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About to order Shure SRH1540, want to double-check my line of thinking?

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by uopt, Nov 8, 2014.
  1. uOpt
    I want to try another set of closed headphones.  The best I owned so far are the Shure 840s. The major weakness in them for me is that there isn't enough bass and turning up the bass in the EQ leaves a bass that isn't precise enough to find out what's going on.  I say "the best I owned" because my brother made me bring him the Denon D7000s when they came out and I really liked them. However I couldn't compare them to mine at that time. I only have the standalone impression and it didn't make me fork out the cash. So, I dunno whether they are the best I heard, ever.
    I care most about how the mids are drawn. Think about voices, really hearing the phrasing. Loreena McKennitt and similar singers in high-quality recordings.  However, I play bass and need to do something about the problem above. I would say that I spend significant time in mastering now, and I offer services for voice processing (to be used in other people's mixes). Mind you I didn't say "successfully" but hey :)
    So I plan to go with the 1540s, because I believe:
    - different manufacturers stay with the same basic sound for the same kind of phones (closed, open etc)
    - better headphone cost more money to make, I'm not enthusiastic about another $200 pair
    - the big driver sounds very appealing to me given what I think the cheaper Shures are missing for me
    My major contender was the K550 based on theorycrafting because my 1980s K240 monitors are still like new and they draw mids... well, awesome. However, I hated the guts out of the K271 II I owned and I figured the K550s are probably more like the 271s than the K240s.
    For reference I always include my "history" when asking for headphone recommendations. This isn't about "wall of text", just if you are interested.
    - Sennheiser 250 HD linear.  Not bad but fell apart. Not happy with quality.  Good bass.  Overall a bit cheap and not quite up to the standards of this set
    - AKG K 240 monitor. Draws mids very nice but overall doesn't have bass or power. It's really a bit too value priced I guess
    - AKG 271  Mk 2 (ETA: corrected, not 272): hated everything about them. Claustrophobia class closed-in sound, no air to it
    - Beyerdynamic DT 770 2x 80 ohm: These have too much bass and at loud volumes they change sound. I use them for gaming now.  Too bad I don't game anymore.
    - Ultrasone Proline 650: nothing special.  Just didn't like. They also don't properly close around the ears
    - Shure SRH840: perfect except for lack of bass (see above). Maybe not open enough soundstage
    I would be willing to try a manufacturer I never tried.
    I was also looking into using this opportunity to get some in-ear monitoring-class pieces such as the Ultimate Ears TripleFi 10 since I need some for mobile anyway. However, I figured that I can't wait for a whole new research project to finish and overall it isn't likely to work out in making a "better SRH840". Or is there is a chance it would?
  2. Mink
    Never heard the Shure 1540, but you may want to check out this review
    I don't know how treble sensitive you are, but this quote from that review might interest you:
    Other likely closed candidates would be the 
    NAD Viso HP50
    Focal Spirit Classic
    Since I own them myself my main recommendation would be the Audio Technica ATH-A900Xs
    Good textured bass, lush (bit warm) forward mids and sparkly treble and a big soundstage for closed headphones.
    I think these cans are a bit underrated, it seems many people at Head-fi associate the ATH-A range with headphones suited mainly for gamers, but these headphones are truly musical and I rate them at the same level as my Denon D5000s, they are just different, not worse (or better).
  3. uOpt
    Appreciate the help, Mink.
    So the AT 900s are discontinued? I see that they can be cheap-ish when imported from Japan or used.
    At that price I could throw them in just to have tried Audio-Technica. Which I supposed I should.
  4. Mink
    Oh yes, sorry, didn't think about that, officially they are discontinued, but the last time I checked they were readily available at Amazon.com?
  5. uOpt
    They are. Just making sure I got the right one. Apparently there are open and closed versions of the 900x.
    I am tempted to scale back on the "want a fix right now" thing and use my budget to get some of those that happen to be cheap used or refurbished. If it doesn't work out there's always reselling.
  6. Mink
    Another thing that may concern you is the fit.
    In this case the Shures would be the safest bet, all other headphones mentioned can be troublesome, comfortwise:
    1. Audio Technica ATH-A900Xs could be uncomfortable for a small-headed person, the 3D wings may not carry the weight enough, so the ear cups sag a little too low to feel really comfortable.
    2. NAD Viso HP50s have an odd shaped headband which is uncomfortable for some and the ear cups are oval shaped and not universally liked.
    3. Focal Spirit Classics have smallish earcups which are bit shallow....
  7. uOpt
    Well, I have good offers on non-new piece of the A900X and the Spirit classic.  Well within budget and if it doesn't work out I can resell them without much loss. Somehow I am in the experimental mood more than I was yesterday and want to try manufacturers I never tried so far. Wanna be fair to everybody, right? Also, the 1540 with it's inverse scoop might not be the right thing after all. 
    The only thing holding me back is the prospect of thanksgiving deals but I expect resistance to break down as the caffeine level rises today.
    I should also buy one of the in-ear ones so that I have that out of my system.
  8. hodgjy
    I bought the 1540s when they first came out.  At first I was super impressed with them because they were fun headphones.  But, over time, the excitement faded.  Honestly, the HD650s are better in every way.  I actually regret buying them now and I'm considering selling them.
  9. Mink
    Good luck :)
  10. Ra97oR
    SRH840 is a rather bassy phone already, SRH1540 isn't more bassy ,if anything it have less bass quantity overall. Beyer DT150 have quite nice mids, punchy bass compare to the 840 and doesn't murder your neck. It isn't really more bass heavy either though.
    Oh don't even think about SRH940 for bass.
  11. uOpt
    A900X and the Spirit classic in the mail.
    Thanks for saving me from some stupidity, guys/girls :)
  12. Ra97oR
    A900X is lovely and very forgiving. Certainly have nice bass too.
  13. uOpt
    They here yet...?
    [taps fingers...]
    Hey boss I can't work, missing required equipment.
  14. 2gumby2
    I really like my Focal Spirit Classic and I think it may be a good alternative to the Shure 1540. I owned the Shure 840, but the Focal Spirit Classic is better in every way, especially the bass.
  15. uOpt
    Hmm, kind of disappointed for now.  I got the Focal Spirit Classic, the A900X and since I didn't quite like them at first I also got a SHR1540 when it was on sale as open box item (sorry, guys, curiosity killed the wallet :)).
    The 1540 is exactly what you guys said. A 840 with more bass, about the same effect I can get by equalizing the 840. Meh. You can make the bass loud but you can't hear what the bass player is doing.  I don't have both in the same place so I can't say how much better the 1540 is, but it doesn't solve the problem, and it is kind of redundant. Both Shures are also fairly quiet and needs lots of amplification. I don't quite like it since I use them in different contexts that all have good enough driving for all the other phones.  Overall the Shures are still the best headphones I have given all of sound, comfort, quality, lack of microphony. They just don't do the bass thing.
    The Focal Spirit Classic is the best for bass "analysis". But it is really uncomfortable with the small earpads. It is also a bit too closed-in sounding. 
    The ATH I didn't listen to too much yet. It sounded obviously cheaper than the Focal and I have the Focual the testing time. The head arrangement in the ATH is just silly, what are they thinking? Both Shures just sit perfectly at all times and are very comfortable.  I'll give it some extended spin tomorrow.
    I am tempted to shortcut this and either get a AH-D7000 on Ebay or a Fostex TH-900 which might have 15% off on Amazon today.
    On the other hand, I am getting close to have tried literally all mid priced closed headphones. As long as returns work I could close the loop:
    - NAD Viso HP50
    - AKG K550
    What are the K550s like? Did AKG give up on expensive closed phones? Or are these just good enough? BTW, I made a mistake above. The AKGs I hated were the 271s, not the 272s.

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