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First Looks: Shure SE315 Sound Isolating Earphones

By Kenny Yeo - 28 Oct 2010

First Looks: Shure SE315 Sound Isolating Earphones

Successful Ear-volution

Where in-ear headphones are concerned, one name that often springs to mind is Shure. Founded in 1925, the company has been deeply involved in all things audio since its conception. These days, Shure’s SE series of sound isolating headphones are extremely popular and after refreshing the older SE530 and SE420, they have gone about and improved the older SE310, giving us this - the new SE315.

Redesigned Housing

Like the previously reviewed SE535, the new SE315 also gets sturdier, removable cables, for easy replacement and customization. On top of that, it also gets a redesigned housing that promises a better fit and enhanced sound reproduction.

The cables on the SE315 are a tad thicker than the older SE310 and they also felt heavier. Trying on the older SE310 and newer SE315 back to back, the difference in weight was appreciable, with the newer headphones feeling that little bit more cumbersome. Out of the box, the new thicker cables also felt uncomfortable on the skin. All in all, the new cables probably require some time to get used to and with sufficient use, they should fit and feel better.

The newly designed housing, however, fits much better. As far as we can tell, it is very similar to the housing of the new SE535 and as such, it sits closer to your ears and feels much more snug compared to the older SE310, which has an awkward elongated nozzle.

Boom Boom Pow

The older SE310 was often lamented for the lack of bass, yet on the hardware front, the new SE315 is still fitted with a single balanced armature driver with what Shure calls “tuned BassPorts”. Shure hasn’t revealed if they had tweaked the drivers, but on first impressions, the SE315 sounds fuller and with more bass than the model it replaces.

After spending more time with the SE315, we can say that while we enjoyed the deeper and fuller bass, it has come at a price. While the older SE310 was spacious and airy, the SE315 was a little darker and more direct.

Compared to the SE535 and the SE530, the difference in audio performance between the SE315 and SE310 was more significant. Of course, sound is subjective and whether the more bassy and authoritative sound of the SE315 is for the better depends very much on the on the listener, but personally, we think the SE315 sounds more balanced overall.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the SE315 is an accomplished set of headphones and it outshines its predecessor. Not only is it more sturdy and fits better, it also sounds better. What’s more, priced at S$319, the new SE315 is also more affordable than the model it replaces - the SE310 used to cost S$379. Admittedly, that is still a tad pricey for single driver headphones, but if your budget stretches this far, then the SE315 certainly won’t disappoint.

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