Impressions by Victor

Sennheiser IE800 Earphones

Materials: Very nice materials are used. The earbud is built very well and feels like a quality product. The cables are some of the best I've ever seen or felt. Worth $1000? Not sure.

Aesthetics: Can't say the same for the looks of the thing. It looks very conventional and in the world of Shures and Westones, it looks like an up-scale earbuds. Other than that, it still looks like a cool earbud. It's just not impressive when you're comparing it to its competitors in the same price range.

Comfort: Very comfortable in that it's small and can easily be put on. However, nozzle size is absolutely necessary if you want to wear them effectively because they will NOT stay in your ear as securely as its competitors.

Noise cancellation: Great but not as good as the Shures and/or Westones.

Sound quality: Overall, this is a very safe sounding earphone. Nothing and I mean nothing stands out in the sound. Is that bad? Not necessarily. If you wanted a very well rounded and ultimately very secure sounding set of earphones, than these are for you. Besides being well-rounded, it's also bright and very clear. I would even argue that it's slightly clearer than the SE846's. But again, no range (low-mid-high) is particularly strong.

Shure SE846 Earphones

Materials: The weight gives these earphones a superior sense of quality. The materials feel very thick and very tightly bolted together. It truly feels like an expensive product.

Aesthetics: Being able to see the metal and inner workings of the earphones gives it a unique look and a better look at the quality of the materials being used within.

Comfort: To be honest, these are pretty big earphones. If you have smaller ears or ear openings, you will have difficulty putting these things on. In addition, the hard cables used to go over the ear are kind of fiddly and again, do not work all that well if you have smaller ears.

Noise cancellation: Better than the Sennheiser's. Very good. You'll probably never hear anyone or anything making a single noise.

Sound quality: I've touched on this before. The mid and low ranges are exceptional. The husky and very visceral sounding mid-range gives new life to vocals and string instruments while the low-range can deliver some surprisingly powerful bass and beats. It just barely lags behind the Sennheiser in clarity, but clarity is something you enjoy through acquired taste. Some feel like intense clarity becomes fatiguing after prolonged use. So the Shure may actually have the upper hand here.

Shure SE535 Earphones

Materials: Like the SE846, the 535's are very well built and have some weight to them which adds to the quality of the product.

Aesthetics: The 535's aren't as "cool" or unique looking as the 846's but they are still some of the best looking earphones out there. The matte finish on the earphones looks and feels good and still looks better than their competitors.

Comfort: Slightly smaller than the 846's so they do technically fit better. Same goes for the hard plastic meant to go around the ear. My only real gripe has to do with the cables. They feel thick and quite rubbery. Just not the most pleasant feeling or looking cable.

Noise cancellation: Just as good as the 846's. Not much else to say.

Sound quality: Very good sound quality, however, when compared to the SE846, there are two fundamental differences. One is the bass. There is a noticeable difference. It doesn't deliver the same punch as the 846's. And secondly, the mid-range isn't husky, it's pitchy. To me, it can get really annoying when listening to percussion or a vocal intensive song. The 846's and Sennheiser's on the other hand are never annoying. It's good with strings and brass like the 846's but I would gladly spend the extra money just to get the 846's and even the Sennheisers.

Winner: SE846


2nd place: Sennheiser IE800


3rd place: Shure SE535