Shure SE 215 and box
Wow, Shure SE215 actually sounds good. To contextualize, Shure SE210 was my first foray into IEMs around 4 years ago when I was working in Korea. Then I grew out of them as I moved to Klipsch Image X5. As there was a noticeable difference between the two, I stopped using the SE210. Fast forward to the present. The SE215 is a different IEM than the SE210 in appearance and sound.
The Sound: 8.5 / 10
I was surprised by it’s sound quality. The bass really rocks and the mids and highs sound clean and not overwhelmed by the bass. I tested them out on different genres like rock, electronic, R&B, Jazz, and Classic. And they all sounded very good to my untrained ears. It was great to listen to 50 Cent’s “In da Club” again with these IEMs.
Shure SE215 hanging
The Looks: 8.5 / 10
As I mentioned before SE215 is different than the SE210. Most notably, it has detachable cables. So If you damage the cable, although thick and sturdy (usually the around the ears or the jack area), you can replaced it yourself. I think the entire Shure SE line looks very modern and sleek as it fits snuggly in your ears. The SE215 is the smallest in the family as it only has a single “microdriver”. The SE215 also comes in black or translucent. The translucent models look like a shrimp in some ways.
Shure SE215 (bottom) and SE210 (top)
The SE215s are great for everyday use like commuting, at home, or for working out. As the SE215 is a noise isolating IEM, you get peace from the outer world (you can even hear yourself breath). They’re like wearing earplugs as you have to fit the foams in your ears. As a result, the IEMs are tricky to wear because you have to squeeze the foams and twist them in your ears to form a perfect seal. Once that’s accomplished you have very fit IEMs that stay entrenched in your ears. The over the ears and foam design is a boon and a bane. For example, if you’re a jogger they’re perfect (as often than not sweat combined with running equals normal earbuds slipping off), but if you’re in an environment where you have to take them off frequently, then it becomes a hassle. On a side note, I wore them a lot in the gym and sometimes the cable got caught as I was doing some bicep curls and they popped right off my ears. This can be a bit of a shock as they fit tight around your ears. So be careful. You don’t want to break your IEMs due to the cables stretching. And one more thing, if you’re using an mp3 player or a phone with a case doesn’t have a recess for the jack area (e.g. my iPhone 4 case), the 3.5mm jack can’t be plugged in.
Shure SE215 and nano
Boom for the Buck Rating: 8.5 / 10
Can’t say enough about the quality of sound for the price.
Total: 33.5 / 10
Pros: looks good, detachable cables, they stay on your ears, performance to price ratio.
Cons: learning curve for putting them on, the process of wearing them is not as convenient (for some people), some mp3/phone cases are not compatible with the jack
Shure CBL-M+-K / CBL-M-K Review (Sept 26th/11):
Review by: Andrew Sit
After listening to the SE215 almost daily for 2/3 months straight, I can confirm that the cable does provide a subtle increase in sound quality. I notice slightly deeper bass and clearer mids. With these things (esp. cable upgrades) it is so slight, I honestly believe if you were to listen to the cables back to back it would be indeed hard to tell. But, I do confirm that there is indeed an improvement!…
Also depending on preference, the lack of memory wire, and the fact that the cable connecter is at an angle. I find the upgrade cable MANY times more comfortable to wear than the stock cable.
I always thought the original cable was good, finally Shure has used softer cables that produce less rubbing disturbance (micro phonics ). But the upgrade cable is even more flexible and more comfortable.