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Shure SE215 Wireless Pros&Cons

Pros 

  • Very comfortable
  • Decent isolation
  • Reasonably priced
  • Overall bang-for-buck value

Cons 

  • Outright sound quality lacking

Shure SE215 Wireless Specs

  • Bluetooth Version: 4.1
  • Battery life: Up To 8 hours
  • Driver Configuration: Single Dynamic

SE215-Wireless

Packaging 

The SE215 Wireless’s packaging is very similar to the packaging Shure used for the regular SE215 version. We get a mostly-white box, and a cutout section to display the SE215 Wireless earpieces on the front. There’s also some bold text to highlight the SE215 Wireless’s Bluetooth functionality (as though it wasn’t obvious enough from the product’s name), and a short description of the SE215 Wireless’ “detailed sound with extended bass”, and apparent long battery life.

SE215-Wireless-box

The left side is mainly used to advertise Shure’s 2-year limited warranty, whilst the right side has a product description in French, Portugese, Spanish, German, and Italian. Towards the bottom of the right side we are given the frequency response range (21 – 17.5 kHz) of the SE215 Wireless.

The rear illustrates a few of the features found on the SE215 Wireless, as well as a list of included accessories and a few more product specifications.

Opening up the exterior packaging reveals a removable clear secondary package in which the SE215 Wireless and 2 pairs of foam eartips rest. Essentially it’s like a blister-pack

What’s in the box?

  • Shure SE215 Wireless
  • Storage/carrying case
  • Micro-USB charging cable
  • 3x Pairs soft flex eartips
  • 3x Pairs foam eartips
  • Wax removal tool

SE215-Wireless-box-contents

Read: V-Moda Wireless Review

Accessories 

The included accessories are pretty much the usual bunch with Shure IEMs. The soft case/pouch is large enough to fit both the SE215 Wireless, charging cable, wax removal tool, and perhaps some extra eartips.
The wax removal tool is rather handy, especially if you decide to use the silicone soft flex eartips. Due to the very narrow bore diameter of the silicone tips, they are quite prone to becoming obstructed.
A total of 6 pairs of eartips are included. Whilst the foam eartips are great for isolation, they really don’t do the SE215 Wireless justice in terms of sound…but we’ll get to that in a bit.

SE215-Wireless-case

Read: Bose QC30 (QuietComfort30) Headphones Review

Design

Essentially, the SE215 Wireless is simply the wireless version of Shure’s regular SE215. As such, the single dynamic driver configuration has been retained, and the shell design and material seems to be identical. So basically, the only difference here is that the SE215 Wireless is shipped with a cable that houses a battery and Bluetooth circuitry. Shure does also sell this cable (called the BT1) separately for around $100.

As such, the SE215 Wireless still lives up to the great comfort of the regular SE215. Shure really did a great job here, as the shell fits exceptionally well in the ear’s Concha, so much so that it actually results in a negative profile. This means that the shell doesn’t stick out from the ear, allowing you to comfortably rest your head on a pillow whilst still wearing the SE215 Wireless if you so wish to do. This is actually an incredibly rare trait for the overwhelmingly vast majority of IEM designs out in the market, as the usually stick out form the ear.

The Bluetooth equipped cable has MMCX connectors, which means that you could remove the standard cable and replace it with a more traditional stereo MMCX cable if you wanted to use the SE215 Wireless like a normal set of IEMs.
The stock cable has an inline remote as well as an additional part which houses the Bluetooth circuitry, an LED indicator, and possibly the battery too. The LED will indicate if the SE215 Wireless is connected to a device, charging status, and will flash red and blue alternatively when the device is in pairing mode. The in-line remote consists of volume up and down buttons, a power button, a microphone, as well as a microUSB charging port. The volume buttons can also be used to skip tracks forward or back), where as the power nutton is used to turn the SE215 Wireless on/off, play/pause music, answer/end calls, and put the device into Bluetooth pairing mode. The SE215 Wireless does not feature NFC technology, and so the user has to manually put the device into pairing mode. To do so, the device needs to first be powered off, and then simply hold the power button in for at least 5 seconds.
Overall Shure seems to have done a fine job with the construction of the SE215 Wireless. Despite predominantly being made out of various plastic parts, it certainly doesn’t feel like a cheap product.
Perhaps the only real downside here is the fact that Shure opts for minute nozzles on the housing. As such, you’re VERY limited with which aftermarket eartips will fit onto the SE215 Wireless.


Sound

Test Setup
Source: Shanling M2s, Samsung Galaxy S7

SE215-Wireless-m2s

Seeing as the SE215 Wireless seems to be using the same driver configuration and shell-design as the regular SE215, we’re gonna hazard a guess and say that the 2 will sound similar. But, of course, the fact that the SE215 Wireless relies on the quality of the DAC and AMP circuitry built into the BT1 cable, there may very well be some stark differences after all. Unfortunately I did not have a regular SE215 at hand to be able to compare the 2. But, we can compare the sound differences between the included silicone and foam eartips, as they absolutely do affect the sound character and quality of the SE215 Wireless.

Foam
With the foam tips the SE215 Wireless has quite a warm and smooth signature. To say that it is a “forgiving” signature is putting it lightly. So much so that, when compared to a much more neutral set of IEMs, it can actually come across as though the upper registers are almost completely missing from the SE215 Wireless. That is of course a hyperbole, but the SE215 Wireless is definitely lacking when it comes to micro details and instrument separation.

Silicone
Switching over to the silicone tips does improve things quite a bit. Whilst the SE215 Wireless still clearly favours the bass region, it doesn’t sound quite as warm and rolled off as it does with the foam eartips.

Read: Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless Headphones Review

Value 

The regular SE215 was never meant to be a high fidelity monster, but it rather served as a stepping stone for someone who is starting to dip their toes in the world of portable Hi-Fi. It seems the SE215 Wireless is a similar story, giving potential buyers a reasonably priced wireless setup without smacking them squarely in the face with tons and tons of sonic details.
However, there is a bit of the problem when it comes to the competition. For the same or less amount of money (depending on where you make a purchase), you could also opt for the Fiio F9 and Fiio BTR1. Sure, that would result in a slightly more bulky setup, but if you’re looking for an exceptionally high bang-for-buck value, it would edge ahead of the SE215 Wireless.

Rating

The TECH MERIT rating system is designed to take as many aspects of the device into account as possible. As such, we have a basic rating, as well as a final rating. The basic rating rates the product purely as a high quality portable audio device, and is generally a good indicator of how it stacks up to its rivals in terms of standard features and specs. The final rating, however, grants bonus points for any extra features and specs that aren’t quite as common, and is a great way to judge the product as a complete package.

Packaging
Look and feel: 6 / 10

Included Accessories
More than 3 pairs of eartips included: YES
Protective case: YES

Build
Quality control: 9 / 10
Seems durable: YES
Microphonics: 9 / 10
Comfort: 9 / 10

Sound
Relatively balanced signature: –
Soundstage: 7 / 10
Detail retrieval: 7 / 10
Sibilance: 8 / 10
Instrument separation: 7 / 10
Isolation: 9 / 10
Hiss: 9 / 10


Portability

Small size: 9 / 10
Relatively low power required: 9 / 10
Weight: 9 / 10

Value
Competitive price-point: YES
Relative value: 7 / 10

Basic Rating: 8.0

Bonus points
Removable cables: YES
Number of cables included: 1
Premium cables: –
Pairs of eartips above 3 pairs: 3
How premium the case looks and feels: 4 / 10
Battery life above 8 hours: –
Bluetooth: YES
Apt-X: –
Volume/remote controls: YES
Metal body: –
Interchangeable filter system: –
Premium look and feel: –
Use of exotic materials: –
Bluetooth connection quality: 9 / 10
1/4” adapter included: –
Cable management: –
Aircraft adapter: –

Final Rating: 8.3

 

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