Keep in mind that saying you like something isn't as useful to a reader as explaining why.
I would like to second that. The SE846 has definitely have most certainly not disappoint me. The SE846 may not be able to claim title for the best IEMs in any aspect but it certainly doesn't have areas which I feel lacks badly to a point that it makes some songs sound terrible. I've tried many other flagship IEMs and CIEMs. They most definitely have aspect which crushes the SE846 performance but has areas which I feel makes the overall listening just not as enjoyable. Lets take for example the JH16 pro which I certainly love most for it bass response and clarity and much better soundstage compared to the SE846. However what made me choose the SE846 over the JH16 was not the lack of money but the fact that it was a bit too bright for me and it kinda hurts my ears after listening for a while. I guess my ears are probably just sensitive. And well everyone's ears are different.
We can all definitely tell the difference between better quality sound from lower quality ones but when it comes to the perfect sound quality it differs from people to people. Its like food. Two top chefs with the same dish it all boils down to personal preference.
And I swear even after my SE846 purchase i'm still in search for a CIEM that is perfect for me. Cos if you ask me if the SE846 is the perfect sound, I will reply with an obvious no.
does anyone know of a place in Chicago to test these puppies out?
For what it's worth i've called Shure HQ (suburbs of Chicago) numerous times and they have no clue where you could test these.
So you were disappointed, then you found them marginally better, then you were disappointed, then you found them awesome, then you reconsidered the disappointment with the bass, then there is some wow factor, so it wasn't a deal breaker, and you may look at them again.
Wow seems as it you may have just sold yourself on these
I think I may have scattered thoughts for my previous post, I apologise. I went down to a local store today and auditioned the SE846 and Westone W4R side by side.
A few points:
(+) The bass is great with substantial rumble and thump
(-) The bass sometimes appear when it is not supposed to. (Happened in one song, a song I use to try all the gear)
(-) For the price range (MSRP), the level of clarity is only marginally better than the Westone W4 which is much cheaper, 1/3 the price for that matter.
[Another headfier, SenG, auditioned the 846 and felt it was less clear than the W4.]
Hope I have gave a better/clearer impression. Will try these earphones out once more soon though and report back again.