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

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 



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





- 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





- 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?





- 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





- 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





- 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





- 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 2

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??"??

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