Best Shure SE846 Black Friday Deal 2020
Just how much? High-end, in-ear headphones have a genuine problem with regards to perceived value and it’s hardly surprising because they look barely not the same as alternatives at a fraction of the purchase price.
An aura of luxury is often missing and these Shure SE846s are no different.
Even if you’re ready to overlook this, there’s still the challenge of finding suitably talented sources and amplification.
Top-class performance and true portability certainly are a hard combo to find, despite having a generous budget; Sony’s NWZ-ZX1s – the very best lightweight music source we’ve run into – still isn’t sufficient to make the almost all of these headphones.
The majority of our listening because of this test is performed using high-quality files from our MacBook, packed with Pure Music media software.
Amplification switches between Chord’s superb-sounding Hugo lightweight DAC and Naim’s mains-powered DAC-V1.
Then your SE846s really get started to shine. There’s impressive engineering in the transparent, plastic shell. The SE846s use four balanced armature drive units, which work in a three-way configuration with twin bass drivers.
These bass units are loaded by a clever tuning system that Shure says extends the low-end response considerably.
Shure also allows fine-tuning by supplying three interchangeable filters in the sort of small coloured tubes. These adapt the tonal balance.
You will require the supplied tool to swap them around, nonetheless it only requires a minute. Their effect is subtle. We utilize the ‘standard’ option, which gives the most neutral tonal balance. But we just like the ‘bass’ option too, using its warm and smooth presentation.
We didn’t try the treble-boosting filter, which proves unforgiving with less-than-perfect recordings and makes listening tiring.
In-ears live or die by how well they can fit. With out a proper seal between your unit and ear canal, the sound will be thin.
The SE846s have a selection of buds, and it’s essential to devote some time in selecting the right set. We found the SE846s comfortable after we got an excellent seal, and the smooth, curved condition of the enclosure sits nicely against the ear.
The signal cable is stiff at the headphone end to permit it to wrap behind the ear for extra security which works very well.
The SE846s might not exactly look glamorous, but they’re being among the most comfortable in-ears we’ve tried. And we’ve tested hundreds, so that’s some compliment.
Perceived value can be an issue, but if you’re judging these Shures on sound quality, then they’re excellent. You’d need to spend a lot of money on speakers before you find as much detail.
These ‘phones supply the impression of delivering every last nuance, and do so within an appealingly natural and understated way. They don’t highlight treble detail artificially (as much do) to provide the impression of resolution.
Instead, the leading edges of notes are naturally drawn and harmonics beautifully differentiated. There’s not really a hint of hardness or overstatement.
These qualities are apparent hearing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata: the Shures render its harmonic complexity effectively and deliver the piano’s dynamic envelope confidently.
There’s a convincing sense of solidity and scale to the presentation too, and a good amount of power when required.
At no point will there be the sensation the SE846s are overstating what to sound impressive. They focus on an honest method of music replay.
We try Gil Scott-Heron’s Me and the Devil and the Shures’ enthusiasm in delivering the hard-charging rhythm and their punch at low frequencies impress.
The bass-tuning design works perfectly here and provides these in-ears a good kick at low frequencies. Scott-Heron’s gruff vocals are delivered with passion and precision too.
A grand will be a lot of money for just about any headphones, but given an appropriately talented system we think the SE846s are sufficient to justify that sort of outlay.