Currently on iPhone 8 + Shure SE846. Worth replacing iPhone 8 with a portable player to upgrade sound?
Jan 12, 2019 at 7:22 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 20

sa_ill

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I wanted to purchase the Shure SE846 since the time it was launched. I was on Shure E3C (a really old, but really good pair). Last year, I finally purchased the SE846.

I was somehow underwhelmed by the sound on the SE846. They're good, but not great. Maybe it's because the source is iPhone and Apple Music, I don't know.

I have some income to dispose and thought maybe it is the right time to finally buy a high quality portable player. Also, when I buy next hifi headphones, I can use it to drive them too.

I've heard that the Shure SE846 don't really benefit from DACs and portable audio players like the ones from FiiO and Sony.

I wanted to know whether it is worthy to upgrade to a portable music player, for a genuine sound upgrade on the Shure SE846. Price is not an issue, but it should be worthy of the sound upgrade. I will be purchasing from AliExpress.
 
Jan 12, 2019 at 10:23 AM Post #2 of 20

Pro-Jules

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Apple is poor at hi res audio. You have to muck about with extra cables and boxes to get it out. Then you probably don't have enough room to store it.

There is a "wonder gadget" that is worth investigating.

Radsone ES100 it's a Bluetooth reciver / eq / headphone amp / mic with 3.5 unbalanced and 2.5 balanced outputs. It weighs less than a box of matches and can be clipped to shirt pocket. It has all the best codecs like LDAC and HTPX HD as well as iPhone's AAC.

You can pair two devices. At one time. So you could have a FiiO M9 in one pocket and your iPhone in the other. Listen to music from a digital player but also get sound notification / alarms from your phone and take calls hands free if you have to.

The really killer feature appart from the crazy light weight is its great eq.

So would get one + a FiiO M9 + a short balanced 2.5 lead to just reach down to a shirt pocket. Then you can play with your phone or your player without the worry of snagging cables on clothes. Look in to LDAC BLUETOOTH it's v cool and is good for hi res files.

The world of wireless 96k 24 bit audio awaits you. (Your iPhone won't give it to you) works great plugged into the car Aux too.

Good luck
 
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Jan 12, 2019 at 12:43 PM Post #3 of 20

boneburglar

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I think you would be better off buying some new IEMs. Apple, for all its faults, actually does audio really well in my opinion. You'd be getting a lot more improvement out of IEMs than with a new DAP quite yet.
If price isn't an object, then you could get an entry level DAP like the Activo CT10 or ZX300 for $300, or in my case, the Hiby R3 for $200, and then buy a sub-$500 IEM.
 
Jan 12, 2019 at 1:08 PM Post #4 of 20

Pro-Jules

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Every iPhone released to date has done Hi Res audio - er..... not at all!

No 96k 24bit playback and none of the latest Bluetooth codecs like AtpX HD or LDAC. It's not cutting edge and is lame.

iPhone's can't even play back Tidal and Qobuz at their full quality.

The stereo on iPhone's isnt 2 identical speakers left and right. It's one type of speaker at the ear area on the front surface and another type pointing out of the bottom of the phone (?!) With internal eq they try to bull "stereo" but stereo is a bust without similar speaker drivers and symmetrical positioning.

I can't think of anything they "do well" with audio TBH.
 
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Jan 12, 2019 at 5:46 PM Post #5 of 20

Ocelitgol

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One of the reason why I switched to Android was the LDAC update. TBH, I don't hear much improvement when using ES100 vs DAP (to my novice ears anyway) but LDAC does sound a bit better than AAC (unless my S8 breaks AAC).

I'm running ES100 with SE846 on unbalanced (can't seem to find short balanced anywhere) pair with S8 for daily commute. Sometimes I didn't even bother switching to my DAP....my A&K Jr. probably filled with dust in the corner right about now.

So...yeah I'd recommend trying it with ES100 (Fiio also makes one I think) or you can get Shanling M0. I personally tested all these myself and went back to ES100 while waiting for Shanling U2 release which seems to be a better choice than ES100. Amazon has amazing customer service so start there?
 
Jan 12, 2019 at 6:38 PM Post #7 of 20

CoryGillmore

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I think it’s that Shure. They’re notoriously clinical and boring, IMO. I think you’ll be disappointed if you go from an iPhone to a DAP expecting some big noticeable change in SQ. As someone else stated, Apple really does do audio well from their idevices. But as someone else stated, if you want to carry around ginormous music files that you couldn’t pick out from regular 16/44 files in an A/B test then you’ll have to carry around dongles and an external DAC. I personally have some pretty resolving headphones and IEMs and I can’t tell the difference between them.

If you do get a DAP though, I highly recommend the Activo CT10 or the Sony ZX300. I own both and they’re both fantastic. I also own the Pioneer 300R, I cant recommend it with its finicky headphone jacks that are prone to break off. Mine haven’t broken off, but it’s probably because I’m afraid to use it due to the fear of them breaking off.
 
Jan 12, 2019 at 7:01 PM Post #8 of 20

OG10

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I am not sure who has been saying that the SE846 wouldn't benefit from a DAC. I have a chord Mojo, and the output from the Mojo vastly improves the sound from the DAP I had before it; the A&K AK70. It is a bit of a picky IEM, and I think the sound from my Iphone X sounds awful and really restrained. The Chord Mojo really clears up the veil of unexciting treble and bass into something far more exciting. I'd suggest you audition the Chord Mojo with the lighting connector and see what that does for you.
 
Jan 12, 2019 at 7:05 PM Post #9 of 20

CoryGillmore

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I am not sure who has been saying that the SE846 wouldn't benefit from a DAC. I have a chord Mojo, and the output from the Mojo vastly improves the sound from the DAP I had before it; the A&K AK70. It is a bit of a picky IEM, and I think the sound from my Iphone X sounds awful and really restrained. The Chord Mojo really clears up the veil of unexciting treble and bass into something far more exciting. I'd suggest you audition the Chord Mojo with the lighting connector and see what that does for you.
Good idea actually. The Mojo is legit
 
Jan 12, 2019 at 7:21 PM Post #10 of 20

boneburglar

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I am not sure who has been saying that the SE846 wouldn't benefit from a DAC. I have a chord Mojo, and the output from the Mojo vastly improves the sound from the DAP I had before it; the A&K AK70. It is a bit of a picky IEM, and I think the sound from my Iphone X sounds awful and really restrained. The Chord Mojo really clears up the veil of unexciting treble and bass into something far more exciting. I'd suggest you audition the Chord Mojo with the lighting connector and see what that does for you.
The Mojo may sound good (the specs are certainly impressive at the very least), but the fact that it doesn't have a battery bypass at $500 is a little worrying.
 
Jan 14, 2019 at 5:43 AM Post #11 of 20

sa_ill

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The Mojo may sound good (the specs are certainly impressive at the very least), but the fact that it doesn't have a battery bypass at $500 is a little worrying.

I looked up the Chord Mojo. It looks pretty sweet, but I don't think I will be able to carry it around.
Portability is important to me.

I am currently considering the Astel&Kern AK70, the KANN, the Cayin N5iis, FiiO M9 and Sony ZX300.

But still, am I in for a sonic upgrade on the Shure SE846?

I'd focus a bit more on the SE846 specifics, tips, filters, head-burnin...

Care to elaborate? I'm using the default filters, modded. I'm using the Foam tips.
 
Jan 14, 2019 at 8:20 AM Post #12 of 20

geardoc

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My point was only to do one thing at a time. First get used to the SE846 sound with different filters/tips. They are easy enough to drive from an iphone.

Sometimes this is called burn-in, but it's really head burn-in. Getting used to the stock sound is a neural adaptation.
 
Jan 14, 2019 at 9:26 AM Post #13 of 20

gazzington

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fiio q5 is another option
 
Jan 15, 2019 at 6:25 AM Post #15 of 20

Pro-Jules

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I dont think the OP needs to be schooled on using his IEM's. He's after a sound source quality boost.

What about balanced cables for the Shure iems?

I have never heard the improvement but have one on order and am keen to hear what it does.
 
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