Shure SE846 Review - First Impression
By Victor Teixeira
- - Do You Feel Me?
- - Englishman in NewYork
- - The Incredits
- - Somebody Told Me by The Killers
- - Boy With a Coin by Iron and Wine
- - Jesus of Suburbia by Green Day
So of course you’d be excited to try out a couple of flagship earphones from some of the most prestigious earphone manufacturers. Why wouldn’t you be? What you’re dealing with here, are a set of earphones whose sole purposes are to deliver the best sound quality possible, squeezing every last drop of capability out of their multi-driver platforms. The Westone UM Pro 50 sports a new five driver layout while the Shure SE846 still has four. And while we’re taught in today’s tech world that more is better, you’d be very wrong to look at these two earphones with such a mentality.
Firstly, I’d like to get this point out of the way: the SE846’s are still kings of bass. This isn’t to say that the UM Pro 50’s bass levels were lacking per se, I mean, when you’re dealing with earphones of this quality the bass will never lack, but when you’re pitting them up against something like the SE846, you’ll almost always agree that the SE846 has much more. But where the UM Pro 50 doesn’t shine in bass, it makes up for some by delivering the best vocals. The UM Pro 50 in general offers a more “rounded” sound profile. Every frequency generally excels and vocals shine like no other, but the SE846 has stronger lows and mids overall. In addition, the UM Pro 50 also feels more “open”, as if the music were being performed in a concert hall and there’s sound to surround you from all directions whereas the SE846 brings a more enclosed, studio-recorded aesthetic to the sound profile. As a result, the SE846’s sound is crisper and more refined. Personally, I feel like orchestrated pieces, acoustic songs, and songs with brass and other warmer sounds are a little better suited for the UM Pro 50 because of the way the sound feels more three-dimensional. But for more general crispness and overall bass, SE846 has the UM Pro 50 beat.
So in conclusion to the sound profile analysis, the UM Pro 50 gives warmer sounding songs, likes ones containing brass, strings, or acoustic guitars a more open and surrounding feel. Not to mention it has the superior ability to make vocals shine. And while it can do bass, it simply feels a little out-gunned by the SE846. The SE846’s sound is crisper and cleaner. In addition to having noticeably more bass and a more refined mid range, we’re taught once again that more isn’t always “more” as these four drivers give it their all to deliver some of the best sound I’ve ever experienced.
Now when dealing with actual build quality and comfort, the UM Pro 50 gets the slight upper hand. I’d say that the UM Pro 50 are just easier to manage and fit. The SE846, while still comfortable, are a little harder to get situated in the ear. But once they’re both in, they’ll sit comfortably in the ear with little or no fidgeting whatsoever. Both feature removable cables which is a huge plus when dealing with equipment of this caliber. Both earphones also look and feel quite different. Like the glass engine cover on a Ferrari, the see-through high quality plastic on the SE846 reveals the beautiful and intricate components that go into making the earphone so amazing. The SE846 are heavier than the UM Pro 50 even though they have fewer drivers. Build quality on both earphones is superb, but the UM Pro 50 doesn’t have quite the same appeal or glamour as the SE846. The plastic used on the UM Pro 50 doesn’t feel quite as high quality, and it isn’t see through. But again, both earphones feel great. I might have to give the build quality and beauty points to the SE846. But for comfort, I’d give that the the UM Pro 50.
Overall, two fantastic earphones from two fantastic companies. Listening to any song on anything less will feel far inferior. I can guarantee you’ll fall in love with either of these earphones. While I personally fell in love with the SE846, the UM Pro 50 is nothing to scoff at and should be taken quite seriously. That said, don’t be drawn into the larger amount of drivers. These two sport very different sound profiles. These two bad boys are in a league of their own.