Almost Like A Silent Movie
Please understand, at the low price, these couldn't earn more than a 4 (you do "get what you pay for").
Sweetwater almost always gets a 5 for it's BBB A+ service, which is why I chose them to be my primary supplier. Jeff Barnett is wonderful, kind, patient, [too] tolerant [of my lengthy, over-frequent e-mails].
The SE215s get a 3. Averaged (the way I did it), the total for the purchase is a 3.5.
I'm allergic to the black, latex foam rubber tips (sleeves). So, I tried the large orange foam, which would not hold the SE215s securely in my ears. So, I'm now using Shure EATFL1-6 white, flanged sleeves.
If I grab my pinnae (fleshy part of ear) and pull, while pushing hard, the Shure SE215s will fully insert and not stick out. As I clip the cord to my shirt collar, run the joiner on the cables up to the back of my head, and leave a small loop in between, the 215s stay securely in my ears for hours at a time, unless I hit the cables with my hands.
The SE215s serve their primary purpose very well, playing backing tracks while I'm practicing vocals.
For walking, using the SE215s is scary. It doesn't take very much level for them to almost completely drown out the quiet cars, which just "whisper" by. A little more level, and only the noisy trucks occasionally intrude. More level than that and I'd have much worse tinnitus and earlier hearing loss. It's somewhat surreal, like watching an almost silent movie. But, dangerous!
The 215s are, however, a bit "mix-specific"; with a good mix, they sound good, with a bad one they don't sound quite so good. (But, remember, they're low cost.)
While the bass response could be better (and probably is in the more expensive models), it is sufficient for my all my needs, including on-stage/in-ear-monitoring where additional bass will be heard from stage monitors or mains speakers. Those critical of wireless transmitters' and IEMs' bass response might avail themselves of loudness contour curves and an increased understanding of the non-linearity with which our ears/brains perceive pitches relative to each other; at low levels, we simply don't hear the bass and treble as much as the mid-range.
The replaceable cord was an absolute necessity as I regularly have had the 215s predecessors fail from cord-breakage. No more! I ordered a spare cord when I got the 215s.
Overall, I love them! They work so well, that Shure's competitors will have difficulty getting me to not use the SE line exclusively (including, eventually, as rental IEMs).
(A note about hygiene and tinnitus. One should always clean their ears out daily, using a soft, "baby's" bulb to gently rinse out the inner part of the ear, never inserting the tip of the bulb deeply, squeezing gently so as not too damage the eardrum by intense direct water flow nor by intense sound. One should always clean the sleeves. While loud sound or noise will cause tinnitus, so will the use of aspirin and other substances. The presence of tinnitus doesn't always presage eventual hearing loss. Still, an annual hearing exam by a qualified audiologist is essential for those regularly listening to loud music or other loud sound. Furthermore, consulting and abiding by daily noise-exposure charts is suggested.)