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Brief review of SE846, W40, W50, SE535, SE535J, IE800, CKM1000, x11i

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hello,

 

I am new to the forum, I am not a musician nor a sound engineer, nor do I write blogs. So I won't write anything that covers every aspect but just point out things that interested me, hoping that it could be some value to potential shoppers.

 

I own:

Westone W40

Sennheiser Momentum (on-ear)

 

Tested with:

iPhone 5

No DAC/amp

iTunes 256kbps files

(I know, the above are pretty weak source but I was still able to tell some differences)

EQ setting off

 

Songs from iTunes (I chose these songs based on production quality, and deemed reasonable for the purpose of testing):

After the Burial - Redeeming the Wretched (metal, 2013 single version)

Miss May I - My Hardship (metal)

Funeral for a Friend - Bend Your Arms to Look Like Wings (rock, there is a bit of crackle at 0:55 mark)

The Jimmy Hendrix Experience - Voodoo Chile (rock, during the drum solo and when they play around with stereo setting, there are plenty of parts you can test your headphone)

Rise Against - Midnight Hands (rock)

Unsteady - Tokyo (ska)

Yeska - Fideo (ska)

Infected Mushroom - End of the Road (techno)

Merengues Latinos 100 Hits 2 - Linda Eh (merengue, lots of nice Music Man growl on bass)

 

I focus mainly on drums and percussions first, then bass, then horns/guitar/keyboard, then vocals

 

 

W40

 

- very comfortable

- I like the plain looks

- twisted wire was a surprise for me and it is now one of the main factors for loving the headphone

- the rubber wire with remote is a bit hard to love, it sticks and resists from pocket, seem to tangle more than the twisted one

- vanilla good sound with all kinds of rock music, I can listen for hours without getting tired

- great sound isolation from both rubber and foam plugs

- rubber plug gave me nausea and blocked feeling in ears for days, changing to foam helped

- rubber plug + rubber wire caused thumps every step I take or any time I chew something, again changing them out fixed the issue

 

 

W50

 

- I tested them a few weeks after I bought W40

- the bass is amazing, quality wise it is in between SE846 and W40, quantity wise it is about the same as SE846

- there is more space in the sound

- overall there seem to be some improvements for mids and highs as well

- but something is lacking compared to W40, perhaps its the 10 vs 20Hz frequency?

 

 

SE846

 

- the bass is just amazing, it is not only accurate and full, but it also has some buzz/tingle especially when active bass guitar is played

- I love the clear looks, they should also offer one in tinted red

- absolute advantage over SE535J and SE535

- also double the price

- for rock songs all Shure are somewhat lacking compared to Westone?

- for techno it sounded slightly better than Westones, so I am guessing it is the same for R&B and hip hop

 

 

SE535J and SE535

 

- for the price they are amazing

- lacks quite a bit for rock music compared to W50/W40

- SE535J sounded better than SE535

- SE535J looked good in pictures but it looked horrible in person especially the wire, and the wire was clunky and a bit sticky

 

 

IE800

 

- almost sounded identical to my Momentum, which is a good thing

- slots in between Shure and Westone for rock music

- a bit thin and flat in overall sound although very accurate (just like the Momentum)

- bass guitar tends to hide in some tracks? (unlike the Momentum)

- very compact

- very pretty

- very expensive for what it is

- it was not too comfortable

- it did not block out external sound too well

 

 

x11i

 

- even more compact

- prettiest of them all (in my opinion)

- overall sound quality was noticeably worse than the others

- even less sound isolation than the IE800

- a bit disappointed considering how much good experience I had with their desktop sound system, and ones in cinemas

- I may just stick with the Apple Earpods especially for the price

 

 

CKM1000

 

- uncomfortable and a bit painful to wear

- some good quantity in bass but not in quality

- better than x11i but worse than SE535 and W40 in overall sound quality

 

 

Sorry that the points lack technical aspects and quite subjective, the source was quite poor and songs were limited but I hope they can be some value to some shoppers

 

Generally I am quite happy with the W40 purchase, and I probably will not upgrade anytime soon until I start to have more ALAC/FLAC files, better player, and/or usage of DAC/amp, although I don't like the idea of carrying many bricks in my pocket

 

Thanks for reading!

post #2 of 15

This is an Excellent review- I realize you could have gone on and on and wrote pages of detail, but as far as keeping it concise and informative, that was a great review. 

 

One item I do take note with is the lack on consideration of CABLES, relative to the critique of certain models over others.  While i agree with most of the points of this review, it would have been MUCH more telling, to see the tests done on an upgrade cable (consistently!) across blinds..  that would be Super-Super Cool! 

 

As a prime example, SE535 is an AMAZING headphone, and yet the review makes it sound like ALOT less headphone than 846, when it actually is MORE in certain regards!  The stock 535 cable is a POS, while the 846 actually comes with a better (much higher bandwidth) cable!..  This applies to most headphones in general, although in fairness, the 846's DO come with a big step-up cable out of the box, and the 535 does NOT..  What's scary is you listen to a 535 AND an 846 on a Good Quality cable, and you might actually find the 535s BETTER, (specifically; More COHESIVE an Image) because 3 drivers is one Less than Four!!!  (vis-a-vis point-source)..  So before you just splurge a grand, you might wanna give those "cheap" 535's a second chance, with a real cable..  

 

Anyhow, I loved this review, I just would reALLY really like to see what a consistnently used upgrade cable would have done to the results of this test..  maybe "Brief-Review 2.0??"??

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hey, thanks a ton for your reply, I didn't really expect any replies. I was just shopping at a local store for something convenient to plug into my iPod or my cellphone that sounded good. In the beginning I had a huge bias for SE535 and SE846, as I have read through pages and pages of how good they are, and although some people say they look like some hearing aid I just love how they look, especially that candy apple acrylic color. Honestly, I listen mostly to rock music of all sorts, and it is important that they sound chunky, with nice bass buzz, and of course very accurate. I also heard about how some aftermarket cables improve how the Shure products sound, but at the same time, I also heard a lot of reviews where they said the aftermarket cables are just placebo effect, where you automatically think they sound better just because you spend another hundred bucks or two and are made of gold/iridium plated wires. Also, what it seems to be almost proven, is that the pocket amps really bring them alive, although I have not tried.

 

First of all, I just didn't like the idea of buying a pair of 'ear' phones, then throw away the wires that are working perfectly fine and replacing them with expensive ones where I have already spent quite a bit of premium for good-sounding headphones.

 

The SE846's bass really blew me away, you can 'feel' the kick bass, that tap tap tap sound when pedals hit the drum head, along with the thump that comes with it, but like the SE535, something is really missing when you listen to rock songs, at least in stock form, on iPods and mobile phones, compared to the Westones.

 

Now that the W60 is out I can go out again for the 'brief review 2.0', but honestly, considering that I will not use some very hi-fi music source, that I would not use a pocket amp, and that I do not want to replace wires, anything more than the W40 would be an overkill. Imagine what you would think of me using a JH16 on an iPod without a pocket amp strolling down the street.

 

Maybe in a couple years when Shure and few other brands come out with some new products I will definitely go out for another round of testing followed by a review, but for now, my only advice after this review is to 'try the products, with the source you listen from, with accessories you may consider using or replacing with, on the music you listen to, because your preference may differ from the reviews' and that some of the in-ear headphones 'focus more on the form factor and the design, than how they sound, and they charge dearly for it'

post #4 of 15

noble k10 IEM coming soon. none of these iem worth the price ...

can somebody tell me the source of this pic. :


Edited by agooh - 10/27/14 at 2:33pm
post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyanescens View Post
 

Hey, thanks a ton for your reply, I didn't really expect any replies. I was just shopping at a local store for something convenient to plug into my iPod or my cellphone that sounded good. In the beginning I had a huge bias for SE535 and SE846, as I have read through pages and pages of how good they are, and although some people say they look like some hearing aid I just love how they look, especially that candy apple acrylic color. Honestly, I listen mostly to rock music of all sorts, and it is important that they sound chunky, with nice bass buzz, and of course very accurate. I also heard about how some aftermarket cables improve how the Shure products sound, but at the same time, I also heard a lot of reviews where they said the aftermarket cables are just placebo effect, where you automatically think they sound better just because you spend another hundred bucks or two and are made of gold/iridium plated wires. Also, what it seems to be almost proven, is that the pocket amps really bring them alive, although I have not tried.

 

First of all, I just didn't like the idea of buying a pair of 'ear' phones, then throw away the wires that are working perfectly fine and replacing them with expensive ones where I have already spent quite a bit of premium for good-sounding headphones.

 

The SE846's bass really blew me away, you can 'feel' the kick bass, that tap tap tap sound when pedals hit the drum head, along with the thump that comes with it, but like the SE535, something is really missing when you listen to rock songs, at least in stock form, on iPods and mobile phones, compared to the Westones.

 

Now that the W60 is out I can go out again for the 'brief review 2.0', but honestly, considering that I will not use some very hi-fi music source, that I would not use a pocket amp, and that I do not want to replace wires, anything more than the W40 would be an overkill. Imagine what you would think of me using a JH16 on an iPod without a pocket amp strolling down the street.

 

Maybe in a couple years when Shure and few other brands come out with some new products I will definitely go out for another round of testing followed by a review, but for now, my only advice after this review is to 'try the products, with the source you listen from, with accessories you may consider using or replacing with, on the music you listen to, because your preference may differ from the reviews' and that some of the in-ear headphones 'focus more on the form factor and the design, than how they sound, and they charge dearly for it'

I imagine I would regard you as someone who knew his equipment and enjoyed his music to the fullest. I would think you were one who knew he could get 95%++ of the JH16's quality out of an iPod since the 16 is so efficient. I would also tap you on the shoulder to keep you from walking into the intersection because your eyes were closed due to a near-total immersion in your music......

 

I'd think you were cool and introduce you to my sister :D

post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 

@ agooh - That is some seriously beautiful headphones, I hope I can try them one day

 

@ Ivabign - lol

post #7 of 15

I currently own the SE535 bronze modded with grey filters and while I really like them I too find they are lacking with rock (at least the quicker tracks).

 

The Shure sound great with Muse, but not so much with Dream Theater - Haken - Pearl Jam...

 

I was considering the W40, do they really make that much of a difference with rock? Would an after market cable improve things? (I was also considering the MKii) or maybe the right source (I understand Fiio X5 would pair well with the SE535 and that the bass is somewhat emphatized, but not sure this would do it).

 

Or any other options?

 

Thx


Edited by siafni - 1/20/15 at 5:50am
post #8 of 15
Quote:
 

I currently own the SE535 bronze modded with grey filters and while I really like them I too find they are lacking with rock (at least the quicker tracks).

 

The Shure sound great with Muse, but not so much with Dream Theater - Haken - Pearl Jam...

 

I was considering the W40, do they really make that much of a difference with rock? Would an after market cable improve things? (I was also considering the MKii) or maybe the right source (I understand Fiio X5 would pair well with the SE535 and that the bass is somewhat emphatized, but not sure this would do it).

 

Or any other options?

 

Here is my subjective opinion. I have the SE425's and the stock cable was uncomfortable and made the instruments sound smushed (non audiophile term) together.   I can't remember which thread but someone posted that the UE900's cable worked with the Shure earphones (they were looking for a cable with mic or an alternative cable). 

 

http://buy.logitech.com/store/logib2c/en_US/DisplayCategoryProductListPage/categoryid.60213000

 

I bought the black audio only cable ($19.99 part 993-000847 ) and the blue communications cable ($29.99 part 993-000848). In my opinion they are better than the stock Shure cable.  More comfortable, better bass (for the SE425) and better instrument separation and better soundstage.  Vocals seemed more balanced as well.  My sonic perceptions may be placebo but the comfort level is not placebo.  I now enjoy the SE425 whereas I was so-so about them before.  I had also purchased the SE535 but they sounded shouty and hissed so much that I downgraded to the SE425.  Happy with my purchase now with the 2 new cables.  

 

Also if you are listening on an i-device I would highly recommend CanOpener.  Big difference in sound from any other app I have tried. 

post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by ibs63 View Post
 

 

Here is my subjective opinion. I have the SE425's and the stock cable was uncomfortable and made the instruments sound smushed (non audiophile term) together.   I can't remember which thread but someone posted that the UE900's cable worked with the Shure earphones (they were looking for a cable with mic or an alternative cable). 

 

http://buy.logitech.com/store/logib2c/en_US/DisplayCategoryProductListPage/categoryid.60213000

 

I bought the black audio only cable ($19.99 part 993-000847 ) and the blue communications cable ($29.99 part 993-000848). In my opinion they are better than the stock Shure cable.  More comfortable, better bass (for the SE425) and better instrument separation and better soundstage.  Vocals seemed more balanced as well.  My sonic perceptions may be placebo but the comfort level is not placebo.  I now enjoy the SE425 whereas I was so-so about them before.  I had also purchased the SE535 but they sounded shouty and hissed so much that I downgraded to the SE425.  Happy with my purchase now with the 2 new cables.  

 

Also if you are listening on an i-device I would highly recommend CanOpener.  Big difference in sound from any other app I have tried. 

 

I agree with you 100% on the comfort.  I too have switched to UE900 cable for my SE425 as the Shure cable is ridiculously uncomfortable.  I, however, have not noticed any difference in sound but then again the Shure cable was hard to keep on so I don't have much of a reference to what the original sound was like.  I did run into minor disconnect issues with this combo.  I have since switched to a silver plated copper cable and the sound sig has changed for the better (a bit warmer).  I mostly use the UE900 cable on my UMPro30 with no issues.

post #10 of 15
Quote:
I mostly use the UE900 cable on my UMPro30 with no issues.

I just got the UE900 cables so no disconnections yet. Is the UMPro30 the same connector as the W40? Out of curiosity I tried the UE900 cable with the W40 and it didn't seem to fit and I didn't want to force it. I am happy with the stock W40 cable so I left it alone.
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by ibs63 View Post

I just got the UE900 cables so no disconnections yet. Is the UMPro30 the same connector as the W40? Out of curiosity I tried the UE900 cable with the W40 and it didn't seem to fit and I didn't want to force it. I am happy with the stock W40 cable so I left it alone.

Yes, it will fit the W40. It's a tight fit.
post #12 of 15
Superb review. Very helpful. Thank you
post #13 of 15
Hi there,

I own the UE900 cable (the blue one) and while it seems to sound a bit better, I find it makes the sound brighter and the bass seems to suffer from it (not sure how to explain this, be bass seems less deep, like the notes were kind of on a higher octave-well, not that much, but it should give you an idea).

Even with the Logitech cable, the Shure does not seem to cut it for rock, I think what hurts it is the bass and treble seem to be like on a different level compared to the mids, which works very well foir certain genres, but not for rock (which is what I mainly listen to).

So I am guessing it is a sound signature problem, and was wondering whether the W40 would perform well with Pearl Jam, Dream Theather, Spock's Beard, Radiohead, Haken, Pain of Salvation, Steven Wilson, The Flower Kings and the likes.

My understanding is that having more base and a flatter sound signature they would respond way better (though I love the mids on the Shure)
post #14 of 15

hey i am looking to get a new pair of headphones and i don't know what to get. 

 

i had the 535 headphones but disliked the muddiness, where can i get the better cables

post #15 of 15


where do you get the cables for the 535

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