I have had these headphones for a long time. I absolutely love them. First of all, they are crisp, but have a warm tone and fairly rich bass. If you're looking for something that is very sound-insulating and delivers a detailed, rich and warm listening experience look no further... this is a winner for sure!
Ok I have been using a pair of these for several years.
I logged on because there are way too many positive reviews of these things.
Firstly: everything I mix on these is significantly slanted to the top end. If I let myself go and just do what sounds natural then I totally mix down the bass. These don't have anywere near a flat natural response imo. You hear a much louder bass than is really present in the track.
The sound is good, crisp and detailed all the way up however.
Secondly: these are really not as durable as you would expect for the price range: after several years of moderate use these things are a sight to see:
a) both sides have snapped at the flexible junctions above the speakers. They both snapped at seperate times and are now sticky taped together.
b) the pads that go around the speaker bits were never tight enough and constantly falling off. They have been sticky-taped on now for several years.
c) the minijack tip snapped off inside a laptop a year ago. I soldered a new jack on. Unfortunately the laptop socket was permanently damaged by the experience.
d) the headphones never had as much grip as they should have - they are often falling off - i don't have a particularly small head. taping the junctions together with stickytape actually improved this problem
ok so I have really tested these things and I don't think they are the quality that you really expect from shure.
the main issue is the bass response however, i have really had to teach myself to unnaturally boost the bass a couple of dbs otherwise I endlessly mix with too much treble.
Pros - Very flat sound across the board, reliable for checking mixes, build quality is there.
Cons - Bass is just a bit loose and lacks punch.
For less than $200 you won't find a better pair of headphones for studio use. I wouldn't recommend these to anyone who isn't going to be using them in a studio. You can't really take them with you and there's much more "fun" hi-fi headphones for home use. But if you need a cheaper super flat pair of cans to check mixes and/or monitor sound, this is your choice. They do lack a bit of punch so placing kick drums is a bit of trial and error in these things. At higher volume sub-bass tones rattle them up a bit in a bad way. These are the reasons I'm not giving 5 stars. Other than that, they're a great buy.
I would have preferred a hard carrying case for the headphones, but, when you consider the cost of these cans, the soft carrying bag is acceptable. I plan to eventually buy the hard carrying case that is included with the headphones that are one model number higher because I emailed Shure customer support and I was told that the SRH840s and the SRH940s are the same size so the 840s should be able to fit in the case that was designed for the 940s.
The cable isn't as nice as the cable that came included with my new Ultrasone Go headphones (which have a lower MSRP) and you can't replace it with just any cable. The cable has to be replaced with one of those cables that you twist to lock into the ear cup. I would like to mod these so that regular 3.5 mm plugs will go into both the left and the right ear cups, but I'm not savvy enough to do it myself and I don't know if there is anybody that would be willing to do that for me. I haven't looked but, if I end up going through with this mod, I hope to find a cable that is braided and also has the three buttons and mic. I should mention that with my new Ultrasone headphones, I don't have to take the case off of my phone to plug them in, whereas with my Shure headphones I do.
The headphones themselves are comfortable to wear for hours, especially if you replace the pleather ear cushions with velour cushions like I did. I paid 25$ for a pair of HPAEC940 velour ear cushions (I don't remember how much shipping costed me) and attached them to my ear cups and they made the headphones feel hundreds of dollars more expensive. I couldn't recommend replacing the pleather ear cushions with velour more.
The headband (just like the stock ear cushions) is made from pleather. I plan to eventually buy an article of velour baby clothing from Burt's Bees Baby to cut up and use to replace the pleather headband of these headphones. Why Burts Bees Baby? Their velour products are made from 100% cotton that also happens to be organic. If replacing the pleather ear cushions with velour improved the perceived value of these cans by 'hundreds of dollars' in my mind, I can't wait to see the difference when I replace the headband with velour.
Songs listened to:
'Apprehensive' by Kelly Bailey
'Bass String' by Kelly Bailey
'Valve Theme [Extended]' by Kelly Bailey
'Hard Technology Rock' by Kelly Bailey
'N.Y. State of Mind' by Nas
'An der schönen blauen Donau, Op.314' (more commonly known as 'The Blue Danube') by Herbert von Karajan and the Berliner Philharmoniker
'Excursions' by A Tribe Called Quest
'Buggin' Out' by A Tribe Called Quest
'Scenario - LP Mix' by A Tribe Called Quest
'Everything Remains Raw' by Busta Rhymes
'Woo Hah!! Got You All In Check' by Busta Rhymes
I compared the sound of these headphones to the sound of my Ultrasone Gos and my 840s sound a little more airy than the Gos do, but there isn't a big difference in the sound signatures of these headphones to my ears. I blame the impressions that I have of the sound of my two pairs of headphones on the placebo effect, but since other people on this website believe that they are actually hearing differences in the sound of different products, I gave my subjective impressions of the sound. I'm sorry that I couldn't give a more detailed description of the sound of these headphones than that.
So I'm not going to try to impress you with my resume or be unnecessarily verbose here...
I'm having a little trouble justifying the purchase of these cans after a few hours of playtime - I'm not a staunch believer of burning in, but I'll give it a shot and amend if there is a change.
They are dark, too dark for my tastes. There is no sparkle, low highs are emphasized here which leads me to...
The mids are combative and aggressive, constantly fighting for the spotlight, it turns to noise when playing a complicated piece.
They are boomy - there's lots of boom, enough to shake them off my head (since they already seem to want to slide off) bass is all in the high and middle of the spectrum, its punchy and taught but there isn't any depth.
If you are strapped and you must stay under 160$ then these could be considered a good value. If you can spend more, go for something else...I definitely am.
Pros - Fantastic EQ balance, very good for recording and return sound.
Cons - Nothing, except headband can be slippery and sometimes falls of easily.
Shure SRH840, are a value filled set of extraordinary headphones, worth every single coin you spend on it. The bass register is perfect for any genre of song you play through you phone/computer/mixing desk etc. Whether you are listening to Bob Dylan or Jeff Buckley; or if you're listening to Amaranthe and Suicide Silence, the EQ balance is perfect for everything.
They are very well designed for recording and playback, and are very useful for listening back to your own recordings you do whether it's through a MIDI file, D.I. output or through a professional mixing desk, these headphones are what you're looking for.
Sitting in the passenger seat in the car with my wife for three hours, the Shure SRH840 headphones provide constant comfort around the ears and refrain from giving you a headache from the constant pressure against the vein and arteries around your head.
Recommended 10/10 for anyone who is looking for a well-epuipped pair of headphones which highly live up to the price they sell for. Definitely worth it!!
I don't think I’ve ever owned a pair of headphones or in-ear monitors that cost me more than $25 up until two years ago when The Spirited Uncle M officially introduced me to premium sound with a gift of HiFiMan Re-Zero IEMs. Having only known Skullcandy’s boomy bass and the harsh highs of cheap Apple, Samsung, Sennheiser and Sony IEMs before then, the HiFiMan’s exposed me to reference-quality sound.
Unfortunately, over the last year my ear canals have become very sensitive to IEMs and extended listening is simply intolerable. Since my 9 to 5 cubicle-life is unbearable without music, I needed to find a closed-back, on- or over-the-ear headphone that would give me the same, if not better, sound as the HiFiMan Re-Zero at a price that seemed sensible for a set of hi-fi cans that will primarily live on my office desk.
As usual, I started scouring the Internet in search of the perfect headphone that would deliver exceptional sound quality, comfort, value, and performance even when powered by mobile devices and crappy business-class PCs. Thanks to hundreds of glowing reviews on Head-Fi.org, the Audio Technica ATH-M50 and ATH-EWS9, Beyerdynamic DT1350 and Sennheiser HD25-1 II all made my shortlist. After debating about exactly how much I wanted to spend vs. claimed performance, I had pretty much decided to enter the head-fi world via a refurbished model of the Audio Technica ATH-EWS9 to stay in my mid-range budget when some further comparison reading revealed the Shure SRH840 as a notable alternative to each of the above models.
The Shure SRH840 are described as “professional monitoring headphones” designed for “professional audio engineers and musicians” and “optimized for studio recording and critical listening.” So when I found a new, sealed set for $145 delivered vs. the normal $199 retail price, I decided to just go for it.
Unboxing the SRH840, it was immediately evident that Shure intended for buyers to rock these cans for years to come. The build quality and included accessories are just what you would expect from a legendary name in the pro audio world. These headphones come with an extra set of replacement ear cup pads, a leather (pleather?) carry bag, a detachable/replaceable coiled 10 ft. oxygen-free copper cable terminated with gold-plated plugs, and a 1/4” gold-plated adapter for amplifier headphone jacks. Despite being constructed of mostly thick plastic, the SRH840 headphones retain a robust feeling that instills confidence that they’ll hold up to day-to-day use whether you’re in the office or at the studio.
Straight out of the box I plugged the SRH840s into the front panel of my NAD C 326BEE integrated stereo amp to give them a go with John Coltrane’s Giant Steps played through a Sony DVP-S9000ES SACD/DVD player. Immediately I noticed a significant jump in richness and warmth compared to the Re-Zero IEMs I was accustomed to. Coltrane’s sax sounded lush and accurate, with a full forward presentation that’s likely aided by the slight boost in bass and mid-range frequency response. Despite this, Paul Chambers’ bass never sounded boomy or muddied, in fact the bass was clear, punchy and easy to follow—just how it should be. I’m certainly no bass head, but I do appreciate a clean low-end rumble, and the SRH840s definitely deliver, even with no break-in time. Added to that, the sensitive notes, like Jimmy Cobb’s jazz brushes circling the snare drum maintain clear separation and presentation even when things got busier.
Shure says that the SRH840’s “Precisely tailored frequency response (claimed 5 Hz - 25 kHz) delivers rich bass, clear mid-range and extended highs,” and I would certainly have to agree. Whether I was playing jazz classics like Coltrane and Miles Davis, or blasting the Deftones and Pearl Jam, I had no trouble sitting back to enjoy entire albums right from the get-go. And now with about 70 hours of play, the 40mm neodymium drivers have noticeably loosened up and expanded the very clear, accurate, warm, and non-fatiguing dynamic range. Even normally harsh-sounding heavy rock was pleasing to listen to. In fact, I’d say that while these headphones maintain excellent detail, they’re also very well balanced; the high notes smoothly roll off just enough to relieve poor recordings of their harshness that makes them sound better than you’d expect. I think it will be easy to listen to these for hours on end, which is exactly what I was hoping for.
Being a full-size circumaural (around-the-ear) headphone constructed of thick plastics, these certainly have some heft to them. These cans weighed in at 376 grams without the cable on my scale. Despite the weight, I was comfortable wearing them for upwards of two hours straight. I have a relatively small oval head (21”), and the clamping tension was just about right. My ears fit perfectly inside of the cups and I had no discomfort from the pads, albeit they do get warm.
Thanks to the closed-back design, thick pads, hinged and swiveling ear cups, and nearly ideal clamping tension, the SRH840s seamlessly coupled to my head, providing good background noise isolation and no noise leaks. Even when laid on my desk with the pads together there’s only the slightest bit of leakage, which makes these perfectly acceptable for use in the workplace or other quieter environments.
My only complaint so far is with the headband. Possibly because of my head-size, the headband tended to slide around or fall off if I tilt my head too far forward or back. This may not be an issue if you have a larger head, but these wouldn’t work for me if I planned to use them on the go. Secondly, the headband did put some uncomfortable pressure on the top of my head. The contact point is small, so it may be a matter of bending the band into place to distribute the weight more (which seems possible) and letting the pads soften up, but occasional repositioning is a must for me for the time being.
Overall I am happy with this purchase. As my first “hi-fi” headphone, the SRH840 will serve as a reference point for future purchases, but I am more than pleased with the sound quality and price vs. performance. Plus, with their very good frequency response range, 102db sensitivity, and 44-ohm impedance, these are easy to drive with mobile devices and standard sound cards, and the clarity and response only gets better when mated with a stereo amplifier. If you’re looking for a beginner audiophile-grade headphone with an accurate and balanced sound, rich dynamics, solid construction, and a quality name stamped on it that won't break the bank, the Shure SRH840 professional monitoring headphones may fit the bill.
***Extended Listening Update***
After about two weeks of continual use at the office, I am happy to report that these cans have only improved in sound quality and comfort. The drivers seem fully loosened up and are simply delivering a clean, well-rounded sound with nice bass extension and little coloration. If anything, the highs are slightly recessed, so these lean to the warm or dark side of neutral, but are overall very pleasing to listen to regardless of the genre of music (at least to my ears). As for comfort, the headband has definitely gained flexibility and the padding has naturally softened up with use. While the thick headband is certainly still felt on top of my head, the pressure is felt far less than it was, and I have no problems wearing these for slightly longer periods. For all-day use some mods may be helpful.
Pros - Very neutral but not to the point where music doesn't sound enjoyable. Comfortable. Not too pricey.
Cons - 3 more dB of 64hz and they'd be perfect for my personal taste.
To give you an idea of where I'm coming from I have owned JH audio JH5 IEMs, Fostex T50rps, and Audio Technica ATH-M50x's. My Fostex T50rps were issued to me at audio engineering school and were what I used as reference for a long time and I loved their natural mids. My JH5's are also very flat as far as IEMs are concerened. i was not a fan of the ATH-M50x's (owned them for about an hour before returning and getting these Shures).
I'll keep this short and sweet. The sound is very neutral but at the same time not too flat. If anyone has ever been in a studio these don't sound like Yamaha NS10's. I'll give the Fostex that comparison tho. These sound flat/neutral but with a little bit of a relaxed midrange. They're still great for reference but you can really enjoy listening to music through these as well. I originally bought these because they were the winner of Dave Rat's headphone quest (He is the FOH engineer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers and if he recommends something live sound guys listen). And now I see why he recommended them. He actually compares the sound of a PA in an arena with some test music to the sound of the same test music going through these headphones because they sound that good. I'm so excited to be listening to these right now!!!!
I'm using this without a headphone amp into a macbook. and/or iPod. I will also take these with me to my cruise ship when I return from vacation (I am an audio engineer for Carnival Cruise Lines).
Pros - Smooth sound. Good build quality. Comfortable
Cons - Weight. Exposed wires
Hey. This is going to be a review of the Shure SRH840. Now, these are Shure's 3rd headphone in the '40 series. They are for everyone, including regular people and studio professionals.
To start off, i am going to talk about the overall value and what you get when you purchase these. In my honest opinion, these are worth the $200 price tag. While the design is a bit bulky, and you can't really use these in public because they will get you strange looks when you walk around. Regardless of that, these are still great headphones. They are made out of plastic, and i am not talking about cheap plastic, i'm talking about the high quality stuff. They feel very solid and sturdy when you hold them in your hands. You get a high quality coiled audio cable, a fake leather carrying pouch, an extra set of ear pads, and a screw on quarter inch adapter. While the carrying pouch does more carrying than protecting, i find it to be appropriate due to the rock solid plastic that these headphones are made out of. The cable has a detachable mechanism that locks in once you insert it into the headphones and give it a quarter twist. As most of you may know, the headphones have exposed wires, which is a turn off for me, because it may get caught on something and rip out, thus ruining the headphone.
In terms of comfort, i have to say that these are really great! My ears completely go inside the ear cups and the clamping force is at the right level to where the headphones feel secure on my head. The ear cup size is pretty large, so it should fit around pretty much everyone's ears.
The sound of these headphones is really excellent, especially for a $200 headphone. The bass is accurate and punchy, so not boomy or muddy. It is at a level where you are able to listen to any genre of music and still be satisfied with what you hear. The midrange/vocal region is really great. You are able to hear vocals perfectly and they never get harsh, or hard to listen to. When a singer drops to a low note, you can hear it with perfect E's and when it picks up, you hear it. I would say that female vocals are more satisfying to listen to than male vocals because they don't give you listening fatigue as much as male vocals do. The treble is extended and quite present. Now, these are not bright, in my opinion. Treble extension is good, and drums and cymbal crashes sound amazing to me. I listen to a lot of rock and metal music, and these headphones perform quite well with those genres.
Are these the best $200 headphones ever? i have no idea. But, they are well worth the money if you plan on picking these up. You can find them online, or at guitar center, and they typically run for 180 to 200 dollars depending on where you get them. So, thank you Shure for making these amazing headphones, and thank you to everyone for checking out this review.