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Anyone have both the Shure SE846 and Sennheiser HD800?

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

I came across the SE846 when I read it won a bunch of CES awards, looking around for some reviews they all seem pretty rave. Was just wondering if anyone has heard both the Shure SE846 and the Sennheiser HD800. They're both pretty much the same price, at least in the UK. £949 vs £999.99. 


Obviously, I'm not going to buy anything like that at the rip off prices in the UK and will have the opportunity buy a pair of SE846 at around $1000 or £600 equivalent when I go abroad later this year to see family. I never paid the RRP for my HD800 either cos I got it from abroad, UK pricing is ridiculous. 


Anyway, so any thoughts or comments on the 2 iem/headphone I mentioned? I also have ACS custom iems, but they seem a bit dated now in the quite competitive iem market.

post #2 of 2

I'm a bit of an music addict, so I just had to purchase them both, right?  Hmm...I'm not an audiophile though, so I may be way off on my terminology.

     Prior to the SE846's, I've owned and listened to Shure PTH500's, Westone 3's, Westone 4R's and Audeo Phonac PFE 232's.  For headphones, I've only owned VModa M100's, ATH A900X, Sennheiser HD650's and finally the HD800's.

     First, the IEM's:  The 846's take the best features of all of those and blend them into one "freaking awesome" set of IEM's.  I CAN'T factually state that they're $600 better than the Westone 4R's, but they definitely and obviously better...no comparison to me.  I've strictly used them with my Fiio X3 playing 320kbps or better audio.  Initially, I hooked up the X3 to a Fiio E12 amp, which is a bit more cumbersome for portable use.  I did away with the E12 amp, since I didn't really notice that much of a difference from using the X3 by itself.  Besides, the X3 has a decent built in amp anyway, and the 846's are easy to drive.

     Some people have a hard time getting IEM's to seal properly.  I can only get them to seal "properly" with Shure triple flange sleeves.  Other sleeves work, but are probably only sealed about 80-90%.  It's absolutely mandatory to have a good seal for them to sound their best.  If you're comfortable wearing IEM's while obtaining the proper seal, then the 846's are "highly" recommended.  I honestly believe the only individuals who give "top end" IEM's lower review ratings are those that were unable to maintain the proper seal.  It's a matter of HUGE importance.

     I just purchased the HD800's last month after saving up for them for a while.  The main reason I wanted them so bad was to specifically compare what is arguably considered the best headphones with the best IEM's.  Well, more honestly, I also wanted a great sounding set of over the ear headphones for home use with my PC that didn't involve my having to unseal the 846's everytime my wife starts yapping at me...it takes me a little bit to re-seal those suckers.  FYI...I'm using the HD800's with an aftermarket Cardas "fat pipe" cable and a Woo Audio WA7 DAC/AMP with standard tubes (EH tubes on backorder).

     In my personal side by side comparison it's honestly extremely difficult to say which ones I LIKE better (IE - not SOUND better).  The HD800's have much more detail....that's readily obvious.  If you're going to be strictly listening at home and can afford a good DAC/AMP, then go with the HD800's.  I cranked my classical music collection way up and was in heaven with the 800's.  I played the Devil May Cry OST (specifically "Barbas Theme"and "Lilith's Club") and was again blown away by the amount of detail present directly compared to my HD650's.  Although there was a little less bass presence with the 800's when directly compared to the 650's, what's there sounds tight & controlled (IE - BETTER than the 650's).  There's always a but, so here's mine.....BUT, when I listened to my Def Leppard Hyseria remastered album, the treble seemed rather harsh to my ears.  I routinely like to crank up the volume, but I wasn't able to with that album.  Def Leppard has always been a little "treble heavy" to me, and the 800's certainly picked that up.  I had to mess around with the EQ just to enjoy my Def Leppard, but it still required slightly less volume than the norm for me.  BTW....Def Leppard sounded GREAT with the 846's.

     If you desire portability, you can't go wrong at all with the 846's.  They pretty much sound great with every "well recorded" piece of music you throw at them.  I say well recorded, because I have a few albums in my collection that sounded average with the 846's...I hadn't noticed the lesser quality recordings with my prior IEM's.

     I should probably be done with purchasing headphones for a while, but unfortunately, I'm too addicted to this hobby.  Now, I just have to know how arguably the best open back headphones (HD800's) sound when compared to arguably the best closed back headphones (Fostex TH900's) on the market.

     I've already started saving again, so I should be able to answer that question before the end of 2014 if all goes well.  For heaven's sake...PLEASE don't come out with anything new to audition between now and then.  I don't know what I'll do.  :-)

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