Pros: Nicely detailed, midcentric, solid bass, extended treble
Cons: may be a bit to aggressive for some genres, sound stage is good but feels smaller due to the more forward mid-range
This is my 3rd and final review of Shure's new top line headphones. As such I will mention points about the SRH-940 and SRH-1840 as I go through the review. I intend to try and keep this review mainly on the SRH-1440 but there will be some cross polination as I go through this.
The SRH-1440 like it's big brother SRH-1840 comes in a massive retail box, in fact they appear to be identical except for the pictures and information printed on the box. Upon opening the box the 1440 has the same travel case with accessories. The earpads of the 1440 are different than the 1840 though and for the better in my opinion. The cables are the same between both models though which is a good thing as this means the cables are fairly easy to use in a portable fashion.
The build of the 1440 is all plastic so has a weight closer to the SRH-940 than the 1840. But the design is better than the 940 in looks and comfort. In fact I would say these rival the 1840 for comfort due to the plusher headband. All in all I find these comfortable and fashionable.
But let's get to the brass tack shall we. HOW DO THESE SOUND?
Bass - The bass of the 1440 is slightly more mid-bassy than the 1840 and the 940 and has slightly less sub-bass. Now before anyone gasps thinking these have a huge mid-bass hump, you can relax. These do not have that problem. As someone who has grown to really dislike a mid-bass hump I can assure you these just offer a slightly different bass presentation to their siblings. Over all I have to say I actually prefer the 1440's bass for relaxed or fun listening. It's present enough to say "lets have fun but not so present as to be shouting or subwoofer-ish. In a nutshell it's satisfying.
Mid-range - This is where the 1440 shines in my opinion. These have a similar but ever so slightly warmer mid-range as compared to the SRH-940 and are massively different than the 1840 which sounds positively recessed in comparison. So this is also where people need to think hard about what they want in a headphone. Personally I love the more forward mids, but I also listen to music at low volumes and am 47 years old with the accompanying hear loss most people my age have, and my genre's of choice are Jazz, Classical, alternative rock like Pink Floyd, classical rock, accoustical, New Age, folk music, and a smidge of hard rock like Led Zeppelin and AC/DC. Most of my genre's benefit from this headphones signature. For aggressive genre's that have harsh guitars or loud percussion and louder volume listening, these may give the listener a headache. For those other genre's or volume levels I suspect the 1840 will be better fitting.
Treble - The treble is darn near a perfect mix of the 940 and 1840 signatures. It is slightly louder in the lower treble than the 940 like the 1840 but has the same level of loudness and extension in the upper treble as the 940 which helps it not lose the decay of things like cymbals the way the 1840 does. I don't have to work to hear the detail like I do with the 1840. But it's not quite as in my face and bordering on artificial like the 940.
Sound stage - The sound stage is slightly smaller than the 1840 and more intimate sounding but larger than the 940. I found it's accuracy to be very good like it's siblings. All three place instruments in pretty much the same place just at different distances depending on the size of the sound stage.
Detail - As I alluded to earlier I find it easier to hear details from the 1440 than I did the 1840 but not as easily as the 940. This allows me to enjoy my music without having to analyze it or switch to analytical listening easily when I want to pay attention to something.
Overall I would say if a person can live with an open headphone design the 1440 offers a unique sound that is different enough from the SRH-940 as to offer a different view into their music without losing the best aspects of that headphone. I have seen it suggested that this headphone is over priced, honky and inferior to the SRH-1840. Personally I think these comments are off base a bit as I did not notice any degradation in sound quality anywhere in the sound spectrum. This headphone simply offers a different presentation. As for price, I think it is built better than the 1940 justifying it's higher cost. So overall I have no issue with it's price. Having said that if it's sales drop enough that they lower it's price closer to the 940 all the better for us consumers.