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A Review On: Shure SRH840

Shure SRH840

Rated # 25 in Over-Ear
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Audio Quality
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Price paid: $210.00
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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.




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).




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.


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