Hello all! A while ago, I started a thread comparing headphones that I had auditioned. Most headphones reviewed there are mostly above $200 except for the Shure SRH-840 which I added in for a quick comparison and it was a short one and the well known Ultimate Ears UE6000. Later on, after a few weeks, I felt silly for not comparing headphones under $200 but I was way too busy with all my stuff until now.
First, I was supposed to add in these headphones under my old thread which is the part I of "Mystery Unclosed" but I find it might be too congested to add in too many headphones at one go and so, I started this one. Without any more talking, here we start:
I don't appreciate much of the material here as it makes me feel the entire unit rather mediocre. Mostly made out of plastic. It feels like it will show some hairline cracks after sometime of rough usage. Please be noted that, I said rough usage. It shouldn't be a problem if you are very gentle with your gears. Other than the plastic build quality and exposed wire on the headband, I like most of the others.
Day and night in comparison to its little brother, SRH-440. The Shure SRH-840 have much proper padding on the headband, really comfortable and it's fairly thick. The earcups padding are much softer, thicker and really have a good sense of width! It covers my ear nicely. Like most of the pleather used with most headphones, it does get warm after a while. Also, my ears are touching the driver a little considering I have an L-size ears.
For less than $150, it offers excellent features. First in the box, you get a 3.5mm to 6.5mm jack converter, detachable coiled cable and a soft carrying pouch. The carrying pouch is made of pleather and it protects your headphones while in the bag. The detachable cable is unfortunately coiled but you can always purchase a third party straight cable. From what I heard, it works with most cable but do search around before making a purchase or try the cable if possible, before making your payment. My favorite features out of all is the foldable design makes it really portable. Decent isolation but not great.
The only part that I don't really care when I am choosing headphones but anyway, as these are meant for studio monitoring, the design look rather simple unlike those Ultimate Ears UE6000 or V-Modas.
Before I get started, Shures are well known for their creamy mids and SRH-840 will not disappoint you in this regard! The mids are really nice clear, smooth, carrying some warm and decently detailed. Not completely analytical. Above mids are the high frequency. It is not at all overpowered, very sweet and neutral. Very clean sounding in between these two frequencies. The lows does disappoint me a little. There's a peak at the midbass causing slight hisses and ruins the clarity on mids and highs. The bass are slightly loose and does bleed a little. Soundstage are not too bad but at the same time, not excellent either. Slightly above average. Overall, it's very neutral and if possible, pairing with an amp would help! Last but not least, it is great if you are a midrange head and prefer a little bit of bass. Bear in mind, you can always turn down the bass to reduce hiss or straight forward, upgrade to the SRH-940 which I have yet to try.
Audio Technica ATH-M50:
Superb! Nothing to complain here. Really sturdy and it feels like it is really gonna last. It is made of plastic but here, it feels much more durable compared to Shure SRH-840. Definitely meant to last for years to come.
Not to mention, it is also much more comfortable in comparison to most closed headphones at it's price range. The entire paddings are made of pleather and the headband are very light and the earpads are really deep and my ears are not at all touching the driver. Excellent width too! Enough of space for ears to breathe but will still get warm after a while. I was told that the earpads get harden after some time, replacing it after a few years would be nice.
Nothing much. A carrying pouch, and a very foldable design.
Yay and nay! The nice aluminium ring on the earcups look really nice and definitely bring out the style! However, it look weird when on the head.
Some might like how it sound while some might not. The lows sound a little bloated to me. Does bleed a little to the mids. The mids are completely different from Shure SRH-840! It is recessed and lacks detail. Highs have some sparkle to me. Hisses are still there and it really lacks soundstage! I feel like all the entire music are closely packed together. If wider soundstage and better details are there, I would much appreciate it. For studio monitoring, I would much prefer Shure SRH-840 but for hip hop, rap and those kind of genre, I prefer these ATH-M50. No amp required to really shine and pairing with one does not help.
Not the best in this comparison to me. It is mostly made of plastic but for the given price, I still find it a bargain although the build quality isn't superb as it is speacialized in something else.
I do unfortunately, have comfort issue with these. The earpads are thin and stiff compared to SRH-840's. I feel like my ears are glued to the driver and it hurts after a while. There's no proper padding on the headband. Fortunately, I been seeing a lot of mods to fix comfot issue and I find it useful. In case you dislike DIY-ing, the SRH-840 earpads pair well with these and much comfortable.
Shure treat these same to his elder brother. It packs with a handful of features; foldable design, detachable cable. 3.5mm to 6.5mm jack and a carrying pouch both are provided in the box. With all these features, I am less worried about the build quality. I dislike it when I have to replace the entire unit just because the cable are broke.
Ones again, these are meant for studio monitoring. It does look good to me but keep in mind that, I have bad eye for fashion. Never did I get qualified to have a good eye for fashion. XD
These really blows my mind. Literally. There's a slight roll off at the lows. It is lacking some quantity but there's really something in terms of quality! It is well controlled and does not bleed at all. The mids carry some warm, very smooth and creamy. The highs are slightly "sharp" to me. Overall, it is very neutral and sound fairly similar to SRH-840 at some aspect. Excellent for studio monitoring. Soundstage are average and the details are above average. Music instruments are very nicely presented, good sense of separation. I must say, these does brings some veiled sound.
Klipsch Image One:
Mostly made out of thick plastic coated with rubbery feel. I am not certain if the earcups housing are made of pleather or real leather but it feels nice to me. The hinge might feels a little fragile. Cables are decently made and the mic and control looks very stylish.
Not superb. I don't think I could stand wearing it for more than 30 minutes but that's because of my large ears and sweats easily. The overall weight are light. Very lightweight to me compared to V-Modas.
Nothing much but best if you are planing to use these for portable. It really does it's job well here. It folds flat, a carrying case and last but not least, the cables are tangle free. Unfortunately, it lacks the last bit of single sided cable. For the price, I would much appriciate it if it come with a single sides cable and there goes the second version of it. A single sided cable and a little bit more comfortable earpads.
Even if I closed my eyes, I would still say these look classy. XD
Comparable to the popular ATH-M50. It serve a rather V-Shape sound. Bass at times might be overwhelmed, bloated and uncontrolled. A good EQ turning down the mid bass would be nice. Mids are recessed but the upper mids are awesome. Very clear, excellent with female vocals. Highs are crystal clear. Soundstage are decent. Details on the other hand are good. Overall, I prefer these over ATH-M50 in terms of sound quality.
Audio Technica ATH-M50 > Klipsch Image One > Shure SRH-840 > Shure SRH-440
The reason for this result because, the Shure's exposed cables feels fragile.
Audio Technica ATH-M50 > Shure SRH-840 > Shure SRH-440 > Klipsch Image One
Klipsch Image One > Shure SRH-840 > Shure SRH-440 > Audio Technica ATH-M50
Klipsch Image One > Audio Technica ATH-M50 > Shure SRH-840 = Shure SRH-440
Shure SRH-840 > Klipsch Image One > Audio Technica ATH-M50 ? Shure SRH-440
*ATH-M50 and SRH-440 are of different animals and targeted for different consumers. The ATH-M50 has a rather V-shape sound/fun sound signature while the SRH-440 are of a neutral headphone and it lacks bass slam compared to ATH-M50
Hope this help narrowing your decision! If you have different opinion than mini, I would love to read it below! Thanks!
Sorry for late update, was pretty busy past few days...
NOTE: More comparison are coming really soon. Will be adding in more headphones later on. As for now, this is all I am going to share as I am in a rush xD See you soon and I hope this help!
Edited by BillsonChang007 - 3/7/13 at 6:58pm