When comparing Shure SE215 vs AKG K81 DJ, the Slant community recommends Shure SE215 for most people. In the question“What are the best headphones?” Shure SE215 is ranked 39th while AKG K81 DJ is ranked 65th. The most important reason people chose Shure SE215 is:
The memory foam eartips mold to your ear to provide amazing sound isolation, though there's a bit of a learning curve to using them. You have to press them together before putting them in and then allow them to expand in your ear. Once expanded they will take the shape of your ear and that way provide excellent noise isolation. The earphones also come with silicon tips which are easier to use than the foam ones and also last longer.
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Pro Fantastic sound isolation to block out unwanted noise
The memory foam eartips mold to your ear to provide amazing sound isolation, though there's a bit of a learning curve to using them. You have to press them together before putting them in and then allow them to expand in your ear. Once expanded they will take the shape of your ear and that way provide excellent noise isolation.
The earphones also come with silicon tips which are easier to use than the foam ones and also last longer.
Pro Comfortable once you get used to them
The SE215 earphones have a negative profile, optimized nozzle angle, over-ear fit and memory eartips that ensure the earphones stay in place comfortably regardless of situation. You can even lie on your side with them.
Pro Rich, full sound
Bass is emphasized so there is a good bit of thump while staying controlled. Mids are rich, highs avoid sibilance, though they're a bit rolled off.
Soundstage is okay--instruments are separated out enough for them to not sound like they're all coming from the same place, but it's not particularly wide.
Pro Outstanding build quality makes them long lasting
SE215 earbuds use tough plastic earpiece shells, have a robust kevlar-reinforced cable, a sturdy Y-splitter that's difficult to bend and an L-shaped plug that adds additional strain relief. They won't break if you snag them, drop them or sit on them. They're also completely sweat proof so you can use them while working out without having to worry about damaging them. They're durable enough for professional stage use for which they were specifically designed for.
Pro Thick, replaceable cable
The SE215's 6.4-ft. cable is very thick, and further reinforced at the left/right split point. Reviews confirm the durability benefits of its heavy-duty design. If it ever does break, the cable is built to detach safely from the earpieces, allowing replacement.
Pro Two year limited warranty
Shure provides a warranty against defects in materials or manufacturing for two years.
Pro Will stay in place in the ears
The optimized angle of the earbuds, over-ear fit, and memory ear tips ensure that the earphones stay in place comfortably regardless of situation. These are also sweat-proof, so they're a great option for active use.
Pro Full bass with adequate levels of mids and highs
Despite the compact size. the bass is full, has great impact, deep extension yet is not loose. The low end also has a natural quality to it that makes these headphones great for music that is performed using real instruments.
The mids are slightly recessed, but also have a natural tone. The highs are the most recessed or rolled-off, but the detail and airiness of the music is not totally absent. This quality helps give the sound a smooth and pleasing tonality.
Pro Ear cups can swivel facing outwards
The K81 can be used “DJ style”, wherein only one ear cup is in contact with the head. The cups have a smooth swivel action so they can be rotated to face outwards. A user can choose to hold one ear cup up to his or her ear while flipping switches or turning knobs on the mix board with the other hand.
Pro Easy to travel with
While these are already quite compact, the ear cups can be folded into the headband to reduce their size even further. This makes them easy to stuff inside a bag and travel with.
Pro Comfortable to wear even with extended use
The clamping force is not too much at all, so acceptable levels of pressure will be applied on the ears. Also, the ear pads are thick with ample pleather padding on the surface. This combination provides adequate cushioning between the ear cups and sides of the head.
Pro Can fit a wide range of head sizes
The aluminum headband itself has some good flex. Combined with the sliding mechanism of the ear cups, K81 can be adjusted to fit a wide range of head sizes. Also notable are the numbered steps on each side of the headband, which allow for accurate and consistent ear cup positioning.
Pro Feels high quality
Although it's mostly made of plastic, the materials don't feel cheap at all. Aside from feeling sturdy, the plastics have a smooth rubber coating which makes them feel premium to the touch. Also, the headband is made out of aluminum which is significantly more durable than an all plastic one.
Con Need some time getting used to
It may take some getting used to memory cables and there's a bit of a learning curve to putting the earphones in with memory eartips. At, first memory cables may seem a bit stiff, but after they're broken in, they're generally more comfortable than typical wires. There's even a wire sleeve that helps form the wire bundled with the earphones to help combat this issue. As for memory eartips--every time before putting them in your ear you have to press them together and then allow them to expand in your ear.
Con Inline mic and volume controls cost an extra $50
The supplied detachable cable does not have a mic or inline volume controls. They can be added by upgrading to the M+ cable.
Con On-ear design can still be uncomfortable
While the ear pads are thick and give a lot of cushioning, some may still find this to be uncomfortable. Being on-ear, some pressure is applied onto the ears.Those who are sensitive to this may still feel some discomfort, especially when worn for several hours straight.
Con Highs may sound too recessed
People who prefer their music with sparkly highs and utmost clarity likely won't find these headphones to be a good listen.
Con Lengthy cable can be a hassle
The cable is 2.5m which is fairly long. Since it is not detachable and the cable tends to tangle quite easily, it may cause some problems with regular home use or when taking these headphones on the go.