Shure SE846 Impressions Thread

  1. overgang
    Disappointed, returning the purchase. Expected so much more after reading all the superlatives on the web. And I can't say that my ears are spoiled. This is my first "serious" IEM, I usually stream FLACs with the iPhone SE and Bose QuietComfort 35. No, really, my old setup ain't so bad, compressed Bluetooth or not, despicable Bose or not. Give me my EUR 800 back.
  2. Slim1970
    What's your source?
  3. overgang
    iPhone SE
  4. Slim1970
    You should really give them a try with an external amp. I have a iPhone 7 Plus and as good as it is it doesn't let me realize the potential of my SE846's. Something as simple and inexpensive like a FiiO E12 or A5 will get you much better results than using a phone alone. These are really good sounding headphones that you should give another chance with an external amp IMO.
  5. overgang
    Thanks, Slim, for encouraging me. I really appreciate. But I don't have an external amplifier, and fear being dragged into an arms race. Many say that SE846's need no amplifier, that the iPhone is a decent source, and that extremities of the audio chain matter most. So I said to myself: 'Let me splash on what for many is an 'end game' earphone. This way I'll avoid burning money on incremental upgrades.' But no, EUR 800 and no instant nirvana. I was expecting something like a first heroin experience. :relaxed:

    About the hiss, if anyone is interested:
    • iPhone SE: dead silent
    • iMac 5K Late 2014: strong hiss
  6. headdict
    Great that there is no hiss! On the other hand I suspect an impedance mismatch when driving SE846 with an iPhone SE. The combination of a (relatively) high impedance source with a low-impedance IEM can impact the sound severely. To get rid of that you need to use either an amp or another source. Whatever you use, it has to have a rather low output impedance or the SE846 won't sound as intended.
  7. Slim1970
    Lol, I understand. I have yet to experience that feeling straight out of a phone with any IEM except the Audeze iSine 20's with the cipher cable. It sounds like no other IEM I have driven straight from a phone. It's a cheaper option than the SE846's that you can try since you don't want to purchase a separate amp. IMO the SE846's needs an low impedance amp like @headdict is recommending to avoid the hissing sound and sound their best. I'm just not sold on the SE846's being driven by an iPhone is your best bet for audio nirvana.
  8. csglinux
    The hiss isn't caused by the output impedance of the amp - that's a separate issue, but the slightly high z-out of your iPhone will tend to bump up the bass a bit on the SE846, which might sound a little muddy (but some folks might like that?).

    @overgang - do try all tip and filter options with the SE846 before you give up. There are lots of things you can do, e.g., stock black, blue & white filter, modded blue or the trishd mod (removing the foam, or shoving it all the way down the filter tube), Knowles' dampers ( and lots of interesting effects from using different tips ( and The SE846 is probably more versatile and flexible that you've realized. If you don't like the sound - you can change it :)

    I used to have iPhones and they aren't the worst sources in the world. They do have very low noise floors (basically zero hiss), and I give Apple kudos for that. On the other hand, if you're going to hang around and trap yourself ever deeper into the Apple ecosystem, one day you'll be forced to give up your 3.5mm socket altogether. Now, the far-distant future may not involve a global (re-)embrace of 3.5 mm TRS plugs, but it sure as hell won't involve everybody moving to proprietary nonsense like Lightning connectors. (Good luck plugging your cipher cable into your macbook!) The writing has been on the wall for a very long time as to where Apple's headed, and it's not in any consumer-friendly direction. The iPhone is a very long way behind devices like the LG V30 for sound quality and output power. There's no amount of money that would persuade me to swap my V30 and go back to any type of iPhone. I'm sure your SE has a few years left in it, but bear this in mind when it's time for your next upgrade :wink:
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017
  9. Dulalala
    Impedance mismatch does not cause hissing... Hissing is caused by a high noise floor and is made worse by more sensitivity IEM/Headphones.
  10. Slim1970
  11. csglinux
    Sorry @Slim1970 - my little pro-SE846/anti-Apple rant was really directed toward @overgang !
  12. Dulalala
    While I agree with @csglinux, I would encourage @overgang to spend a bit more time with the SE846. Sometimes our ears need a bit of time to adjust to a new sound signature. However, if after spending more time with it, he still dislikes them, then it's just a matter of preference at that point. There's only so much the filters can do, it isn't miraculous enough to be able to completely alter the SE846 sound signature. Audio is mostly subjective after all so if he doesn't like it not much we can do.
  13. Erfan Elahi
    You need an AMP to get the real sound from a dynamic drivers earphone like SE846. And I noticed most people adopted listening to earphones under $150 sounds really "true" to them. If you give the a $1000 audiophile earphone without telling about it, they will say their previous one is better. So it's actually psychological. The $350 Bose QC 35 they actually put more concentration on other technologies rather than main sound. And it's not even built with dynamic drivers, so without the drivers, you wont even feel real speakers experience. Just try a portable AMP from Sony, or Shure's, then you will feel the difference.
  14. Dulalala
    Firstly, the SE846 doesn't have any dynamic driver(s) in them, they only have balanced armatures. Secondly, the SE846 doesn't require a "amp (I assume you mean external)" to get it's "real" sound. It's a very sensitive IEM. What's more important is that the amp section of whatever device you are using has an ideal output impedance and a low noise floor if you want the "real" sound. While I'm not saying the iPhone SE fits this criteria, because I don't know if it does, there are many non-external-amp devices that do.
    csglinux likes this.
  15. overgang
    Wow, Spider-man's ears! Do they come in red and blue? :wink: I think I saw those, read a glowing review by Vlad Savov on The Verge, but discounted them over the quirky look and the moderate price. I thought if SE846's cost twice more they should sound twice better. Apparently not. Will have to study them closer.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017

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