Shure's elite new wired earbuds can switch to wireless when you need it

Shure SE486 Gen 2 with their wireless adapter
(Image credit: Shure)

Shure has just unveiled the second generation of its SE846 Sound Isolating earphones, which can swap between wired and wireless configurations to suit your needs.

Shure’s earbuds and headphones – like the Shure AONIC Free and Shure AONIC 50 – have consistently impressed us with their audio quality, and the Shure SE846 earbuds promise to deliver this same quality in a unique package. 

To achieve this the new Shure earbuds will boast the same drivers as their predecessor.

The first-gen Shure SE846 earbuds earned a lot of praise from reviewers – commending their incredibly detailed audio rendering and beautiful yet confident handling of tones at both upper and lower registers – so Shure reusing the parts for its 2nd generation buds should be seen as a positive rather than a negative.

That said the audio is still getting an upgrade to its audio with an improvement to its high-frequency extension that further enhances clarity and reportedly adds a “desirable “airy” quality to the audio.”

Shure SE486 Gen 2

(Image credit: Shure)

Another aspect these earbuds will be borrowing is their clear casing, which lets audiophiles spy on the inner workings of the devices. Though, for the 2nd generation SE846s there are two new designs in Jade (green) and Graphite (silver) for people that want a more classic-looking pair of earphones.

There’s a catch though – there always is, isn’t there? Here the big downside of the Shure SE846 Gen 2 earbuds is that you’ll have to pay $899 (around £770 / AU$1,300) for the headphones, or $999 (around £855 / AU$1,450 if you want the privilege of being able to swap them between wired and wireless configurations.

The SE846 Gen 2 have detachable cables, which you can remove to connect a wireless adapter instead. Shure calls this the "True Wireless Adapter", and sure enough it's design to turn them into true wireless earbuds. It adds two arms that wrap around the back of your ears, and contain all the battery and wireless tech needed – so if you want ridiculously high-end true wireless earbuds, this is the place to go. You get aptX support, to make more of the audio fidelity, and eight hours of play time (and 32 hours including the charging case).

The price is certainly high – you could get four pairs of our pick for the best wireless earbuds the Sony WF-1000XM4 instead – so these earbuds will need to offer a lot of bang to be worth your buck. But the originals were well worth it for audiphiles, and we don't doubt that these likely will be as well, though we'll aim to test them when they're out. Shure is quietly a huge hit with music pros behind the scenes, and these look set to continue that tradition, especially with the option of wireless convenience.

Hamish Hector
Senior Staff Writer, News

Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.