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Shure SRH 440 Professional Studio Headphones

Posted

Pros: There is nothing this headphone is not good at. If you perceive it as inadequate, it is your own inadequacies you are sensing.

Cons: Shurely you must be joking.

I have spent many years as an audiophile and even more as an amateur human being.  I have owned, auditioned, or sri-racha'd pretty much every headphone that ever was, is, or will be.  Forget the HD800.  Forget the LCD-2.  Forget Grado and Beyer and AKG.  Now that you've forgotten all the good headphones you've heard, doesn't that make this headphone the best of what's left in your decimated memory?

 

As a single male paralyzingly afraid of commitment, I can empathize with Shure and their decision to include a detachable cable.  These headphones are comfortablenot so much to wear, but personality-wise.  I feel very at-ease with them around.  I suggest buying them for cheap relatives.

 

Imaging: The Shure SRH 420 is the king of imaging in the headphone world.  I routinely wear these whilst listening to images, and I can confidently say I am less "inside my own head" when wearing them.  When listening to sounds it envelopes me and swaddles me in the slanket of sound that is music, life, and love.

 

When listening to the 420, it is easy to imagine it is plugged in even though I can't afford an ipod.  All I need to do is close my eyes and I imagine what music must sound like, played by real performers.  This is hard to do, as I have been deaf since birth and am the last human left on a post-epileptic earth ravaged by war, famine, and underpopulation.  

 

This whole review is kind of a meaningless exercise in communication.  As the last human, no one will read my words.  This is more about sending something out while on ether, into the inky black void that is the tattered remnants of the internet in the year 2016.  If there is only something to say when there is someone to say it to, then language and all hit has to say will die with me.  I'd like to think it will somehow live on in some form as a primitive medium of information when the Pzarlings find this planet.  They communicate telekinesthetically.  

 

Finally, there are many headphones out there that are like the mannequins that I dress up and have ventriloquist conversations with.  They measure well and are technically perfect, but they are lifeless, with no soul.  Don't get me wrong, that doesn't stop me from having a deep and sexual relationship with them, but something's missing.  I don't want to come off as another inanimaphobe, but that's just my experience.

 

If anyone reading this is thinking of buying an M-50, please contact me.  I don't mind if you are deformed by the nuclear holocaust or a super-computer who has achieved some form of organic, sentient thought, just please contact me so that I have someone to argue audio with.

Posted

Pros: Neutral balance, detailed, nice texture overall, nice tight, punchy bass, well extended treble for a closed set, good imaging, commendably transparent

Cons: Uncomfortable without slight modification, underwhelming bass extension, can seem somewhat bright, only average soundstage, isolation not stellar

Introduction

 

Like my DT880, and for almost as long, the SRH440 has been a trusty companion, in its case pulling double duty as my portable headphone and as my "plug-it-in-real-quick" set. Therefore it's only fair it gets a proper review as well.

 

Back in 2009, Shure released a new line of closed-back, full-sized headphones, which included the SRH240, SRH440, and SRH840. The latter two received a lot of interest, though the flagship (at the time) got the lion's share of that. Essentially, Shure had managed to achieve the impossible, which was to make a closed back headphone that actually sounded good and whose name didn't contain the letter M or the number 5. And some of us who've owned both might say we should drop that qualifier entirely. very_evil_smiley.gif

 

It's funny how people forgot about that once all the shiny new headphones started coming out, though, and the SRH440 especially seems to be entirely abandoned. I'm here to try and turn the tide back in favor of this headphone because I think it's criminally underrated. Is it a giant killer? Probably not, as it's not even better than my humble DT880, but it's a damn good set of headphones for less than $100 these days.

 

Overall Summary

 

As usual, here's the shortened version: the SRH440 is a neutral headphone, leaning slightly toward brightness, with an average-sized soundstage, good imaging, punchy but not terribly extended bass, well-textured and balanced mids, and slightly leading treble with good extension for a closed design. It's not particularly comfortable stock, unfortunately, but can be slightly modified (see the relevant section) to improve comfort considerably. Also, do not replace its pads with the SRH840 ones as is commonly suggested, at least until after you've read my special section about that.

 

What's in the box, Build, Comfort, Ergo, etc.

 

The box doesn't come with a whole lot in it apart from the headphones, but that's not a big deal. You get the SRH440 itself, a 1/4" adapter, a quick guide/specifications book, a black pleather carrying pouch, and an orange warranty card. The cable also comes separate in the box (if I remember correctly)--yes, if you didn't already know, all the SRHx40 models apart from the SRH240 have a detachable cable. It's coiled, though a straight cable is available from Shure (for $20, last time I checked).

 

One place where the SRH440 doesn't impress me so much is in the build quality. The structure creaks a fair bit, and the plastics, while they've held up fine for almost two years of fairly constant abuse, feel a bit on the cheap side. The structure also feels a bit hollow, and in some places firm pressure can actually flex some of the plastic pieces. On the other hand, it lacks the utterly asinine hinge system of the old Sony V700 (which was copied, apparently down to the brittle plastics, in the SRH940), so the entire structure is more sound than this description might make it appear. Like I said, it managed to survive some pretty rough handling without a scratch, so I can't complain too much. I still expected more from Shure, though.

 

Comfort is initially sub par, on account of a bizarre design choice (or perhaps, more cynically, an example of built in upselling): the pads are quite shallow, and the material attached to the back of them that's meant to protect the driver from dirt and earwax is so thin it may as well not be there. The upshot is that the hard plastic driver guard installed to protect the driver from accidental puncture jams right up against the ear and becomes painful in under half an hour. The SRH840 pads have much thicker material (almost like cloth) attached to the back of their pads, so the driver guards on their respective model presumably don't cause this problem. Also, the headband on the SRH440 (and from what I've read, the SRH840 as well) digs uncomfortably into many people's heads.

 

I've solved both these problems, the first by placing a felt circle on top of each driver guard (I punched out holes for the bass reflex ports), and the second by using a piece from a velcro roll to stick some foam under the headband. With these modifications comfort is actually quite good. I can wear them for hours without any issues. As I said, I "fixed" Shure's mistakes, which I don't feel I should have had to do, given how these issues should have shown up in any reasonable product testing.

 

Rant over. Ergonomically I'll point out that, like several Sony monitor headphones I know of, there's only one correct way to wear the SRH440. In other words, you can't swap channels by flipping the headphone around. They seem to have a reasonable range of cup motion, so overall fit shouldn't be a problem, but I just thought I'd point out the orientation thing.

 

Sound

 

Tonal Balance

 

The overall balance is neutral leaning toward slightly bright. Their treble peaks aren't as tall as those of the DT880, but the overall treble level is actually slightly elevated over that of the DT880, believe it or not. Therefore, while overall they don't come across as quite as bright as the DT880, part of their EQ calibration curve (see the relevant section) involves shelving down everything above 10kHz by 3 dB.

 

-BASS-

 

Extension is somewhat lacking, but the midbass is pleasantly punchy and is very slightly bumped up. The overall character of the bass is tight, punchy, and exquisitely textured. There's a certain heft and grunt to the SRH440 bass that I find highly enjoyable.

 

-MIDRANGE-

 

Decently transparent and clear, and neither recessed nor forward. Guitars and vocals have a nice, crisp presentation, and the timbre is very natural. If I had to find a very slight fault it's that the upper mids on rare occasions can be a little shouty, but I honestly can't remember definitively the last time I experienced this. Mostly it's just an energetic, poised presentation that reminds me a lot of a nice pair of mini-monitors.

 

-TREBLE & EQ-

 

Definitely tipped up a little in overall volume, the treble is nonetheless impressively free of grain for being so prominent. Like the midrange, it carries a lot of energy and never leaves me wanting for sparkle. It also helps highlight detail without being excessive. All this said, EQ'ing out my resonance peak (6 dB at 7.6kHz), shelving down everything above 10kHz by 3 dB, and addressing a few shallow peaks at around 5.4kHz and 14kHz satisfies the perfectionist in me and achieves, to my ears, a wonderfully smooth response. Even without EQ the treble is acceptable, but it has a tendency to be edgy.

 

Presentation - Macro

 

As ever, we'll discuss soundstage, imaging, and transparency. Soundstage is one area where the SRH440 is a noticeable step down from the DT880 (since their tonal balances are quite similar). It's not horrible in absolute terms, but it's that typical "tubular" soundstage common to closed headphones: decent width, anemic depth, and no real sense of height. The effect of switching between my DT880 and SRH440 is akin to taking off your current prescription glasses and putting on the ones you used to wear one prescription ago--everything is still mostly there in the same proportions, but there's the sense that something's subtly wrong, which goes away once you've spent a little while adjusting.

 

Imaging is similarly very slightly lacking compared to the DT880, perhaps merely because the SRH440 has less raw space in which to distribute sonic elements. Directional cues are still obvious, but layering is noticeably less sophisticated and there's this unshakable feeling that the edges of elements are slightly blurry, compared to the razor sharp delineations the DT880 produces. Overall it's not a deal breaking step back, but it's obvious in direct comparison.

 

Transparency continues in the same mold. Direct comparison reveals a slight lack of refinement on the part of the SRH440 when compared with the DT880, but it's not noticeable in isolation. The SRH440 is still impressively transparent for a sub-$100 closed headphone. Veil of any kind is nonexistent.

 

Presentation - Micro

 

Detail and texture are well appointed in the SRH440. In fact, I'd say the SRH440 gets the upper hand on the DT880 here in one respect--it manages to texture its entire range, whereas the DT880 loses some texture as you descend through its bass extension. Bass in particular is very enjoyable on the SRH440 as a result of this. Detail-wise, the DT880 expectedly wins out, but it's closer than it ought to be. Both render minute artifacts and tiny details well, but the DT880 pulls ahead with its uncanny ability to convey ambiance and space around the instruments. The SRH440, perhaps being a closed design, just can't reproduce this information.

 

A note about the SRH840 pads

 

Don't do it. Easy, right? Of course I'm going to tell you why. Very simply, they change the sound quite noticeably, and not for the better, IMO. I'm also confused by the numerous claims that they somehow tame the treble, since for me they do the exact opposite. In fact, they seem to add a 5dB shelf above 5 kHz or so, a bump somewhere between 2.5kHz and 3kHz which makes vocals and guitars barky and shrill, and a mid-to-upper bass bump that muddies up the bass and makes it sound like somebody just turned on the MegaXXXXXXtraBass function on a cheap mini-system. How can pads do all this? Simple. They change the size of the acoustic chamber between the driver and your ear canal, which can have all sorts of nasty effects (see above). The SRH440 was voiced with its own pads in mind, and uncomfortable and impractical as they might be, you should leave them on there. Try the felt mod I mentioned earlier in the review. I swear it works wonders.

 

Conclusion

 

Overall, the SRH440 is an often overlooked/overshadowed headphone. Its biggest threat is probably the M50, which monopolizes all the attention whenever reasonably priced closed headphones are discussed. I've owned them both. The M50 got returned. The SRH440 is still here after two years. That doesn't mean, of course, that your preference will fall the same way. But these two headphones both deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence, and in the same recommendation thread responses. They both do a lot of things right, and they pursue slightly different tonal balances (the M50 being more focused on mid- and sub bass and less focused on midrange than the SRH440). Ultimately, the M50 had too much bass for me. If you've ever felt the same way, but otherwise liked the detail, transparency, and basic presentation of the M50, the SRH440 might be right for you.

Posted

Pros: Excellent mids, clear and crisp sound, great price

Cons: Not neutral sounding, somewhat uncomfortable.

First of all, I have bought these headphones exactly one week ago. I have upgraded to these from my Superlux 668b. I will do a review now, and update it after another couple of weeks worth testing.

 

Packaging:

 

Shure SRH440 headphones come in nicely built box. Inside you can find your warranty, information and safety sheet, leather carrying pouch ( I like it a lot ),3m coil cable and 6.5 mm adapter, and headphones. 

There is nothing more to say about packaging , so I will now talk about some more important things.

 

First impressions:

 

When I took Shure SRH440 headphones out of the box,I was amazed at how good they felt in my hand ( when compared to Superlux 668b headphones ). SRH440 is a bit heavy, some people find this to be a bad thing, but I am a fan of heavy stuff, so the weight didnt bother me at all.  Once I put them on my head, they felt very nice and comfortable but not as comfortable as my previous Superlux headphones.

All in all, I was satisfied.

 

Comfort:

 

If you are looking for extreme comfortability, Shure srh440s are not for you. They feel great on my head, clamping force is not too strong, my ears are not touching the drivers, even though the pads are quite shallow. But, there is a problem. My head starts hurting after 2+ hours of wearing these headphones, which is something I didnt experience with Superlux headphones. I will definitely upgrade 440 pads to 880 pads, and that will provide me greater comfort and give me a  little bit better bass, and warmer sound. I would suggest you do the same if you are going to wear these headphones for extended periods of time.

 

Build quality:

 

Even though these cans felt great in my hands when I first got them, I cant get rid of the feeling that I will easily break them. They are made from good quality plastic, and the plastic feels quite nice to touch, and I'm sure it cant be broken easily, but , as I said, I cant seem to shake off the feeling that I will break them if I apply the lightest force to them.  

 

Sound quality:

 

When it comes to sound quality, boy, do these headphones deliver. I was simply stunned while listening to some songs, my jaw fell to the floor. I could basicly hear every single note that has been played. Mids and highs are crisp and clear while bass is a little bit lacking, for my taste. Even though all studio monitoring headphones should sound neutral, these are not that neutral sounding. They tend to boost treble a little bit.  I love songs produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, and their songs have one of the bass+guitar parts I have ever heard in my life, and listening to some of their songs on these headphones made me say WOW. Guitar sound was absolutely amazing, so much better than on 668b superlux heaphones, bass was also great , but it could have been better. 

 

Portability: 

 

Even though these headphones can be folded , and carried around in the provided pouch, they are not to be used outside of your home or recording studio. At least in my opinion. You can do whatever you want with your headphones, you can even wear them in a swimming pool for all I care. But if you wear these headphones in public you'll get a lot of strange looks because these headphones look really big on your head. When my girlfriend saw me, while I was wearing these headphones, she said I looked like an astronaut. Weird comparison , yeah I know. 

 

Conclusion:

 

Great headphones with great price, and even better sound. They will be very uncomfortable for some people, yet for some, they will be very comfortable. It all depends on your head and ear shape. If you have these headphones, upgrade to 880 pads and you'll get even better sound and greater comfort . ( A friend of mine did this to his 440s,and I borrowed them for comparison, so I know what I am talking about ) . 

 All in all, these are some really good headphones, and you should definitely check them out.

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  I hope you like this review, I am a beginner reviewer and English is not my native language, so please have some understanding. Thank you for reading. :)

Posted

Pros: The sound is pretty balanced, everything is detailed.The sound quality is almost like the things you hear when not wearing headphones.

Cons: feels weak because of the little sideways swivel feature they added to it.

sound quality=great with more detail than the m50 and q40 i owned by a noticeable margin.(they still sound pretty good though considering the EQ settings they have by default.

the srh840 pads give it a whole different sound.ill stick to the 440 pads because the pads seem to give all headphones their sound, some better some worse.

 

the srh440 is like a dt770 if you equalize the bass up 5db or so.

 

build=everything feels strong except the swivel function that is somewhat necessary.they should have extended the amount yo could turn the headphone horizontally, probably would have made it just a dollar more.

 

no batteries are needed, blocks out sounds at 25% volume, not recommended if you are needed by someone at the time of usage, unless you wear these at night.I advise using studio/computer speakers during hours when you are needed so you can hear whoever trying to get your attention at the moment, despite still being able to hear music at the same time.

 

comes with 1/4 adapter for better systems, case that's soft and protects from minor conditions such as walking, running etc anything not involving vehicles or aircraft unless you are stationary and not operating anything.

 

 

good for sound design.

good for gaming and meda.

good for blocking out noise at reasonably low volumes as to prevent damage.

Posted

Pros: Smooth Mid / High, Good Bass response, Clarity Overall, Awesome Isolation.

Cons: Need to do little mod for Comfortable, Kinda Heavy, Bass may lack for some.

This Headphone have Very Good and Smooth Mid / High, Good Bass response.

 

Cold-side, Analytical, Overall Clarity made this Headphone Shine, Bass may lack on some track or Not enough for some people (I'm not a bass-fan for sure)

 

Also, have Awesome Isolation sound leak at Zero to Very minimal.

 

 

While sound good almost on all track, but never tend to sound awesome nor impress on me. (as expect from monitor)

 

Easy to drive with iPod, noticeable when plugged on amp.

 

 

What, really is Downside of this Headphone is Uncomfortable and Weight.

 

While Comfortable can easy fix by Place some Circle Under a Driver Guard, I use a Warped Tissue, just to make sure to prevent it from a Driver Hole.

 

This mod increase a Comfortable a lot for me, While sound not noticeable change at all.

 

 

What, I can't really stand is Weight, Kinda heavy for me, for a long listening.

 

Comfortable is minus, Weight is minus, also Coiled cord made is even worst, make my JAW have Clicking sound for a few days.

 

 

That what the whole only reason why I sold this headphone off.

Posted

Pros: mids and the higgs

Cons: bass almost nonexistent

these were my first pro headphones and the left speaker just died 2 days ago i am very sad 
i loved them

Posted

Pros: Close to neutral, energetic sound, exceptional clarity, value

Cons: Average comfort, creaky build quality, grainy, small soundstage, bass roll-off

The SRH440 was the first $100+ full-sized headphone that I ever owned, back before I joined Head-Fi. I was looking for an affordable, closed monitoring headphone for home studio use, and I found the SRH440 and SRH840, which had just recently come out, to be more engaging/exciting sounding compared to the studio standard, the Sony MDR-7506, while still maintaining relative neutrality. Another studio staple, the once Head-Fi favourite Audio-Technica M50, sounded slightly better but cost over 50% more. The SRH840, which sounded even better, cost twice as much, so I ended up buying the SRH440.

 

Build quality and comfort

 

Build quality feels decent in the hand, if a bit hollow and plasticky. The coiled cable is thick, rubbery, and detachable. The little wires leading from the cups to the headband, while exposed, are reasonably thick compared to the dismally thin ones on the basshead favourite M-Audio Q40, for example, and should hold up fine with many years normal use. The pleather underside of the headband, however, tends to crack and peel after a while.

 

Once on the head, the creaky structure becomes obvious. The hinges and swivel mechanisms are not smooth at all, and the slightest head movement will cause loud creaks, which is annoying when you’re trying to listen to the music. The ear pads are similarly noisy when rubbing against your jaw, skull, or worse, glasses.

 

The SRH440 is my go-to benchmark for “average” comfort. Headphones that are less comfortable than the SRH440 (e.g., M-Audio Q40, AKG K81DJ, Sennheiser HD25) are below average in comfort; headphones that are more comfortable than the SRH440 (e.g., Denon D600, Sony MDR-1R, Sennheiser HD600) are above average in comfort. What does this mean? Weight is slightly heavy but not too heavy; pads are reasonably thick but not nearly as soft as the SRH840 pads; the driver grills touch your ears but not in a very bothersome way. Notwithstanding the creaking and your ears getting sweaty inside the pads, they are perfectly tolerable for short listening sessions.

 

Bass

 

Bass is very punchy and visceral despite being modest in quantity. In fact, the SRH440 have the sharpest bass impact of any headphone I’ve tried due to its speed. There is a mild mid-bass hump but the bass remains tight, controlled, and textured at all times. However, the low end gradually rolls off below 90Hz. That’s not to say that these headphones can’t produce the lowest sub-bass, which they can. It’s just quieter than the rest of the frequency spectrum and a bit of EQ can improve bass extension without distortion or compromising bass control.

 

Mids

 

Clarity is exceptional on these headphones. No matter what music you play or how much you mess with extreme EQ settings, nothing will make them sound muddy or veiled. Timbre is not always ultra-realistic like on an HD600, but everything sounds nice and crisp, and for the price it’s hard to fault. Acoustic guitars in particular are just magical on these headphones due to the slightly forward upper mids. There’s a slight tilt towards the upper mids but the overall midrange presentation is smooth with no obvious peaks or dips. Of particular importance is the fact that I hear no shoutiness at 2 kHz that ruins vocals on many headphones in this price range.

 

Treble

 

There’s a large mid-treble peak that’s quite obvious without any burn-in. This initially gave instruments a “shimmery” quality that was quite engaging if not technically accurate. It worked quite well for adding “air” around a few specific instruments, but once the mix got busy all that “shimmery air” became crowded together and turned “cloudy” instead.

 

In any case, after a hundred hours or so, that peak became less noticeable and the upper treble opened up. Now the treble is just wonderfully energetic and extended. It’s still slightly emphasized, giving the overall sound signature a slight tendency towards brightness, and given the quantity there is a bit of grain, but it’s also never harsh or sibilant.

 

Soundstage and presentation

 

The SRH440 remains impressively detailed across the whole spectrum, thanks to the treble extension, midrange clarity, and bass speed. Presentation is pretty forward and in-your-face so soundstage is about average for a closed headphone in this price range; decent, but nothing to write home about. Imaging is again quite decent for the price range. You can pick out individual instruments, but there isn’t a whole lot of space between them. Coming from a higher end, open-back headphone like the HD600, the presentation of the SRH440 sounds downright claustrophobic, but still 3D and immersive. It's almost like you're on stage, with the entire band is playing in a semi circle all around you, but each band member is only a couple feet away.

 

Conclusion

 

The Shure SRH440 is one of the best sounding neutral headphones at around $100 and a great buy despite some build quality and comfort issues, most notably the tendency towards creakiness. It’s a better value than the slightly better sounding Audio-Technica M50, as the latter has gone up significantly price as a result of its popularity, and as a bonus the Shure doesn’t have the midrange shout at 2 kHz that the M50 does. Admittedly I haven’t heard the supposedly excellent alternatives from Superlux and Fischer, but of the $100 headphones I’ve heard, only the Sony V6/7506 come close. Recommended.

Posted

Pros: Great Mids/Bass/Highs

Cons: Very Very long burn-in

I own an m-audio Fast-Track USB Sound card which I use. I bought both these headphones & the sound card for work. My initial reaction to the headphones is they were cheaper than some of the others, but better sound and comfort than the other DJ style headphones. Plus they fit my budget, so I picked them up at the Guitar Center. So after using these guys at work for almost 2.5 years, after not listening to them for a month or so, what I noticed finally is that they have completed the burn-in process. The music, especially the mids/base finally feel like they have smoothed out and not as punchy as before. When i compare the base with these vs my HD600's, they are starting to finally come within range, before the base was very punchy, but not smooth. Also the head-band takes a very long time to relax, as when you buy these, it feels like putting a vice on your head, but with some considerable wear-usage, they are finally relaxed enough to wear for long periods of time.

Posted

Pros: Great sound quality, Rugged

Cons: Bit uncomfortable, exposed wires

The mids and highs are amazing. The soundstage isn't very wide but it's pretty good for closed back headphones. The response is almost flat with a bit of a "bright" sound signature. They get uncomfortable after about 30 minutes of listening.
The sound quality is great. You can clearly hear each instrument separately. These sound absolutely great for closed back headphones.
Shure SRH 440 Professional Studio Headphones
Description:

Tuned to deliver accurate audio reproduction and featuring an adjustable headband with collapsible construction, the SRH440 offers a mix of professional sound quality and comfort ideal for recording and monitoring. The ear cushions and cable are replaceable and the SRH440 includes a carrying pouch and threaded ¼-Inch adapter.

Details:
DetailValue
BindingElectronics
BrandShure
ColorBlack
EAN0042406168601
FeatureThreaded 1/4-Inch gold-plated adapter included
Height9.5 inches
Length4.5 inches
Weight1.55 pounds
Width8.5 inches
LabelShure Incorporated
List Price$125.00
ManufacturerShure Incorporated
Material TypePlastic
Material Type Set ElementPlastic
ModelSRH440
MPNSRH440
Package Quantity1
Product GroupCE
Product Type NameHEADPHONES
PublisherShure Incorporated
StudioShure Incorporated
TitleShure SRH 440 Professional Studio Headphones (Black)
UPC042406168601
Batteries Included1
Special FeaturesThe SRH440 Professional Studio Headphones from Shure provide exceptional sound reproduction and comfort. Optimized for home and studio recording, SRH440 headphones reproduce accurate audio across an extended range. Impedance, power handling and sensitivity are all calibrated for professional audio devices such as DJ mixers, mixing consoles, and headphone amplifiers.
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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