Shure Se215 or Vic Firth Headphones

MrLeadFoot

Silver Member
Although I don't have problems with my 215s, the swiveling connectors are the stupidest idea. Who the heck would want their cables to swivel around? What geek engineer thought of that design. And, worse, what "bright" product manager fell for the design?

I really wish they would change them to the 2-pin plug design of the Westones. Maybe if we complained, Shure might listen for future prodcut revs. I just complained using the e-mail address below, which is provided on their website:

info@shure.com

BTW, you say your connections are weak, do you disconnect the cables regularly, like when putting them away? FWIW, once I noticed the connectors were gold, I immediately taped the cables to the housings with metal tape. Gold is a soft metal and a snap-fit like on the Shures will surely inevitably fail on short order by connecting and disconnecting often.
 
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pmancuso

Senior Member
Although I don't have problems with my 215s, the
BTW, you say your connections are weak, do you disconnect the cables regularly, like when putting them away? FWIW, once I noticed the connectors were gold, I immediately taped the cables to the housings with metal tape. Gold is a soft metal and a snap-fit like on the Shures will surely inevitably fail on short order by connecting and disconnecting often.
No I have only disconnected them to check it out when I started having the problem. Maybe how I roll them up to go into the little case loosened a connection somewhere else. I've had them too long to return. The snap is so small and goes in like 1/64th of an inch so it appears. It is a pretty piss poor design and from what i've read elsewhere it's a very common problem with the Shures.
 

Bobrush

Senior Member
I'm now scared to try the "upper" Shure models now, too, because as far as I know, all the other Shures also use balanced armature drivers, which are digital not natural like a standard dynamic driver. And, when I think about it, regular speakers, pro-audio and hi-fi, are all dynamic drivers. Hmmmm.... if modern digital technology sounded better than the "old" speaker technology, I would think all our home, car stereo and PA speakers would have changed over by now, wouldn't you? ;-)
Perhaps I misunderstand your post, but there is nothing "digital" or "modern" about balanced armature drivers:
"Popularized in the 1920s as Baldwin Mica Diaphragm radio headphones, balanced armature transducers were refined during World War II ... "
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headphones#Balanced_armature

According to the wikipedia article, balanced armature is much more efficient with power, but not as accurate as some other transducers.

Any headphone (or speaker) labeled as "digital" is referring to some 'upstream' component, like wireless transmission which may be included as part of the 'system'. The signal must be converted to analog before it gets to the driver. Actual drivers are by their nature analog. Human beings could not hear, or at least understand, a digital sound.
 

MrLeadFoot

Silver Member
The Product Manager at Westone is who told me used the term "digital", in regards to balanced armature drivers. Regardless of whether that are indeed digital or when they were "invented", it seems IEM manufacturers began using them recently, hence they are "modern" in that application. But, more importantly, in my experience they sound nowhere near as good as dynamic drivers.
 

chopmat222

Junior Member
I immediately taped the cables to the housings with metal tape
As discussed with you, two days ago I did the same with my Shure after I pulled off and clean the tube inside with Shure's tool. I notice that the sound is very stable now after fixing at the contact place with tape. Really appreciate your advice ! But do you think the glue from the tape may become a problem to the the cables/gold in the future ? To avoid that risk, I have used the plastic/nylon to place in between the cables and the tape.

Sorry if you find difficult to understand my English.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
VF headphones...the ones for 39.99....don't bother. As cheap as they come. Uncomfortable after a while too.
 

MrLeadFoot

Silver Member
As discussed with you, two days ago I did the same with my Shure after I pulled off and clean the tube inside with Shure's tool. I notice that the sound is very stable now after fixing at the contact place with tape. Really appreciate your advice ! But do you think the glue from the tape may become a problem to the the cables/gold in the future ? To avoid that risk, I have used the plastic/nylon to place in between the cables and the tape.

Sorry if you find difficult to understand my English.
No worries about the English. :)

Glad to hear that the problem was the wax inside the tubes!

Since the tape is placed on the cable and on the outside of the earpiece housing, the glue from the tape shouldn't be a concern. The glue can't get between the contacts if the cable is seated in the earpiece,especially since the tape prevents the cable from moving and/or pulling out. Remember that I am using metal tape, the kind that's used to tape roof vents and "flashing" pieces together, so the tape is very strong, as is the adhesive. I tried electrical tape previously, but the tape is too flexible and the adhesive is quite gummy. When I switched to the metal tape, I cleaned off the glue residue from the electrical tape using a bit of oil, then cleaned the oil off with alcohol. The cleaning process did remove the silkscreened "SE215" from the housing, but caused no damage to the housing itself.
 

chopmat222

Junior Member
No worries about the English. :)

Glad to hear that the problem was the wax inside the tubes!

Since the tape is placed on the cable and on the outside of the earpiece housing, the glue from the tape shouldn't be a concern. The glue can't get between the contacts if the cable is seated in the earpiece,especially since the tape prevents the cable from moving and/or pulling out. Remember that I am using metal tape, the kind that's used to tape roof vents and "flashing" pieces together, so the tape is very strong, as is the adhesive. I tried electrical tape previously, but the tape is too flexible and the adhesive is quite gummy. When I switched to the metal tape, I cleaned off the glue residue from the electrical tape using a bit of oil, then cleaned the oil off with alcohol. The cleaning process did remove the silkscreened "SE215" from the housing, but caused no damage to the housing itself.
Very detailed and clear. Thanks.

I am using electrical tape as it is available at my home. Maybe next time I will try with metal tape.
 

soulfly28

Senior Member
I have a problem with the Firth drivers going bad. separate pairs, always the right side. No clue why. Replaced them, with the left from another set and all is well. They last around a year.
 

weeschwee

Junior Member
I've owned the Vic Firth headphones for a while. It wasn't until recently that I thought I might need something more. I play drums for my church and noticed that I had trouble hearing the drums (through the mix) with the rest of the band playing. For a long time I thought it was the mix, but I wondered if all the live channels were too much for the Vic Firth's drivers.

Today I got a chance to borrow the Shure se215's from a friend. I took them to worship practice and tried them out. I noticed two very important things so far:

1) While playing at my house with no mics I notice the se215's isolate differently from the Vic Firths. My Vic Firths seem to cut out more of the highs. I lose details in the cymbals, but the overtones in my drums are also cut out leaving me with nice well rounded sounds. My toms sound round and warm with plenty of sustain if I tune them well. The se215's seem to cut out the warmth of my drums. I could hear the cymbals with more clarity, but the my drums sound tinny and the attack is emphasized rather than their tone.

2) In a fully miced situation during worship practice I could hear everything using the se215's. Isolation is good to the point that I hear pretty much exclusively what is coming through the in ears (or at least it sounds that way). With everyone playing and singing I could hear every aspect of my drums and I could also hear everyone else.

I'm on the fence about buying the se215's or just buying a higher quality headphone like the EX-29, Beyerdynamic 770 M, or Ultraphones. I think the se215's performed excellently in a miced situation and for their price. However, I only drum at my church 4-8 times a month including practices while I drum at home without mics daily.

I'd like to hear what others have to say about the isolation of in ears vs headphones in acoustic situations. Also, I'm not a sound expert so take what I say about isolating frequencies, such as highs and lows, with a grain of salt.
 

longgun

Gold Member
Just bought the 215s myself. Short and sweet... I think they are amazing for the money. Great sound, canceling and there are no issues at all with staying in ear. :)
+1............I picked up a set about two weeks ago....................played this weekend with them.............I love them, they sound great and isolate very well.

I have to play in a "Fish-bowl" at church and it gets real loud in there................could still hear everything perfectly.

I have no complaints so far, we'll see how they hold up.
 

BillRayDrums

Gold Member
I just got my Etymotic ER-4 IEMs and am LOVING them!

http://www.etymotic.com/ephp/er4.html

If $300 is out of your range then the MC3 headset/mic combo is also a great unit; I used those for over a year and they worked amazingly well until Etymotic bumped me up to the ER-4 model.

Great company, customer service is unparalleled and their products are quality.
 

MrLeadFoot

Silver Member
I've owned the Vic Firth headphones for a while. It wasn't until recently that I thought I might need something more. I play drums for my church and noticed that I had trouble hearing the drums (through the mix) with the rest of the band playing. For a long time I thought it was the mix, but I wondered if all the live channels were too much for the Vic Firth's drivers.

Today I got a chance to borrow the Shure se215's from a friend. I took them to worship practice and tried them out. I noticed two very important things so far:

1) While playing at my house with no mics I notice the se215's isolate differently from the Vic Firths. My Vic Firths seem to cut out more of the highs. I lose details in the cymbals, but the overtones in my drums are also cut out leaving me with nice well rounded sounds. My toms sound round and warm with plenty of sustain if I tune them well. The se215's seem to cut out the warmth of my drums. I could hear the cymbals with more clarity, but the my drums sound tinny and the attack is emphasized rather than their tone.

2) In a fully miced situation during worship practice I could hear everything using the se215's. Isolation is good to the point that I hear pretty much exclusively what is coming through the in ears (or at least it sounds that way). With everyone playing and singing I could hear every aspect of my drums and I could also hear everyone else.

I'm on the fence about buying the se215's or just buying a higher quality headphone like the EX-29, Beyerdynamic 770 M, or Ultraphones. I think the se215's performed excellently in a miced situation and for their price. However, I only drum at my church 4-8 times a month including practices while I drum at home without mics daily.

I'd like to hear what others have to say about the isolation of in ears vs headphones in acoustic situations. Also, I'm not a sound expert so take what I say about isolating frequencies, such as highs and lows, with a grain of salt.
If I'm understanding your post correctly, it sounds like you're wanting to use headphones and IEMs in two completely different applications, one of them not quite in a way that they are designed. Headphones/IEMs are intended to reproduce sounds that are sent to them via the system you're connected to, so when you are not mic'd you can't expect to hear them ambiently with any sort of accurate representation of their "proper" sound. IEMs are designed to reduce as much ambient noise as possible, and I believe the SE215s claim up to a 26db cut. So, you're lucky to hear the drums at all when not mic'd, especially when you hear the other instruments that are being piped into the system to which your IEMs are connected.
 

MrLeadFoot

Silver Member
+1............I picked up a set about two weeks ago....................played this weekend with them.............I love them, they sound great and isolate very well.

I have to play in a "Fish-bowl" at church and it gets real loud in there................could still hear everything perfectly.

I have no complaints so far, we'll see how they hold up.
If your "fishbowl" is another word for behind a drum shield or in a drum-isolating enclosure, I am in total agreement. The chruches I play for all use them, and there is no way I'd play without IEMs in that situation. ;-)
 

weeschwee

Junior Member
If I'm understanding your post correctly, it sounds like you're wanting to use headphones and IEMs in two completely different applications, one of them not quite in a way that they are designed. Headphones/IEMs are intended to reproduce sounds that are sent to them via the system you're connected to, so when you are not mic'd you can't expect to hear them ambiently with any sort of accurate representation of their "proper" sound. IEMs are designed to reduce as much ambient noise as possible, and I believe the SE215s claim up to a 26db cut. So, you're lucky to hear the drums at all when not mic'd, especially when you hear the other instruments that are being piped into the system to which your IEMs are connected.
I use my isolating vic firths for monitors at my church as well. They are the SiH1 with the spiral cord. I was hoping to own a set of in ears that would work well for practicing without mics as well as they do for playing with a mics. When I play with mics I don't care to hear the ambient sound of the drums much if at all as long as the mix is good. I hope that makes sense.
 

MrLeadFoot

Silver Member
I use my isolating vic firths for monitors at my church as well. They are the SiH1 with the spiral cord. I was hoping to own a set of in ears that would work well for practicing without mics as well as they do for playing with a mics.
This is exactly what I was referring to when I said IEMs are not designed to be used this way, In fact, manufacturers work very hard at designing them to cancel out as much ambient noise as possible, so a good pair will not give you what you want. A cheap pair of non-sealing earbuds would be better for this, albeit you won't hear the bass as well as a drummer would want to, with non-sealing earbuds.

When I play with mics I don't care to hear the ambient sound of the drums much if at all as long as the mix is good. I hope that makes sense.
Of course that makes sense. That would defeat the whole purpose of having IEMs.

Have you considered buying yourself some inexpensive mics of your own that you can use solely for practicing? In fact, you can get a set of KAM mics for pretty cheap, and they sound great. In fact, I bought some specifically for practicing myself, after I got spoiled by mic'd drums during performances. In fact, I now HATE the sound of ambient drums. :) The KAM mics turned out to be so good, I use them with my secular band 100% of the time, both at gigs and rehearsals. And, I turned on two different churches to them, too, and now both those churches run them, as well. One of the them was using Audix mics, and after comparing them, actually swtitched to the KAM mics altogether. And the KAM mic kits are half the price! Just make sure you get the metal clamps instead of the plastic ones, if you decide to go that route.

FWIW, my secular band's guitarist liked the KAM snare/tom mic so much he bought one himself for his guitar cabinet. His SM57 is now a backup. ;-)

* I am not affiliated with KAM Instruments in any way. ;-)
 

weeschwee

Junior Member
This is exactly what I was referring to when I said IEMs are not designed to be used this way, In fact, manufacturers work very hard at designing them to cancel out as much ambient noise as possible, so a good pair will not give you what you want. A cheap pair of non-sealing earbuds would be better for this, albeit you won't hear the bass as well as a drummer would want to, with non-sealing earbuds.

Of course that makes sense. That would defeat the whole purpose of having IEMs.

Have you considered buying yourself some inexpensive mics of your own that you can use solely for practicing? In fact, you can get a set of KAM mics for pretty cheap, and they sound great. In fact, I bought some specifically for practicing myself, after I got spoiled by mic'd drums during performances. In fact, I now HATE the sound of ambient drums. :) The KAM mics turned out to be so good, I use them with my secular band 100% of the time, both at gigs and rehearsals. And, I turned on two different churches to them, too, and now both those churches run them, as well. One of the them was using Audix mics, and after comparing them, actually swtitched to the KAM mics altogether. And the KAM mic kits are half the price! Just make sure you get the metal clamps instead of the plastic ones, if you decide to go that route.

FWIW, my secular band's guitarist liked the KAM snare/tom mic so much he bought one himself for his guitar cabinet. His SM57 is now a backup. ;-)

* I am not affiliated with KAM Instruments in any way. ;-)
I would love to get a set of mics for my drums, but I don't think I can afford it. I have been wanting the DP7 kit from Audix as that is similar to what my church uses and I've also seen other professionals using them. I haven't heard of KAM mics. I'll have to check them out. Is there a certain model that you would recommend?
 

MrLeadFoot

Silver Member
I would love to get a set of mics for my drums, but I don't think I can afford it. I have been wanting the DP7 kit from Audix as that is similar to what my church uses and I've also seen other professionals using them. I haven't heard of KAM mics. I'll have to check them out. Is there a certain model that you would recommend?
Unlike other companies that have good mics, and low-level mics that aren't worth anything except maybe to take your money, Kam only has one line of mics:

http://kaminstruments.com/pro_mics.htm
 
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