Shure SE215 Pro review: What are they?
Shure has been one of the biggest names in live music gear for as long as we can remember. If you play, sing or go to live gigs, you’ve probably heard the sound of a Shure vocal microphone or guitar mic - and while Shure is primarily a microphone manufacturer, they also create some next-level studio headphones and in-ear monitors for us all to enjoy. If an in-ear monitoring system is something you’ve been considering and you’re on a budget, then the Shure SE215 Pros should be very near the top of your list (in fact, they top our list of the best budget in-ear monitors!).
So, in-ear monitors then. Not to be confused with the humble earphone, a great pair of in-ears will do an awful lot to help you sound and play better. There are many different manufacturers all vying for your attention and hard-earned cash, and many different price points for you to explore when looking for a pair of in-ear monitors. Obviously if you pay more, you get more - but do you really need more? That answer is probably no.
Out of the box, the SE215 Pros look like a pretty smart, lower profile in-ear. The construction is pretty basic, with either clear, black or blue plastic ‘phones on offer. They’re nothing groundbreaking, but perfectly adequate for something that is going to sit in your ear for a few hours at a time. The box also contains some added extras - a zippered carrying case, cleaning/fitting tool and various different sizes of foam and silicone sleeves to ensure you get a comfortable and tight fit.
The cable is detachable, to allow for easier packaging and to avoid any damage or over-bending when wrapping them up after a performance or rehearsal. If your cable does get damaged - as can happen with earphones and headphones of all price brackets - then the cable is easily replaceable. No stress, huh?
Speaking of the cable, it’s just your standard 3.5mm mini jack connector - making it ideal for most applications. Lined with wire, the cable stays pretty straight during use, without excessive tangling or twisting. A rubber sleeve and extra wire reinforcement makes sure the cable doesn’t move around too much, and that the fit around your ears is sturdy. Having cable wrapping around the tops of your ears can feel a little alien at first - particularly if you’re brand new to in-ears - but we had forgotten it was there within the first 10 to 15 minutes of use.
The SE215 Pro’s main focus lies within the earpiece itself: a single, high-definition driver. Considering a vast majority of in-ear monitors contain at least two (sometimes more) drivers, this is remarkable in itself - but what is more remarkable is the soundstage that this single driver creates.
Shure SE215 Pro review: Performance & Verdict
In all of the musical scenarios we’ve been able to put the SE215 Pros through - heavy touring with rock bands, lounge jazz gigs and studio recording sessions, to name a few - they sounded smooth and capable, and not noticeably pokey or tinny. Like any pair of earphones or IEM’s, a little distortion was noted in some slightly more manic areas or when the volume was boosted just that little bit too high, but the SE215 Pro came out from that barrage of testing largely unscathed.
One of the issues we always run into with in-ear monitors is the issue of ambient noise cancellation and sound bleed. The SE215 Pros offer some really useful and effective isolation from the sounds around you. This is thanks to the shape and size of the casing itself, which forms a fairly decent seal when sat in your ear. Especially when playing live, you want a decent amount of separation between your own in-ear mix and what’s going on elsewhere, without feeling like you’re playing on your own. The Shure’s fit in that middle ground very well, with small but reassuring ambient levels of sound passing through.
Now, it’s absolutely worth bearing in mind that the SE215 Pros are not high-end in-ear monitors. As an entry to the world of IEM’s they’re a very respectable choice, but they won’t quite capture the spacious ambience of a multi-driver setup, or the wide frequency range of more expensive in-ears. That being said, what do you expect for under £/$100? We can’t think of another pair of budget in-ear monitors that combine audio and build quality with reputation and comfort like Shure does with the SE215 Pros. For those who are newbies to the world of IEM’s - take a good look at these. We don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Shure SE215 Pro review: Hands-on demos
Shure SE215 Pro review: Specifications
- Connectivity: Wired
- Drivers: One
- Sensitivity: 107dB
- Earbuds: Foam and silicone included
- Case: Yes - soft bag
- Frequency range: 22-17,500 Hz
- Contact: Shure (opens in new tab)