Recommendation for IEM's Sub £80. Replacement for SE210's?

Discussion in 'Portable Headphones & Earphones' started by Asura000, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. Asura000

    Asura000 Casual Listener

    Oct 12, 2011
    Hi all,

    New to the forum. I am a frequent "traveler" and always listen to my music when out and about, on my Samsung Galaxy S (with a app which has a quite good EQ system). I've been using my Shure SE210's for well over 2-3 years (bought them for around £80ish?), but the fact the extension cables I buy for it keeps going funny and the foam earbuds are becoming unusable and keeps coming off my ear now with the slights pull, no matter how hard I press, I've come to a bit of a crossroads.
    I've either got to buy new tips for my SE210 or while I'm at it, look for a whole new IEM's after this many years to see if there's anything for around the same price point which blows the SE210's out the water for general sound quality.

    I must admit, I'm no audiophile, but appreciate good music and listen to it a lot when I'm out, which is pretty frequently (going to and from work, gym, etc). I listen mainly to blues, rock/ballads (Gary Moore, Joe Bonamassa, Muse, Killers, AC/DC, Hendrix etc) to classical, to ambient to even on occasions dance and R&B. I'm not sure exactly sure what Im looking for in terms of bass, mids and highs. All I can say is I'm no bass head, but I do like good bass to feel the music but not overpower it, and nice clarity and detailed highs but not ear bleeding and very nice mids. I'm not sure if I require "neutral" or "coloring" IEM's, but I want something to enjoy my music to full extent and feel like I'm listening to the music there, not listening to them through earphones (if anyone get's what I mean? :-\). Good isolation and comfortable is also a plus. Bluntly I want the "best of the best" (if theres even such a thing for IEM's) for the price range.

    On the other hand if there's nothing on the market that exceeds the SE210's by "that much" then should I just stick with them?

    So far Ive been drawn to:
    -Soundmagics PL30 or PL50
    -Head-Direct RE0 or RE-Zero
    -Brainwavs M2 or M3
    - Klipsch Image S4
    -Monster Turbine High Performance In-Ear Speakers (These are stretching the budget)
    -Sennheiser IE 7, High-Fidelity Noise-Isolating Ear-Canal Phones
    -NuForce NE-7M Headphones

    These seem to all fit in the price range, although as much as I ask for, I cheekily want to keep the price as lowest as I can :D.

    Any advice and experience and suggestions on IEM's listed above or I've missed will be greatly appreciated!

    Last edited: Oct 12, 2011
  2. Ian Hifi

    Ian Hifi Super Moderator

    Oct 19, 2011
    Definitely worth checking out the SoundMAGIC E 10's. They are about £5 more than the PL30's but a big step up. Great build and they sound like earphones costing more than twice that price. If you are travelling a lot and need a good robust pair of in-ears, these are right on the money.

    What Hifi just voted them best under £40.

    SoundMagic E10 review from the experts at

    If you are a Muse fan, wait until you hear Butterflies and Hurricanes through them. Your head will implode.
  3. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

    Apr 28, 2010
    Hi Asura000

    The SE210 are pretty good but there is still massive room for improvement.

    Basically there are two types of In-Ear Driver (or speaker) Dynamic Drivers and Balanced Armature Drivers. Dynamic is the traditional type and these work pretty much exactly the same as a very small speaker using a diaphragm and a moving coil. Balanced armature drivers are much smaller and work like a tiny bottle with a fast moving piston inside. Balanced Armatures can produce much more detail but can sound a little lightweight, manufacturers improve this by adding extra tiny drivers to get a fuller response as well as more detail.

    Your SE210 are a Dynamic driver and therefore warm in nature. The new Shure SE215 is actually a balanced armature driver model and plenty of people have upgraded and are really happy.

    This is an interesting list but it isn't focussed enough

    -Soundmagics PL30 or PL50
    -Head-Direct RE0 or RE-Zero
    -Brainwavs M2 or M3
    - Klipsch Image S4
    -Monster Turbine High Performance In-Ear Speakers (These are stretching the budget)
    -Sennheiser IE 7, High-Fidelity Noise-Isolating Ear-Canal Phones
    -NuForce NE-7M Headphones

    Sennheiser IE7 is now discontinued

    SoundMAGIC PL30 and PL50 are not really an improvement as much as a sideways step.

    The Klipsch S4 which is a bit more bass heavy but no more detailed than the SE210.

    Monster tubines are to my mind slightly better sounding than the SE210 - Steer clear of the awful DR DRE related Monster products - The Turbines stuff is good so keep these on the list.

    Brainwavs M3 is much nicer than the M2 - a lovely little earphone also The Head-Direct RE0 like the turbines is a similar (but slightly nicer) model to the old SE210.

    A big piece of advice is, although we all like a bargain - BUY FROM SOMEONE REPUTABLE! - There are so many fakes and non UK Products out there! Have a look at this Safe Buying Guide. A cheap price is only cheap if you are getting the proper item.
  4. Shaun-HiFi

    Shaun-HiFi Administrator Staff Member

    Aug 30, 2008
    Shure SE210

    The Shure SE210 was my first in-ear sound isolating earphone. It was quite a disappointment for me!

    The sound is very clean and accurate, but completely lacking in bottom end. I have a feeling it might have actually been a single balanced armature driver.

    Based on feedback from customers the SE215 is a big improvement over the SE210.
  5. spooky

    spooky Casual Listener

    Nov 2, 2011
    I wouldn't reccomend the Hifiman Re-Zero.

    1. I got a pair free with the Hifiman HM-601 and the metal casing on the left bud came apart after a couple of months. Have had to try and re-glue it.

    2. They come supplied with 3 sets of tips - S/M/L. The large will not even go into my ear, the small fall out, and the medium won't give a 'sealed' fit, so they always sound thin. The only way around this is to insert them very deep and upside down (with the cables pointing upwards) which works until you move your jaw/clear your throat etc, and then they shift and sound tinny again.

    3. If you try and insert them deeply (which you have to), when you take them out the tips pop off and need to be fished out with tweezers.

    Oh, and the HM-601 player isn't great either: buggy as hell.

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