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Hi, new here but old to audio

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Hi, I've been enjoying music through audio equipment for years, and have gone from getting excellent at the time speakers as a teenager (anyone remember Microacoustics? ) to going up the Sennheiser line to the HD650.

Given my current circumstances I've become more enamored of IEMs over the years, due to portability and convenience.

Recently picked up some Shure SE315s, thinking I'd lost my old E3s, first IEMs I got. Have a pair of Sennheiser IE80s for home use.

Am intrigued by the SE 846s; otoh, I have certain albums I'm quite familiar with that sound as good to me on my headphones, older Shure IEMs as well as on my IE80s.

I have pretty good ears, with training as a musician (12 years of classical study), and a lifetime of listening.

My frequent and repeated reaction with different systems over the years has always been the same: each new one sounds different at first, but I find my ears/brain adjust psychoacoustically pretty rapidly, and it all sounds great after awhile. I have some ancient HD580s I've had for over a decade, with parts I've refurbished countless times, and still love those, too.

So, I'm both an enthusiast, and a cynic; for what music is worth to me, $1k is eminently reasonable if the sonic experience is truly going to be comparable with a top-quality headphone.

OTOH I find IEMs comparatively "congested" upon initial listen compared with headphones, due, no doubt, to the kinds of inevitable distortion effects a headphone invariably introduces.

I find Shure stuff precise in the midrange, but with a little midrange presence/emphasis that at higher volumes can be fatiguing. This is why I like Shures, because their balance is more neutral and pleasing at a lower volume.

My Sennheiser headphones and IE80 seem by contrast more neutral in the midrange, and slightly warmer, with crisper and more emphasized higher frequencies.

However, they all sound great!

So my real question is: should I just live happy with what I have, or is there some Experience of a Lifetime I'll be missing out on by not getting the SE846?

I'm inclining towards the former. I like and respect Shure, am confident they are not gouging here but have truly innovated, have seen a generation seduced by $100,000 speakers (B&W) but fortunately sidestepped that level of indulgence (if I were a millionaire I'd still treat myself to a pair of B&W 802s, if I could build the right acoustic space to enjoy them in!), but am not Shure that level of commitment to an IEM is truly worth it.

It's 1/3rd the cost of, say, a Canon EOS 5D MkIII, and about on par with Native Instruments' Maschine Pro Studio. 😱

So, that all gives me pause.

Best of luck to Shure with their sales, though!

Any responding thoughts appreciated, thanks for listening!
post #2 of 3
Welcome to head-fi, sorry about your wallet...

I can relate - and I think you are definitely correct - I think there is definitely a diminishing return as you go up the line. I have always believed that the closer you get to the summit, the more it becomes not about "best", but rather about personal preferences. They don't sound the same, but they also don't sound as vastly different as they do when compared to a much lower model. IMHO, if I was looking to spend $1000 on IEMs, I would probably be looking at custom IEMS rather than the SE846.
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Thanks, yeah, or maybe the HD800s....or maybe nothing. smily_headphones1.gif. I'm generally content with what I've got, but happy to support any serious technical breakthroughs, and I'm delighted to see the IEMs progressing so rapidly.

I like the basic concept of IEMs, that they do away with all the deeply complex psychoacoustic technicalities involved in speaker or even headphone design. While still having a few hurdles to overcome.

Main thing is, nothing gives you the full-body experience of live music in a great concert hall.

So it's really just a question of the varieties of artificial acoustic experiences available.

I've been hearing "sounds like you're actually there" since the debut of the Acoustic Research 3A. smily_headphones1.gif
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