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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everybody, this is my review of the Shure SRH 840's.

Intro: The Shure SRH840's are a closed ear, studio monitor pair of headphones. They've been out for quite some time now, but in no way are they old. They can be had for $200 which IMO is a steal for what is being offered. The frequency range is 5 Hz - 25 kHz and they have a low impedance of 44 ohms.
Now, on to the review..

First Impressions: WHOA, these babies are heavy. They are coming in at a solid 1.75lbs. To those interested in comfort, this could prove to be a problem, but we'll delve further into that later.
I personally think that these are some fantastic looking headphones. They have a sleek black leather head band with "Shure" engraved into the top. The drivers are a matte black with a silver trim. Very sharp looking. The ear pads are an uber-comfy black leather (though I don't think it truly is real leather), but if you are the kind of person that sweats a lot, these could end up getting smelly. The indicators for Left and Right are colour coded, but tastefully so.
The cable is easily interchangeable which is very handy. You just turn it 90 degrees to unlock it, and it comes out easily. This is great for traveling, but even better if you plan on upgrading the cable itself.
The headphones come with two extra earpads, a leather carrying case, and a standard gold 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter. Though the carrying case is nice, the drawstring on mine broke after a few months of use.



 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Sound:
I used these headphones straight from my iPod using high quality (320 bit mostly) mp3's. The setup is pretty vanilla, but thats simply what I have to work with. Luckily, I've gotten to hear the Shure SRH840's hooked up to some very high quality amps and cd players, so I can use that for reference.
First off, these headphones are not hard to drive at all. My iPod can push them to uncomfortably loud volumes fairly easily. If you really insist on amping these, I wouldn't recommend a SS amp. They have a fairly low impedance, so an SS amp won't do to much for them. In fact, I got to hear these headphones hooked up to a top of the line Bryston SS amp, and to be fully honest, I could hardly hear the difference. The lower end had slightly more depth but thats about as far as it went in terms of improvements. I would, however, recommend a nice tube amp. It could add some nice warmth to the headphones and it would really help extend those lower frequencies. Not that the 840's really need that at all.
I'll start off with the low end performance of the Shure SRH 840's. I would describe the 840's low ends as just right. At a slightly louder volume, its all you could ask for. The bass is certainly present, but in no way is it overpowering. You really get the sense that the bass is exactly as it was meant to sound. The lower ends aren't dull in any way, but they're not exactly rich either. The low ends seem balanced to me. When listening to black metal which consists of machine gun heavy riffs, the 840's keep up perfectly. I think that the low end fills out quite nicely when listening to classical music as well. The only time I feel like they start to struggle and roll off is when listening to the song Paradise by Mickey Factz, but thats the only time I've ever noticed it. If I had to complain, I would say that the 840's lack a bit of volume. I listened to the Sennheiser HD 650's in comparison, and it was only then that I noticed that the 840's lower ends weren't as full, and that they were slightly lacking in depth. But then again, the comparison isn't necessarily fair, seeing as the 650's will run you $300-$400 more than the 840's.

The mids are where these headphones shine. The mid range on the 840's soar high and above most other headphones I've listened too, and thats saying something. To be honest, I would have to say that the mids on these headphones have a slightly warmer inclination, but its something that I'm definitely a fan of. Female vocals sound gorgeous. In no way are these mids airy or thin. The 840's have a mid range that invites you into its home, sits you down in a comfy chair, and serves you a glass of wine while overlooking the sunset on a lake.
The same is not to be said upon first listen. Though I wouldn't say that the 840's have the most drastic burn in I've ever heard, the difference is definitely noticeable, and I would recommend 100+ hours of burn in for these headphones to reach their full potential.

Sadly, the highs of the 840's are a bit lackluster. They are too ordinary. They are in no way bad, but they kind of bottlneck the performance of the headphones. They are simply not on par with its lows, and definitely not with its mids. When listening to high hats being hit, or violins extending to their higher ranges, you start to feel like the highs are a bit thin.
The upper treble is too much for me. It sounds thick and crowded, and if I had to pick one place where these headphones fall short, it would be here.

The 840's are decent when it comes to precision. Its not anything extraordinary, but in no way is it lacking. When talking about how precise headphones are, its really a matter of good, or ordinary. Precision is either there, or it isn't. If a headphone isn't precise, it won't take anything away from the experience, its just that something that is precise will bring something new to the table.

I find that the 840's have great positioning. The headphones are definitely more forward in their presentation, but not overly so. The sound really feels like its coming from multiple different directions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Comfort: Ahh, and here we finally arrive at the Shure SRH 840's main downfall. Its weight. When I first got it, my head was hurting after 20 minutes. Within a few days you get used to it, but even now, after having had the 840's for a number of months, I can only have the headphones on for an hour at a time. After an hour, I have to take them off to give my head a break.
The headband is just so heavy that it weighs down on your head and it can really get uncomfortable.
On the other hand, I do like the feel of the ear pads, so its not all bad.

Portability: These headphones fold up into a nice small package, and the included carrying case is a nice bonus (though again, the drawstring on mine broke within a few months). They are heavy so they can weigh a backpack down, but IMO they are fine.

Durability: These headphones are pretty tough. I'll admit that there has been times when I haven't been so careful with them. They've been sat on, dropped from 3 feet up, and though I wouldn't recommend doing any of this on purpose, there isn't a scratch on them and they still sound beautiful.

Noise Control: In no way are these isolating headphones, but they actually do quite well in blocking out background noise. In terms of noise leakage, they aren't too too bad. At over half volume on my ipod, the music is definitely audible to people around me if I'm in a quiet room, but its not until I turn the headphones up really loud (uncomfortably so) that they start becoming a nuisance.

Conclusion: These headphones are great. The 840's have their quirks, but there is so much to like about them that it doesn't really matter. They are unquestionably the best in their price range ($200) and provide an unreal value.
Sound - Exiting lows, unreal mids, and ok highs land these headphones a solid 9/10. Whats great is that in no way do these headphones need to be amped (an iPod can drive them to volumes that are more than loud enough), but they can benefit from it (a nice tube amp will add some warm coloration and help add some depth to the lows). I listened to these in comparison to the Sennheiser HD 650's and I personally think that the 840's gave them a decent run for their money. In the end, they lost out because the lows were just that much more full, the highs were just that much more crisp, and the soundstage was just that much more involving. The extra $400 was also just that much more money.
Comfort - Unfortunately, this is where the 840's really lose out. 5/10. They are too heavy, almost to the point that you've got to wonder what the engineers were thinking when they designed it.
Value - 10/10. For that price, the headphones can't come close to being beat.
I'm not going to bother rating portability and durability because they are kind of irrelevant when it comes to Hi-fi headphones. It is easier to say that they are good enough.

Anyways, thanks for reading my review!
 

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Thanks for the review. My M50s are basically the same-good sound quality (although when it comes to mids HD600 offer much more) but very uncomfortable due to its weight and cheap pads.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
ya no prob. I haven't personally heard the M50's, nor have I heard the HD600's (though as I stated, I have heard the HD650's). I personally didn't find the midrange of the HD650's to be that much better than the 840's. It was the low end that really shocked me. After putting my 840's back on, the bottom end really felt lacking. Though not so much that I would pay the $300-$400 difference to make up for it
 

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Shure makes some great products. I have the Shure SE530 and they're awesome. If you ever get the chance, take a listen. The bass is absolutely unbelievable...tight and fast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by sccr64472 View Post
Shure makes some great products. I have the Shure SE530 and they're awesome. If you ever get the chance, take a listen. The bass is absolutely unbelievable...tight and fast.
I would love to give those a listen one day, but >$500 IEM's are certainly not on my foreseeable buying list
 

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thanks for taking the time to do this. I added your thread to the essential reading sticky.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by soloz2 View Post
thanks for taking the time to do this. I added your thread to the essential reading sticky.
It was my pleasure.
Thanks! I must say it feels like quite the honor
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Ckaz View Post
I would love to give those a listen one day, but >$500 IEM's are certainly not on my foreseeable buying list
Gotta look in all the right places to get them for substantially lower prices.
 

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I have the srh 440 myself. I love them. I've heard that they sound a bit better overall than the 840 with no amp, but that the 840 with an amp takes it to a whole new level, easily justifying the price of admission. As soon as I find myself a good but cheap headphone amp, I'll consider these as I keep reading good reviews
 
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