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Shure SE115m+ Noise Isolating Earphones review

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Shure SE115m+ Noise Isolating Earphones
  • Shure SE115m+ Noise Isolating Earphones
  • Shure SE115m+ Noise Isolating Earphones
  • Shure SE115m+ Noise Isolating Earphones
  • Shure SE115m+ Noise Isolating Earphones
  • SE115M+ Mic/Remote Earbuds

Summary

Our Score:

7

While I await the arrival of Shure's latest high-end earphones with bated breath, there seems to be no harm in taking a look at the opposite end of the company's audio spectrum. As you might guess the SE115m+ earphones share more than a little DNA with the SE115 'phones we've looked at previously - though not without a little evolution.

Ostensibly the change is obvious: the 'm+' segment of their name indicates the addition of an in-line remote and microphone, making them compatible not only with the iPhone but also with the latest, control-less, iPod shuffle; in addition to every other recent iPod, of course. Less obvious differences include the loss of the modular design we've loved on Shure earphones for so long now and a slightly different sound signature from that of the SE115s.

The remote isn't as slim as that on Apple's own earphones; both those bundled with the Shuffle and iPhone, and the Apple In-Ear Headphones. Some may prefer the more robust feel that these Shures have, but it does result in extra weight hanging from one ear and I'm not a fan of the asymmetry that introduces. Maybe I'm just weird.

Shure trumps Apple's offerings considerably in the amount of periphery kit offered with its eaphones. With the SE115m+ 'phones themselves, Shure also supplies six different tips, three sizes each of foam and silicone, a cleaning tool and a soft carrying case with a carabiner attached to it. The hardened cases of old may have offered more apparent protection, but they weren't as comfortable in a pocket, which makes the softer variety more likely to be used so I'm in favour of the change.

Considering even the most ludicrously priced, polished stainless steel, iPod shuffle won't set you back more than £80 (worth every penny, from an aesthetic viewpoint), paying a fair bit more than that for earphone replacements to what many will consider a free accessory might be off-putting. However, I'm prepared to warrant that most iPod shuffle users don't use it as their primary MP3 player and, in fact, also have an iPod or even an iPhone making these 'phones doubly useful. If you have a non-Apple media player, though, the in-line remote will prove less than useful.

Back to those using an iPhone, iPod touch or iPod shuffle, then. The former two groups will find the middle play/pause button useful in varying degrees depending on which generation of device they own. The latest versions of each now offer Voice Control, accessed by holding the play/pause button and speaking your orders when prompted. I've found it to be temperamental at best but your mileage may vary.

Kaiser202

February 3, 2010, 2:07 pm

Is it only me that looks at the price of these things and gasps? Nobody with as much sense as money would buy something like this, and for the first lines to regard these £130 earphones as "opposite end of the company's audio spectrum" to their high end is utterly ridiculous. Nobody spends as much money on earphones as their first car costs unless they have nothing better to spend it on (like bills/car insurance/rent, take your bloody pick).


Its stuff like this that makes me seriously question TrustedReviews take on things.

Ed

February 3, 2010, 2:27 pm

@Kaiser202: Quite simply, that shows how much you know. The top-end Shure's - that is the models that have just been announced - are probably going to be well over £300 on release. They will be replacing the previous top end models that are still selling for £230+. They are well worth it at that price as well. If you're into your audio and use your player everyday, the cost soon averages out to pennies a day and the sonic experience is superb. So compared to that sort of money, and with regards the rest of Shure's range, these 115m+ are low-end. Obviously £130 is still a lot of money and in fact we'd normally consider that price to be well into the realms of mid-range but that's precisely why these only score a 6 for value and get 7 overall.

comedian

February 3, 2010, 2:59 pm

"Besides which, I can't really go around calling personal opinions wrong."





I'm pretty sure that you can.

Orinj

February 3, 2010, 3:28 pm

It's a real shame that these earphones cost so much as I really need a new pair with inline controls and microphone but would rather pay either half this price for this or double for something really good.





Regarding the criticism of bass heavy sound, I do agree that it may not be a purists preference but when the environment for the use of these earphones is that of loud outdoor noise you really need extra bass in order to compensate. I owned the hf2's you mentioned and although they didn't have custom tips, the bass was very poor even if a good fit was made. It also depends of what type of music you listen to and since the majority of my music is dance and beat laden, I need to know that I can hear the bass, although certainly not at the expense of the rest of the frequency range. Roll on the new 425s and 535s.





PS. I don't wear a 'hoody'.

paul

February 3, 2010, 3:55 pm

I totally agree with you kaiser ,the price of these is madness ,sorry if i were paying £130 for some headphones i would expect 10/10 sound quality not 7/10 like tr has given,its these so called audiophiles which think they are experts on sound and can hear different things to us normal beings ,ive paid £50 for some earphones and that is good enough for me,everyone to their own but dont tell me £130 or £230 as ed was saying is well worth the price,you must have more cash than sense.

Ed

February 3, 2010, 4:12 pm

@Paul: As I said to Kaiser, you guys simply don't know what you're talking about - did you even read the review or any of our other headphone reviews? Do you have any comprehension of our scoring or the market in general? It certainly seems not.





So £50 is good enough for you, well a Peugeot 206 is good enough for most people as well but I doubt many people would disagree that they'd prefer a 3 series. Need any more examples?

Kinclad5129

February 3, 2010, 4:47 pm

It would appear that both Kaiser and Paul have rendered any review of any new product pointless.





All we now need to do is ask them if they would pay X pounds for that Stradivarius and they will point us in the right direction.





Apologies for the Sarcasm but couldn’t help myself.

morsch

February 3, 2010, 5:45 pm

I guess everybody has their own level at which a price starts to be ridiculous or insane. A few years ago I probably would have considered these stupidly expensive -- and TBH I still do, for Shure's entry level set -- these days I own a pair of SE310s. I justify the expensive by using them a whole lot, and hopefully for some time to come, so the expense gives a good return, not just in terms of sound quality but also in terms of reduced damage to my hearing. Oh and hey, I don't intend to own a car anytime soon, so I don't have to pay for gas or a car insurance; I think with that kind of money you could buy a SE310 every month.





OTOH I also chime in every once in a while with similar comments regarding stupidly expensive high end surround sound sets and other audio hardware (or "performance" cars, for that matter). I agree that TR's audio product selection is a tad biased towards the high-end/luxury market.

paul

February 3, 2010, 6:10 pm

i don't think reviewing any new products is pointless you said that,i just think reviewing headphones is very subjective,there is no test for sound quality in headphones and that is the main thing with comfort second we are looking for,i am sure these earphones sound very good just overpriced as it says in this very article.


i have more knowledge with headsets for gaming ive tried all different sorts and prices paying from £30 op to £100 and i can assure you in this field paying more dosent always mean better sound,better build quality but sound is subjective,as in sennheiser pc 350 i bought, built like a tank very comfortable sound not so sure ,the hype they were sold on can tell easily where enemy's are is dubious and i do have a top sound card before anyone chips in

Energizer Bunny

February 3, 2010, 7:20 pm

Reviews of all sound hardware are subjective though on that basis. You're relying on the expertise of the reviewer who has likely got a wealth of experience in reviewing headphones from the premium to budget ends of the market. You only have to listen to the difference between the bundled Apple headphones and a set of mid range Shures to know there is one hell of a difference.





With that out of the way, I am glad that Shure have started including a set of controls, but I really hope they've sorted their product quality out. The previous Shure control lead (which you had to buy seperately if you wanted iPod controls for your Shure headphones) break after a year almost without fail.

Caleb9ce

February 3, 2010, 7:43 pm

@Paul: I’ll chip in!!





Are you for real? Just because you haven't heard something better than your £50 headphone that doesn't mean everything else is "not good enough".





Quote: "I have more knowledge with headsets for gaming ive tried all different sorts and prices paying from £30 op to £100"


Quote: “I do have a top sound card before anyone chips in”


Sheesh...stop acting like you are some authority on this matter just because you spent £100 on some headphone equipment and have some consumer grade soundcard!!





My current portable setup is Shure SE530, iMod 80GB (google it, you wouldn't know), ALO SXC Line Out Dock and Graham Slee Voyager (courtesy TR) is worth £841 and for me its well worth every penny I spent on it.





I consider myself to be an audiophile not because I spent X amount of money on equipment but I understand and enjoy the concept of trying to achieve audio perfection.





Seriously, spend some time listening to audiophile grade equipment and you will realise what you are really missing out on.





You can start by learning the basics by visiting Head-Fi.org before posting silly comments.





@Energizer Bunny: Totally agree with you!

Mifu

February 3, 2010, 8:55 pm

Paul, I wonder why you commented. You acknowledge that reviews are 'Subjective', bravo. 'We' visit Trusted Review to get subjective reviews from people who get to try a plethora more product than we consumers could ever do, and for longer periods. That, I would hope, is why we are here.





Read the review - It is just that, a review, you extrapolate your wants/needs. simple.





Lets not forget that Shure have a pedigree in music recording, yes i agree they are overpriced, but there are many people in this world who would spend (lots of) extra money for that alone..





Editors, your comments are great.


appreciate your sensibility and realism

paul

February 3, 2010, 9:14 pm

everyone to their own,the bottom line is most agree they are over priced,caleb mate my friend spends hundreds on Denon's AH-D5000s ive listened to them so dont tell me i wouldnt know what top stuff is and theres no doubt they sound top top notch but not £500 what he paid in my view,thats what this is all about views,if you think paying whatever is up to you,but dont say i am wrong saying they overpriced

Ed

February 3, 2010, 9:31 pm

@paul: Noone's debating that you're entitled to have your own views on where to draw the line when it comes to quality vs value. However, in your original post you were seemingly denying our right to have our view. You can't have it both ways.





With regards people agreeing that they are overpriced. Yes, we all agree they are too much for what they deliver but that is all; too much for what they deliver. Were these better it would be a different matter. £130 is peanuts if spread the cost out over using them everyday for an hour a day for a couple of years.

paul

February 3, 2010, 10:00 pm

yes your right ed if you spread it out over a couple of years its cheap ,all depends how much you are into music,as you can tell i am not really into audiophile grade stuff but i respect people who want to pay that sort of money if thats their thing to them its worth it because they love music,some people who are not into gaming like me would say i am mad paying £500 for an ati 5890 but to me its worth it because i love high end graphics,there is no right or wrong ,all i can say as i said before i listened to my friends dennon ah 5000s and they sound amazing but too me £500 is madness because i am not into music that much but to my friend they are a bargain.

paul

February 3, 2010, 10:10 pm

sorry i meant ati 5970

AOD

February 3, 2010, 11:09 pm

Whilst I do like the sound of my SE210s, I do wonder about Shure's build quality in general. The rubber portion where the cables enter the headphone/earpiece has a nasty tendency to fall apart.





I'm about to send away to have mine replaced under their warranty (again) and when the new ones turn up, this will be my third set.





Whilst I appreciate the 2 year warranty, I can't help but wonder if another brand would offer more longevity.

racey1979

February 4, 2010, 2:26 am

A few years ago I started looking to invest in some Shure earphones. I love listening to my iPod and was never happy with the nasty earphones that came with it. I set my budget at £150, but went out one night, got very very drunk, walked home like a buckled wheel, went on line and ordered a set of SE530's, so went over my budget just a tad. Woke up head in hands thinking what have I done? I was devestated. That was until they arrived, and all regrets faded. I was astounded by what I had just stuck in my ears. Yes thet cost a fortune, but I can now sort of understand why, they are a brilliant piece of engineering, and a hell of alot of thought and money has been put into designing them. What you spend on a set of earphones boils down to one thing, and that is how much enjoyment you get from listening to music. The only downside to owning a very expensive set of earphones is the constant worry of breaking or losing the bloody things!

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