With the wide variety of in-ear monitors on the market today, it can be difficult to find out exactly which one is right for you. If you’re not sure about what you’re getting, you can either end up with an IEM that isn’t precise enough for your needs, or you can get one that costs twice as much as you’d like to spend.
Fortunately, the SE line of Shure in ear monitors are both affordable and get incrementally better and more expensive at each step. To help you decide which Shure in ear monitor is best for you, we’ve put together a short little comparison list. Take a moment and read through our comparison of the features, and let us help you find the right balance of precision and cost.
#1 – Shure SE215-CL Sound Isolating IEMs
With the Shure SE215, you’re going to be getting all the basic features of the Shure line. Like all good IEMs, these monitors fit snugly inside your ears and isolate you from up to 37 db worth of ambient noise, so all you hear is what you want to hear. Even though these are inside your ears, you might even forget you’re wearing them at times.
With three different sizes of earbud in both foam and soft Flex, as well as a cord that loops behind the ear and stays there, these IEMs can be comfortable for hours on end. Your headphone cord on this model, like on all the Shure SE line, is built just as tough as the monitors themselves, combining a Kevlar weave with a formable wire and gold-plated connectors to make sure that you don’t lose any quality going from input to earbud.
If your cable does get bent and distorted, don’t worry; the cable detaches from the rest of the IEM, so you can easily pick up and plug in a new set. Tough, comfortable, and designed to go for the long haul, the SE215s are tough enough to play just as long as you are.
On the actual IEM, you’re getting a single dynamic driver system designed to reproduce clear sound all across the spectrum, perfect for everybody from the amateur musician to the music enthusiast. Thanks in large part to the dynamic driver design, you’re going to get a rich, rumbling bass that will make your low end boom, the big feature that shows up in every Shure SE215 review.
Whatever you choose to do with this model, however, it won’t let you down. The benefit of paying less than $100 is also a plus for many. Read more at our dedicated 215 review here.
#2 – Shure SE315-CL Sound Isolating IEMs
Moving up a little bit with the Shure SE315, you’re still going to get the same great features as on your previous models, but with a few tweaks for extra sound quality. With these Shure in ear headphones, your most noticable change is going to come from the driver; rather than use the dynamic driver of the Shure SE 215, this model uses what’s known as an armature driver.
Rather than the traditional dynamic model, which puts a constant pressure on your driver’s diaphragm, an armature driver uses a balanced magnet between two poles to produce sound; this means it takes much less energy to get the pieces moving and thus, a clearer sound with less effort.
Fortunately, you can still get a solid boom out of your bass on these IEMs, thanks in large part to Shure’s tuned bassports. While all good IEMs are completely sealed to keep out ambient noise, having a little bit of moving air helps with sound quality. To that end, Shure put ports inside their sealed IEMs, giving them the sound-enhancing benefits of moving air while still keeping a sealed, sound isolating IEM.
In short, this set of Shure earbuds is going to be a bit more balanced all across the spectrum. The balanced armature gives you a clean sound, and the bass port lets you keep a bit more of the bass than you could on similar models. For under $200, it’s still in line with your budget and you can read more about the 315 here.
#3 – Shure SE425-CL Sound Isolating IEMs
The best way to get a cleaner sound out of Shure’s armature drivers is quite simple; add another one. Fortunately, that’s what you’re getting on the SE425. Once again, you’re getting everything you’d normally get on the Shure headphones in the SE line, but with an additional balanced armature driver in each ear.
While it may not seem like much, having dedicated drivers for your high and low end can really bump up the quality of your sound, letting you hear details you hadn’t even thought to listen for.
This model of Shure ear monitors really shines among audiophiles and performers who want to get the most out of their music, as well as the professional editors who need to. It’s essentially a model that gives you the same kind of clarity as a pair of studio headphones without the earmuff design, perfect for extended sessions or, in the case of stage performers, a great way to get all the sound quality you can without looking like you’re wearing IEMs at all. Learn more about what makes the 425 so amazing.
#4 – Shure SE535-CL Sound Isolating IEMs
Another model, another balanced armature driver, and an incredible level of detail. With the SE-535, you’ve now got three dedicated armature drivers in each earbud, all working together without distortion to give even the most seasoned audio professional pause.
By using three drivers, you’re getting a wider sound picture and a better level of clarity all across the spectrum, so you can hear literally everything that’s going on.
While these IEMs can get a little pricy, putting them out of range of most amateurs, these are an excellent buy for somebody who wants to move up the Shure line. They feel the same as the rest of the SE IEMs, so if you’ve got any experience with the line, you’ll know how to fit these IEMs and what you can expect. Once they get playing, however, you’ll wonder how you ever did anything without them.
#5 – Shure SE846-CL Sound Isolating IEMs
Honestly, there’s more technology in these IEMs than most of the audio devices on the market today. With four dedicated armature drivers, these IEMs can replicate any sound on any system with absolutely breathtaking quality.
Thanks to the patent-pending Shure low-pass filter, you can get sound that sounds like a dedicated subwoofer right in an IEM, in addition to a beautifully clear tweeter and mid-range.
You can also customize the response you get on these IEMs as well; with a small turn of a knob, you can give your IEMs a brighter or darker tone. If you can’t hear it clearly on the SE-846, then the sound you’re thinking of must not exist.
Wrap-up to the Top Rated Shure IEM’s
We won’t beat around the bush; these pieces can cost up to a thousand dollars, putting them out of the range of all but real professionals. However, once you get them in your ears, you’ll wonder how such sound can even come out of an in-ear system. You’ll be able to hear every single note with unbelievable clarity every single time on a level that puts most other studio quality earmuffs to shame.
If money is not an object, and your job demands the very best, you won’t be disappointed by this, the crown jewel of the Shure SE line.
Again, take some time to read over all the features of these amazing IEMs and make a more informed purchase. Whatever you choose, we guarantee that you’ll experience your music in a whole new way with a Shure IEM.