I love these headphones! After trying out several open cans I think I have found the one's for me. I am a studio guy and jude did say that these would cater to studio guys but I also use them just as much for casual listening and would have sent them back if they were not good for that. I will also agree that jude and david's B grade was a fair grade at the $699 price. You have the he-500 at that price and it is dynamically superior to the shure. However I felt the sound stage was quite small and boxy and to me that's where the 1840 shines. It has an awesomely big soundstage, only the HD-800 had a larger soundstage, and wonderful air to it.
To me there isn't a whole lot of difference in sq between the akg and sennheiser usual suspects. Just different flavors. Going up price wise imo there's only a few percentage points between the following headphones. 1. HD-700 2. Akg "annies" 3. HD-650 4. HD-600 5. Akg q701. Is the HD-700 15% better than the q-701? Imo yes but you really have to pay through the nose to get there. More importantly there was just not quite the sound (flavor) I was looking for. I found the sound I was looking for with the HD-800 but yowza megowza the price. I was really looking forward to what the HD-700 had to offer but only found a slightly more refined 650 with a smear on it.
To me the 1840 sounds just like the 800's little brother. Not quite as good but close and voiced similarly, even more similar than the 700 imo. If your like me and you thought the 700 was a bit wonky sounding and don't have the cash for the 800 this is your solution. Best part is the B rating has allot of vendors selling demo's now. I had to call 5 vendors but I found a demo 1840 for $525, a price I felt was reachable and in 30min. was. At $525 I think jude and david would have a hard time not giving this headphone an A-.
Strange, I had the opposite impression - the Shures don't have a very wide soundstage at all. On par with the HE-500s IMO. I haven't tried the HD800 on a great setup so I can't say for sure (a demo at J&R) but the K/Q701 definitely has a wider soundstage than both the 1840 and 1440.