on 3 July 2013
One of the big questions in life is: How is it worthwhile and/or acceptable to listen to music on these.
If you love your music then give it the respect it deserves. Pay the price for a pair of headphones and rediscover/discover the true sound of your music.
That leaves you with two basic choices: in-ear or over-ear.
IE headphones are the best noise-cancelling option; that is, you will not hear anything else. I cannot emphasise how important this is for the sound quality. The air-tight seal will allow you to play the music at a comfortable volume and improves the bass response. Altruistically, this also means that much less noise is getting out allowing you to listen to your guilty pleasures with nothing more than a cheeky smirk suggesting the truth. Whilst you may be able to fit more/bigger drivers in the OE units, the supremacy of the in-ear clarity for the low end is key.
And for practicality, IEs win hands-down. They don't fall out of your ears when you are running or working out, and they are aesthetically more subtle and, in my opinion, less geeky looking.
Shure are mainly concerned with the production of professional studio equipment (i.e. monitors, microphones, mixers and the like). Their foray into consumer electronics stemmed from the natural evolution of what they called 'monitors' mainly designed for the use of DJs in clubs and producers in noisy studios into earphones for the noisy commuters.
Over the last few years i have tried these: Klipsch Image S4 Headphones,Monster Cable Turbine PRO High Performance Multilingual In-Ear Speakers - Copper,Sennheiser CX 300 II Precision Noise Isolating Ear-canal Phones - Black,Beats by Dr. Dre In Ear Tour Headphones with Control Talk for Apple Devices - Black/Red.
And I have used the Shure 215s (previously E2Cs), 315s and 535s.
For value for money and sound quality i think the best choice is the Shure 215s and if money is not an issue- get two sets of 215s (maybe one pair for exercise and one for home and travel usage).
I would have to say its very difficult to tell much difference between the 215s and the 315s but the triple-driver system of the 535s does result in a much more powerful bass punch. Unfortunately this is at the expense of the high end; which can at times become very overwhelmed with complex acoustic and rock music, coming across as tinny. It is with that in mind that I feel the sharp increase in price to the 535s would not be justified if you are listening to a lot high end music, whereas if you primarily listen to deep electronic music you may notice an improvement in quality. But worth the 4X price increase? I don't think so.
Here are some pointers:
- Shures come with foam and plastic buds, each in three different sizes, its pretty important that you spend a while trying each and finding out which suits you best. At first this is not going to feel natural at all, especially if you have never used in-ear headphones before. Give it some time and within a week it will feel right. Also, note that the wire is designed to rest over your ear. Again this is unnatural at first but in time it will feel much more supportive and you will wonder why you ever had the wire tugging down by your earlobe before. My preference is the plastic buds as i sweat alot when i run (as a note these earphones are just amazing for running (a) because they never fall out and stay solidly air-tight (b) because these bass loving headphones work just a treat with trance music and any electronic music (my choice of running music)).
- The actual units are removable from the wire if you pull lightly in a perpendicular direction away from the wire. This is really important. If you are outside the warranty and the wire breaks you don't need to pay for the whole set - you may be able to find them online or just call the Shure service department and they will send you out one for roughly £30. The wire is not specific to the model. As a side note, I have never had a technical issue with the units, it has always been the wire. In the past it was often the curvature around the ear that wore away but Shure have since reinforced this area.
- Treat third party sellers with caution. Due to the high-end nature of the product Shure have brought together an anti-counterfeiting initiative; this has been in response to a wave of fakes that are flooding the internet. Tell-tale signs are the combination of 'Chinese Warehouses' and a substantial reduction from the RRP. Remember if it seems to good to be true, then it probably isn't. Check Shure's website for an authorised distirbutor list - Shure will deal with these warranty claims directly - or take a product that is fulfilled by Amazon. The issue with third party sellers on Amazon is that they may be unable to verify where they get their stock from. That is to say that they are not purchasing via known wholesalers of Shure's and so they don't know if they are grey imports. This doesn't necessarily mean that you are completely without a warranty just that you will need to go back to the seller. They should have no issue replacing your earphones if they are purchasing via authorised distribution channels. Keep all receipts for the warranty.
on 23 July 2011
I have always been a huge fan on Shure since I first purchased my E4C's a few years back.
Even the E4C's with their single drivers blew me away, but as was frequently reported, the cable (on the E4C's) would wear away and the connection would break - this happened twice, but fortunately both times Shure were absolutely fantastic. I called their customer helpline, explained the problem and the helpful person on the other end simply said to pop them in the post and they'd send out a new pair. No arguments, no excuses or backtracking. Both times they complied willingly. In fact the second time round they replaced them with the new upgraded model SE310's.
Based on my fantastic experience with Shure, once the connection broke again on my SE310's a couple of years later [this time outside my warranty period], I decided to stick with them and upgrade to the SE535. The design of these alone suggests that Shure realised that in previous models they'd been sending out rather too many free replacements - so the SE535's have kevlar coated DETACHABLE cables. Genius. This means that when I fall outside of my warranty period again, IF the cable busts, I'll be able to get a replacement cable instead of forking out what is admittedly enough hard cash to give most people a nasty chin bruise as it thuds to the floor. (Most people who find out how much I spent on earphones do think I'm absolutely mental... BUT they haven't actually HEARD how amazing music CAN sound, which is exactly what these earphones achieve)
So this brings me nicely onto my next and most important part of my review; the sound... This, after all my other waffly guff, is what you are really here to read about.
Let me put it this way, I regularly commute on the tube (the subway trains) in London which is generally rather a noisy affair. Loud clattery trains, and unnecessarily loud tannoy announcements.
Many of the 'iPhone headphone' wearing parade get around this problem by whacking up the volume so loud you wonder why there aren't spots of blood dribbling out their lug-holes. It also means that all the 'non head/earphone-wearing' crowd around them are subjected to what sounds like a distant train transporting a cage of angry insects.
This is NOT the case with the SE535's. Of the wide selection of ear fittings you're given, I personally like to use the foam earplug variety. When these are snugly fitted, I could play the loudest angriest most 'GRRRRRR!' metal song EVER and, as far as everyone around me is concerned, I could be listening to "4 minutes 33" by John Cage.
Further to this, selfishly ignoring the (lack of) experience of others around me, MY OWN experience is phenomenal.
I hear basically NOTHING but the music. I will be stood on the tube platform and a tube train will come screaming into the station with all its clatter, horrible metal-on-metal screeching noises and some tedious platform announcement booming away overhead and I am able to close my eyes and pretend that I am standing in the same room as the song artist(s). The sound is SO clear, the frequency response is awesome.
On the bass level, it's actually quite surreal because when you turn it up a bit on a bassy song, it sounds like you're stood near some über-watt mega subwoofer where normally you would FEEL the bass waves rippling through your body. Unfortunately Shure's current earphone technology doesn't yet provide the physical body-wide bass ripply experience other than in your ears, but my goodness it's awesome.
In short: Amazing. Buy them. Eat baked beans every day for a month with the small change left from your paycheck. At least your ears won't be bleeding.
on 23 April 2016
Many opinions on these earphones, here's my intake:
They're 100% sound isolating even with low volumes (as long as they're in your ear right)
For someone who travels a lot on public transport and planes these are PERFECT!
They are neutral so as someone who enjoys music and picking out production features they are great.
I use them in the studio and I can have the metronome as loud as I want it to be and guess what? No bleeding! Same for music, you can play your jams super loud and won't disturb others.
They are comfortable and pretty much invisible if you're a girl that has your hair out.
Detachable, you can change the cable if it becomes faulty, not like my usual Beats in ears.
The price is decent!
Used live with a band, can't even hear the drummer!
They have a slight hiss when there is no music playing, that doesn't affect the quality
They take a while to get used to but once you do, you almost can't feel them
The cable is so long, have to wrap it around your phone. (YOU CAN REPLACE IT THOUGH!)
They are great as reference earphones, but you can't use them to mix/master.
They take a while to break into, but once you do, the sound and comfort is great.
The colour on the cable can be easily stained if you wear a black top/jacket especially if you sweat on stage. I bought two sets of cables though, one for live and the other for daily use.
I think thats it, they are certainly worth investing in, better than beats (unless you are a bass head) and more durable than any earphones I've had. If you have extra £££'s then go for the more expensive model. Shure seem to have NAILED their IEM's.
on 14 September 2011
I previously owned a paid of Denon AH-C551 earphones, until the right earbud died (I opened up the unit to see if the problem was fixable, but it was just too fiddly for my liking). I loved my Denons - Despite the top end being a bit unrefined (although this softens as the drivers burn in) - They were great value for money.
However, when they died, I decided that these Shure SE215s were the way to go - And I couldn't be happier at the decision I made. I looked at a great many earphones up to a price of around £130, but plumped for these in the end because they were widely reviewed as having all of Shure's well known qualities (superb build quality, excellent sound isolation, a surprisingly wide soundscape and a pleasant warm tonality), but at a price point well below Shure's top end models.
I can tell you that the reviews do not lie. Despite being single, dynamic driver models, they lack nothing in terms of clarity and separation, either - Which is very impressive given the warm tone and decent bass response given. Incidentally, in terms of the bass - Those of you who are total bass heads probably won't want to invest in these, and would probably be better off going for the (in my opinion horribly unbalanced) Bose or Beats by Dr Dre models. If I had to put the bass response of the Shures on a scale, it would fall at a happy balance between the bass-heavy Bose, and the bass-light Sennheiser in-ears.
In terms of what music they have been tested with - I have listened to a wide range (even wider than usual with the purpose of writing this review). To give but a few examples:
Johnny Cash - Hurt
I happen to love Cash's cover of Nine Inch Nails' classic anyway, but I have to say that this was an eye-opener - You can clearly hear every breath, finger movement on the guitar, and the occasional less-than-clean note played therein. The sheer amount of detail that I had never heard before was astonishing. When the accompaniment kicks in towards the end the track simply soars.
Edward Grieg - Piano Concerto in A Minor
Again, its the clarity and sense of space that are obvious here. The keys on the piano ring out as if it were right in the room with you, and the orchestral accompaniment is clear but never overwhelming as can happen with some dynamic driver based earphones where one frequency sort of "drowns out" the others
Metallica - Call of Ktulu (from S&M)
This is a particularly tricky one as it combines rock and classical music together, which can often get rather muddy (again, especially on dynamic driver earphones). The Shures dealt with the piece extremely well, I feel. The track possibly lacked a slight amount of attack at the top end for the strings to really "sing" over the guitars and drums, but only when compared to multi-driver armature earphones. The clarity was still there, and the bass from the drums and guitars was impressive - Full and powerful without being overly "boomy"
Maroon 5 - Misery
To cover the pop bases I decided to listen to Maroon 5, and the 215s once again excelled here. The vast majority of what we listen to in pop music is squarely in the mid-range, and the detail was superb, and that warm tone was still there.
The fit on these once you get the right sleeves, and you get used to the ear hooks, is exceptional (for me at least). I can happily walk around, get on the train, even run to catch a train just about to leave, without these budging. The fit being so good, of course, means that the sound isolation is second to none, and surely helps with that bass response.
The build quality seems to be exactly the same as the higher priced Shure models I have seen, which is excellent. The high quality detachable cable is, at this price, particularly surprising (given that a replacement cable alone can cost upwards of £30). Its kevlar coating seems to keep it snag and tangle free (one persistent complaint I did have about the Denons), and noise transmission through the cable seems pretty low.
Overall, these are actually better than the Denons I so dearly loved for the past 3 years. I'm still sad to see them gone, but I feel these are more than just a replacement - They are, surprisingly given the price being fairly similar, actually a fairly significant upgrade. If you enjoy a wide range of music and not simply overly-bassy tracks, and want clarity and warmth at the same time, which isn't an easy thing to come by, I would thoroughly recommend these over and above any others I tried, including models from Ultimate-Ears, Sennheiser, Klipsch and Etymotic.
on 26 May 2015
Problems keeping the headphones stay in your ears, read on....
Having initially bought these, I was blown away by the sound quality. However, I could not get them to stay in my ears. Having recently tried them again, I figured them out how to properly wear them and and they now fit like a glove and are absolutely perfect:
1. Squeeze the ear buds and place in ears.
2. Direct the cable over the of the ear. Do this for both
3. Here's the trick, have the cable run down your back instead of your chest and slide the rubber piece (the piece which determines where the two headphones split) up the back of your head so it holds it firmly. This pulls the headphones into place and stops them falling out.
on 8 December 2015
Time to write the review after buying them about 2 years back and using them for a good part of 1.
I love my music and my genres range form Classic Rock to Metal. There aren't many earphones that do justice to metal and I can say for sure this one does. The clarity is brilliant and it makes a clear distinction of every audio range that forms the song.
You have to give it a good burn in time( for me it took about 2 weeks of using it 2 hours everyday). Also play around with the different ear buds which are memory foam built. Once you get this right, you will notice a big difference in quality and clarity.
So why 4 stars and not 5? As with majority of the reviewers, the one thing that failed for me was the wiring. It bends and holds its shape which leads to a minor fracture on the outer layer of the cord. Over time this will eventually lead to the inner wiring to cut. Yes they are replaceable but the cord costs close to 50% of the full price of the earphone.
I recommended the ear phones to 2 of my friends and they both have discontinued after about 1.5 years of use. Though 1.5 years seem like a period where general wear and tear should take place, I just feel they could do a bit more on the wiring to keep it safe for longer.
on 12 January 2011
These are seriously good. It is like having a completely new collection of cd's. I have hooked these up to my old Sony NWHD5 and transferred music onto it at 352kbs atrac3. No sound enhancement switched on at the player. The 30 minute daily walk to work is a real pleasure, the fit is superb with the foam tips that were in place, I could not hear any external noises. They do take a bit of getting used to to wear them, (they are twisted into the ear), but that will come with practise.
Pure music. I'm hearing notes and sounds I have not heard before, on Bill Perry live in NYC it's as though I am in the room.
OK they are expensive, but you get what you pay for. The cable is like nothing else, the units feel solid and like they will last a lifetime.
I have had Bose in ear units and numerous Sony sets, nothing touches these.
Go on, you are only here once, I'm glad I bought them.
on 28 December 2012
These are a great upgrade for your iPod if you save your music at lossless or highest bit rate. I say this because they will show up inferior lower quality recording levels.
The reason they do not get five stars is the fit, which takes some getting used to. Although there is a plethora of different fittings, personally I found there is not one, which fits my ears efficiently without causing discomfort, I.e. the medium soft foam is comfortable but let's in to much sound and therefore reduces the sound experience. The larger soft foam gives superb isolation and sound quality but causes pain with prolonged listening (two albums or more).
Furthermore the over ear wire fitting is initially complicated to get right and some might find uncomfortable but if you persevere the benefit of quality sound is a worthy reward if you can find a fit that does not hurt your ears.
NEGATIVE FOLLOW UP
My cable broke / has a fault by the jack plug one month after receiving them. I have treated them like a new born child, never coiling, twisting or folding the cable in any way but the wire to the left speaker cuts out when you touch the cable next to the jack plug.
I cannot believe the ridiculous lack of build quality of £40+ cable (replacement cost).
on 23 December 2011
I bought these about 5 days ago and I can honestly say they have changed my life. These are quite literally the best sound system of any kind I have ever owned, even better that my Nad separates and Quad speakers. The sound quality is phenomenal and like nothing I have ever heard before and the noise cancelling is out of this world. I am using them with an iPhone 3GS and a Fiio E7 headphone amp with a line out dock cable.
However, it has taken a little while for me to get used to them, so there are a few important things to know if you are thinking of buying these, and some advice on how to get the most out of them:
Even if you have had in-ear headphones before, it will take you a day or two to get used to putting these in. At first they might seem a bit uncomfortable and a faff, but you get over this very quickly. However, it is very important that you experiment with the various different buds that come with them; you will find that one set is more comfortable for you, but also they all have a slightly different impact on the sound, so you should listen to the same piece of music with all of them to find the best set. Make this a project; it's worth it.
I don't care what people say about burn-in, but there is definitely a burn-in time on these, the bass gains warmth and definition over the first couple of days usage, so don't worry if you are slightly underwhelmed by the bass out-of-the-box.
Many other reviewers have mentioned this as well, but when you buy these the quality/bitrate of your MP3 files is suddenly going to become the main issue in your life. I never gave this much thought before, although fortunately as it turns out the places which I have been getting MP3 files from for quite a few years deliver in 320kbps (Boomkat) or VBR (Amazon), which aims at 256 average, however I also have a lot of older stuff in 128kbps. I certainly wouldn't say that it isn't worth getting these earphones if all your files are 128kbps, they still sound way better than anything else out there, however when you hear the difference you are going to want and NEED 320kbps, so have some kind of strategy for converting or rebuying your favorite stuff. The difference is huge!! Or...
Although these are genius and amazing anyway, I would strongly and vehemently recommend buying the Fiio E7 headphone amp or similar. With the headphones only you won't believe that sound could get any better, but then try with the amp and you will explode! Pure heaven; and think about it - you wouldn't buy an expensive pair of speakers and then play a rubbish CD player through them. iPhones etc have fairly decent output, but this is still what you are doing. Also, very importantly - if you are using 128kbps files, the amp will beef them up and has bass boost to sort out some of the problems.
It is important to understand that these are reference headphones, which means that the sound is reproduced exactly as it was recorded. Many mainstream phones that you might buy are preset with slight boosts in bass etc, which these days particularly means they 'master' the phones to make MP3 files and bad MP3 players sound a bit fatter and better. This is why with the Shures it is so easy to hear the bad quality of low bitrate files - basically they are going to sound a bit quiet and not very bassy. However, the above mentioned Fiio E7 can help with this.
Most people seem to think I'm mad for paying this for earphones, but once you understand the power you will see that they are NOT expensive for what they are. If you value good quality sound you NEED these earphones and the amp. Believe!!!
One last thing - it would be quite feasible for you to turn the volume up so loud on these that you deafened yourself forever. I mean it - don't mess about; use a volume limiter.
on 2 March 2016
I bought these for my commute to and from work, I take the tube so background noise is always quite high. Being very sensitive about my ears, I don't like to have my music on too loud as to cause permanent damage, which leads to less than enjoyable music on the go. But with these Shure headphones, I can listen to music at the lowest volume and barely hear the outside world. At my regular volume, the world is almost blocked out entirely.
The shape of this pair of headphones in interesting, very different to what I have used in the past, but you grow accustomed to them and they are fairly comfortable, even during prolonged use.
Sound quality is very good for such small drivers, not as good as the more premium Shure headphones, or on ear ones, but still better than a lot of in-ear headphones I have used before. The price is well worth what you get in sound and quality, and the headphones being detachable is a nice addition, as replacing the wire is a cheaper option than having to replace your headphones if the cable snaps.
Overall a brilliant purchase, and I am looking forward to purchasing more premium headphones by Shure once these eventually stop working.