Could only find an announcement thread, and since they're here in my hands and I appreciate them, therefore this thread.
Driving them from the headphone out of my HM801 (GAME card), I immediately hear the bass I've been hoping for. It extends very deep, and is extremely punchy in a way my UM3x and JH13 could never quite reach. The bass is not overpowering/ muddy though- it's just real tight and hits hard. This is like a portable version of my Hifiman HE6- not a basshead's choice by any measure, but the bass really can hit home.
The SE846's ability to sound refined yet dynamic at the same time also reminds me of my Hifiman HE6. They're musical and fun, yet they're just so effortless and polished. I could never say the same about my UM3x- the JH13s were closer to what I like, but still, that bass. Perhaps the JH16 would have been more for me, but when I bought the 13s, the 16s didn't exist yet. Ah well.
PS, the comparisons with my Hifiman HE6 only go so far. Timbre is on an entirely different level on the Orthos.
I listen to a lot of genres and look for different things in each- I like warmth tubey sound in my jazz (eg. Diana Krall, Michael Buble, etc), I like clarity in my pop/rock (Vampire Weekend, Phoenix, Decemberists, etc), and I like heart-thumping club-like bass in my dance music (David Guetta, Flo Rida, and so on). So far, the SE846 deliver on all accounts. I've been in this hobby long enough to know that there's no such things as 'best', but this earphone performs extremely well with all the genres I like to listen to and are now my first choice for all music.
Below are some impressions from the bright and warm filters (the above are all with the balanced filter):
The bright filter removes the punchiness of the bass (and in that way sounded more like my UM3x). The treble certainly had more energy, but I didn't find the treble energy of the balanced filter lacking either and so I moved on from the bright filter after just a few minutes of listening.
The warm filter did not improve the quality or impact of the bass vs the balanced filter- there was just more of it. It did not really affect the treble as drastically as the bright filter affected the bass, though. So I could see myself listening to the warm filter from time to time too. But nonetheless, I'm not a basshead, and so I think most of my listening will be with the balanced filter.
Other random thoughts:
I've recently started to use my HM801 headphone out more than my Protector because the latter has bass that's just that bit less impactful. With the SE846, I can go back to enjoying the superior soundstage and aggressiveness of my Protector. Yummy.
The housing of the SE846 is bigger than my UM3x, so using longer tips like the Westone Star Tips help me get a better seal (since I can't insert them as deeply). The SE846s kinda look like an overweight UM3x. Comfort wise, pretty good still.
The filters definitely don't just sound like EQ, which can frequently degrade sound. This sounds like the same sound quality, just different signatures. Very interesting, and certainly not what I was expecting- I thought they'd just be a gimmick.