Pros: Durable, smooth, great with many genres
Cons: Heavy, could be too "dark" for some
Pros: Durable, smooth, great with many genres
Cons: Heavy, could be too "dark" for some
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.
Pros: Very flat sound across the board, reliable for checking mixes, build quality is there.
Cons: Bass is just a bit loose and lacks punch.
For less than $200 you won't find a better pair of headphones for studio use. I wouldn't recommend these to anyone who isn't going to be using them in a studio. You can't really take them with you and there's much more "fun" hi-fi headphones for home use. But if you need a cheaper super flat pair of cans to check mixes and/or monitor sound, this is your choice. They do lack a bit of punch so placing kick drums is a bit of trial and error in these things. At higher volume sub-bass tones rattle them up a bit in a bad way. These are the reasons I'm not giving 5 stars. Other than that, they're a great buy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pros: outstanding sound quality
Cons: not that light...
I have had these headphones for a long time. I absolutely love them. First of all, they are crisp, but have a warm tone and fairly rich bass. If you're looking for something that is very sound-insulating and delivers a detailed, rich and warm listening experience look no further... this is a winner for sure!
Pros: very detailed sound
Cons: bass is artificial, quality fragile
Ok I have been using a pair of these for several years.
I logged on because there are way too many positive reviews of these things.
Firstly: everything I mix on these is significantly slanted to the top end. If I let myself go and just do what sounds natural then I totally mix down the bass. These don't have anywere near a flat natural response imo. You hear a much louder bass than is really present in the track.
The sound is good, crisp and detailed all the way up however.
Secondly: these are really not as durable as you would expect for the price range: after several years of moderate use these things are a sight to see:
a) both sides have snapped at the flexible junctions above the speakers. They both snapped at seperate times and are now sticky taped together.
b) the pads that go around the speaker bits were never tight enough and constantly falling off. They have been sticky-taped on now for several years.
c) the minijack tip snapped off inside a laptop a year ago. I soldered a new jack on. Unfortunately the laptop socket was permanently damaged by the experience.
d) the headphones never had as much grip as they should have - they are often falling off - i don't have a particularly small head. taping the junctions together with stickytape actually improved this problem
ok so I have really tested these things and I don't think they are the quality that you really expect from shure.
the main issue is the bass response however, i have really had to teach myself to unnaturally boost the bass a couple of dbs otherwise I endlessly mix with too much treble.
I would have preferred a hard carrying case for the headphones, but, when you consider the cost of these cans, the soft carrying bag is acceptable. I plan to eventually buy the hard carrying case that is included with the headphones that are one model number higher because I emailed Shure customer support and I was told that the SRH840s and the SRH940s are the same size so the 840s should be able to fit in the case that was designed for the 940s.
The cable isn't as nice as the cable that came included with my new Ultrasone Go headphones (which have a lower MSRP) and you can't replace it with just any cable. The cable has to be replaced with one of those cables that you twist to lock into the ear cup. I would like to mod these so that regular 3.5 mm plugs will go into both the left and the right ear cups, but I'm not savvy enough to do it myself and I don't know if there is anybody that would be willing to do that for me. I haven't looked but, if I end up going through with this mod, I hope to find a cable that is braided and also has the three buttons and mic. I should mention that with my new Ultrasone headphones, I don't have to take the case off of my phone to plug them in, whereas with my Shure headphones I do.
The headphones themselves are comfortable to wear for hours, especially if you replace the pleather ear cushions with velour cushions like I did. I paid 25$ for a pair of HPAEC940 velour ear cushions (I don't remember how much shipping costed me) and attached them to my ear cups and they made the headphones feel hundreds of dollars more expensive. I couldn't recommend replacing the pleather ear cushions with velour more.
The headband (just like the stock ear cushions) is made from pleather. I plan to eventually buy an article of velour baby clothing from Burt's Bees Baby to cut up and use to replace the pleather headband of these headphones. Why Burts Bees Baby? Their velour products are made from 100% cotton that also happens to be organic. If replacing the pleather ear cushions with velour improved the perceived value of these cans by 'hundreds of dollars' in my mind, I can't wait to see the difference when I replace the headband with velour.
Songs listened to:
I compared the sound of these headphones to the sound of my Ultrasone Gos and my 840s sound a little more airy than the Gos do, but there isn't a big difference in the sound signatures of these headphones to my ears. I blame the impressions that I have of the sound of my two pairs of headphones on the placebo effect, but since other people on this website believe that they are actually hearing differences in the sound of different products, I gave my subjective impressions of the sound. I'm sorry that I couldn't give a more detailed description of the sound of these headphones than that.