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Senheiser ie800 vs shure se846 - Page 2

post #16 of 23

Maybe you could shed some insight how you think they perform sonically in relation to each other. That is after all the most important aspect.

post #17 of 23

I've tried both and my preference was the IE800.  I love great sub bass and the clarity of the IE800 is pretty amazing.   I'm a huge Shure fan so I was very surprised at my decision.  I think the choices of nozzles and cables are not as much fun as you would assume because I did not want to have to switch things out between songs.


I also love the way the IE800 goes down from the ears instead of up and around.  I find it easier to put them in and take them out.  Unlike other IEMs, I have not had any ear pain from deep insertion because the IE800 is best used with shallow insertion.  It also has surprisingly good isolation.


I think both eke and james444 have very good reviews on the IE800 that are worth checking out.  I would give the Shure 846 a little more time on the market so that you can get more feedback from people who own them and have tried the IE800.  


Head-fi tends to have an "IEM flavor of the month" which seems to correlate with the supply of the IEM in the real world.  My personal opinion is that the Shure is still too new and too rare for the question you are asking.  The IE800 unfortunately also has an issue when it comes to fit with the custom tips that Sennheiser provides.  When you have a good fit, you get some very magical sound.  When you don't, you've got an IEM that sounds terrible and pops out of your ear at very inconvenient times.


Shure has outstanding customer support.  I've had to get Shure SE530s replaced a few times (mostly due to issues that I created) and they made the entire process as easy and as cheap as possible.  I don't think I'll get that with Sennheiser.

post #18 of 23

Well, I have had the IE800 and now own the SE846 (to little time to offer a comparison), definitely the IE800 have the most amazing clarity I have heard in an IEM (still need to hear the FI-BA-SS :P) and the bass are punchier than SE846.


I was totally blown away by the sound quality, until I encountered some issues with trebles on certain tracks (Mountain of things / Tracy Chapman killed the IE800 for me, this was FLAC file) namely the triangle was defeaningly clear and loud up to the point that I couldn't listen to the track (puzzling...). Is that the IE800 highlighting a mastering issue or is the imaging being off on IE800? Or my being sensitive to brilliant treble? I don't know but I returned them as I found out several tracks suffering from the same issue. I was very conflicted at this because I really loved them on most tracks (and classical never sounded so good!), maybe 1 out of 20 tracks just came out wrong for me... puzzling. I might buy them again one day. 

post #19 of 23

I own both the IE800 and the SE846, I do agree that the clarity on the IE800 is truly amazing also the bass is i would say better defined than the SE846. Listen to Kind of Blue- So What (24-192 if you have :)), you clearly hear the strings of the bass vibrate more defined than the SE846. Also for this who say bass is deeper on SE846 i just don't hear it that way. Another good example is of John Hammond - Get behind the mule, where is stomps his foot on the floor, to my ears you're just more there with the IE800. Also I do not hear the harshness the earlier poster mentioned (maybe i Just getting to old :)).

You may think after that that I don't like the SE846......wrong   love em,but seems to me a lot of people are posting without having heard both and have some reason for thinking they're better.

The SE846 is a huge step up from the SE535 which I also have, the seal is way better than the IE800 so in a noisy environment they're much better suited than the IE800. Also seem much more robust another reason I'll be enjoying these at 40000 feet. For my preference I like best the neutral filter, although nice that you can mod them a little. Soundstage is HUGE, equal if not larger than the IE800.

Over all sound is superbly detailed top to bottom, pretty flawless to m ears, and if they were my only pair I would be very satisfied, totally worth the $999 i payed for them. A very special IEM.


Auditioning done from MBP thru Meridian Explorer, also straight from iPhone ( the did trim a little of the SE846 plug vs SE535 so it will fit with a case). both sound absolutely fantastic, both you get more out of the SE846 if nosy around you, like previously mentioned. Switching to 


files brings a whole new level of realism.


I am very happy with both, not sure if i could part with either. guess depends of where you listen the most  If at home I would probably of the the IE800, you even forget you wear then, but if you're on the go a lot buy the SE846 and never look back :)  I do both a lot so am keeping both.


post #20 of 23
Originally Posted by Mooses9 View Post

i think the answer is so obvious, there has been alot of R & D with the shure. for one it has a metal nozzle and anyone who has used shure in the past will note this is worth noting lol. you can change the nozzle insert and change the sound signature so you can have multiple signatures at hand. the shure has a removeable cable, this will father allow you to change and enhance the sound signature. in my opinion the shures are more ergonomic in the housing department, shure nozzle also will allow for a larger array of tips. there are other things to go on but those are most worth noting.


in my opinion the ie800 is way way overpriced, its a dynamic driver iem, non removeable cable. imo not a very ergonomic design. to me the shure's offer ALOT more bang for your buck. i could see the ie800 at half the price being more of a hit, but for the price point they are at they lack alot of bells and whistles that i personally would be looking for esp in that price point.


I know I'm rehashing an old post but I actually now own both and I feel like the two IEM's are BOTH really good.  The SE846's are obviously an evolutionary development from their previous offerings, which is not a bad thing!  They have improved upon many of the downfalls of their previous products as you have noted like the metal nozzle and removable inserts to change the sound.


The IE800's on the other hand, to me, are more of a revolutionary design.  If you look at their offerings before the IE800, it's clear that these were designed from the ground up.  Do they have their cons?  Yes, like the microphonics in the cable and non removable cable... but that's not to say that I think that they aren't good IEM's.  They are good IEM's!!  The sound to me is great with just enough bass and nice mids and highs with terrific instrument separation... all very impressive from a single dynamic driver.  Also, they are extremely comfortable to wear for extended periods because of their very small size and light weight.


Anyway, to answer the original question:


1) listens to EVERY genre


- Both IEM's would be find for EVERY genre IMO... if you want deeper bass then go for the SE846's but the IE800's are no slouch in that dept.  The IE800's to me have a slightly wider sound stage in my listening of both side by side.


2) wants to use these earphones with a cheaper amp or dac such as fiio and does not want sound to be significantly different depending on the amp or dac I choose


- Both work great for me without an amp or DAC.  The SE846's have a much lower impedance at 9 ohms vs 16 ohms of the IE800 but really both are quite low impedances anyway so I can't say that one would be better than the other.

post #21 of 23

Zombie thread!


I think the IE800 is a very misunderstood IEM... It gets a lot of flak for it's pronounced bass and treble, but what many fail to understand is that Sennheiser deliberately tuned it for use in public spaces. I have many "audiophile flat" IEMs and cans, and in quiet listening environments, they perform as advertised. But take them into an environment filled with ambient noise, and that accuracy is compromised... The bass and treble drop out, and they sound far from flat. Anemic is a better word. The IE800, on the other hand, shines in those environments. The pronounced bass and treble even out and the result is flat, accurate audiophile sound in a crowded Starbucks. 

post #22 of 23
I have had the SE846 for several months (and hundreds of hours of listen...), I actually got them after returning the IE800 after a week and a half with them, I had issues with trebles on certains tracks but otherwise was very impressed. Now I am falling out of love with the SE846, I have switched filters (I still favor the white filter), upgraded the cables, but for all the greatness of the SE846 I feel like something is missing. Don't mistake me here, I am still wowed by the sound, but I am not moved by it enough. Something that I find more cohesive and musical in my Pandora VI (highly emotional) or even Sennheiser Momentums.
After the TF10, the PFE232 and SM3v2 and S-EM6, and last with SE846 I got to wonder if multiple BA drivers are not the issue for me. Even the FAD Heaven II I got free with the Pandora VI sound more musical and it's a single BA... go figure. I was hesitant to go for the FI-BA-SS or Heaven VI, but remembered my impressions of IE800 and decided I'd have to give them a chance again. First, I might have jumped to conclusions too fast, dynamic drivers may need more than 100hrs burn-in that I gave the IE800. Second, I now have better sources, and I'd like to see what happens. If it doesn't cut it, I'll probably be back to Final Audio either the Heaven VI or FI-BA-SS.




Got my IE800 and it's interresting to A/B with the SE846, I feel like everything is so much more "together" with the IE800 and that soundstage oh my! They pair quite well with both the ZX1 and the Fiio E18.


After several months with the (very comfortable) Shures, it's kind of a marvel how small and even more comfortable the senns are (I used westone start tips L with the Shures, deeper insertion). The sound is so much more alive and full (more like full sized headphones), although the Shures are musical I find myself dissecting things much more and enjoying the music less. Maybe phase coherent BAs like the Primo 8 would reconcile me with multiple drivers designs but right now I feel that the single driver route is more of my thing. Maybe running the SE846 balanced would even out the differences (never did).


I don't know if several months with the SE846 white filter modified my perception of trebles but I no longer have issues with the IE800 trebles. Maybe source dependent, I was so wrong at the time to dismiss the IE800 as they match my preferences way better than the SE846. Clarity is clearly several step ahead on the IE800, I didn't think I would hear tracks with so many additional details... texture, timbre, decay are better to my ears with the IE800. The mids are probably were they outshine the SE846, but I find the bass to be more detailed and impactful. There are more layers to the sound, and also one thing that struck me especially with classic is how they render piano to fortissimo so well which makes the music so emotional! Lower volume listen is also much more gratifying. I get less tired listening to them, maybe because they're vented and shallower insertion but I kind of forget they're even here!


They're revealing but forgiving at the same time. Max quality on Spotify is already very good and you clearly make out significant differences with HiRes files (more so to my ears than the SE846). MFSL masters are a joy to listen to :D


I never thought I'd say that, but I'll sell the SE846. Hell, I could only own the IE800 and be happy! 

Edited by davidmolliere - 9/29/14 at 11:35pm
post #23 of 23

I tested both, more than once, and finally I went for the SE846.

I owned the B&W C5, then the Sony XBA-H3 then tried many, many others in the price range 200-1000 USD.

I first tried the IE800 but I was somehow not convinced, not excited by the sound. So I asked my favourite headphone shop to do a blind test.

I interrupted the test after 5 headphones and I told him "this is what I want"! It was the 846.

24 hours later, after trying them with different sources (iPhone-Spotify Premium, and AIFF 24/192 tracks played on Fiio X1, iBasso DX90, Astell & Kern 100ii, Astell & Kern 120ii) I bought them.

The detail is amazing, I would say almost at the level of the IE800, and mids and bass... boy... so realistic that every track sounds like being there.

Also, the SE846 fit immediately, and felt extremely comfortable, while with the IE800 I could not find the right plug size to fit them properly. but this is really ver subjective...

As I am not an expert I can't give a more detailed analysis of the sound quality, I just tried to report my feelings about sound qualities I really hear... No bulls@@@.


I will try to post a real review after a few weeks of burn-in.



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