I am a little bit of a headphone-freak. I tried a few brands: Etymotic, Shure, Sony, Sennheiser, Boss (yes, they make in-ear headphones), Apple...
I really like my Sennheiser HD600. Great headphones: linear, dynamic, distortion free and comfortable. With the new ear-pads and head-pad they are back as they were brand new.
I was a little bit sceptical about the SE215. I was in love with my Shure E4C. Really good in-ear headphones. Solid bass, clear treble, balanced mids and excellent noise isolation. Unfortunately, the cable broke a few months ago and it wasn't replaceable with a Shure one. I replaced it with another cable but the E4C were falling into pieces.
I decided I didn't want to spend a fortune in new headphones; the SE215 looked reasonably priced so I decided to give it a go.
In-ear headphones can be a little bit of a problem for some people. Especially the bit that goes inside the ear can hurt after a while.
The body fits in my ears perfectly. It shows that Shure put his experience in in-ear designing in the SE215. The tips are soft and don’t produce excessive pressure inside the ear.
The SE215 come with 6 pairs of tips. 3 are made of special foam that adapts to the ear shape. The other 3 are more conventional.
The cable is Kevlar® reinforced and it is thick. Much thicker than the average headphone. This makes it mechanically robust, electrically transparent and not prone to get tangled.
The drawback is that touching the cable induces some mechanical noise in the earpieces. Frankly it is not a problem for me but it might be a problem for some.
The SE215 are design to have the cable going around the ear. The cable has a semi-rigid cover in the last few centimetres before the earpieces. This allows the cable to be pre-shaped so every time is ready for your ears. It works great for me but some people may prefer the extra flexible cable used by other brands/models.
Last but not least, the cable is detachable. Yes, you can unplug it from the earpieces, replace it and your headphones are back as new. It is a great idea that I would like to see more often.
I purchased the clear/transparent version because I like how it looks but the SE215 are available in black as well.
The body is made of solid plastic. There are no semi-rigid parts that inevitably after a few years simply disintegrate.
It is very good. Perhaps too good – I don't recommend them while cycling.
The isolation is so effective that I find hard to understand why people buy active noise-cancellation headphones. In my opinion, the only case where noise-cancellation headphones makes sense is when in-ear cannot be used (e.g. because of the ear shape or if one has ears that cannot tolerate in-ears)
They sound so good... I can't take them off. The SE215 pulverise my old Shure E4C. In comparison, the E4C sound like music on the telephone.
The bass is clear and powerful but not overpowering. Trebles are clear and defined. Mids are balanced. The best thing after my HD600.
If you look for a good headphones that deliver clear, powerful and solid sound the SE215 are an excellent choice.
If own cheap headphones, do yourself a favour and buy the Shure SE215. Portable music will never be the same.