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Shure SE-215 Sound Isolating In-Ear Monitors - A Layman's Review

siddharthx64

A Droid in a Tux
Review of the SHURE SE215 CL (Clear) Noise Isolating In-ear monitors

PaAfpH5.jpg

Hi All!!!

About this review
I am no audiophile, but I love my music. I love listening to a variety of genres, and am not fixated on a single type. I like solid thumping bass but I do not shun treble. I like accuracy, and I love acoustic isolation. This is not my first earphone, and I've tried out earphones such as the EP-630. I do not believe in the merits of active noise cancellation, its passive all the way. I love clarity. In my music collection, you might find both instrumental and vocal performances.

If this describes you at least a little bit even, this review will really benefit you.

Specifications
Sensitivity: 107 dB SPL/mW
lmpedance: 20 Ω
Frequency Range: 22Hz – 17.5kHz
Cable Style:64” Detachable (at ear) with wireform fit
Colors: Available in Clear or Translucent Black
Speaker Type: Dynamic MicroDriver

Build Quality: 9/10
The build quality is excellent. In comparison, my old ep-630, and the samsung S3's earphones can't even hold a candle. The monitor is well designed, and the cables are kevlar reinforced. The connection points are well and thickly shielded, and the connectors are all gold plated. The audio connector is a standard 3.5 mm sterio jack with an L-bend. The only gripe I had was with the thin plastic cylindrical part of the monitor that the earplugs sit on. This part looks a bit weak, and looks like it may break off some day. Need to be careful with that part. Another annoyance is the pain one experiences when he/she tries to replace the earbuds. They seem to be stuck tightly, and I had to fiddle with it for quite a bit before I learnt the trick (use of finger-nails may be needed). The cable itself is amazingly thick and textured (Clear Edition has a texture feel to it, while the black edition does not, although shure assures us that the quality of these two cables and the materials used are identical).

Sound Quality: 9/10
For the price point that these sell (around USD 99) the sound quality is excellent. The Bass is clean and strong, but does not overpower the other frequencies. Mids and Highs are exceptionally clear. They sound warm, and the soundstage is quite wide (each instrument can be distinctly separated if you try to follow the tunes). I love listening to classical, rock and bassy numbers on this one, which makes it an all-rounder for me.

Noise Cancellation: Extreme. The foam earbuds block out over 70-80% of external sound even without any audio playback. With Audio playing at 15% volume on my S3, I couldn't hear a single sound from my very noisy surroundings (A large Food Court filled with hungry and chattering people, A Volvo AC Bus, and a Central Bus Terminus)

WARNING This Extreme Noise Cancellation brings with it great satisfaction, but also great dangers. DO NOT USE WHEN DRIVING/WALKING/CROSSING roads, or even generally moving around in your own home. Only use them when you are sure that you are in a safe environment that does not need you to be alert of your surroundings. I actually fell asleep with these in my ear, in a moving Volvo bus this evening. They are that effective.

Seal/Fit: When it comes to in-ear-monitors, the bass and sound quality is completely dependent on the level of seal that the buds achieve with your ear canal. In the beginning, adjusting to the cable going around-the-ear seemed to be quite a task, and the seal used to break off within a couple of minutes. But that was only because I wasn't wearing them right. A video online showed the correct way to do it, and after a few awfully irritating attempts, i learnt the right way. The seal is now unbelievably strong, and stays in the ear despite the over-the-ear-cable causing a bit of twist and shake once in a while due to neck movements. The monitor is designed in a way that allows it to fill up the cavity that your outer ear has, and it does not protrude out of the cavity, for most ear shapes. This negative profile allows you to sleep on the ear, without any discomfort, unlike other barrel-type earphones such as the SA C-12 or Creative EP-630.

Microphonics: Virtually absent during natural stationary movements. Slight noise is audible when moving around with the cable dangling when running/jogging. The cable separator does a great job of avoiding microphonics coming from the cable part between the cable's separator joint to the monitor


OVERALL COMPARISON: This is subjective, and you may not feel the same way, but here goes

Bose Sound Comfort Quiet Comfort 20i > Shure SE215 CL > Bose MEI2i > Klipsch Image S4 > Signature Acoustics C-12 > Creative EP-630


What's in the box?
> In Ear Monitors (Blue-Left, Red-Right)
> Nice long Kevlar reinforced detachable cable
> 3 pairs of Foam Ear buds (S, M, L)
> 3 pairs of Silicone Ear buds (S, M, L)
> EarBud Cleaning tool (tiny metal and pointy ends to clean the buds and monitor's hole)
> Carry Pouch (with a zip and a hooking clip) to carry the buds and the monitors
> Manuals, instructions and warrantee details

What I wish they also included
> A nice shirt-clip to relieve the monitors from the cable's weight

Burn-In required: Yes. I would recommend letting the monitors undergo a natural burn with the songs that you would normally listen to.

Pics
http://i.imgur.com/PaAfpH5.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/tnY9hUc.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/NWqsMaX.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/enwkKm1.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/VHZhp4Q.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/D69vdpg.jpg

Links to Un-boxing Videos
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsY2v2pazoE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmjbhlZpVm0
 
Last edited:

ratul

█████████████████
wow, awesome purchase and good review, you might add some more info on sound quality though.. :doublethumb:
 
OP
siddharthx64

siddharthx64

A Droid in a Tux
wow, awesome purchase and good review, you might add some more info on sound quality though.. :doublethumb:

Thank you Ratul. Yes, in in love with it, but I added only the most obvious observations regarding sound quality, as I want to use them for a little while more and see what the burn in does. I'll update this in a weeks time with in depth details and observations on the aspect of sound quality. Do check in again sometime next week :)
 
OP
siddharthx64

siddharthx64

A Droid in a Tux
Nice review.

Thanks Nikku_Hot123 :)

cool review!

till now how many hours of burn in has it got?

Thanks Anirbandd,

So far, it has gone through 4-5 hours of burn using my fav songs. The Seal is improving with every session and the isolation and the bass are absolutely mind blowing. I am using S3 with 4.4.4 CM based ROM and DSP Manager, and the bass hasn't been muddy even at 90% volume (I can't even withstand that volume)
 

itsakjt

Broken In
Thanks for the review. Very nice. :) I am using a Creative EP 630 since 2011. How much is this better than that one?
 

ithehappy

Human Spambot
Just to add one thing if anyone is making a plan depending on this review, the bass on this IEM is good, but it's mid-bass centric, not sub bass, no need to say they are totally different things, so if anyone's looking for the latter you will be extremely disappointed with the bass pattern.

Otherwise very nice review. The best part I liked about this IEM was the fit and the noise cancellation.
 
OP
siddharthx64

siddharthx64

A Droid in a Tux
Thanks for the review. Very nice. :) I am using a Creative EP 630 since 2011. How much is this better than that one?

Thank you Itsakjt
I have used the EP630 for over 4 years (bought it twice, the first one lasted 4 years, and the second one was stolen in 2 weeks :( )
As far as my opinion goes, I always found the Bass on the EP630 to be classy, yet overpowering. The soundstage was dominated by the bass, and many other frequencies used to get drowned out when a beat pumped out. For instance, consider the song "Boom Boom Pow" from BEP. The ep-630 plays it well, but on every beat, the background was overpowered.

This never happens on the SE215.

The soundstage remains clean, and the mid and high frequencies can still be distinctly heard even when the beats play (the bass is significantly stronger in the se215 than in the ep630 thanks to the excellent seal, maybe). Coming from the ep630, you will feel a bit of improvement in the bass, and a lot more clarity and wider soundstage, when it comes to the rest of the Hz spectrum. You will not be disappointed.

Just to add one thing if anyone is making a plan depending on this review, the bass on this IEM is good, but it's mid-bass centric, not sub bass, no need to say they are totally different things, so if anyone's looking for the latter you will be extremely disappointed with the bass pattern.

Otherwise very nice review. The best part I liked about this IEM was the fit and the noise cancellation.

Thank you for the feedback, whatthefrak!
As i mentioned in the beginning of the review, and also in the title, this is a Layman's review, and I really do not know enough about the differences between sub bass and bass. However, this link made me understand what you were pointing out, and yes up to an extent, I agree with you.

Using DSP manager, I changed the bass center frequency and played a few songs. The Sub bass was distinguishable, but not as well as I had hoped. Anything below 80Hz was not really giving the "booming" effect that one would desire. A bass center of 100 Hz was the sweetspot for this Masterpiece. Rumbles and thumps (that supposedly belong to sub bass category) are reproduced well, but if they play in quick succession, they will get muddy in the SE215. This undesirable effect is definitely much worse in the EP630, though, and I cannot speak for the other products as I haven't tested this aspect in those.

Looking forward to more inputs from you, and others who know sub bass better than what I have made of it. :)
 

itsakjt

Broken In
Thank you Itsakjt
I have used the EP630 for over 4 years (bought it twice, the first one lasted 4 years, and the second one was stolen in 2 weeks :( )
As far as my opinion goes, I always found the Bass on the EP630 to be classy, yet overpowering. The soundstage was dominated by the bass, and many other frequencies used to get drowned out when a beat pumped out. For instance, consider the song "Boom Boom Pow" from BEP. The ep-630 plays it well, but on every beat, the background was overpowered.

This never happens on the SE215.

The soundstage remains clean, and the mid and high frequencies can still be distinctly heard even when the beats play (the bass is significantly stronger in the se215 than in the ep630 thanks to the excellent seal, maybe). Coming from the ep630, you will feel a bit of improvement in the bass, and a lot more clarity and wider soundstage, when it comes to the rest of the Hz spectrum. You will not be disappointed.



Thank you for the feedback, whatthefrak!
As i mentioned in the beginning of the review, and also in the title, this is a Layman's review, and I really do not know enough about the differences between sub bass and bass. However, this link made me understand what you were pointing out, and yes up to an extent, I agree with you.

Using DSP manager, I changed the bass center frequency and played a few songs. The Sub bass was distinguishable, but not as well as I had hoped. Anything below 80Hz was not really giving the "booming" effect that one would desire. A bass center of 100 Hz was the sweetspot for this Masterpiece. Rumbles and thumps (that supposedly belong to sub bass category) are reproduced well, but if they play in quick succession, they will get muddy in the SE215. This undesirable effect is definitely much worse in the EP630, though, and I cannot speak for the other products as I haven't tested this aspect in those.

Looking forward to more inputs from you, and others who know sub bass better than what I have made of it. :)

Wow, thanks a lot. :) Looking forward to buy one of these when I finish my engineering life. :)
 
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