Shure SRH840

Average User Rating:
4.25926/5,
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  1. autumnholy
    5.0/5,
    "Nothing exceptional. Just how the music sounds."
    Pros - Neutral sound, sufficient bass (for me), great mid and high (and not bright)
    Cons - Weight is an issue on the skull. Un-colored (may not be fun)
    This is a very very early review (just a few days from my purchase).
    Reason I bought this can is to invest in some home entertainment hub for myself. Initially choosing M50,
    but it's out of stock when I tried the demo set over and over and was about to make the purchase. sad.
     
    Then I changed my mind, go for SRH840. Turned out to be not bad. Compared to M50, this can is seriously discolored (what I mean was, the bass is flat, the mid is clear, and the high is just flat, nothing outstanding). Although i still think i would like the more "fun" M50, which is quite bassy and colored (monitoring? I don't know, more towards entertaining). But SRH840 gives me a great chill on what I always wanted - DETAIL. This can is a detail monster.
     
    I'm not even qualified to be called audiophile. Just someone who enjoys occasional music. But I love what I heard. The road not taken was M50, maybe next time (after 5 or 10 years later), I'll find something fun (Maybe too late? Haha.)
  2. Brooko
    4.5/5,
    "Smooth, rich, incredible value - Shure SRH 840"
    Pros - Very good SQ, great value, replaceable cords, comfortable
    Cons - Design (see review), weight
    Sadly I'm saying goodbye to my SRH840's (as I move further up the SQ ladder) - but the experience has been memorable, and for an entry point to 'quality audio', I can give this model a very big endorsement.

    UPDATE 25/4/13 - repurchased - didn't realise how good these were until I had to spend time away from them!

    Product Description

    The Shure SRH 840 is a closed circumaural full sized headphone, that has a detachable single-sided cable, and is the former flagship of Shure's headphone range (since superceded by the SRH940).

    srh840-4.jpg

    Shure describes the 840 as:
    "Designed for professional audio engineers and musicians, the SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones from Shure are optimized for studio recording and critical listening."

    Technical Specifications

    - Transducer type : Dynamic neodymium magnet
    - Driver size : 40 mm
    - Sensitivity (1kHz) : 102 dB/mW
    - Impedance (1kHz) : 44 Ω
    - Max. input power (1kHz) : 1000 mW
    - Frequency range : 5 Hz - 25 kHz
    - Net weight (without cable) : 0.7 lb (317.5 g)
    - Length of cable : 3 meters (9.84 ft)
    - Type of cable : Detachable coiled oxygen-free copper
    - Plug : Gold-plated 1/8" (3.5 mm) stereo mini jack

    Accessories
    The SRH840 comes with a very good accessory packaging including:
    - Replacement pleather ear-pads
    - Threaded 1/4 inch adaptor
    - Soft pleather carrying bag

    srh840-2.jpg
    Design, Build Quality and Comfort
    The Shure SRH840 is built almost entirely of plastic - but despite that, these are incredible well built, and IMO you would have to do something out of the ordinary to break them.  The cups fold inward so that the headphones become completely collapsible - great for traveling - and the cable is detachable and replaceable.
    srh840-5.jpg

    They do have a couple of design flaws - which I haven't found a problem - but which IMO detract from the package overall.  The first is the wires from the cups to the headband - which are external, and quite thin.  Whilst I've had no issues with these wires, I have also been very careful with them.  They're an appendage that could have been easily made internal - and been one less thing to worry about.  The other issue is the overall weight of the headphones.  These are on the heavy side - especially after you add the weight of the coiled cord.  Apparently a portion of the headband is a solid piece of rubber which is quite heavy - and could have been substituted for something a little lighter.

    On the comfort side - despite the weight - I've found the SRH840 to be exceedingly comfortable, and I've worn them for hours at a time.  They clamp and isolate very well.  The pleather pads are very soft (they're different than the SRH440 pads - a lot superior).  Warning though - views on comfort of the SRH 840 are very mixed.  Some have found their headband uncomfortable - pressing in one spot on the head.  Something to be aware of - although I have had no issues.

    Sound Quality

    A lot has been said about the Shure SRH840 - and for pure enjoyment, I have found the overall SQ as warm, reasonably detailed, and very, very smooth.

    The SRH840's strengths are in the mids - and these cans absolutely excel with female vocals and also acoustic.  The high end has a little sparkle without being sibilant - but the mids are what really continues to shine through for me.  I've also found them wonderful for jazz, and especially for progressive rock.  Porcupine Tree is simply breathtaking.

    The bass on the SRH840 is punchy and very present.  These will not suit bass-heads, but I find the bass enjoyable without being over the top.  The 840's do not extend overly deep IMO, and they do have  a mid-bass hump, which can make them a little boomy from time to time (only on certain tracks) - but overall the bass is reasonably well defined.

    The 840's do not have a large soundstage - typical of most closed cans - but clarity and separation of instruments is handled pretty well.

    The 840's do not require an amp. Some have suggested that they do benefit from one with slightly increased definition and clarity. I'll let each individual decide on that for themselves.

    srh840-1.jpg

    Conclusion

    Although Shure marketed these as monitor / studio headphones - I'm not sure they got the target market right.  What I would say is that for musical enjoyment across a wide range of genres at this price point ($129) they would be extremely hard to beat.  These cans IMO are ideal for pure enjoyment of music - either straight out of your DAP, or amplified for a little extra lift.  If I had to sum them up in a couple of words I would "smooth" and "balanced".  I use the word balance more in an all purpose sense rather than a frequency range sense - these cans are great with most genres you throw at them.

    I will miss them.

    srh840-6.jpg
  3. zpolt
    5.0/5,
    "One of the Best sounding cans in the Price Range"
    Pros - Superb Sound, Extremely Comfortable, Accurate when used as Studio Monitors
    Cons - Exposed wire
    I do home studio recording using different instruments and this exceeded my requirements in using them as monitors and I love them!
     
    Comfort
    - These are extremely comfortable, soft pads all around, and you can wear them for long hours
    - In my case, when i'm recording and mixing, or just listening to music, i have them on my head from 6 - 10 hours straight with no fatigue at all. So they are extremely comfortable
    - The sound coming from the cans also are not that fatiguing so you can listen to them the whole day without feeling pain in your ears
     
    Build
    - It is tough plastic all around and the headband looks it is built to last
    - However, there are exposed wires from the band to the cups which I don't like
    - Also, the some hinges looks fragile as compared to other headphones
     
    Sound
    - Now this is really the selling point of this cans, they sound superb!
    - Bass is really controlled and accurate and not overpowering
    - Mids and Trebles are clear and precise just what you need for monitoring
    - These has a large soundstage that is really enjoyable
    - For the price, these maybe the best sounding cans!
     
    Overall
    I would recommend these to anyone who's looking for Great Sounding Cans and for those who are looking for studio monitors also. Very comfortable and really for for home / studio use. Great cans!
  4. bcasey25raptor
    5.0/5,
    "Requires getting used to, but good nonetheless"
    Pros - clear sound, comfort, perfect bass, good midrange, good highs, around the ear design
    Cons - durability, very revealing, sibilance, strident upper mids/lower highs can be a little annoying
    Disregard my earlier hate for these have come to appreciate these for what they are.
     
    COMFORT
    To start off my review i would like to say my opinions on comfort with these. Lots of people complain about them being uncomfortable or heavy, the truth of the matter is they feel rather light to me. Are people here really weak or something? i find these really comfortable, but just like all pairs of headphones i have tried they become irritating on my right ear after a while. This is due to my ears lately being really sensitive to touch, and is not the fault of the headphones. 
     
    DURABILITY
    Lets go to the next thing on the list, Durability. the common belief is that these are highly durable and can take a bit of a beating. yes to some extent this is true, the headband is very bendable and can survive day to day bending and twisting. BUT the plastic extender is very cheap feeling to me and i feel it could snap with the slightest twist or stretch. I also find the metal piece that connects the headband to the headphones is rather weak and with slight pressure it would snap. I know these things occur as i have read about it occurring from members of this site, and i can see it happening. I also fear for the cords jutting out the side of these headphones, i feel that the slightest pull or snag of that cord would cause it to rip or snap. Overall i give the durability/design a 3/5 as its not bad but still has it's faults. These headphones can last a long time with proper care, but be careful.
     
    SOUND QUALITY
    Time for the most important feature of any pair of headphones, HOW IT SOUNDS. The sound is very clear for the most part. They emphasize mid range so vocals and guitars stand out really well. These have the perfect amount of bass for me, although bass heads wouldn't be satisfied. The highs are presented well also. But for all the good of these headphones there is still some bad. these are very revealing so if you listen to a lot of poorly recorded music it will sound bad. These have strident upper mids/lower highs which cause a bit of irritation, they don't bug most people but they sure as heck bugs me. These are also sibilant, but that is understandable when musicians use these to record their albums. In terms of genres these sound good with, these do everything fairly well, but these tend to be a little slow for fast genres of music.
    I found classical and old country/rock sounds really good with these.
    Rap also sounds good as does pop.
    Rock sounds good but like i mentioned its a little slow and some people might not like it.
    Metal is the same as rock.
    Folk music sounds impressive.
    Unfortunately i haven't tried jazz.
    But i have come to appreciate these for what they are and ignore the shortfalls. These are excellent for the money, especially if you get them for what i got them for. For $130 i can't complain. 
     
    VERDICT
    If you are a beginner in the field of audio and want something to start with these are a good buy, is there better out there? You bet, but for the price to performance ratio of these you can't go wrong. They don't do anything to badly and are decently cheap. They also make a good alternative to the Audio Technica ATH M50 as these are more neutral and have better mids. I would say these are great for entering the field of audio. Anyone have any doubts? Then go try a pair at a local shop if you can, you might just wind up with a pair.
    Headxoxote and head tone like this.
  5. stratowhammy
    5.0/5,
    "Fantastic Cans"
    Pros - Rich full sound, nice sound stage, very easy to modify
    Cons - stock cable and 2.5mm proprietary input deisgn
    These headphones boast a number of positive attributes.  They have a clean sound, with a tight bass response and a good sound stage.  They sound very natural and drums sound phenomenal in them.  The one draw back is the cable that is included - its not that the cable is poor, but these headphones have a proprietary 2.5mm cable connection in the left ear cup that only allows you to use the shure proprietary cable unless you're willing to get your hands a little dirty.  I have modded these headphones several times now, so I can only review from the stand point of where I have these headphones right now.
     
    SKIP THIS IF YOU DON'T CARE WHAT I DID TO THESE HEADPHONES AND CONTINUE AT THE INDICATED POINT BELOW...
     
    So I broke the stock cable and decided that I did not want to buy a new proprietary stock cable (maybe this was on principal), but the cable is VERY LONG and coiled (there is a straight cable available, but still very long), so I figured I would just use an assortment of other cables to get the job done.  The first mod that I did with these headphones was to remove the 2.5mm connector by removing the PCB board that contatined the 2.5mm connector, and drilling out the hole to accommodate a 3.5mm socket, which allowed me to use any cable that was terminated with a 3.5mm plug.  
     
    Great, but I used shotty materials and soon this modification started to reveal its limitations, so the second modification was to remove the 3.5mm socket entirely, remove the stock connecting wire (which is from the left ear through the headband to the right ear) and to drill a second hole in the right ear to accommodate a split wire.  I purchased one of the premium cables from monoprice (I'm sure this is a limiting factor, however, the sound is better with this cable than the stock cable - different sonic qualities, drums were more forward in the stock cable, but this cable has a fuller sound in general and the sound in general is more forward, which I prefer), one of the cables that terminates on both ends with a 3.5mm jack.  I cut off one of the jacks, and the benefit of this cable is that it is actually two cables (one for right and one for left) that can easily be peeled apart.  I soldered the ground and live wires to their appropriate spots on the elements and now I have an incredibly rich sounding set of cans.  The cable is a bit stiff, so I wouldn't recommend this setup for someone who uses these cans for their daily commute, but if you're lying in bed reading or just soaking in the good vibes the stiffness is not a factor (at least for me).
     
    The way that I have it wired now, these headphones have incredible stereo separation (which they had with the stock setup, but its slightly better now, with a slightly expanded sound stage).
     
    ... REVIEW CONTINUES HERE FOR THOSE DISINTERESTED IN MY ADVENTURES WITH A SOLDERING IRON AND DRILL.
     
    I mostly listen to rock music, lots of prog rock, but I listen to jazz and classical as well and these headphones work for all genres mentioned (not very much electronica, but what I have listened to sounds good too).
     
    I don't want to deter anyone from buying this headphone who is not interested in modifying them, they are great without these modifications and I probably would have done nothing if I hadn't broken the head on the cable.  I'm glad I've done these mods NOW, but it took a while to get here, and many subpar preparations before what I have now.  That being said, I cheaped on the materials because I was determined to fix it for less than what it cost to replace the cable.  After everything was said and done, the $25 cable was probably a cheaper and less frustrating solution, but its all about the learning.  The inside of these headphones look completely frankesteined from the several iterations I've experimented with.  I'd love to invest in the materials eventually to put a really nice cable on these headphones and I'm fairly sure that the elements in these can be taken to the next level -  and that's what's so nice about these headphones - the elements are very high quality, the housing is comfortable and the component parts of these headphones are really nice.  Like I said before, the cable's not even THAT bad, but its certainly the weakest link (as it usually is in most stock setups).
     
    So, the sound (after modification and also to a greater or less extent before too)...  The bass is tight and pronounced, sometimes I wish it was more present, but I think that thats a preference, these headphones are incredibly even across the spectrum, which is nice because you can just boost the bass in foobar or itunes and satisfy the urge for thump.  The mids are clear, fairly forward, not as forward as Grados, but I don't actually like the way Grados sound, especially compared with these.  The treble rolls off higher in the spectrum, but I don't feel like I'm missing anything with this roll off, I actually prefer a slight roll just to avoid shrill highs - but if you want a pair of headphones that seem to endlessly extend, these probably aren't for you.  The highs are very nice and the frequencies that matter are definitely present, but they're not infinite.
     
    One final note, these headphones really must be amped.  They work in an ipod/iphone and they might even sound fine unamped from a Cowon rig, but they are dramatically improved by amping, however because they are so low impedance there is an audible hiss on some recordings.  (I think they are something like 40 ohms or 44 ohms)  You can listen to these and enjoy yourself greatly listening straight from a typical DAP output, and definitely from something like a stereo receiver with a decent headphone out (which depending on quality could serve just as useful as a dedicated headphone amp, and cheaper if you already have one), but I noticed a dramatic improvement in sound when I plug them into my Audinst MX-1.  However, if you're looking for a pair of high end cans, you're going to want to invest in an amp (or a good quality receiver).
     
    If you have any more questions (as this review is fairly rambling and chock full of unnecessary details involving mods) please PM me, I'd be happy to prosyletize the glories of these headphones.
     
    I would rank these headphones as probably in the upper echelon of the mid-grade headphones or even on the low end of the high-grade headphones.  They probably would not stand up against something like the D7000 or even the hd650 (though I haven't heard either of them, so I don't know for sure) but for the price point, they're a great deal and can be had in the $100 - $150 range at this point.
    Headxoxote likes this.
  6. cnote678
    4.5/5,
    "Awesome Sound"
    Pros - Sound Quality, Comfort, Value
    Cons - Too top heavy
    Packaging:
    Classy box, easy to open, nicely presented.
     
    Comfort:
    Earcups are perfectly comfortable and they fit wonderfully. Hours long listening sessions are still perfectly comfortable.
     
    Design:
    The design of these is really cool in that the band is entirely flexible, but the practical application is diminished because of it. It makes the headphones extremely top heavy, so you cannot really move much at all while wearing these. For example, they are annoying to use while doing housework, or even putting your shoes on, because if you lean your head forward at all they will slide forward and eventually fall off. In this regard, the design of the SRH DJ 750 is more comfortable and usable for this (although you absolutely need an amp to power those). Also, the stock cable is an overly long and bulky 3.5m coil. They offer a straight cable sold separately, but this is also too long and bulky for comfortable 'pocket use'. The stock cable is really suited for studio/desk use only. I did like the removable cable design though, makes for nice easy storage-oh, and they come with a very nice carrying bag and they fold into it very easily. Finally, although they look good, I think they could look better. Shure will really dominate the market once they make their headphones look as good as the Dre Beats, because they already sound a thousand times better!
     
    Sound:
    Beautiful and perfectly balanced, with a huge soundstage that makes you hear every single element of the music. Bass is strong but not overpowering, mids are velvety smooth and rich, and the treble shimmers above-the sound on these really amazed me. It is important to note though that these isolate VERY little noise, despite their significant looking ear cups. To enjoy these on, say, the El (as I tried to do), you pretty much have to max out your volume.
     
    Value:
    Tough to beat. Strictly concerning sound, they absolutely kill my stepdad's $300 Bose Quiet Comfort 3's, and practically make fun of other entries in their class and price range.
     
    Overall:
    Know what you're buying: these are studio-type, stationary-use-only headphones. If that's what you're looking for then look no further, because these sound incredible and are comfortable for hours at a time and you probably won't find anything better at that price.
  7. rgord01
    5.0/5,
    "Revealing and Enjoyable"
    Pros - Consistent across the spectrum; Great bass; Extremely revealing; Very efficient (can drive easily with an iPod); Relatively modest price
    Cons - May not be the best for full orchestra classical (which I don't listen to much)
    I bought these about a six weeks ago for $180 at Guitar Center (They retail for $250, and I have since seen them for $160) after reading a number of stellar reviews and trying them out in the store using my iPod. The Shures replaced a 10 year old pair of AKG K501, and are a very different type of headphone.
     
    I bought the AKGs because of their incredibly open and natural sound, even though they were designed for classical music and I listen mostly to jazz, R&B, house/electronica, rock (some), and movies. What the AKGs lacked in bass slam they more than made up for in other areas. Plus the bass improved significantly when I replaced the stock ear pads a couple of years ago with ear pads made for the 701. You can order these from AKG for $45/pair. They are held on with a bayonet clip -- so you unscrew the old pads and install the new ones as if you were changing the lens on an SLR camera. The 701 ear pads are a significant and worthwhile upgrade for the 501s if you have a pair and would like to stick with them.
     
    My headphone amp is a Rega EAR, for which I paid about $350.
     
    Back to the Shures:
    They sounded great right out of the box -- open, clear, and precise with accurate (tuneful) and deep bass, though perhaps not as airy as you might prefer if you listen to a lot of orchestral music (which I do not).
     
    They had (and still have) me digging through my music collection to listen to CDs that I haven't played in years -- almost to the point where I just started at one end of one of my shelves of discs (I have 600+ CDs) and started working my way through the shelf to find out what long-neglected tracks would sound like through the Shures. To me, that says a lot. The Shures really let me hear "into" the recording, in many cases revealing rhythmic cues or other details that helped define the musical passage. Missing these cues with the AKGs had caused me to put aside many recordings that I now find myself enjoying as if they were new.
     
    An obvious possible reason for this is the difference in efficiency between the Shures and the AKGs. It could be the the Rega EAR is not good enough to extract what needs to be extracted from the AKGs. More on that below.
     
    The Shures are so revealing that they called to my attention a shrillness (and perhaps a degree of electrical interference) with the Grado headphone extension cable I'd been using. They also have revealed the weakness of the Rega EAR, which I now feel has lots of gain, but not much finesse.
     
    I replaced the Grado cable with a Mogami Gold extension cable ($56 from Amazon) and heard an immediate reduction in the noise floor and other irritating artifacts of what I presume was some degree of electrical interference (hash; harshness; a sense of compression when listening to high notes). So now I'm focused on replacing the Rega.
     
    I listened to the Shures through a Perreaux headphone amp ($800) last weekend, and it was a night-and-day improvement over the much less expensive Rega. I'll be auditioning the Shures through the PS Audio GCHA (recently reduced to $499) next week, and also will be curious to hear what the PS Audio does for my old AKGs.
     
    Possible negatives:
    The Shures are heavy, and some may find that they clamp too tightly. Also, because they are closed, you may find them a bit warm compared to an open-back 'phone. I think they're fine, but they are not as comfortable or as lightweight as the AKGs. Also, I wear eyeglasses, but do not feel that either of these 'phones is uncomfortable for eyeglass wearers.
     
    The rest of my living room system:
    - Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc player
    - PS Audio Digilink III DAC
    - Naim preamp and power amp
    - Wiremold power strip (recommended by Naim)
    - Shunyata Research power cables on all non-Naim equipment
    - DNM interconnects and speaker cable
    - ATC loudspeakers
    - RealTraps room treatment panels
    - Base equipment platforms, Vibrapod feet, and other vibration control tweaks
     
    In my office, I listen to an iMac via a pair of Alesis M1Active 320USB desktop monitors, which have a very good headphone jack through which I use a pair of Grado SR60s. The Alesis M1s are extremely versatile and a lot of laughs for $90.
     
    If you listen to anything other than orchestral classical (and perhaps even if you do), the Shure SRH840 should be on your list. Check them out at a pro music store like Guitar Center or Sam Ash (bring your own MP3 player) where they'll let you listen for a while.
     
    Highly recommended, especially at this price.