble – The treble sits to the back of the spectrum, it is done well though. No hints of sibilance here.
Shure SE-215 Review – CONCLUSION
Shure is onto another winner here, the se215 performs extremely admirably in all areas, there is nothing at all I dislike about them, of course, I have other preferred phones but I could quite happily live with the Shures. Build quality is outstanding, Looks are outstanding, Warranty is Excellent and Sound quality performs great as well especially for those lovers of the Shure house sound. To get anything else close to what you get in this package all things considered you should be over $200, these come in at $99 that’s a steal if you ask me.
Update: In 2020 Shure released the Aonic 3 earphones which are designed as a direct replacement for the SE215.