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Shure SE846 Impressions Thread - Page 24

post #346 of 6198
Totally buying one. That's what credit cards are for right?
post #347 of 6198
Hehe agreed!
post #348 of 6198
I have become more intrigued; if these have a different sound/feel from other things, that could be worth something. And, I've always liked Shure; they tend not to cheat.

I worry Sennheiser has been seduced by the bass head/marketing fad of the moment; otoh I don't sense any of their recent efforts going dramatically off from their long history of striving for a neutral, uncolored result.

It could be we've discovered neutrality and still want more, so the appeal of warmth is not just a fad. To achieve warmth _ and _ clarity is the rarity, and that's what I'd hope the SE846 might be able to do; usually, you're trading one for the other, and the psychoacoustics of the way sounds in different parts of the frequency spectrum can mask each other in the ear makes doing otherwise extremely difficult.
post #349 of 6198
Quote:
Originally Posted by uelover View Post

The W4 is not neutral sounding. It is far from neutral. I would call it balanced/natural sounding rather than neutral sounding.

Still hoping you could elaborate on this. To make a distinction between "neutral" and "natural" carries the implication that something that sounds neutral doesn't sound the way it normally would if played live in real life. Further, isn't it the goal of audiophiles to hear the music the way it was intended to be heard by the artist/producer?
post #350 of 6198
Quote:
Originally Posted by MTBer View Post


Still hoping you could elaborate on this. To make a distinction between "neutral" and "natural" carries the implication that something that sounds neutral doesn't sound the way it normally would if played live in real life. Further, isn't it the goal of audiophiles to hear the music the way it was intended to be heard by the artist/producer?

 

I'm not the person you're responding to but.. neutral as in what you would expect if you're the sound engineer mastering the music with no boosts anywhere. Totally flat. Neutral is not how you will hear the music say on the car radio, at a concert. Basically natural is where the sounds are balanced but not totally flat, ie there's a mid bass boost on the W4 but not so much that it sounds boomy and unnatural like beats or something else. Some people (just a hypothetical) might say the ER4 is neutral but unnatural sounding due to the lack of body and the extension of the treble, etc. That's my understanding, anyway. Perhaps people here have other views.


Edited by Zalithian - 11/5/13 at 2:00pm
post #351 of 6198

Well, I (for one) don't really get the terminology of audiophiles. If a headphone was so-called “neutral” wouldn't it have a frequency response curve that was straight across throughout the spectrum? Most headphone FR curves (that I've seen) seem to try to compensate for human hearing in one area of the curve or another . I don't think we all hear frequencies at the exact same level anyway. Perhaps that's what Samsung's "Adapt Sound" demonstrates.

 

I would think that “natural” refers to tone and timbre (in addition to attack and decay).

 

I don't know why “live music”, “intent”, and “mastering” manages to get into conversations about earphones. For me, it would be nice if a portable setup could just sound similar to a mid-tier stereo system. I could be wrong, but I don't think the W4 I had would ever be mistaken for sounding like live music (nor will the SE846 that I currently own). This portable stuff sounds nice but it is not on that level IMO.

post #352 of 6198
Quote:
Originally Posted by truckdriver View Post
 

Well, I (for one) don't really get the terminology of audiophiles. If a headphone was so-called “neutral” wouldn't it have a frequency response curve that was straight across throughout the spectrum? Most headphone FR curves (that I've seen) seem to try to compensate for human hearing in one area of the curve or another . I don't think we all hear frequencies at the exact same level anyway. Perhaps that's what Samsung's "Adapt Sound" demonstrates.

 

I would think that “natural” refers to tone and timbre (in addition to attack and decay).

 

I don't know why “live music”, “intent”, and “mastering” manages to get into conversations about earphones. For me, it would be nice if a portable setup could just sound similar to a mid-tier stereo system. I could be wrong, but I don't think the W4 I had would ever be mistaken for sounding like live music (nor will the SE846 that I currently own). This portable stuff sounds nice but it is not on that level IMO.

 

Good point about tone, timbre, etc.

 

Neutral is hard to measure in IEMS because as you have mentioned, everyone has different ears. Everyone also has different sources, preferences, etc. There are just so many variables when it comes to things like this. Aside from that, almost all portable listening is done with compressed files.

 

I think a big issue is that people have unrealistic expectations. Why don't these little things that I can fit in my pocket sound just like things I need a car to transport (speakers)? Well, obviously because they're different things. I don't go to my friend's place and say hey man, why isn't this like watching a movie at the theater? With convenience comes trade offs.

 

Of course another big thing is that most people here probably are not audiophiles, at least not in the portable section. I think most of this section is full of audio enthusiasts. I am certainly not an audiophile. Then again, what is an audiophile? Is it someone looking for perfect neutral reproduction of the source or just someone who really values good sound and is enthusiastic about audio?


Edited by Zalithian - 11/5/13 at 3:04pm
post #353 of 6198
So if I'm understanding correctly, if someone likes their audio to have emphasized lows, they're a bass head. Yet, if they like the sound to be cold, analytical, and with extended treble, they're an audiophile?
post #354 of 6198
Quote:
Originally Posted by MTBer View Post

So if I'm understanding correctly, if someone likes their audio to have emphasized lows, they're a bass head. Yet, if they like the sound to be cold, analytical, and with extended treble, they're an audiophile?

 

Hmm. I wouldn't say that's untrue. Nothing wrong with been a "basshead" or a "treblehead" or "mid lover" imo.

 

I've always kind of had a gripe with the audiophile label and "as the artist intended" blah blah. Obviously there are an extensive number of ways that music will be heard. I bet you almost no artists even listen to their own music on a "flat system" when they are doing personal listening.

post #355 of 6198

When an electric guitarist warms up his sound with a tube amp, by introducing distortion via said amp, it's because it sounds better to him (or her), not necessarily more accurate; said guitarist is not looking for accuracy, but for a sonic signature sound.  I love really good fuzz, especially in metal.

 

As for IEMs/headphones/speakers, I learned a fascinating lesson years ago, when I was playing around with a Roland XV-5080 (synthesizer, not an audio system <g>): it shipped factory default with a little +1 bump around 700hz in the overall master equalization, which gave it what at the time was the distinctive Roland "Rolls Royce of synths" sound (not quite like old Roland analogue synthesizers, but in that tradition).  Turn that bump off, and the synth's output was "neutral," but sounded sharper, edgier, "more digital" -- amazingly, that's all it took to produce the difference in perception.

 

Further study led me to info suggesting that Roland had for years -- up until the release of the XV-5080, in fact -- put that emphasis in their whole digital synthesizer lineup, and for the first time, were giving the musician a chance to turn it off.  Why had they included this? Because much sophisticated study of the original analogue Moog Mini synthesizer and its distinctive sonic qualities led to the conclusion that it was precisely in this frequency range that it gained its reputation for being such a "warm analogue" synth (it was analogue, for sure, but its sonic spectrum had this emphasis built-in as a consequence of its overall design).

 

That whole conversation has had plenty of "discussion" in other contexts, but it's just a simple way of pointing out that certain kinds of subtle frequency emphasis/de-emphasis can have a significant effect on whether you think something sounds "good," or not.  We like certain kinds of subtle harmonics, they please the ear.  They are "inaccuracies" in the reproduced result.  Musicians and recording engineers, knowing this, introduce those into the recording.  Any transducer that further emphasizes the same frequencies will intensify -- sometimes to the point of excess -- the intended result.  The goal of accuracy in reproduction is so that you're not adding further sonic coloration to the chain beyond what the recording has already included.  Over time, you get familiar with that coloration, and it's like putting sugar in everything, makes it all taste sweet, but can start to mask your ability to distinguish the wider flavors outside the sweetness/warmth the transducer/playback system introduces.

 

At least, that's been my experience.

post #356 of 6198

I think you're right, Zalithian.

 

It's best if expectations are kept in the realm of reality for new people and folks with upgraditis. Yes, my $1000 SE846 sound better than my $9 Skullcandy IEM, but it does not “blow it away” like $1000 speakers would a $9 clock radio speaker.

 

Before I bought the 846, I griped about the price being too high on the first thread on the subject. I knew I was going to pay the price because I wanted to hear a little more distinctive sub-bass in the noisy environment of the truck. The bass gain was as expected. I hoped the overall sound would wow me immediately, so that I could post that the 846 was definitely worth $600 more than the 535, but that didn't happen. However, the 846 added a bump in isolation over the 535 so the entire spectrum is easier to hear in the truck. So, when the 30 day return period came up, I was not making my way to UPS. And now, paired with the Note 3, the sound is taller and a little wider than I had before.

 

I'm glad I didn't end up at UPS needing to return the SE846. When I returned the Ultrasone IQ, I bought insurance for its return trip. The UPS lady called her co-workers over to look at this strange $900 item. That was followed by advise that I should have bought Beats instead because “Beats headphones sound like being at a concert”. You see, Beats has “reference” and “studio” models. You know, because using the word “reference” and “studio” connotes “quality”. I don't have anything against Beats. I just think the invocation is cheap marketing for run-of-the-mill headphones.

 

BTW, nice post Copperears.

 

 

post #357 of 6198
I've been using er4s iems for a year now and tried a bunch of multi driver BA iems last month at the London headfi event.

I found most offerings really muddy and incoherent. except the top tier fitears.
Personally I fell in love with the ocharacku iems.

SO how is the shure se846 for coherency? It certainly is at the price point to demand it in
spades? I wonder if the made in china choice is due to the extensive R&D? Prob not :/
post #358 of 6198
The coherency from top to bottom is very good. I never notice the bass out of phase with the mids and treble even after going through the low pass filter. I have never listen to the Freq Phases (JH13 or JH16) from JH Audio the master of phase coherence so I cannot compare them.

As why they were made in China that is simple, Shure owns the factory in China. The SE846 was not made by a third party vendor but by Shure.
post #359 of 6198

I'd imagine the amount of research required to make sure you have phase coherency with multiple drivers in such a miniscule environment must be pretty extensive; this is one thing I wouldn't worry about with Shure, period, as they've a long history of understanding the primary value of clarity in the sound for the audience (professional, among others) they are selling to.  For us consumers, it's important; for people on stage, performing, it can be, I'm sure, critical.

 

Back to the neutrality thing, which always gets more complicated the more you think about it: whether it be speakers, headphones or IEMs, simply making sure they produce a "flat" frequency spectrum can't be the goal, as how the ear hears the results, with its own peaks and valleys of emphasis in reception, has to be taken into account. 

 

Speakers in some ways are the easiest since they are external sound producers; the challenges there are the various ways they couple with the environment they are in, so that the nature of the room -- the resonance of the walls, floors, the dimensions, the humidity levels, etc. -- has to be handled to avoid un-natural and very noticeable emphases.  I've rarely been in an environment where the room is perfect, regardless of the nature of the speaker.  You can go mad tweaking this, even with the best equipment.

 

Headphones change the variables you have to think about; now, it's a question of how the space between the headphone driver and the ear, and then ear canal, interact.  It's like working with a smaller room: you still have issues of resonance, and concomitant emphasis/de-emphasis of frequencies in certain parts of the sound spectrum, but they are (I say, naively... <g>) a little less random (although there are so many different ears, even here, you're designing for generalities you hope will apply to the broadest range of ear types).  Plus, you're closer to the way the ear processes the sound, so you have to take into account the natural rises and dips in the ear's sensitivities to various frequencies in your overall design.  Plus the phase coherence thing; simpler in headphone design, but not absent, obviously.

 

And then, finally, to IEMs.  I'd imagine here the dilemmas are different again, since you're dealing with yet another kind of acoustic space, both more predictable (you're closer to the way the ear typically works) and less predictable (we all have variations in our ears).

 

Plus, in the last two cases, one way or another you are compensating in the design of the bass frequencies for the fact that their impact on the listener is entirely artificial, one not being generated for the entire body, but just for the ears.  Bass in head-based transducers I'd think are always a fantasy construct, of one sort or another, meant to provide satisfaction in the nature of the compensation.

 

So, "neutrality" and "accuracy" I'd think go somewhat out the window when you're dealing with both headphones and IEMs.  You are trying to recreate a spectrum that sounds musical given the nature of the reproduction of the sound, and you're looking for ways to "fool" the ear especially in the bass frequencies as well as in the most sensitive spectrum, 1.2k-->7k, so that the results sound neither too artificially boomy, nor too peaky and aggressive.

 

I speak from an amateur's perspective; it'd be great to be pointed to actual research on these issues, though I'm sure much is proprietary to all the manufacturers.


Edited by Copperears - 11/6/13 at 9:07am
post #360 of 6198

Mine have arrived. Listening now.

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