MacNN | Ears on: Shure SE846 high-end earphones
Mac News Network View: Standard | Headlines | Categorized | Slim
Mac News Network
Mac News iPod News Reviews Forums
 

Desktop Headlines
Ears on: Shure SE846 high-end earphones
Friday, January 10, 2014 @ 2:18am

Shure brought its latest and greatest audio gear to Las Vegas this week for CES, including the high-end SE846 earphones that arrived in 2013. Wading through a myriad of new audio products at the expo, we weren't expecting to find anything that would really knock our socks off. Trying to remain optimistic, we made sure to try on the SE846 and hear if it is worth its $1000 price tag.



We already had respect for Shure products, which tend to be well-engineered and optimized for acoustic quality rather than "lifestyle" aesthetics, so we expected the SE846 to be good. But as audio equipment goes, we expected them to be marginally better than some of the best offerings in the $300-500 range. Like many other high-end earphones, the SE846 integrates multiple drivers. Shure claims it has created the only "true subwoofer" for an in-canal bud, layering tiny laser-welded panels to create a four-inch acoustic pathway for a low-end rolloff that begins around 75Hz. The terms "acoustic pathway" are commonly used to reference gimmicks rather than true innovations, and marketing that focuses on bass typically means the buyer can expect artificially elevated low-end response that bumps-with more distortion. When we played a few Joss Stone tracks, we immediately realized that our eye-rolling was inappropriate. Moving on to bass-heavy Crystal Method, we really knew that Shure had delivered. The bass quality was unlike anything we've experienced from an in-canal earphone, reminding us of a well-tuned, well-placed subwoofer in a home-theater system. We only tried the neutral filters, but the SE846 can be outfitted with swappable "cool" or "warm" filters to customize the response curve. The company also provides a wide range of eartips, including rubber flanges and memory foam, enabling a comfortable fit for a wide range of ear canals. Some earphone audiophiles uphold custom-molded fitment as the best of the best, but we prefer the black rounded-foam tips for the best isolation. Obviously a $1000 pair of earphones is not for everyone, but it is one of the rare products that has made us question our own perception of "how much is too much?" Hopefully the acoustic-chamber technology featured in the SE846 will make its way down the product line. We might have to wait a while, however; a Shure engineer told us the complexity of the laser-welding process, performed by one uniquely-skilled tradesman, still remains expensive.



Comments on this Article
Print Friendly Version
Email to a Friend
Add MacNN to Your RSS Feeds
Buy from the Apple Store


Related Stories:

Today's MacNN Stories:
  • Weekly Game Replay: Valve's handling of Hatred, Telltale's Minecraft - 6:00 PM EST
  • Obama: Sony hack not act of war; Anonymous promises attacks on NK - 11:55 AM EST
  • Hands On: Lumy (iOS) - 9:46 AM EST

    Today's iPodNN Stories:
  • Halo studio giving ODST, free month of Live to compensate for issues - 10:00 AM EST
  • Briefly: Always-on voice search on Chrome OS, Amazon 4K video in UK - 9:22 PM EST
  • Google posts response to leaked Sony 'Project Goliath' emails - 4:41 AM EST
  • Plaintiffs in Google antitrust lawsuit required to submit more details - 11:13 PM EST
  • Interview fallout continues: actors complain, Team America taken down - 7:35 PM EST
  • No comments posted on this story yet. Please post yours.
    Your Comments
    In order to post comments, you must be a registered member of the MacNN Forums and logged in. Please login with your MacNN Forums username and password.

    MacNN Forums Login:

    MacNN Forums Password:

    Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.