There aren’t a tonne of really great sound isolating in-ear headphones around (most of them tend to be over-ears), but two of the best are made by one of the biggest microphone manufacturers in the world: Shure.
Looking at these two sets of headphones, though, you’d be forgiven for thinking they are pretty much the same thing.
Let us assure you, they are not, and we’re going to help you to understand what the differences actually are between these two.
Here’s what we’ll cover in this Shure 215 vs Shure 315 comparison:
- Overall sound
- Bass response
- Treble response
- Price & Value For Money
- Pros & Cons
Ready? Let’s get started…
1. Overall sound: Shure 215 vs Shure 315
Overall sound: Shure 215
The Shure 215 is a capable and decent-sounding set of headphones, offering a frequency range of 22Hz-17.5.kHz.
That’s most of the human hearing range, extending right down to the lower limits, but falling short of the general upper limit of human hearing (20kHz).
Some users report the 215s being a little underwhelming in the top end as a result.
Overall, the sound of the Shure 215 is warm and natural and suitable for most casual listeners.
Overall sound: Shure 315
The Shure 315 headphones take a very different approach to sound.
They are far more detailed and more analytical, with a more precise low-end, but less bass overall.
They offer a frequency range of 22Hz-18.5kHz, so they get up into the high end a little more and can be a bit crisper sounding.
They are also more sensitive to the SE315s (116 dB vs 107dB).
As a general rule, the 315s are better suited for more analytical listeners, as they are more focused and transparent than the 215s, in a way that many modern audio consumers might not enjoy.
Overall sound: Bottom Line
Generally speaking, the Shure 215 will appeal to a wider audience.
They have a stronger low-end (though less precise, as they don’t have a tuned bass port).
Both sets of headphones offer up to 37dB of sound isolation (which is actually quite a bit), so they are sound isolating in-ears for sure.
Though the 315s are, on paper, ‘better’ headphones, the 215s are probably betters suited to most listeners looking to buy a set of in-ears, so they win this round.
Overall sound Winner: Shure 215
2. Comfort: Shure 215 vs Shure 315
Comfort: Shure 215
The Shure 215 comes with 2 pairs of flex sleeves and 3 pairs of black foam sleeves, give you quite a bit of flexibility when it comes to finding the right fit.
They are fairly comfortable and stay in place extremely well once fitted properly.
When you first get them, it can take a bit to find that perfect fit, and you will notice that they fit very snugly inside your ear hole.
This is part of the noise isolation tech.
Comfort: Shure 315
The 315s are pretty much the same as the 215s; you get the same earbud tips in different sizes.
Comfort: Bottom Line
This one is a straight
Both sets of in-ear headphones are relatively comfortable, and have 5 different types of earbuds so you can find the right fit for you ears.
You can even use one of each if you find yourself with odd-shaped earholes.
Comfort Winner: Tie
3. Bass response: Shure 215 vs Shure 315
Bass response: Shure 215
The Shure SE215 is definitely a consumer set of headphones.
That means no tuned bass port (as found on the 315s), and a significant bass response that pairs well with modern bass-heavy music.
That said, they are far from a bass-centric set of in-ears, so if that’s what you’re searching for, I’d look elsewhere.
Bass response: Shure 315
The Shure 315s, by contrast, offer a very different kind of low-end experience.
These guys have a tuned bass port (basically a hole in the speaker housing that lets the driver resonate differently), which allows them to project a more refined low-end that has a deeper feel.
However, you’ll notice less bass overall with the 315s, as they are definitely a more mid-focused set of in-ears.
Bass response: Bottom Line
Despite the on-page numbers being more or less the same (both sets get right down to 22Hz), the 315 appears to achieve a slightly deeper tonality than the 215s in that they have a little more guts right down in the lows of the lows.
The bass response overall of the 315s is definitely tighter and more refined.
On the other hand, the 215s for sure have more bass overall, so they might be more suited to your average listener pumping out pop and house tunes.
This one’s really a matter of taste and preference, so I’m calling this a tie.
Bass response: Tie
4. Treble response: Shure 215 vs Shure 315
Treble response: Shure 215
The Shure 215 in-ear headphones have a frequency range that reaches up to 17.5kHz.
So, a little short of the full audible range, with the top limit generally being around 20kHz.
This might not seem like a big difference, but you also need to consider that the response will slope off as the headphones approach 17.5kHz, so you’ll notice a significant drop in high-end if you compare side by side with another set.
For most listeners, by the way, this isn’t going to matter too much.
A lot of popular music is pretty hyped in the upper mids anyway, and doesn’t have a tonne of usable information in the 16kHz+ zone.
However, if you crave the intricate high-end details of a sizzly ride cymbal in a jazz track, then the 215s might not be for you.
Treble response: Shure 315
The treble response of the Shure 315 headphones is fairly similar, except it reaches up to 18.5kHz.
So, not a whole lot higher, but definitely enough to be noticeable if you listen to both sets one after the other.
Treble response: Bottom Line
There’s no contest here; the 315s have it.
Though they don’t reach all the way to the top end of the human hearing range, they do a respectable job, and most listeners appear to be happy (whereas some complain that the 215s are a little bit lacking in the higher end of the frequency spectrum).
Treble response Winner: Shure 315
5. Connectivity: Shure 215 vs Shure 315
Both pairs of in-ear headphones come with 3.5mm audio cables that are 1.6m in length.
That’s pretty standard for consumer headphones, and should be more than enough for most situations.
One cool thing about both sets is that the headphone cable is removable. What this means in practice is that it’s replaceable if and when that cable eventually breaks down.
Neither set of headphones offers any form of wireless connectivity – no Bluetooth here, sorry!
Both the 215 and 315 headsets have 3.5mm (⅛”) audio connectors.
The 315, though being a slightly more ‘professional’ set of in-ears, also ships with a ¼” audio adaptor.
We say professional here, because most consumer gear uses ⅛” adaptors, but a lot of pro audio gear (like audio interfaces), uses the larger ¼” connector.
Connectivity Winner: Tie
6. Finish: Shure 215 vs Shure 315
There’s little that Shure does that isn’t 10/10 for quality (just check out their SM57 mic being dropped out of an apartment window to see what I mean).
Both the 215s and 315s are well-built and feel like they’ll go the distance.
The cables feel sturdy too, though you can always replace them if need be.
Both sets of headphones are made from a strong, sturdy plastic composite which is a smart blend between tough and light.
There’s not much more you could ask for, to be honest.
Both sets of in-ears are available in black, clear, and transparent blue finishes.
Finish Winner: Tie
7. Accessories: Shure 215 vs Shure 315
Both sets come with 5 sets of earbuds, including foam, silicone, and triple flange sleeves.
The 315s, though, also come with a couple of different kinds of sound isolators.
Both the 215 and the 315 in-ears come with a classy little carrying pouch, which is actually quite a nice touch for such affordable headphones.
You probably know as well as I do how quickly headphones like this can get tangled up when you throw them in your pocket.
The Shure 315 headphones come with a ⅛” inch to ¼” inch audio adaptor, whereas the 215s don’t.
So, overall, the 315s win, as they come with everything that the 215s do, plus more.
Accessories Winner: Shure 315
8. Price & Value For Money: Shure 215 vs Shure 315
Price & Value For Money: Shure 215
The Shure 215 is quite an affordable set of headphones, coming in at just under $100.
Considering how well they perform, and how comfortable they are (not to mention the fact that they are sound isolating cans), these offer serious value for money.
The only real drawback is that they are maybe a little light on the top-end.
Price & Value For Money: Shure 315
The Shure 315 in-ears are a fair bit more expensive.
In fact, they are twice the price.
For audiophiles and avid music enthusiasts, the 315s might be a decent value proposition, however…
Price & Value For Money: Bottom Line
The 215s are by and large the better value set of headphones, especially considering the sound palette will appeal to a larger audience.
Price & Value For Money Winner: Shure 215
9. Pros & Cons: Shure 215 vs Shure 315
Shure 215 Pros & Cons
- Great sound isolation
- Available in three colors
- Strong bass response
- Limited high-frequency response
- No Bluetooth
Shure 315 Pros & Cons
- Refined low end
- Very comfortable
- ¼” audio connector adapter
- Decent treble and mid-frequency response
- Not super bassy, which might not appeal to a lot of people
- No Bluetooth
- Not super affordable compared to the 215s
Conclusion & Takeaway
To summarize our findings in this Shure 215 vs Shure 315 comparison, here are the winners for each category:
- Overall sound – Shure 215
- Comfort – Tie
- Bass response – Tie
- Treble response – Shure 315
- Connectivity – Tie
- Finish – Tie
- Accessories – Shure 315
- Price & Value For Money – Shure 215
Overall: Shure 215
This is a pretty interesting comparison.
On paper, the Shure 315s are the better set of headphones.
They have better drivers, a tuned bass port, and reach higher into the top end of the frequency range.
They also come with an audio adaptor, which is more of a nicety than anything but it’s still a win.
The thing is though, the SE215 is a better all-round set of headphones for most people.
Though they are a little lacking in the high frequencies, they more than make up for it in the low-end, and though they might not sound as ‘refined and classy’ as the 315s, they are going to be a better fit sonically for your average listeners.
Plus, they are about half the price, so all things considered, the Shure 215 is the winner here.
Unless, of course, you’re specifically looking for a more audiophile-focused set of in-ear headphones with a refined and subtle bass response, then the Shure 315 is the set for you.
Products Comparison Table:
Spec / Feature
Balanced Armature Driver
22 Hz to 17.5 kHz
22 Hz to 18.5 kHz
Up to 37 dB
Up to 37 dB
Gold-Plated 3.5mm Stereo Mini Plug
1/8″ / 3.5 mm TRS (Gold-Plated)
5.3′ / 1.6 m
5.3′ / 1.6 m
1.05 oz / 30 g