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Shure SE315 Sound Isolating Earphones review: Shure SE315 Sound Isolating Earphones

Shure SE315 Sound Isolating Earphones

Jasmine France Former Editor
3 min read

Shure has been churning out impressive-sounding in-ear headphones for consumers for more than 15 years, and any new models from the company have featured mainly evolutionary changes from their predecessors. The latest update to the Shure consumer line is no exception, with the new SE models featuring a few fairly minor--but mostly welcome--tweaks.


Shure SE315 Sound Isolating Earphones

The Good

The Shure SE315 earphones offer an exceptionally durable design. The package includes useful extras such as a case and the Shure Fit Kit.

The Bad

The Shure SE315 earphones don't offer great sound quality across the board considering the price point. Getting a good fit takes effort, and these may not be comfortable for all people.

The Bottom Line

The Shure SE315 Sound Isolating Earphones offer an exceptionally durable design, but you can find better-sounding sets for about half the price.

We first checked out the Shure SE425 earphones, a $299 set that impressed us with a durable design and excellent sound quality. Now, we have our ears on the SE315, which is Shure's single-driver offering. At $199, this set falls in the middle of the SE line in terms of pricing. The SE315 is a follow-up to the SE310, and its earpieces feature a noticeable design shift from those of its predecessor. Rather than the bulbous teardrop shape that tends to stick out of the ear, Shure has moved to a contoured mold that's meant to sit inside the outer ear. We saw this originally with the Shure SE530, and--for most users--this design means a more ergonomic fit.

Of course, this newly contoured earpiece shape also means the SE315 earphones need to be worn a bit differently from their predecessor. Namely, the earbuds need to be twisted in just right, and the cable is then looped over the top of the ear. Shure has built in a few inches of memory wire right near the earbuds to help with this. Still, not everyone will like the feel of the cord over the top of the ear, and the initial tweaking to get the earpieces just right is tiresome at first; practice helps over time.

As for the cable, Shure provides plenty of length: 64 inches to be exact. However, those who had a pair of SE310s might be disappointed to learn that the design is no longer modular. That is, you can't split the cable at the Y-junction in order to make a shortened length for a player clipped to a lapel or worn in a shirt pocket. This is a bit of a bummer, because the cord is quite heavy and tends to pull at the earpieces with the entire length hanging free.

That being said, we appreciate the thickness and flexibility of the cable of the SE315 as it speaks well to the headphones withstanding the test of time. Plus, the Y-junction and L-plug housings are extra-rugged, and Shure now reinforces the cord with Kevlar. Add to that a two-year warranty and the fact that the earpieces are user-detachable, and you have a setup that practically screams "durability."

As for extras, the SE315 earphones include the usual suspects. You get a soft-sided, zippered carrying case and an earwax-cleaning tool. Plus, there's Shure's standard fit kit with three sizes (S, M, L) of the flex and black foam sleeves, as well as one pair of triple-flange and one pair of universal-fit yellow foam sleeves.

Of course, sound quality is perhaps the chief concern for a pair of earphones costing a couple hundred dollars, and the SE315s are mostly impressive, though we couldn't help comparing them with our $80 Klipsch Image S4s during testing. While the Kilpsch earbuds provide excellent balance and stellar audio across all genres, the SE315s sound rather anemic by comparison, specifically for rock tracks. Tom Petty's "Refugee" had a slightly hollow quality with an overly forward midrange, and that seemed to carry over to punk rock and folk tracks as well.

That said, we enjoyed the audio quality while testing hip-hop and electronic tracks. Bass is deep and encompassing without being too overwhelming. And hi-hats and triangles come through crisply with a fair amount of sparkle. Still, for $200, we expect a pair of headphones that sound good for all music, since you can find that for around $100. It seems that you're paying more for design and durability in this case, so if you value that and listen to mostly hip-hop and electronic music, the Shure SE315 earphones could be a good fit.


Shure SE315 Sound Isolating Earphones

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 7Performance 5