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What has sound like a Shure SRH840 but more comfort?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

My current headphones for home use are Shure SRH840.  To my ears, the 840s are very balanced and clear sounding and the bass has good impact without overpowering the rest of the sound.  I really enjoy the sound from them but I feel like I could do better on comfort.  I have sensitive ears (physically) and I guess you could say I'm fussy when it comes to comfort.  The Shures fit my head fine but my ears start to get itchy inside within a short amount of time and I find myself frequently adjusting them and scratching my ears.

 

For a bit of background on my tastes and the headphones I have been able to try, I listen to about 75% Progressive, psychedelic and Alt Rock and 20% hip hop/electronic.  The rest could be pop or jazz.  I find the Bose AE2 to be extremely comfortable, but the sound is lacking.  I use the Bose as my portable set since they are so small for a full circumaural.  I also own a pair of Sennheiser RS120 wireless headphones that I use for watching television.  I have had them for 7-8 years and they work reasonably well.  I find these very comfortable as well as they are large enough to fit my entire ear and the velour does not heat up or make my ears itch.  I have tried the Beyer DT770 Pro and ended up preferring the Shure over these for both sound and comfort.  I just could not get the Beyers to sit right around my ears and I found the bass to color the mids in comparison to the 840s.  I briefly had the Denon D1100 which I recall as generally comfortable, but I found the bass to way overpower the rest of the sound.  I recall the general sound as very lush apart from the overwhelming bass, however I did not have them long enough to know if they were suitable for long-term comfort.  Have also demoed the Senn HD 380 which I found boomy sounding and clamped my head too tightly.  The KRK8400 didn't sit right around my ears and the sound overall was somewhat harsh.

 

I need my headphones to be fully circumaural and closed since they will be used to protect my wife from my noise.  I'm considering up to $300 or so.  Primarily will be using the cans from phone, Ipad, and PC.  Preference is not to need an amp but would consider adding something unobtrusive like a Fiio E6.

 

I suspect I might do better for comfort with velour pads and I am considering the Shure 940 as well as the AKG K550.  I don't know of anywhere locally to demo these and I am reluctant to buy anything I'm not 100% certain will fit comfortably and sound close to or better than the Shure 840.  With both the 940 and the 550, I'm concerned that I will be losing a substantial amount of bass coming from the 840 (would bass boost from EQ or a portable amp like the E6 help?).  I have thought about trying the 940 pads on my 840, but nearly all accounts say this will negatively affect the sound.

 

If I could go with an open headphone, I think I would be looking at the Senn 598, as they seem to be close in shape and size to the RS120 and they have velour pads.  I'm not aware of a closed equivalent to the 598 though.

 

I generally prefer the single sided cable to having wires from both cups, but I'm tempted by the Brainwavz HM5 which might have a sound I would like and I believe I could get a pair of velour pads for them.  I am also very tempted by the Denon D2000 or D5000 (used), despite disliking the sound from the D1100s.  Again, I have no opportunity to demo the Denons or Brainwavz anywhere near me that I am aware of.  Both of these have leather or pleather pads so I am uncertain how comfort would be for me with them.

 

Does anyone have any thoughts or other recommendations for me?

 

Thanks very much!

post #2 of 15

I personally just switched from the SRH840 to Denon D5000.  The comfort is a huge improvement, and so is the sound.

 

I think my ears are a little warmer (thus, potentially sweatier) than they were in the SRH840's, so this may (?) increase your itching problem.  YMMV of course.

Bass is definitely heavier, but you don't lose anything else for it.  In fact, everything else improved too.  You can EQ down the lower range of the bass if you don't like the tactile feeling of it.

Highly recommend.  I imagine the D2000 would be similarly comfortable, but I hear they are not as bright.  It sounds like you'd prefer a brighter sound signature.

 

That's the extent of my knowledge though--I'm not "smart" enough with this stuff to recommend anything I haven't listened to yet wink.gif

 

Good luck!

 

EDIT: If you don't have a dac/amp already, the products by FiiO are all very nice for this kind of gear, of which I have the E9, E7 and E10 (got the E10 with my D5000's).  So far, I'm liking the E10 best, and it was $77 on Amazon.


Edited by Throdd - 3/22/12 at 5:00pm
post #3 of 15

The best balance between the comfort you want and the sound you want, in my mind, is the Fischer Audio FA-003/Brainwavz HM5/LINDY Premium Hi-Fi, which you mentioned. If you're willing to pay more, the Fischer version comes with a set of velour pads.

post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks both for the comments above. 

 

While tempted by the Denons, they don't have velour cups and I'm concerned I might find the bass too strong.  Also they do not Isolate well.  Without any way to demo them, I'm gun shy.

 

The FA-003/HM5 might be a good option, but the FA-003 is not available from anywhere in the US (that I know of) and the HM5 seems to be perpetually in a pre-order state and does not come with Velour pads.  Would anyone know of a source for the velour pads if I purchased the HM5?

 

The itching in my ears is almost certainly due to sweat and the lack of air moving through the closed cups.  So I think my best bet is going to be something with large velour pads.  Any suggestions besides the Shure 940 and the AKG K550?  Thoughts on whether either of these two would satisfy me?

 

 

post #5 of 15

As for U.S. Fischer Audio distribution, you can directly order them from Musica Acoustics (though the headphones aren't listed on their site), or can have them shipped from GD Audiobase.

post #6 of 15

A quick fix to try: cut up an old sock and stretch a ring of fabric over the pads. Taking the pleather off your skin might be enough.

 

As for a different headphone to try, maybe consider the Pioneer HDJ-2000. The Shure 840 was my favourite for a while but they were uncomfortable for me (the headband put too much pressure on the top of my head). The Pioneer is currently my go-to favourite with a somewhat similar bassy sound and better comfort.

post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 

I'm going to try the sock comfort mod as suggested by Armaegis; I have an old really soft pair that I never wear that should work well and following details laid out in this thread. (Thanks to lxxl for the step by step and pictures)

 

Meanwhile, I keep coming back to the Denon D5000.  Maybe I just have the upgrade itch, but I can't help myself even though they're really more than I want to spend.  They are so frequently recommended and everything I'm reading about them is really selling me on them.

 

A few quick questions about the D5000: 

 

Does anyone know anywhere in South Florida that I might be able to demo a pair?

Does it make sense to spend $400-$500 on these cans for use only with portable devices and high bitrate MP3 files (i.e. >95% use with iPad and Android phone)?

Would a Fiio E6 be sufficient to get decent sound out of them?

What other closed cans does the D5000 compete with in the price range?

 

Thanks

 

post #8 of 15

The D5K will technically be powered by a FiiO E6 through a portable source and it'll sound good to somebody new to high-end audio, but it's nowhere near what you can truly get out of them. I'd either get a better amp or a more portable-friendly pair of headphones.

post #9 of 15

The Denons are comfortable, but leak like open headphones and are not very durable. If isolation and portability are important to you, the Denons are not suitable. 

post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrR0Ck View Post

I'm going to try the sock comfort mod as suggested by Armaegis; I have an old really soft pair that I never wear that should work well and following details laid out in this thread. (Thanks to lxxl for the step by step and pictures)

 

Meanwhile, I keep coming back to the Denon D5000.  Maybe I just have the upgrade itch, but I can't help myself even though they're really more than I want to spend.  They are so frequently recommended and everything I'm reading about them is really selling me on them.

 

A few quick questions about the D5000: 

 

Does anyone know anywhere in South Florida that I might be able to demo a pair?

Does it make sense to spend $400-$500 on these cans for use only with portable devices and high bitrate MP3 files (i.e. >95% use with iPad and Android phone)?

Would a Fiio E6 be sufficient to get decent sound out of them?

What other closed cans does the D5000 compete with in the price range?

 

Thanks

 


Heya,

 

1. I'm in Gainesville.

2. Yes. And you don't need an amp what so ever.

3. Yes. But again, not needed at all, unless you want the equalizer from it, you don't need an amp with Denons.

4. Nothing at it's price point that is closed competes with the D5000 to me.

 

Basically when it comes to nice closed headphones, the D2000/5000 and the AKG K550 and the upper PRO series of Ultrasone along with the new AudioTechnica series (A900X for example) and Beyers T70 come to mind. Most of them hover the $200~300 area. The D5K hovers the $400 area. And the T70 hovers the $400+ area too. Overall, the D5K is the one I'd take home at the price. Runner up? D2K. After that, K550.

 

If isolation is very important to you, then consider the Beyer T70p and AKG K550 first.

 

Very best,

 

post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks very much for the replies.

 

Based on the information I'm getting from this thread as well as my own research, I think I am close to a decision.  I'm not feeling any urgency on this since I do have the Shure 840s for my current listening needs.

 

I would love to get myself the a pair of Denons.  I think if I were to decide on them I would spend the extra on the D5000 rather than the D2000 to get the extra refinement they would bring.  However, while isolation is not that important to me, it is very important to my wife.  Since I don't see buying two sets of cans (one for when my wife is around and one for when she isn't), I think I unfortunately have to put the Denons on the back burner for now.

 

This leaves me with the AKG K550 and the Brainwavz HM5.  If I am to purchase a new set of cans to replace the Shures, I would need them to be significantly better on comfort and I would like to see an improvement in sound over the Shures (I enjoy the sound from the Shures but would love to have a pair that are objectively better sounding).

 

Tyll recently posted a very favorable review of the K550 on Innerfidelity so they look very promising, but I have also seen them described as light on bass and thin sounding.  Without the ability to try them on, I have no way to predict how they will fit over my ears.  I do believe they will sound better than the 840s in the mids and highs, but perhaps without the punch of the bass.  Malveaux -  in your opinion are the K550s a decent choice as an all-around set of cans (my preference is 75% rock, the balance electronic, hip-hop)?  Are they a significant upgrade in sound over the Shure 840?

 

The Brainwavz may be more comfortable than the Shures, but given the price point, I suspect they would be more of a lateral move than an upgrade as far as sound goes. Again, I have no opportunity to try these on, so I can't know for sure about the comfort.  So unless I hear opinions to the contrary, the K550 is my front runner.

 

Malveaux - I don't get up to Gainesville much, but if this was an invitation, it was extremely gracious of you.  Perhaps there will be a Florida meet at some point; I searched and didn't see anything upcoming in the meet forum.

post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrR0Ck View Post

 

 

Tyll recently posted a very favorable review of the K550 on Innerfidelity so they look very promising, but I have also seen them described as light on bass and thin sounding.  Without the ability to try them on, I have no way to predict how they will fit over my ears.  I do believe they will sound better than the 840s in the mids and highs, but perhaps without the punch of the bass.  Malveaux -  in your opinion are the K550s a decent choice as an all-around set of cans (my preference is 75% rock, the balance electronic, hip-hop)?  Are they a significant upgrade in sound over the Shure 840?

 

 


I like the K550's significantly more than the 840's.

Clearer, faster, more natural sounding, better soundstage, more extension in the highs without sibilance.

 

The 840's do have more bass.  But I find the bass on the K550's very satisfying, though, and more pronounced

than typical on AKG's.  

 

I sold my 840's about a year ago and have never missed them.

On the other hand, the K550's are definitely keepers for me.

 

With all of that said, I'm not sure whether you would  find the  K550's to be a "significant upgrade in sound over the Shure 840".

Depends on your definition of 'signifcant upgrade;, I guess.

 

 

 

post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 

zazex,

 

I know that everyone's preference differs of course, and I will not know for sure until I can try them for myself.  That said, I think we're all here to get the opinions and recommendations of others in order to make more informed decisions.  I appreciate your thoughts on the K550s vs. the Shure 840.  I took a look at your profile and see you list the Denon D2000 as owned and the Shure 940 as previously owned.  How would you compare the K550 to the D2000 or the Shure 940 on comfort and sound?  Since you no longer have the 940, I would assume you prefer the K550.  Do you find you use the Denon for certain types of music and the AKG for others or do you gravitate to one more than another?  Are the K550 a good all-around use headphone?  DO the K550 cups fit your ears as fully circumaural or do they sit partly on the ears?

 

Thanks

post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
I wandered into a music store yesterday and got a 20-30 minute demo of the Shure SRH940. I really liked what I heard. I ran them straight from my Droid 3 and found them better in nearly every way than the 840s. The velour ear pads were comfortable if a bit warm after a few minutes. Definitely easier on my ears then the pleathers. The sound was really nice. Soundstage was a significant improvement over the 840 and music generally had a more lush sound to it, which I appreciated. Many have called the sound from the 940 thin or bass light, but I found the bass to be very present. It may not have thumped like the 840 (I was not able to demo the 940 and 840 side by side so can't say with certainty), but the bass extension was much better and the deep bass was very noticeable. I played a variety of music including Beck, The Smiths, Bitch Magnet, Public Enemy, and Hideki Naganuma and enjoyed the sound with everything I played. The only thing that concerned me was the headband. Why can't Shure make a comfortable headband? I suspect that adjusting the size so the weight is supported mainlly by the ear pads would make the headband tolerable.

I am strongly considering ordering a pair in the next few days. Given that they are easy to drive, I'm thinking about something like the fiio e6 to provide a small bass boost when I'm in the mood for more thump. Since it seems I am unlikely to be able to demo the K550, and have read reports about how finicky they can be as far as getting a good seal, and since the Denons don't isolate well, the 940 has become my current front-runner.

Based on descriptions of both I would think the K550 and Shure 940 would have somewhat similar sound signatures. Plus, it looks like I can get the 940 for about $50 less then the K550.

Any Shure 940 fans or detractors want to weigh in? I'm looking for some validation that I'm making a good choice for what needs to be an all-around use headphone for the music genres I listen to. Since I'm ordering from Amazon, I suppose I can return them if they don't fit he bill once I try them at home.

Thanks for any thoughts or comments you may have.
Edited by DrR0Ck - 4/17/12 at 7:13am
post #15 of 15

Hi there DrRock, I'm in the market for some closed back cans too, I demoed the SRH840 yesterday and really enjoyed them, however I too am hearing a lot of good things about the 940. How have you found them to be so far? Your music taste seems to match up to mine, I'd be listening to bands such as Grizzly Bear, Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, XX, James Blake, Burial, Van Morrison. Have you found them to be a little too clinical like I have read elsewhere, or are they still warm sounding?

 

Also, have you had a chance to wear them as portables? I want something that I can take with me on the train and on the walk to work, hoping for something that won't be overly heavy or too cumbersome.

 

Any feedback would be awesome (I'm a new starter to this forum so be gentle!)

 

Cheers

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