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SRH 940 - Spectacular Detail, Amazing Warmth, But Unfortunately Not My Thing

A Review On: Shure SRH 940

Shure SRH 940

Rated # 71 in Over-Ear
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Price paid: $225.00
Posted · Updated · 34549 Views · 10 Comments

Pros: Spectacular Clarity, Extended Highs, Warm and Smooth Mids, Excellent with Acoustic, Jazz and Female Vocals, Comfortable Pads, Great Accessories

Cons: Bass Very Much in Background, Headband Comfort, Build Quality Questionable

The SRH940 is Shure's top monitoring headphone, and the chance to step up from the SRH840 was one I wasn't going to miss.




Packaging And Accessories

When I first got these, the first thing that hit me was the excellence of the packaging, and the completeness of the accessory package.


You get a nice carry case containing the SRH 940's, spare pads, 2 replaceable cables (straight and coiled) and a 3.5-6.3 mm adaptor.




srh940-3.jpg srh940-4.jpg


Build / Comfort / Isolation

The next thing I noticed was the "apparent" excellence of the build.  these look sturdy, and did look built to last.  They have a moderate clamp force, and feel quite stable when wearing them.  They also isolate very well.  The pads feel very comfortable & I would easily forget I'm wearing these if it wasn't for the bumps on the headband.  I know a lot of people have had issues with the SRH840 in the past (heavy and flat headband).  Personally I found the SRH840 extremely comfortable - but the SRH940's headband is one I can't quite used to.  For me they are definitely not as comfortable.  I tried just wrapping the headband cover of my DT880 Pro around the SRH940 - and immediate relief (it's just a pity it doesn't fit properly).  I hope Shure eventually get the headband correct - because these are truly comfortable headphones.  But  they are nowhere near as comfortable as the Beyers IMO.

EDIT - there have been quite a few complaints about the SRH940 cracking at the hinges.  Mine were fine, but I didn't have them long.  This seems to be a recurring issue - and I have updated my review accordingly.






Sound Quality


Well I guess this is what it boils down to.  For me personally, I like a well balanced headphone - although I do like a warm mid focus.  I listen to a broad spectrum of music from classical and jazz to rock and blues.  I do like a detailed can - but I also like a balanced bass presence as well.  I listen to a lot of female vocals and acoustic rock.


Detail - the mid/high focus on the SRH 940 help giving a very detailed and revealing sound.  They are amazingly clear & although it's a cliche, I was hearing some things I'd missed before.  Malveaux in his appraisal said you could almost hear the smoke in the room - and with these it really feels like that. 


Soundstage - very good for a closed can.  Definitely a sense of space, perhaps heightened by the mid/high focus - but still intimate (although not crowded).  I would put the stage on par with my DT880 - good, but not spaciously great.  I did try gaming with these & the directional cues are actually quite good also.


Highs - The SRH 940 highs extend really well, but amazingly so far I have not found them even the slightest bit sibilant.  They need a good quality of recording - I listened to a couple of 'questionable' quality youtube clips - and they were simply unforgiving.  But on well recorded tracks these shine.  Cymbals are clean, and everything sparkles without being overblown.  Enjoyable.


Mids - these are the focal point, and they are IMO just breath-taking.  Shure really nailed it.  The mids are warm, smooth, and just an absolute joy to listen to.  For my main genres - especially acoustics, jazz and female vocals - the SRH940 just shines.  If I was marking them out of 10 for mids - no question - straight 10.  They have a way of concentrating the main focus on where it should be - whether that be vocals, guitar, piano.


Bass - very well extended, nicely layered.  It just lacks mid-bass impact, and therefore balance for me.   The problem I have with them is that while the bass is excellent in quality, it just sits a little too much in the background for me.  When the bass is supposed to be there - it is - but it's not balanced.  Porcupine Tree's "Trains" is a classic example.  The mids and highs are rendered faultlessly - but the clapping and the drums are supposed to have more impact.  They unfortunately sound 'thin'.  For my tastes, this has been the biggest fault.  I play the same track with my modded Alessandros & it just sounds the way it should sound (IMO).






Summary / Conclusion

The current pricing of the SRH940 makes it good value (street price around the $220 mark) for what you get.  They are technically a great headphone - and if you buy them principally for jazz, acoustic, classical, or female vocals - you won't be disappointed.  Unfortunately for me - the presentation is a little too slanted toward the upper end.  A little more in balance and these would have been perfect for me.  I guess I'll wait for the 1040's wink.gif


Incredibly good headphones - just not for me.


EDIT - there have been quite a few complaints about the SRH940 cracking at the hinges.  Mine were fine, but I didn't have them long.  This seems to be a recurring issue - and I have updated my review accordingly.


As such - I've adjusted my overall review downward - mainly due to the build quality.


oh no, I expected nice bass from this one...**** it
oh no, I really expected nice bass from this one...dam it
It is a shame about the Bass.. That is what I heard from several others that got rid of em for that reason. Just a shame.
Dang it. The more I read about these the more I want them. I had a dream last night I got them. Now I wish it was true.
Hi all. The bass is OK - just not what I was looking for - and I'm not a basshead. Like I said in the review - it extends all the way down, it's clear and amazingly articulate. I could probably live with it by utilising EQ, or the bass boost on my E11, or getting a Zo. It's the mid bass where I think it misses. If you could take the SRH840 and the SRH940, and make a hybrid between the two, I really don't think I'd ever need another headphone ... oh yeah - but put it in a Beyer headband :)
The mids are amazing though - best I've heard so far.
So Brooko, Are you going to keep these? Do you like these or the SRH840s better?
Hi Casey
I sold my 840's in the end. I'm in 2 minds at the moment - but it's likely I will sell the SRH940 too. I can already get close to the 940 mids with my modded MS1i and PortaTube. I think for now I'll probably 'woody' my MS1s and see how much they improve further (that'll take a few dollars anyway). I sill haven't spent enough time with a higher end Senn (HD600/HD650) - so they're on my horizon - I also like the look of the HE300 as an option. So plenty of future purchases, and my lovely wife would 'prefer' I don't clutter the house with anything I wasn't going to use :)
Brooko... just bought the HD600s and so far... I still prefer the Shures ;-). I haven't listened to a lot of music with the HDs yet bu plan to do that this weekend. Of course, right from the bat, the soundstage and bass of the Senns is palpable but I guess that at this point I'm so used to the "brightness" of the 940s that I kind of want to expect that level of clarity on every can! Powering them with the Icon HDP.
As a sidenote, started running the 940s with JDSLabs CmoyBB and bass is definitely more present right now. Listening to:
Damian Marley vs Dillinja --> Twist Jamrock OutDefinitively more power/volume.
Seems treble is even more defined (clarity).
Bass extension and impact is the most surprising aspect.Loving them more.!!We'll see if I can squeeze this much usage out of the HD600s. But they'll still be "home" headphones until I get the Hifiman HE500s... (hopefully next year?! :-p)
I should have the HD600s in a couple of weeks - and I'm hoping for good things. Pleased the Shures are still giving you so much joy - I really tried to like them - I just can't. I had really good amplification with them too (both the E9 and also my PortaTube). Just not my preferred sound in the end.
Thanks for the review and the good pictures.
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