Within the past few years we've seen and heard 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 be at the top of the heap in the 'universal fit' reference earphone category.
Of course for $1,00 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 construction in an earphone gives the SE846 a significant audio performance increase over previous Shure in-ears and a very stiff competitive edge against all other high-end in-ear headphones available today.
Shure brought 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 4-inch long acoustic pathway that serves to eliminate frequencies above 75Hz, which would otherwise muddy the low driver output.
This extremely 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 the internal tone filter. Included are three pairs of tone filters; 'Balanced' (blue), 'Bright' (white), and 'Warm' (black). Around the headphone.com offices we tend to prefer the 'Balanced' filter, but we know personal preferences vary, and the filters deliver wide tone-shaping for differing musical tastes.
With the 'neutral' filter in place, the SE846 has a beautifully balanced, engaging and very fun tone with a bass response that does not skimp on slam. In fact, it may be one of the more visceral bass responses we have heard in an earphone - but don't let that scare you. These earphones present a sweet aggressive feel while staying perfectly controlled in the lows without any audible bloat. Amazing!
The SE846 also delivers better high frequency tone and extension than we have heard in any previous Shure in-ear headphone. The highs are lovely and smooth with a nicely open feel. The overall acoustic performance of the SE846 is easily among the best we have heard out of a 'universal fit' earphone to date.
When you are ready to make the move into a flagship product, sound quality is pretty much everything, but the total presentation is important as well. When you open the SE846, it looks and feels like a $1,000 product.
Shure went the extra mile with a beautiful package and accessory fit kit that sets the SE846 apart from the average. Included is a zippered travel case as well as a larger water-tight (US made!) tactical quality case from S3 Cases. Shure also tosses in a bundle of adapters including a volume control, 1/8' - 1/4' plug adapter and an airline adapter. Also provided is a secondary earphone cable, shirt clip, a variety of foam and silicon eartips and a microfiber cleaning cloth.
The free 2-year 'repair or replace; manufacturer's warranty remains intact only when purchased from authorized Shure 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)