Shure SE215 Review
We were looking for a new set of inner ear monitors (IEM) and after much research, we decided on the Shure SE215 ($99.00 CAD).
Tldr; they’re pretty amazing and difficult to beat at this price point.
We’d like to point out that Shure SE215’s are not earbuds. They are in-ear-canalphones or IEM. We consider earbuds less desirable since they fit in the opening of the ear — usually just outside the opening of the ear canal. Therefore, earbuds are often less comfortable, they tend to fall out of your ear and they are usually cheaply made. If you’ve ever used Apple earbuds or earbuds that came with your phone, you know what we’re referring to. IEMs on the other hand sit inside the ear canal and typically create a seal to block out external sound and form a sealed acoustic chamber to achieve a fuller sound (head-fi.org). We believe that once you start using IEMs, it would be hard to go back to standard earbuds.
Deciding which IEM to buy is not an easy task as there are many different makes and models in the market. To illustrate this, take a look at the following review of 227 IEMs. Therefore, we needed to narrow down our search.
In our experience, most earbuds or IEMs tend to break at the cable level (not the driver itself). Have you ever have a set of perfectly good earbuds where the sound would cut off in one ear once in a while? It’s pretty aggravating and most people usually end up tossing the earphones. It seems like a waste since it’s usually only the cable that is broken. If you’re crafty enough, you can probably fix it yourself by attaching a new cable to the driver… but we’re not that handy. As a result, we limited our search to IEMs with replaceable cables at around $100. This requirement drastically reduced the number of candidates to one. There are a number of IEMs that have removable cables, but they are usually high-end models that are quite expensive or too difficult to find in Canada. If you’re looking for an IEM with replaceable cables at around $100 in Canada, to the best of our knowledge, there is really only one choice, Shure SE215. Luckily for us, these are excellent IEMs.
How do you wear them?
When you first receive them, it may not be obvious how to wear them properly. You are supposed to wear them with the wire around your ear. It may seem strange at first, but it’s very comfortable this way. The wires never get in your way (i.e. your face) and they never fall out of your ear.
What does it come with?
It comes with a little carry pouch and bag full of different ear tips. We must have strangely small ears because we had to use the smallest set of ear tips in order to get a seal. It’s important to use the right set of ear tips, otherwise it’s going to be very uncomfortable. Therefore, try a few of them out before you decide.
Where to buy?
We ordered ours from www.electronicsforless.ca for $99 CAD + free shipping, but you can get yours from amazon.ca for $99 CAD (the order gets fulfilled by electronicsforless anyways), but you get the Amazon customer support and additional peace of mind. We’ve never had any issues with electronicsforless, so we opted to order directly from electronicsforless. We recommend against buying these IEMs on eBay, as these sorts of products get counterfeited a lot. It’s also interesting to note that the Shure SE215 sells for a similar price on Amazon.com – a rarity for Canadians not to pay a premium for a specialized product!
What’s the difference between Shure SE215, Shure SE215-K and Shure SE215-CL?
They’re the same, except for the color.
Where can I buy a replacement cable?
Amazon.com sells the replacement cable for $32.52 with free shipping, but unfortunately they are not available on Amazon.ca. However, you can buy a replacement cable on eBay for approximately $30-$40. As long as the replacement cable fits properly, we’re not too concerned whether or not the cable is OEM as we don’t believe that expensive cables (i.e. IEM cables, speaker cables, HDMI cables, etc.) make a difference in regard to sound quality or fidelity.
Is there a model with a microphone for my phone?
As the cable is detachable, you just need to buy a new cable and attach it to the drivers. The cable costs $50 on Amazon.com and $60 on eBay. It’ll be cheaper if you buy the SE215 with the microphone from Amazon.ca for $149. Please note that Amazon reviews for this cable are not stellar. The cable appears to break easily and they’re not made to sit around your ears like the standard cable. Some users are on their 4th set. We do not recommend these unless you really need them. They’re made for Apple devices, but they should work with Android devices as well.
How are the reviews?
The Shure SE215’s are generally very well received. For example, out of 339 reviews on Amazon, the average rating is 4 out of 5 stars.
Here is a summary of various reviews of the Shure SE-215 around the web.
If you’re tired of earbuds and you’re looking for an upgrade in the $100 price range and would like to give IEM’s a try, you won’t be disappointed by the Shure SE215. You’ll probably be using these IEM’s for many years as should there ever be a cable short, you can simply replace the cable for a third of the price of the IEM. That may sound like a lot, but it beats buying a brand new set.
We like the Shure SE215 for many reasons. We like that the drivers don’t protrude out of your ear (it sits flush against your ear), therefore you can sleep on your side or wear winter hats while listening to music without any discomfort. We also like that there’s a rather long 2 year warranty. Hopefully, we won’t need to use it. You can also use it running or working out (we do), but if you sweat a lot, we recommend against using them as your sweat may corrode the drivers. We’re not audiophiles, so we won’t attempt to describe its acoustic qualities, but suffice to say that we find them quite bassy and they generally sound great. Our music tastes ranges from classical music to gangster rap and it does both very well.
Finally, in our opinion, it’s hard to find a better set of earphones for roughly $100. Many readers may consider this expensive, but this is actually Shure’s low end model. Is the sound quality twice as good as a $50 set of earbuds? Probably not. As such, it is a pseudo luxury item. However, if you do spend any significant amount of time listening to music at work or while commuting or like running to your favourite beats, we consider the Shure SE215 a worthwhile purchase. It is a pretty good value for the money. Your ears will thank you.