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Shure SRH840

Posted

Pros: clear sound, comfort, perfect bass, good midrange, good highs, around the ear design

Cons: durability, very revealing, sibilance, strident upper mids/lower highs can be a little annoying

Disregard my earlier hate for these have come to appreciate these for what they are.

 

COMFORT

To start off my review i would like to say my opinions on comfort with these. Lots of people complain about them being uncomfortable or heavy, the truth of the matter is they feel rather light to me. Are people here really weak or something? i find these really comfortable, but just like all pairs of headphones i have tried they become irritating on my right ear after a while. This is due to my ears lately being really sensitive to touch, and is not the fault of the headphones. 

 

DURABILITY

Lets go to the next thing on the list, Durability. the common belief is that these are highly durable and can take a bit of a beating. yes to some extent this is true, the headband is very bendable and can survive day to day bending and twisting. BUT the plastic extender is very cheap feeling to me and i feel it could snap with the slightest twist or stretch. I also find the metal piece that connects the headband to the headphones is rather weak and with slight pressure it would snap. I know these things occur as i have read about it occurring from members of this site, and i can see it happening. I also fear for the cords jutting out the side of these headphones, i feel that the slightest pull or snag of that cord would cause it to rip or snap. Overall i give the durability/design a 3/5 as its not bad but still has it's faults. These headphones can last a long time with proper care, but be careful.

 

SOUND QUALITY

Time for the most important feature of any pair of headphones, HOW IT SOUNDS. The sound is very clear for the most part. They emphasize mid range so vocals and guitars stand out really well. These have the perfect amount of bass for me, although bass heads wouldn't be satisfied. The highs are presented well also. But for all the good of these headphones there is still some bad. these are very revealing so if you listen to a lot of poorly recorded music it will sound bad. These have strident upper mids/lower highs which cause a bit of irritation, they don't bug most people but they sure as heck bugs me. These are also sibilant, but that is understandable when musicians use these to record their albums. In terms of genres these sound good with, these do everything fairly well, but these tend to be a little slow for fast genres of music.

I found classical and old country/rock sounds really good with these.

Rap also sounds good as does pop.

Rock sounds good but like i mentioned its a little slow and some people might not like it.

Metal is the same as rock.

Folk music sounds impressive.

Unfortunately i haven't tried jazz.

But i have come to appreciate these for what they are and ignore the shortfalls. These are excellent for the money, especially if you get them for what i got them for. For $130 i can't complain. 

 

VERDICT

If you are a beginner in the field of audio and want something to start with these are a good buy, is there better out there? You bet, but for the price to performance ratio of these you can't go wrong. They don't do anything to badly and are decently cheap. They also make a good alternative to the Audio Technica ATH M50 as these are more neutral and have better mids. I would say these are great for entering the field of audio. Anyone have any doubts? Then go try a pair at a local shop if you can, you might just wind up with a pair.

Posted

Pros: Rich full sound, nice sound stage, very easy to modify

Cons: stock cable and 2.5mm proprietary input deisgn

These headphones boast a number of positive attributes.  They have a clean sound, with a tight bass response and a good sound stage.  They sound very natural and drums sound phenomenal in them.  The one draw back is the cable that is included - its not that the cable is poor, but these headphones have a proprietary 2.5mm cable connection in the left ear cup that only allows you to use the shure proprietary cable unless you're willing to get your hands a little dirty.  I have modded these headphones several times now, so I can only review from the stand point of where I have these headphones right now.

 

SKIP THIS IF YOU DON'T CARE WHAT I DID TO THESE HEADPHONES AND CONTINUE AT THE INDICATED POINT BELOW...

 

So I broke the stock cable and decided that I did not want to buy a new proprietary stock cable (maybe this was on principal), but the cable is VERY LONG and coiled (there is a straight cable available, but still very long), so I figured I would just use an assortment of other cables to get the job done.  The first mod that I did with these headphones was to remove the 2.5mm connector by removing the PCB board that contatined the 2.5mm connector, and drilling out the hole to accommodate a 3.5mm socket, which allowed me to use any cable that was terminated with a 3.5mm plug.  

 

Great, but I used shotty materials and soon this modification started to reveal its limitations, so the second modification was to remove the 3.5mm socket entirely, remove the stock connecting wire (which is from the left ear through the headband to the right ear) and to drill a second hole in the right ear to accommodate a split wire.  I purchased one of the premium cables from monoprice (I'm sure this is a limiting factor, however, the sound is better with this cable than the stock cable - different sonic qualities, drums were more forward in the stock cable, but this cable has a fuller sound in general and the sound in general is more forward, which I prefer), one of the cables that terminates on both ends with a 3.5mm jack.  I cut off one of the jacks, and the benefit of this cable is that it is actually two cables (one for right and one for left) that can easily be peeled apart.  I soldered the ground and live wires to their appropriate spots on the elements and now I have an incredibly rich sounding set of cans.  The cable is a bit stiff, so I wouldn't recommend this setup for someone who uses these cans for their daily commute, but if you're lying in bed reading or just soaking in the good vibes the stiffness is not a factor (at least for me).

 

The way that I have it wired now, these headphones have incredible stereo separation (which they had with the stock setup, but its slightly better now, with a slightly expanded sound stage).

 

... REVIEW CONTINUES HERE FOR THOSE DISINTERESTED IN MY ADVENTURES WITH A SOLDERING IRON AND DRILL.

 

I mostly listen to rock music, lots of prog rock, but I listen to jazz and classical as well and these headphones work for all genres mentioned (not very much electronica, but what I have listened to sounds good too).

 

I don't want to deter anyone from buying this headphone who is not interested in modifying them, they are great without these modifications and I probably would have done nothing if I hadn't broken the head on the cable.  I'm glad I've done these mods NOW, but it took a while to get here, and many subpar preparations before what I have now.  That being said, I cheaped on the materials because I was determined to fix it for less than what it cost to replace the cable.  After everything was said and done, the $25 cable was probably a cheaper and less frustrating solution, but its all about the learning.  The inside of these headphones look completely frankesteined from the several iterations I've experimented with.  I'd love to invest in the materials eventually to put a really nice cable on these headphones and I'm fairly sure that the elements in these can be taken to the next level -  and that's what's so nice about these headphones - the elements are very high quality, the housing is comfortable and the component parts of these headphones are really nice.  Like I said before, the cable's not even THAT bad, but its certainly the weakest link (as it usually is in most stock setups).

 

So, the sound (after modification and also to a greater or less extent before too)...  The bass is tight and pronounced, sometimes I wish it was more present, but I think that thats a preference, these headphones are incredibly even across the spectrum, which is nice because you can just boost the bass in foobar or itunes and satisfy the urge for thump.  The mids are clear, fairly forward, not as forward as Grados, but I don't actually like the way Grados sound, especially compared with these.  The treble rolls off higher in the spectrum, but I don't feel like I'm missing anything with this roll off, I actually prefer a slight roll just to avoid shrill highs - but if you want a pair of headphones that seem to endlessly extend, these probably aren't for you.  The highs are very nice and the frequencies that matter are definitely present, but they're not infinite.

 

One final note, these headphones really must be amped.  They work in an ipod/iphone and they might even sound fine unamped from a Cowon rig, but they are dramatically improved by amping, however because they are so low impedance there is an audible hiss on some recordings.  (I think they are something like 40 ohms or 44 ohms)  You can listen to these and enjoy yourself greatly listening straight from a typical DAP output, and definitely from something like a stereo receiver with a decent headphone out (which depending on quality could serve just as useful as a dedicated headphone amp, and cheaper if you already have one), but I noticed a dramatic improvement in sound when I plug them into my Audinst MX-1.  However, if you're looking for a pair of high end cans, you're going to want to invest in an amp (or a good quality receiver).

 

If you have any more questions (as this review is fairly rambling and chock full of unnecessary details involving mods) please PM me, I'd be happy to prosyletize the glories of these headphones.

 

I would rank these headphones as probably in the upper echelon of the mid-grade headphones or even on the low end of the high-grade headphones.  They probably would not stand up against something like the D7000 or even the hd650 (though I haven't heard either of them, so I don't know for sure) but for the price point, they're a great deal and can be had in the $100 - $150 range at this point.

Posted

Pros: Consistent across the spectrum; Great bass; Extremely revealing; Very efficient (can drive easily with an iPod); Relatively modest price

Cons: May not be the best for full orchestra classical (which I don't listen to much)

I bought these about a six weeks ago for $180 at Guitar Center (They retail for $250, and I have since seen them for $160) after reading a number of stellar reviews and trying them out in the store using my iPod. The Shures replaced a 10 year old pair of AKG K501, and are a very different type of headphone.

 

I bought the AKGs because of their incredibly open and natural sound, even though they were designed for classical music and I listen mostly to jazz, R&B, house/electronica, rock (some), and movies. What the AKGs lacked in bass slam they more than made up for in other areas. Plus the bass improved significantly when I replaced the stock ear pads a couple of years ago with ear pads made for the 701. You can order these from AKG for $45/pair. They are held on with a bayonet clip -- so you unscrew the old pads and install the new ones as if you were changing the lens on an SLR camera. The 701 ear pads are a significant and worthwhile upgrade for the 501s if you have a pair and would like to stick with them.

 

My headphone amp is a Rega EAR, for which I paid about $350.

 

Back to the Shures:

They sounded great right out of the box -- open, clear, and precise with accurate (tuneful) and deep bass, though perhaps not as airy as you might prefer if you listen to a lot of orchestral music (which I do not).

 

They had (and still have) me digging through my music collection to listen to CDs that I haven't played in years -- almost to the point where I just started at one end of one of my shelves of discs (I have 600+ CDs) and started working my way through the shelf to find out what long-neglected tracks would sound like through the Shures. To me, that says a lot. The Shures really let me hear "into" the recording, in many cases revealing rhythmic cues or other details that helped define the musical passage. Missing these cues with the AKGs had caused me to put aside many recordings that I now find myself enjoying as if they were new.

 

An obvious possible reason for this is the difference in efficiency between the Shures and the AKGs. It could be the the Rega EAR is not good enough to extract what needs to be extracted from the AKGs. More on that below.

 

The Shures are so revealing that they called to my attention a shrillness (and perhaps a degree of electrical interference) with the Grado headphone extension cable I'd been using. They also have revealed the weakness of the Rega EAR, which I now feel has lots of gain, but not much finesse.

 

I replaced the Grado cable with a Mogami Gold extension cable ($56 from Amazon) and heard an immediate reduction in the noise floor and other irritating artifacts of what I presume was some degree of electrical interference (hash; harshness; a sense of compression when listening to high notes). So now I'm focused on replacing the Rega.

 

I listened to the Shures through a Perreaux headphone amp ($800) last weekend, and it was a night-and-day improvement over the much less expensive Rega. I'll be auditioning the Shures through the PS Audio GCHA (recently reduced to $499) next week, and also will be curious to hear what the PS Audio does for my old AKGs.

 

Possible negatives:

The Shures are heavy, and some may find that they clamp too tightly. Also, because they are closed, you may find them a bit warm compared to an open-back 'phone. I think they're fine, but they are not as comfortable or as lightweight as the AKGs. Also, I wear eyeglasses, but do not feel that either of these 'phones is uncomfortable for eyeglass wearers.

 

The rest of my living room system:

- Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc player

- PS Audio Digilink III DAC

- Naim preamp and power amp

- Wiremold power strip (recommended by Naim)

- Shunyata Research power cables on all non-Naim equipment

- DNM interconnects and speaker cable

- ATC loudspeakers

- RealTraps room treatment panels

- Base equipment platforms, Vibrapod feet, and other vibration control tweaks

 

In my office, I listen to an iMac via a pair of Alesis M1Active 320USB desktop monitors, which have a very good headphone jack through which I use a pair of Grado SR60s. The Alesis M1s are extremely versatile and a lot of laughs for $90.

 

If you listen to anything other than orchestral classical (and perhaps even if you do), the Shure SRH840 should be on your list. Check them out at a pro music store like Guitar Center or Sam Ash (bring your own MP3 player) where they'll let you listen for a while.

 

Highly recommended, especially at this price.

 

Posted

Pros: Weighty, firm clamp, massive earcups. Shure sound, replaceable one-sided cable, great build quality. So cheap.

Cons: Weighty, small fit, little design niggles.

After burn-in and listening to them for a hundred hours or so, plus live mix time this is my perspective on their audio.

Coming from Sennheiser HD280 Pros and Shure SE215s, these seem to be amazingly balanced. 

They have the incredible Shure warmth and vocal clarity, but still extend their highs extensively. I have always found problem frequencies in all the other headphones I use, like the HD280 Pros have the weird 200Hz lump which is a constant annoying humming espesh during live sessions, biggest turn-off for me. But the SRH840s seem to be perfectly matched to the system I work with. Boominess when there is, sibilance when there is. Simply great monitoring cans for a large-ish system.

 

And the detail! Basically, if I can hear the string slap in the third minute of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite and hear pages turning throughout the masterpiece, I am completely satisfied.

The soundstage is OK. It's not amazing and a tad forward at times which you'd least expect, but those incredible highs help spread it out.

The cans do well above average for most genres but there are times you wish you had something more like the Beyerdynamic DT880 Pros or AKG 701's with a lot more air and breath to them simply because they're open, but then again, these ARE meant for professional use, and open cans would be damn annoying when you're trying to PFL/solo anything live with 90dB of background noise.

 

I seriously have been on the hunt for the best live monitoring headphone and can't find anything better for even double or triple the price.

 

There is a lot of plastic on this can, but the back of the inner circle driver housing is metal, adding to that definition I mentioned earlier while the outer casing is plastic adding to that Shure warmth. The main headband of the phone is metal based, simply because plastic will never have the same kind of elasticity, but the frame that holds the earcups is pure plastic because of the rigidity required to hold the shape.

 

I do have to complain about a few things though, mainly design-wise. Most significant is probably due to my big head. When using my HD280 Pros, dropping each side to its maximum length causes only the bottom half of my ears to be covered, but with the SRH840's I have to drop them down the whole way for them to perfectly cover my ears. Now you might ask, "then what's the problem?" As a Sound Engineer I am trained in my thinking to always have a little headroom for everything. Save some for a rainy day, that kind of thing. It's already at its limit and that leads to another problem.

This one would the be smaller cables leading to earcup. Because the side lengths are at maximum, these smaller cables are almost at full stretch and I don't know how good the strain relief is, but if there was ever to be some serious snaggage, it could mean the death of the sound in the right earcup.

 

These cans are also the heaviest, and the 4m of coiled cable doesn't help either. But it does fold away quite neatly, with the cable detachable. Too bad it doesn't fold flat.

Posted

Pros: Smooth sound. Good build quality. Comfortable

Cons: Weight. Exposed wires

Hey. This is going to be a review of the Shure SRH840. Now, these are Shure's 3rd headphone in the '40 series. They are for everyone, including regular people and studio professionals.

 

To start off, i am going to talk about the overall value and what you get when you purchase these. In my honest opinion, these are worth the $200 price tag. While the design is a bit bulky, and you can't really use these in public because they will get you strange looks when you walk around. Regardless of that, these are still great headphones. They are made out of plastic, and i am not talking about cheap plastic, i'm talking about the high quality stuff. They feel very solid and sturdy when you hold them in your hands. You get a high quality coiled audio cable, a fake leather carrying pouch, an extra set of ear pads, and a screw on quarter inch adapter. While the carrying pouch does more carrying than protecting, i find it to be appropriate due to the rock solid plastic that these headphones are made out of. The cable has a detachable mechanism that locks in once you insert it into the headphones and give it a quarter twist. As most of you may know, the headphones have exposed wires, which is a turn off for me, because it may get caught on something and rip out, thus ruining the headphone.

 

In terms of comfort, i have to say that these are really great! My ears completely go inside the ear cups and the clamping force is at the right level to where the headphones feel secure on my head. The ear cup size is pretty large, so it should fit around pretty much everyone's ears.

 

The sound of these headphones is really excellent, especially for a $200 headphone. The bass is accurate and punchy, so not boomy or muddy. It is at a level where you are able to listen to any genre of music and still be satisfied with what you hear. The midrange/vocal region is really great. You are able to hear vocals perfectly and they never get harsh, or hard to listen to. When a singer drops to a low note, you can hear it with perfect E's and when it picks up, you hear it. I would say that female vocals are more satisfying to listen to than male vocals because they don't give you listening fatigue as much as male vocals do. The treble is extended and quite present. Now, these are not bright, in my opinion. Treble extension is good, and drums and cymbal crashes sound amazing to me. I listen to a lot of rock and metal music, and these headphones perform quite well with those genres.

 

Are these the best $200 headphones ever? i have no idea. But, they are well worth the money if you plan on picking these up. You can find them online, or at guitar center, and they typically run for 180 to 200 dollars depending on where you get them. So, thank you Shure for making these amazing headphones, and thank you to everyone for checking out this review.  

Posted

Pros: Great for the price. Comfort is above average for me. Does not require amp but will probably improve with one.

Cons: Exposed wiring. May not be comfortable for everyone. Heavy on the head. Might not be good for fast or aggressive music.

Keep in mind I am using a sony discman model number D-E456CK from late 1999 as source and no amp to speak of except the one in the discman itself.  For classic rock like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd no problem what so ever but for aggressive stuff like Opeth's still life album or an Iron Maiden or even Judas Priest album you may want to look at a different can anyway.

 

But also keep in mind I don't own an external amp currently or even have one at my whim at the moment.  I personally think even a decent enough cheap amp {around $200} will do wonders for the sound by opening up the low bass and evening out the mids.  I do not personally believe that an external amp will do nothing for the sound however that may just be my opinion I could very well be wrong.   But I don't think I am mistaken in any way.

Posted

Pros: Fantastic sound for the price, mostly neutral but with a nice, warm midrange that's good for vocals

Cons: Will be a bit bass light for some, very heavy, exposed wiring on headband

These headphones are a great bargain for anyone wanting a very good monitoring headphone that delivers great SQ across the frequency spectrum.

 

This is not the most fun sounding headphone since it is designed for monitoring, so if you like your music with a decent bit of coloration, then you should look elsewhere.

 

That said, it is not completely neutral.  It does have a somewhat warm midrange that makes it fantastic for listening to vocals.  Overall, for the price you pay, these cans offer a decent amount of detail and an overall balanced sound that should please audiophiles who are on a budget.  Bass is accurate and tight, but a bit on the light side.  As others have said, they can be a bit sibilant on some recordings.

 

Impedance is 44 Ohms, but it is fairly easy to drive from a laptop or mobile devices/MP3 players.  

 

The only niggles with this great pair of cans is that they are a bit heavy.  That's not to say they're uncomfortable (they are fairly comfortable), but they have a good deal of mass.  Overall they have a very sturdy build, but I didn't like the exposed wires above the earcups.  Thought that was a bit of an oversight on Shure's part and could lead to damage if you're not careful.  But if you treat your audio and tech toys with reverence and care (like I do), you should be fine.

 

After 2 years of using them, I would highly recommend these.  They have a very good reputation both here and elsewhere online.  For the money, you cannot beat the clean, detailed sound these offer.

Posted

Pros: Sound Quality, Price, Build Quality.

Cons: Comfort, Wires sticking out, and Headband

My first cans, at $185 was a pretty good steal considering they weren't even on sale. After comparing them to my $20 Sony earbuds, they sound amazing! I mostly listen to EDM with a lot of dubstep and trance, with specific songs with female vocals and they are amazing. Just the right amount of bass and I can't really tell that these are revealing. The headphone didn't feel heavy in the hands but after extended use on the head, the weight it noticeable, so noticeable in fact that I am going to mod it with a new headband, removing the rubber piece and replacing it with an aftermarket one.

 

Link to Replacement Headband: http://www.amazon.ca/Replacement-Leatherette-Universal-Sennheiser-Beyerdynamic/dp/B00862522A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391229031&sr=8-1&keywords=replacement+headband

Link to Headphone at $174 with free shipping (Anywhere in Canada I think): http://www.axemusic.com/store/product/22190/Shure-SRH840-Professional-Headphones-Closed-Back-Circumaural-Design/

Posted

Pros: Wire, electronic music, alternative music, rock music, price

Cons: hiphop, rap, high snares( rap music), alittle heavy

I bought these headphones primarily for listening to Hiphop/Rap music. Theyre not bad for hiphop but definitely electronic and alternative come off as much clearer ( more comfy then beats, sound doesnt leak but beats do sound better with rap music). The music comes out clear, clearer than Beats By Dre Solo Hds. Bass is good, deep,  can handle it well, I suggest customizing the bass with the itunes equalizer . The highs can be alittle scratchy at first. High snares can come off as really annoying though ( Swimming Pools by Kendrick Lamar, i cant even listen to that song in these) In all, these headphones sound great and I am going to purchase an amp soon and believe that will help. I use the Shures for my Ipod Touch and Macbook Pro. They work fine with both, gold tipped. I have used them before with recording equipment and the music does come out significantly better than the standard ipod jack, very adjustable fits any head.  Is it worth it? Worth it- if you record music, into alternative, rock... Not worth it - want to listen to rap/hiphop, have a small head

Posted

Pros: Very Good sound quality, Very good isolation with little to no leaks, Accurate bass,comfortable earpads, removeable/coiled cable. amp not needed.

Cons: Very heavy headphones, bass is not powerful enough for bassheads like myself, poor aesthetics.

These are very good headphones. If you don't need "basshead bass", just accurate , crisp bass , then these are for you.

Although they are comfortable around the ears, they are very heavy, not too big of a deal imo, the quality of sound and overall design of the headphones makes it alright.

Amp is not really required due to the low ohms on these too.

 

I opted to return them tho, as the bass was not powerful enough and they were too heavy.

if they had basshead bass and werent so heavy, they would be perfect.

Shure SRH840
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Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones

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