Within the past few years we've witnessed the high-end earphone market explode dramatically. There's quite a few superb in-ear headphones available nowadays, but we think the Shure SE846 could reign at the top of the heap in the 'universal fit' audiophile earphone category.
Of course for $1,000 bucks, one would expect perfection. But frankly not every 'top tier' earphone merits its high price tag. However, there's no doubt the SE 846 totally earns its keep. Shure's first 3-way crossover system in an earphone gives the SE846 a significant audio performance advantage over previous Shure in-ears and a very stiff competitive edge against all other high-end in-ear headphones.
Shure brings several highly innovative ideas to bear with SE846. The most unique is their patented low-pass filter technology. The SE846 low-pass filter is constructed with ten miniaturized precision-welded stainless steel plates forming a tiny 4-inch long acoustic pathway that serves to eliminate frequencies above 75Hz, which would otherwise muddy the low driver output.
This very pure acoustic low-pass design has allowed Shure to create an impressively clean, highly articulate 'sub bass' effect in the SE846 without any distortion artifacts but with supreme textural control.
Another cool feature is the adjustable tone signature. Shure outfitted the SE846 with a metal collar nozzle that can be removed with a provided tool to access internal tone filters. Included are three pairs of tone filters; 'Neutral' (blue), 'Bright' (white), and 'Warm' (black). Around the Headphone.com offices we tend to prefer the 'Neutral' filter, but we know personal preferences vary, and the filters effectively deliver wide tone-shaping for differing musical tastes.
With the 'Neutral' filter in place, the SE846 has a beautifully balanced, engaging and fun tone with a bass response that doesn't skimp on slam. In fact, it may be one of the more cleanly visceral bass kicks we have heard in an earphone. But don't let that scare you. The sweetly aggressive low-end feel stays perfectly controlled without any audible bloat. Amazing!
The SE846 also delivers clearer midrange & treble frequencies than we have heard in any previous Shure in-ear headphone. The upper highs extend silky and smooth with a tremendously open feel. In our Headphone.com review opinion, the acoustic performance of the SE-846 easily rates among the best we've heard from any 'universal fit' earphone to date.
When making the move into a top flagship product, sound quality is pretty much everything, naturally, but the complete package is important as well. The SE846 looks and feels like a $1,000 product and its high-class engineering and solid build quaility is evident throughout.
The excellent packagin and accessory kit nicely sets the Shure SE 846 apart from average earphones. Included is a zippered travel case plus a larger water-tight (US made!) tactical quality case from S3 Cases. Shure tosses in a bundle of adapters including a volume control, a 1/8" to 1/4'" plug adapter and an airline adapter. Also provided is a secondary earphone cable, shirt clip, a huge variety of foam & silicon eartips and cleaning cloth.
The 2-year Shure 'repair or replace' warranty remains is free when purchased from authorized dealers - like us here at Headphone.com since 1995!
What's In The Box:
Shure SE846 Frequency Response Comparison (Blue = Neutral, Black = Warm, White = Bright)