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Smooth, rich, incredible value - Shure SRH 840

A Review On: Shure SRH840

Shure SRH840

Rated # 10 in Over-Ear
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Recent Pricing:
Review Details:
Audio Quality
Comfort
Design
Value
Purchased on:
Price paid: $129.00
Brooko
Posted · Updated · 444 Views · 13 Comments

Pros: Very good SQ, great value, replaceable cords, comfortable

Cons: Design (see review), weight

Sadly I'm saying goodbye to my SRH840's (as I move further up the SQ ladder) - but the experience has been memorable, and for an entry point to 'quality audio', I can give this model a very big endorsement.

UPDATE 25/4/13 - repurchased - didn't realise how good these were until I had to spend time away from them!

Product Description

The Shure SRH 840 is a closed circumaural full sized headphone, that has a detachable single-sided cable, and is the former flagship of Shure's headphone range (since superceded by the SRH940).

srh840-4.jpg

Shure describes the 840 as:
"Designed for professional audio engineers and musicians, the SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones from Shure are optimized for studio recording and critical listening."

Technical Specifications

- Transducer type : Dynamic neodymium magnet
- Driver size : 40 mm
- Sensitivity (1kHz) : 102 dB/mW
- Impedance (1kHz) : 44 Ω
- Max. input power (1kHz) : 1000 mW
- Frequency range : 5 Hz - 25 kHz
- Net weight (without cable) : 0.7 lb (317.5 g)
- Length of cable : 3 meters (9.84 ft)
- Type of cable : Detachable coiled oxygen-free copper
- Plug : Gold-plated 1/8" (3.5 mm) stereo mini jack

Accessories
The SRH840 comes with a very good accessory packaging including:
- Replacement pleather ear-pads
- Threaded 1/4 inch adaptor
- Soft pleather carrying bag

srh840-2.jpg
Design, Build Quality and Comfort
The Shure SRH840 is built almost entirely of plastic - but despite that, these are incredible well built, and IMO you would have to do something out of the ordinary to break them.  The cups fold inward so that the headphones become completely collapsible - great for traveling - and the cable is detachable and replaceable.
srh840-5.jpg

They do have a couple of design flaws - which I haven't found a problem - but which IMO detract from the package overall.  The first is the wires from the cups to the headband - which are external, and quite thin.  Whilst I've had no issues with these wires, I have also been very careful with them.  They're an appendage that could have been easily made internal - and been one less thing to worry about.  The other issue is the overall weight of the headphones.  These are on the heavy side - especially after you add the weight of the coiled cord.  Apparently a portion of the headband is a solid piece of rubber which is quite heavy - and could have been substituted for something a little lighter.

On the comfort side - despite the weight - I've found the SRH840 to be exceedingly comfortable, and I've worn them for hours at a time.  They clamp and isolate very well.  The pleather pads are very soft (they're different than the SRH440 pads - a lot superior).  Warning though - views on comfort of the SRH 840 are very mixed.  Some have found their headband uncomfortable - pressing in one spot on the head.  Something to be aware of - although I have had no issues.

Sound Quality

A lot has been said about the Shure SRH840 - and for pure enjoyment, I have found the overall SQ as warm, reasonably detailed, and very, very smooth.

The SRH840's strengths are in the mids - and these cans absolutely excel with female vocals and also acoustic.  The high end has a little sparkle without being sibilant - but the mids are what really continues to shine through for me.  I've also found them wonderful for jazz, and especially for progressive rock.  Porcupine Tree is simply breathtaking.

The bass on the SRH840 is punchy and very present.  These will not suit bass-heads, but I find the bass enjoyable without being over the top.  The 840's do not extend overly deep IMO, and they do have  a mid-bass hump, which can make them a little boomy from time to time (only on certain tracks) - but overall the bass is reasonably well defined.

The 840's do not have a large soundstage - typical of most closed cans - but clarity and separation of instruments is handled pretty well.

The 840's do not require an amp. Some have suggested that they do benefit from one with slightly increased definition and clarity. I'll let each individual decide on that for themselves.

srh840-1.jpg

Conclusion

Although Shure marketed these as monitor / studio headphones - I'm not sure they got the target market right.  What I would say is that for musical enjoyment across a wide range of genres at this price point ($129) they would be extremely hard to beat.  These cans IMO are ideal for pure enjoyment of music - either straight out of your DAP, or amplified for a little extra lift.  If I had to sum them up in a couple of words I would "smooth" and "balanced".  I use the word balance more in an all purpose sense rather than a frequency range sense - these cans are great with most genres you throw at them.

I will miss them.

srh840-6.jpg

13 Comments:

Nice review. What are you replacing them with?
Great review! Team Shure is going to miss you. ;)
Thanks guys - I just bought the SRH940 - should be here in a couple of weeks - so really looking forward to using those. in the meantime I've been very much 'Team Grado' recently with a pair of MS1is. Have applied a few mods - and have more coming (new headband, bowls, and aluminum cups - will probably try wood as well). Loving the energy of the Alessandros - but really looking forward to what the SRH940 has to offer.
Brooko I agree. I much prefer my Alessandro MS1 to my Shure SRH840. Though the later is much more smooth and detailed. I cannot disregard how much fun the Alessandro is.
I like your assessment and description of the 840's.
Very accurate and well stated.
I sold mine a couple of months ago (after about 6 months of use) because I felt them too heavy
to wear for extended periods. The sound was quite excellent, though.
Casey - I agree. Looking forward to seeing what the 940's are like though - Mal reckons they are as close as you can get to a closed Grado - so it should be interesting when they arrive. So far on my MS1is I've vented the drivers, added some damping, and I have some Aluminum cups, bowls and a replacement headband in transit. Will be interesting to see how good I can get these things ;)
any recommendation for headphones with SQ like the SRH440/840? Too heavy, not very comfy and laid-back mid is the only prob for me for these 2 Shures.
My immediate thought would be the 2 open cans I ended up graduating to. First would be the Beyer DT880. It's a slightly different signature - more extension in both highs and lows - and the mids are slightly less forward - but it's a great headphone. The HD600s I have now are (to me) a hugely improved SRH840. Mids are forward, still has extension in lows, and highs (while not as prominent as the DT880) are still articulate. Best thing is that both the cans I've mentioned sound incredibly natural.
I've been told the Fischer Audio FA-003 is a very close signature to the HD600. If you're looking for a closed can that would be a natural step up from the SRH440/SRH840 - that's where I'd be looking.
hmm I'll be checking them out then! Thanks lots!
http://youtu.be/WXEkphcVsgo
hey everyone, check out this video review of the 840s.
@thecansman
Sorry - just listened to your review. Whilst some parts are good - there are some parts you really need to just cut the BS. I stopped listening after a couple of these .....
[a] These are better because going from 5hz to 20khz - and gives more detail (vs 20-20khz)> absolute BS. From 5-20Hz you may feel - but you wont't hear. And IMO they don't extend that low.
[b] Burn-in. 75 hours. BS. Again - they don't need to be burnt in - you just need to get used to the sound. Brain burn-in yes - actual burn-in?? They didn't change for me from 0- 200hrs ......
[c] Better because of the impedance?? OMG. My SR325i are 32ohm - does that mean they are inferior to the SRH840?
Really dude. The SRH840 are great headphones - especially for the price - but if you had just stuck to the facts it would have been a decent review. What you ended up with was just OTT.
[a] idk abotu any one else, but i like to "feel" my music. If you don't, you're not a true auidophile
[b] burn in is a very controversial subject. Heck, some say it doesn't exist at all. Just the same, might burn in also include getting use to the sound.
[c] impedance does not make anything better or worse. Its simply helps to define the purpose. Since the impedance is a semi middle range it prevents extreme favoritism towards complete studio pr complete mp3 play quality.
Regardless, of that. I honestly want to thank you. I'm fairly new to this whole deal. And i really appreciate the feed back. I'll be sure to take that into account. I'd love to hear your advice on my other review and ones in the future.
thanks again,
-Mat
Hi Mat
I apologise if I was overly rude - but I still disagree with many of your statements. And to me - it just seemed like you were crapping all over MY review with a link to yours - which I still think contains a lot of misleading info. In addition -
[1] I'm not an audiophile, I'm a music lover. And I still stand by the assertion that the SRH840 doesn't go that low. The way you exoplained it in your review was plainly wrong though.
[2] Yes - burn in is controversial. This idea of night and day changes is BS though IMO - and that's what you alluded to in your review. Have a look at Tyll Hertsen's experiments (Innerfidelity) on burn-in. I think you'll be quite surprised and it is enlightening.
[3] You mentioned imepance specifically, and it's efffect on sound. It is very clear you do not understand it - so I'd suggest reading up on it - and this might stop the (IMO) poorly worded dissertation on the effects from your review. Try these two for starters:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_impedance
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jan03/articles/impedanceworkshop.asp
If you want to discuss any more, feel free to take it to PM - but I'd really appreciate if you'd leave the comments section for comments on MY review - rather than yous. Cheers. Paul
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