2017 Battle of the IEMs: Westone UM1 vs Shure SE215 Review

Westone UM1 vs Shure SE215 Review

With the recent launch of Westone’s $100 in-ear solution, the UM1, it’s a no brainer to host a showdown between two companies known for their stellar in-ear monitors. Our Westone UM1 vs Shure SE215 article will break down the key differences in the two models, ranging from specs to sound.

Battle of the IEMs: Westone UM1 vs Shure SE215 Review


Both headphones are shipped in tall, but thin rectangular boxes. These boxes hold the ear buds along with spare tips (both include silicone and foam).

Build & Design

Westone UM1 is modeled as a very lightweight in-ear monitor. The housings are slender compared to most. Though, nothing quite compares to the super model thin frame of Final Audio’s High fidelity in-ear buds. Shure SE215’s are rounder and more robust. If you have tiny ears, like myself, Westone UM1 feels like a better fit. Every ear is different, but by design the slimmer fit of the UM1 just feels better in my ears. Come to think of it, Shure is brawnier than Westone, but both are built to last.

As for comfort, the UM1 and SE215 both feature flex hooks to secure the buds over your ears. The flex hook on the SE215 is designed with extra support as there is additional support along the top for a sturdier fit. But, the UM1’s flex hook feels like it sets better over my ears. Sometimes the hook on the SE215s tend to move.


Both earbuds are fit with MMCX connections which are ideal for preventing premature wear and tear as well as swapping out various cables. Shure SE215 and Westone UM1 come with a detachable audio cable. Both brands offer detachable cables with an in-line remote and mic. To note, Westone UM1 is an older make that has been redesigned. Modification included an MMCX connection that was better rounded to ensure a secure and reliable connection every time.

Shure SE215 is designed as an sound-isolating earbud and can block up to 37 dB of ambient noise. Westone’s UM1 is actually manufactured to do the same. It can reduce surrounding noise up to 25 dB.


| Specification            | Westone UM1         | Shure SE215         |
| Driver                   | Balanced Armature   | Dynamic MicroDriver |
| Frequency Response Range | 20Hz - 16kHz        | 22Hz – 17.5kHz      |
| Sensitivity              | 114 dB              | 107 dB              |
| Impedance                | 19 ohms             | 17 ohms             |
| Warranty                 | 1 Year              | 2 Years             |


When it comes to sound, both of these IEMs prove worthy of their $99 price tag. Westone UM1 gives you a completely balanced listening experience. But don’t let the neutral sound signature fool you. Music with any sort of bass line resonates beautifully within these buds showcasing an impressive deal of clarity and depth. Detail remains at the utmost throughout the mids and highs. Listening to Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” feels like I’m in the studio right next to the band – hearing as each individual string is plucked. Overall, the audio feels full and lush. There’s also a nice degree of separation between vocals, horns, strings, drums, etc.

As for the SE215, these buds were designed with a dynamic microdriver for enhanced bass. As a result, the bass line has a bit more oomph in it compared to the UM1 – which I like. Overall, the tone is darker.

That’s not necessarily bad or good. It’s all up to your ear and what type of sound you prefer. The bass is rich, but not heavy. Let me be sure to make that distinction. Instruments in the mid range are smooth and nicely blend while the highs glitter, but maybe not as bright as the UM1s.


Honestly, either in-ear monitor can provide you with quality sound at the $100 mark. Depending on what you’re looking (or listening for) rather, both got the juice. However, if you want neutral audio with deep bass and a great deal of separation UM1’s are a great fit. A smooth, bassy, and dark sound signature is all Shure SE215.

Shure SE215 is available at the lowest price on Audio 46 when you use discount code “majorhifi”during checkout. These earbuds are also selling at a competitive price on Amazon.

Westone UM1 is also selling at the cheapest price on Amazon and Audio 46.

Still got questions regarding our “Westone UM1 vs Shure SE215” review article? Let us know in the comments section.

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Sade is a journalist talking all things tech. Contact: sade@majorhifi.com