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!
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sized headphone, that has a detachable single-sided cable, and is the former flagship of Shure's headphone range (since superceded by the SRH940).
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."
- 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
The SRH840 comes with a very good accessory packaging including:
- Replacement pleather ear-pads
- Threaded 1/4 inch adaptor
- Soft pleather carrying bag
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.
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.
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 but IMO do benefit from one with slightly increased definition and clarity.
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.