I've owned the SRH1440 and SRH1840, and I liked them both. Had no idea they "distorted" so much.
Then again, so did the K550, but I liked that headphone too!
Ok, now my impression with SRH1440:
This is by far best sounding headphone, I ever heard. It leaves behind DT880, HD600, HD650, AKG 701, Q701, AD900. Other's I didn't have borrowed.
The only thing I don't like, is, that it's really bass light, and too bright. Both of these things can be adjusted. Brightness by dalethorn's mod. And basses can be improved by equaliser.
Saying, it's second worst sounding phone, it's just too much.
I have side-by-side comparsion with HD600, and HD600 is noticable behind SRH1440 in all aspects, except bass. Still, I find HD600 as overall better sounding headphone, because, the basses are just too much for me, and are needed for my preference at least at point, the HD600 have. But in many many bass lights tracks, the SRH1440 rocks more.
If you are willing to do the mod, try it. Even one layer of foam does very much.
And use this scheme with equaliser. I would be curious on your feelings after.
how bad does the SQ on the DT880 compared to the 1440? , which DT880 that you use for doing the comparison?
I can see how the Shures are going down the path that the HD650s have of becoming polarizing cans. Either you like em or you hate em. This is also proving by popular opinion that graphs, measurements and logical theory gets thrown out the window when subjectiveness is called into play while evaluating gear. Neither is right or wrong. At the very least, I hope we don't devolve into a hydrogenaudio state where objectivity is the ONLY rationale explanation on sound quality and everyone else's "opinions" mean squat. Please don't let it get to this point.
What's your site?
There's no doubt the 1440 are bright and lean cans, but the hyperbole being expressed here is ridiculous. Although, I can imagine myself likely having the same reaction on some days of the week. Hence, my distaste for impressions not based on long-term ownership. You need a few days at the very least to begin to make a coherent stable assessment. One that isn't likely to change after some time of listening.
Mood, time of day, physiologic variation (circadian rhythm) all affect sound perception, not to mention your baseline moulded by what you've become accustomed to. For example, an HD650 owner would probably throw the SRH940 at the wall the first time he hears them. The HD800, HE6, K701, or SRH1440, SRH1840 owner would probably not have the same reaction. It takes a few days for you to adjust, and then one's impression can very easily change.
These are only a few of the numerous factors that emphasize the importance of *time* and experience with headphones/audio equipment in general. Nothing compares to owning the item. 1 day impressions mean very little, especially if you have little experience to begin with. Hopefully, people realize this when appraising reviews and comments made on Head-Fi...
BTW, I personally found the 1440 too hot for my tastes ultimately, but If one builds a synergistic system around them, they can sound quite good (esp for their price). I ended up keeping the 1840 instead, which I think are the best in their price range still. Yes, the bass is a little slow and lean, no they're not as hyper-detailed as the HD800s, no they don't have the body/slam of the LCD-2/3 or even the HE6, but they sound balanced, forgiving, open and don't commit any major offences. I find them to be a jack of all trades headphone, one that I'd pick over the T1 or HD650. Actually, speaking of the HD650, the 1840 feel like a natural upgrade from them (except in some areas of bass, for reasons mentioned earlier).