Until recently Shure has kept their popular SE Series IEM’s exclusively wired. But now a new chapter begins in the battle for the best wireless earphone with the Shure SE215 (SE215-BT1) wireless in-ear headphone. With the release of this Bluetooth version of the SE215, audiophiles worldwide are certainly wondering if the dark ages of wireless earphones is finally over. I’ve got one of the first of these Shure wireless IEM’s and I aim to find out just how good it really is.
In The Box
In the package with the Shure SE215-BT1 you’ll get the following:
- RMCE-BT1 Bluetooth cable
- Micro USB cable
- Soft flex eartips (S,M,L)
- Foam eartips (S,M,L) *not pictured
- Eartip cleaning tool
- Carrying case
- Wire clip
Using the right size eartips you can get excellent in-ear isolation giving you up to 37dB of passive noise blocking.
The SE-215 wireless earphone is multi-point capable giving you the ability to pair with 2 devices (1 at a time). This allows the user to make quick wireless transitions from one commonly used device (for example a laptop) to another (smartphone).
Inline Controls & Mic
The 3-button inline controls give you wireless access to control volume, play, pause, track advance and phone calls.
Get up to 2-hours of battery with only 15-minutes of charging.
Detachable Wireform Cable
The detachable MMCX cable gives ultimate flexibility. The SE215 in-ear headphone could literally last a lifetime. Switching out a worn or out-of-date cables is priceless. You can even get a wired MMCX cable with 3.5mm plug for battery-free listening anytime.
2-Year Limited Warranty
A 2-year warranty says a lot about the confidence of the manufacturer in their product. If you’ve ever seen a Shure SE Series IEM in person, you know they’re durable and built to last.
Fit / Comfort
The fit of the Shure SE215 wireless earphone is nearly identical to the original SE215. The wireform over-ear cable seems to be much improved though. It’s much easier to get a snug fit. I also found the assortment of eartips to be perfect for finding the right seal as well as the right sound. Overall the SE215 wireless fit quite well in the ear canal and the housing set nicely in the inner-ear. The Bluetooth cable seemed to be be a bit long at first but after using it for a while the length made more sense. I found that tucking it underneath my shirt in the back worked well and the clothing clip is a nice touch if you plan to be more active.
Connectivity and Range
The Shure SE215-BT1 earphone lived up to the spec of 30-feet wireless range but stopped right at that distance. When connected to my smartphone the SE215 wireless made it a comfortable 30-feet away but broke up past that. This is pretty much the standard for most Bluetooth headphones and won’t be an issue for most people as we typically carry our Bluetooth device with us when listening to music.
Travelling around town (above ground and in the subway) I found that the SE215 wireless stayed connected with no drop-outs about 95% of the time. It’s inevitable with any Bluetooth headphone to get occasional drop-outs due to some sort of RF interference and a 95% connection rate is great in my book.
In 24-hours I managed to give the SE215 wireless earphone about 4-6 hours of listening time without a thought of needing to recharge. You’ll get up to 8-hours on a full charge though. Each time I turned on the wireless headphone a voice always let me know approximate remaining battery life. In an average week I would likely have to charge the SE215 wireless about every two days. Not bad at all.
The Glasses Test
The IEM over-ear wire design is something not everyone is used to. Some people might be afraid of it getting in the way of sunglasses or eyeglasses. So I set forth on my daily travels with sunglasses on (which are much thicker than my eyeglasses) and found the fit to be just fine. It probably won’t be exactly the same for everyone but I can say with confidence there was no tangling or space issues.
The Shure SE Series in-ear monitors have a strong reputation for clean, crisp mids and highs and a little boost in the bass. The reasonably priced SE215 is one of the most popular models and adding Bluetooth to the mix raises the question… “Does it sound as good?” I will say that many things can affect the sound of your in-ear headphone. Bluetooth will always compromise the quality a little bit but the technology has improved over the years and often approaches Hi-Res quality. Eartips also make a huge difference. Foam tips often increase isolation and bass response and silicone tips will give you a little less bass and more balanced response. For the sake of this review I used the silicone tips because I found the foam tips added too much bass in my opinion.
The bass on the SE215-BT1 was full bodied and plentiful. The low end is clearly tweaked a little bit in the SE215 to make for an “enhanced” listening experience and switching to the silicone tips gave me exactly what I was looking for. From hard hitting 808 kicks in hip-hop to sub-oscillators in electronic music, the bass is in your face.
The mids were very good on the SE215-BT1. Once I got the balanced sound from the silicone tips the mids were crystal clear. I rocked everything from Dire Straits to Marie Davidson and found mucho clarity. Vocals, guitars, synths and drum snaps all found their place in the mix.
The high frequencies were excellent. You do lose a little bit overall with the whole Bluetooth thing but you won’t find this kind of presence in most wireless in-ear headphones at the same price level.
The volume on the SE215 wireless was exquisite. I’ve found that very few wireless in-ear headphones have worthy volume levels. They tend to get right up to a nice volume that’s just short of where I want to go. The SE215-BT1 rocked the volume game.
Some people spend as much as $200 for Powerbeats3 in-ear headphones and the truth is you can now get better sound and better quality for less. The Shure SE215 in-ear headphone is a staple in the pro-audio industry and today consumers are buying them for everyday music listening. I have a feeling a lot of people are going to be saying “Bye Bye” to thier Powerbeats3 and “Hello” to the Shure SE215 Wireless. The Shure SE215 wireless earphone is a professional grade Bluetooth earphone that will easily outlast and outperform Beats earphones. The SE215 wireless comes in 3 cool colors… Clear, White (Special Edition) and Translucent Blue (Special Edition). They’re priced at just under $150 and have a 2-year limited warranty. It’s honestly one of my favorite headphones of the year.
You can find the best price for the Shure SE215 Wireless Earphones at these retailers:
Impedance: 17 Ohms
Frequency Range: 21 Hz to 17.5 kHz
Sensitivity: 107 dB SPL/mW
Range: 10m (30ft)
Battery Life: 8-hours
Wireless Connection: Bluetooth 4.1