I decided to post this separately as it's a different subject than my previous post, and became a rant of its own :P
After 80 hours burn-in, I find the SE846 have greatly opened up soundstage is wider and deeper, and the instruments timbre (brass is just so great) is just nothing short of dazzling, I found myself startled a couple of times with tracks I know by heart! Don't trust the first hours of listening, things are not even half as good as they'll get down the line, contrary to IE800 that just wowed me right away (funny as dynamic driver should be more susceptible to burn-in...).
Playing with filters a bit more, I had very unexpected impressions.
I just A/B'ed the 3 filters for a while, playing various genre but only tracks I know by heart. Coming from the Phonak PFE232 filter system, I had expectations about how filters would behave on the SE846. I was totally wrong. Those are absolutely different in the way they are tuned (don't know about those on the K3003, would be interesting to compare).
I don't think the warm filter is adding any bass as I have read, rather it's toning down the upper mid range, high mids and highs and by doing so it emphasize the bass presence (I hope I am making sense here). Remember it's removing 2.5db to 1Khz to 8Khz range. What's interesting to me is that the filter is more relaxed, laid back while not loosing too much detail (reminds me of the S-EM6 highs with that filter) and I love those for late listen.
About the neutral filter. I wouldn't call it neutral in the pure sense of the word. While I can hear the extra detail in high mids and highs, the SE846 sounded too "clinical" to me with the neutral filter. A bit of what I would have expected for the bright filter. But that's assuming the filters only affects the highs and high mids and obviously it does not. It affects the midrange between 1K-2K and that's probably what explains my feeling. Bass feels paradoxically more present than with warm, highs are way more detailed than the warm filter but mids feel kind of recessed in comparison. I hope I am making sense here.
Now the big surprise for me came from the bright filter, I was expecting the worst as in hot treble and hyper detailed, fatiguing and cold sound. But not at all! I kind of felt like it was the "real" neutral filter or at least what I would have expected as neutral. Again, it adds +2,5db to the 1Khz to 8Khz range, which means the bright filter actually has more forward mids, high mids and the additional detail in the 6K-8K range doesn't sound shrill at all. Also contrary to what I have read, you don't loose bass, as for the warm filter it's just that since mids, higher mids and highs are more forward, bass seems less present. It might just be my filter of choice after all! I love the mids best with the bright filter :) It's more balanced to my ears than the neutral filter. It's also where the SE846 convey emotion the best (for me), and soundstage is a notch ahead too. I find that it's the one that performs best at low volumes. Last but not least, it's definitely the one to use for Classical, sounds great. Blues sounds just right out of this world OMG now the SE846 sing fully :)) I could never take those IEM off they are really from great to downright amazing, it's really addictive you can quickly become anti-social oO
My conclusion about SE846 filters is that because of how they have been tuned - affecting the 1Khz to 8Khz range, it's not so clear cut that their sound signature is exactly what you'd expect from the warm, neutral and bright labels they have. Bass is consistent accross filters but our perception will change because of the rest of the sound signature is different. Same for highs. One thing that strikes me is the frequency range chosen for the filters : most of that frequency range is where harmonics sit for vocals, percussions, brass, strings and woodwinds (except for higher freqs of say cimbals or violin). It almost doesn't touch the fundamentals (I am referring to the freq chart here : http://www.independentrecording.net/irn/resources/freqchart/main_display.htm). I guess it's intentional and it has a great impact on the whole sound signature. So make sure you give every filter a chance because I almost skipped the bright one and it might just be my favorite, with the warm as a "backup" for say late listening sessions or while I listen during work hours when all my focus can't be on the music.
What do you think?
Sidenote : How cool would it be if Shure decided to extend the filter product line to add a couple of sound signatures ?
Edited by davidmolliere - 1/3/14 at 7:56am