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Over-Ear item created by nightmancometh, Jan 20, 2011
Pros - Generally good on top quality recordings
Cons - Slightly relaxed in the low register and harsh at times
The name Shure alone stands for its long time professional heritage and live components. So I was intrigued before listening.
I listened to at least 5 different music tracks and three different sources (including my usual jds headphone amp).
I got consistent impressions this is a not in your face type of headphone. While it convey the sounds in a non offensive neutral manner, I can't say it is accurate in terms of dynamics in the lows or high registers.
When connected to a Pioneer amp, it became evidently a bit harsh in the high register.
The built quality seemed decent but for the asking price, I think the SRH940 could have done better.
Pros - Detail. Accuracy. very bright (if you like that)
Cons - Headband a little uncomfortable. very bright (if you don't like that)
These headphones should be valued for providing an ultra-bright sound signature not offered by any other headphone that I'm aware of.
Comparisons with the HD800: If you compare the 30hz and 300hz square wave measurements from the innerfidelity charts between these and the Sennheiser HD800, you'll see that the two are almost identical. I own the HD800s and this, and I can say that the SRH940s are much much closer to the HD800s than their prices would suggest. The HD800s handle bass and mids better, and their treble is a little smoother, and they have better spatial characteristics, but the two are close, with the SRH940 being brighter.
More on their brightness: These are possibly the brightest headphones made today, which is something I appreciate. They are almost like taking the tweeter out of your stereo speakers and putting them up to your ears. OK that's an exaggeration but do not underestimate how bright these are. On their bass output, they're not like a clock radio that can't put out bass. If you play a bass heavy song you'll hear the bass notes and they can go quite deep on the frequency chart. But if you like to hear a bunch of bass on all your songs, then you'll need to use the equalizer to turn these into the headphones you want.
Ultimately, if you want to know what your music sounds like with excess exaggerated treble (and sometimes it sounds better) these are the headphones to own.
The only problem is that they put pressure on one spot on the top of my head if I wear them for a long time (the cushions were designed poorly and they focus the weight on one spot).
Pros - Sound Quality, Comfort, Bang for Buck
Cons - Low quality plastic, Bass may not be beefy enough to some
Bought at a local electronics network for 1000NIS ~ 275USD (including 17% VAT) in order to replace/supplement a pair of Grado SR80, these headphones sure provide a lot of sound for the buck.
Used mostly at home and driven by either Asus STX or Musiland 02 ("Dragon"), they are very accurate yet without harshness and provide a good soundstage. The bass, however may be too lean to some.
These headphones are a solid 5 stars on the money to sound scale, but lost 2 stars due to Shure's choice of low quality plastics for the headband. For like so many others, my headphones left plastic arm cracked and almost completely snapped off. It is now holding together with a generous amount of epoxy glue and a small piece of metal I stuffed inside the hollow arm.
Pros - Audio is precise, full bodied, richly resonating and so natural and neutral, comfort
Cons - RIght hinge broke after use of 2 weeks......clumsy design... built not sturdy, hinges are too plastic
For expensive headphones such as this, my litmus test is one of Beethoven's 9th symphony. For this pair of babies, it was London Symphony Orchestra – Symphony No. 1 In C Major, Op. 21: II. Andante Cantabile Con Moto. And this took me to Beethoven nirvana!
Now I am saving for Shure's SRH1840.
Unfortunately the right hinge broke suddenly without rhyme or reason after only 2 weeks of ownership. With other owners complaining about the same thing. It must be a manufacturing's fault. I am disappointed because other wise I would have given it 5 stars for the sound quality.:mad:
Pros - Perfectly balanced neutral sound, outstanding "mids" and "highs", fast not overemphasized hifi bass, great vocals, removable cable, carry case
Cons - bass is not so punchy as on some other headphones (but for me it''s not even cons)
I must say I also own Sennheiser HD 650, but since I bought these Shure, I find myself preferring them to Sennheiser.
For the price I have paid (218,- €), I couldn't find better sounding headphones.
For me, sound is perfectly neutral, nothing is overemphasized, they reveal remarkable detail nevertheless I can listen to them for long period of time probably due to their flat frequency response.
Pros - Detailed and Sweet-sounding mids
Cons - Not for electronic music ,K-Pop (due to lacking some punchy bass)
I upgraded this one from my old m50. In Thailand, this costs 333 USD. (http://www.munkonggadget.com/product.detail_166437_th_4031434)
m50 vs srh940
- It has velour pads that is not getting wet when you wear it in hot weather like leather pad on m50.
- Its sound signature is really mid forward (suit for woman singers) but with tight bass not too muddy and deep bass like m50.
- Suited for Rock, Pop-Rock, Vocals, Folk, Jazz, Metal(due to its fast speed) and some Pop songs.
- It's very comfy to wear and not getting clamping forces too hard like m50.
- If you listen to a lot of electronic, K-pop music, then look for something else.
- To get more punchy bass and deep bass like m50, then seek for an amp (for example C421 portable amp) (EQ-ing works but you may get some distortion from the headphone).
- To get more soundstage and a little more recessed mids, then seek for the desktop amp (Like ObjectiveO2 amp).
- Wearing it for a long time while sitting (more than 2-3 hrs.) may cause neckache, my old m50 didn't have this problem.
- This headphone have no sibilance on mids and highs if you try EQ-ing well. This problem can't be resolved on my m50 even I tried EQ-ing, the problem still persists.
- M50 isolates better than this.
- This headphone sounds almost same as Beyerdynamic T70p and DT880 to me.
Finally, This is really not a great choice for one who seek an upgrade from ATH-M50. For me, the sound on m50 is very very much more engaging (after EQ-ing) than this one a lot. For one who have m50, I suggest to just keep it and not looking for this one or if you want to upgrade your m50, I suggest that you look for sennheiser momentum, sony mdr-1r, sony z1000 or beyerdynamic T5P instead.
Pros - actually can do a decent mix with them
Cons - look funny on my bald head
I tried out several pairs of headhphones including the srh840, senns 598's, grado's, DT880/DT770, and kns8400. The srh840's and srh940's were the best of the lot. But the SRH940's are MUCH better than the 840's: much better fit, and considerably better sounding. Nice separation.
I do recommend however, also getting the SRH840's leatherette pads. And Shure should really have 1 pair of leatherette and 1 pair of velour pads shipped with the 940's. What they do now is ship 2 pairs of velour pads (one on the phones one in a compartment in the case. So I ordered separately the 840 leatherette pads (took 2 minutes to put them on) Also, since I did not like how the 940's pads felt on my bald head, I bought a pad cover from amazon, which was a bit trickier to put on but it's more comfortable for me. http://tiny.cc/obyqnw
I do look a bit funny in them but I am not wearing them on stage. I would probably get the DJ heaphones from Shure if I was wearing them in a public setting. I spoke with one gigging DJ and he said the Shure DJ headphones were the only ones he had which didn't break after 6 months.
I got the SRH940's on amazon for $240 and the next month Shure upped the prices to $300. weird. But probably still worth it at $300. (And check out the 840 leatherette earpads (also on amazon for $15).
Pros - Treble, Detail, Vocals!
Cons - Not for bass fiends; build quality
EDIT: 2017 - I originally posted this review in 2012 and I have to say that, while I absolutely loved the sound from these headphones, I can not recommend them due to poor build quality.
My first pair lasted about 18 months, while losing tiny bits of plastic from the band, before finally cracking apart and giving way at the hinges. Shure's customer service was great and they replaced the headphones under warranty with little hassle. However, my second pair -- which I babied considerably more than the first -- failed for the exact same reasons within a year.
The plastic construction of the band and stress points just doesn't hold up to daily wear, particularly for those of us with larger heads.
I thought I'd give a brief review based on my experience with the SRH940 thus far. My other headphones are a set of Sennheiser HD280s (7+ years) I use with mobile devices and my laptop, and the Beyerdynamic DT770 (2005 ed.) I use with an inexpensive amp out of my Xonar sound card on the desktop. I've listened to a dozen or so other models, but I'll mostly limit this review to a comparison with the DT770; I have the most experience with them and they're in the same category as the Shures.
First, you'll notice my headphones are all closed design. Everyone has different needs, but for me headphones are about achieving the best non-speaker sound you can get along with (1) blocking out external noise and (2) not annoying those around you. The Shures fall right in middle of my phones in that respect: not quite as noise-proof as the Senns, but better than the Beyers. It's also in the middle for long-wear comfort: the Beyers are the best, followed by the 940s, then the Senns; the Shure's little bumps on the headband felt odd at first, but I don't notice them now.
Sound: This is the important bit, right? I bought the 940s unheard based on all the reviews and forum threads I read, and my experience thus far meshes pretty well with the majority opinions. I listen to a variety of genres -- classic rock, alt. rock, folk, bluegrass, classical, jazz, big band, even forays into electronica on occasion -- really anything except rap or hip/hop.
Detail - These are indeed very detailed cans. As cliched as it sounds, I am hearing many things I didn't notice before on many songs.
Treble - These are definitely brighter than I am used to, but so far it's all quite good. The only track I've queued up that bothered me a bit was Tom Petty's "Running Down the Dream;" for some reason, the hi-hat on that particular song got quite annoying to me.
Bass - One of the primary things I read was that these phones were bass-anemic. Compared to the DT770s, that is true. It's not terrible, however, and fixed by a slight EQ boost if needed. The bass is very tight and has good extension. I listened to some Haynes organ sonatas on the Shures and the Beyers; the Beyers had more bass, but the low end was definitely present on the Shures, the latter having more engaging mids/treble. I wouldn't call the Shure's bass recessed, or anemic, or lacking; I might call it subdued. On something like a didgeridoo, it makes your spine tingle and it doesn't splatter.
Soundstage & Positioning - These consistently better the DT770s on both counts, and blow the Senn HD280s out of the water. The 940s somehow manage to bring the sound closer in, yet with an expanded soundstage. (I realize the Beyers are known for a somewhat recessed midrange.) Rather than saying, "Oh yeah, that's a nice sound on the right channel," it's more like "Holy cow, I hear instruments in three distinct, distinguishable locations on the right channel!" and can point to their respective positions. I'd buy these (closed) headphones for this category alone. Of course, all of this is dependent on good source material.
Where do these headphones shine?
Guitar, Piano, and Vocals.
Guitar - The 940s really bring out accoustic guitar and banjo. There's a lot of new detail and "pop" without it overpowering the rest of the voicings. Béla Fleck's "Drive" album had a whole new life to it. Rock-Pop faired excellently as well: Gomez's "How We Operate" album was almost like new ear candy, with terrific separation and layering. Abigail Washburn's "Song of the Traveling Daughter" was another album that had a whole new life in terms of instrumental detail, and the vocals, well, look below.
Piano - Mozart and Liszt piano pieces sounded marvellous; great attack, natural sounding, detailed piano. Dave Brubeck's classic "Time Out" album sounded better than ever, although I noticed the background hiss on my recording more than previously. These headphones beg for quality recordings.
VOCALS! - These are definitely headphones for guitar lovers, but my first true wow moment came when I queued up -- and then spent the next two hours listening to -- well-produced college Acapella music. YE GODS, these things are breathtaking. While I'm not particularly a huge fan, Ani Defranco's "Everest" also revealed new clarity. Female vocals sound excellent on the 940s, as many have mentioned, but I think any vocal fares wonderfully on these.
Where do these headphones lack?
Compared to my other headphones, the bass lines in rock music can be a bit underwhelming on some tracks. A modest (3 to 6 dB) increase on the very bottom (<60Hz) helped considerably for those songs/albums. I don't think these cans would make a rap/hip-hop fan very happy.
On classical music, I have mixed feelings. Emerson String Quartet's "Emerson Encores" album has a great variety of string pieces, for example. While both the DT770 and the SRH940 sounded good, I was split fifty-fifty on which I preferred for each track. I think what it comes down to is that "more detail" and "better defined" sometimes equates to "thinner sounding" than I am used to. It never sounds bad or off.
There was one place I do not particularly like the sound of the Shure 940s: many older stereo and mono tracks. I have a large collection of jazz & popular music from the 20s, 30s, and 40s and I found the Shures too forward, unbalanced, even jarring on some of the tracks. I can overlook the slightly more noticible artifacting and hiss -- I'm used to it with such tracks -- but in comparison I found the DT770 (and even the HD280s) produced a sweeter, enjoyable, more blended sound on those older recordings. Go figure.
Conclusion - I am quite happy with my purchase -- especially at the price I paid. At $300 I think it would still be a good deal. The SRH940 is a quite different headphone from my previous cans, but is an improvement in almost every way. The Beyerdynaimcs do better in a few areas and complement the areas the Shures don't excel.
Pros - very open sounding, wonderful detail, build quality
Cons - Bass is controlled but may not be enough for some
Let’s get the basics out of the way first.
I was quite happy with the solidly built case and accessories that came with this headphone. I find the cables to be of decent quality and it’s nice to have a choice between a coiled and straight cable. If I had one wish though it would be for Shure to create a shorter thinner cable for use with portables and if they built in a microphone and IPhone compatible set of switches I would be ecstatic! If they make such a cable I will be the first one in the line waiting to buy it. (Note I have adjusted the design mark on these as I did suffer a broken headphone due to the plastic design and have also adjusted the overall score of the headphone accordingly).
The ear pads are extremely soft and comfortable and I have no issues with clamp on these nor do I find them too loose on the old noggin either. I have actually fallen asleep with these on and when I woke up several hours later found the only discomfort I had was too much warmth in my ears. I also find I can slip them down around my neck comfortably when I want to talk to someone. But like others have commented I wish the cups didn’t face upwards as I too get paranoid something could get spilled into the drivers. The headphone is heavier than some I have owned but I took the one reviewers advice and wear these with the headband more forward on my head than tradition and find the headband does not bother me.
So how do these sound?
SRH-940 – Closed design meets open sound goodness meets IEM detail?!
Ok you’re asking yourself, has this guy flipped his biscuit? Who knows, maybe I have, but if I was to sum up the SRH-940 in one sentence, that’s what I think of.
Anyone who has followed my meandering path through head-fi land will know I have dabbled on both sides of the fence (full size versus portables/IEM’s) pretty heavily. I started out buying low end locally available IEM’s and portables and then gradually graduated to more expensive and online purchases. I then started to be intrigued by full size headphones and played around with a variety of headphones and bought my first desktop amp which I still use to today.
So what does my history have to do with my outlandish statement?
In my first forays into full-size headphones I was introduced to what a sound stage could be like and also what bass could be like as compared to what I was experiencing with IEM’s. I started with an AT AD700 and then upgraded to the AD900. In both cases I loved the sound but found the bass to be lacking and the midrange to either be to distant or to thin and the treble was just to strident and sharp for me (especially in the case of the AD900). So I then bought a pair of Sennheiser HD600 which was more satisfying in the bass and fuller in the midrange but I found the treble to just be wrong for cymbal and other percussive reproduction. I then bought a pair of Denon D7000 which I found to have fantastic bass and better treble than the HD600 but ultimately I found I just wasn’t listening to the D7000 enough to justify owning such an expensive headphone. Today I can see I also subconsciously missed the intimacy and detail I was getting as compared to a good IEM.
While I was going down my full-size headphone journey my IEM journey was also running rampant. I struggled to find what I wanted, vacillating between different signatures, being wowed then turned off by the extremes. Then finally realizing I liked lots of midrange and treble detail with good bass that did not intrude and muddy the sound. This part of my journey ran the gamut of a dozen or more mid-fi level IEM’s, to higher end gear like the Sennheiser IE8, Monster Turbine Pro Coppers, Earsonics SM3, Ultimate Ears Triple fi 10, VSonic GR07, Etymotic HF3. Note I include the HF3 and GR07 in the high end because despite their price or their limit on only having one BA (HF3) I feel they offer similar levels of technical proficiency and musicality to the other more expensive IEM’s on my list. I personally do not ascribe to the idea that expensive equal’s hi-fi.
I also went down a similar path with portable headphones but that path has been limited since I find portable headphones just don’t have enough of either full-size headphone qualities or an IEM’s portability and intimacy.
OK OK, I know what you’re thinking. When is this guy going to get back to his outlandish statement??
In a nutshell with all of my experience I think the SRH-940 give me the same type of detail I have received from my most detailed IEM’s while having the sound stage of an open headphone like the HD600 and the isolation of a closed back studio monitor.
I have even heard more details in some of my music than I have with any IEM I have owned. Some of that detail is annoying as it is obviously unintentional utterances or sound in the studio, but more often than not it’s intentional and adds to the experience of the music. More importantly I find myself incorporating the detail into the music rather than just being drawn to the detail itself, the detail sounds more organic than other detailed IEM’s and products I have owned. I also find this headphone more capable of transitioning in volume levels than most products I have owned. Songs that have subtle changes in volume and position are very well handled by this headphone. If someone is meant to sound like they are in the distance and to the right, getting louder until they are in the center the 940 handles this type of transition very well.
I’m a front row spectator… This headphone definitely places me in the front row. The cool thing is that front row can feel like a small jazz club or a large amphitheatre depending on the music but so far has not felt like the front row of an insanely raucous rock concert. But I’m definitely in the front row. So if anyone prefers being further back you might prefer a different headphone.
Let’s talk bass – The bass of the SRH-940 is very neutral with pretty much ZERO mid-bass emphasis. So for those listening to music that requires a lot of thump like dubstep, bass heavy electronic music, etc. you might want to audition these if possible or simply buy something else if you can’t audition these rather than take a chance. But for most classic rock, psychedelic rock, older hard rock, classical, jazz, country, new age, folk, and acoustic music the bass will most be adequate and if not just require a small EQ boost to become satisfactory. In my case I use a small bass boost from 1 at 500Hz to 5 DB at 32hz on my computer setup and almost exclusively listen to these with no EQ on my iPhone. I find the bass lacks the timbre and presence I have heard on the best headphones I have owned or heard but this area is not substandard it’s just not as good as the best. Do I wish it was as good as the best? The answer is of course YES, but only if it could be accomplished without affecting the rest of the sound.
Mmmmmm… Mids – This is where this headphone starts to truly shine. I have to be honest here. My musical preferences lie in the midrange and treble frequencies. I thought I was a bass-head but over the past few years I have either become or finally realized I am a mid/treble-head. But while I say that, I can also say with complete certainty I am not fond of strident or shrill mids or treble. The SRH-940 more than any other product I have tried seem to be able to balance the fine line between detail and transparency without making me want to remove the headphone if a song has sibilance in it. I also have never felt ear fatigue after using these. I have read these are great for female vocals and that is absolutely true but I think it’s a disservice to this headphone to think that is all they are good for. I find they handle all singing well along with any instrument that falls in the midrange spectrum. They are detailed without ever crossing the line into sounding artificial or overly aggressive. This might make them too polite for aggressive music genres like Death Metal etc. but I think that would only be for those who almost exclusively listen to those genres, in which case I suspect certain Grado headphones would fit the bill better. But if you are like me and have found it hard to get a signature that balances the warmer and smoother mids of a Sennhieser headphone like the HD600 and the aggressive Grado type mids, these might just do the trick for you. I also find the mids of the 940 to have none of the thinness I experienced with the Audio Technica AD900.
Treble – For me the treble of a headphone is where you separate the pretenders from the contenders. It is the one area that has to be done right and it’s the hardest area to get right. Personally I can’t stand overly bright treble, metallic sounding treble, tinny treble, or pingy sounding treble. It needs to have good decay and it needs to be detailed without sounding artificial. In my search for the most realistic sounding treble for cymbals I have heard, the VSonic GR07 has been the best… up until now. I feel the SRH-940 does an admirable job of cymbal reproduction, one that surpasses the GR07. The only full-size headphone I have truly liked for cymbals was the D7000 and I think the 940 is better than the D7000 in this area (mainly due to the D7000 being a bit too piercing). The 940 offers excellent detail and decay without crossing the line into artificial sounding or distracting.
So is this a giant killer? Should all HD800 owners sell their gear? Should Beyerdynamic just close up shop? No, but while this headphone may not a giant killer it is at least as good as any $3-500 headphone/IEM I have owned or heard. It deserves to be mentioned alongside the Sennheiser HD580-650 headphones, Audio Technica AD900/1000, AKG K701, and other upper mid-tier headphones, and it may offer a compelling argument against a few of the headphones in or around the $1000 mark, depending on mitigating factors such as genres listened to, need for isolation, ability to be played from portable sources, modest amplifier requirements, etc.
In my case, the fact I am willing to wrap the big cable this comes with when on the train or out walking the dog versus using a much simpler to manage high quality IEM just so I can get the better sound quality, is a HUGE statement about how much I like this headphone because in my case comfort and easy to use generally out-weigh sound quality for me (please don’t judge me too harshly!!).
1) Great soundstage for a closed headphone.
2) Good monitoring headphone with very detailed sound over all frequencies.
3) Just lacking bass, from mid to high, they sound like they are singing right beside you.
4) Good for acoustics, classic, Guitars, Vocals, soft rocks, most songs that doesn't require the "thump" sound.
1. it's not that comfortable if you wear it 3+ hrs
2. Not much bass are into it, not good for listening hip hop, and dance ( which i mostly listen to)
3. ugly as hell
4. It's so detailed that you hear things that you don't want to hear. Especially if you are listening to lower audio quality music (aka, downloaded music)
5. Each of the parts are very detailed that if some of the bass, treble and mids don't go together the music is not assembled well. People call it detail moster = not always good