Saturday, June 2, 2012

Shure SRH1840 -- now 'Open' (mini Review)


If you have read this blog before then you surely know that I LOVE Shure headphones. I think they manage to capture what I like most about music: details, vocals, acoustic performances, etc. Overall, both SRH440 and SRH940 perform admirably so once I heard that Shure was developing an "open-back" variant for their new flagships, I HAD to get me one of them. And I did...

Pros: Great instrument separation, good clarity, just 'enough' bass presence.
Cons: Price, too similar sounding to a cheaper headphone...

The SRH1840s come in the biggest package for a Shure headphone that I have seen! LOL. But as always, everything comes neatly packaged and completely secured.


* Transducer type: Dynamic neodymium magnet
* Driver size: 40 mm
* Sensitivity (1kHz): 96 dB SPL/mW
* Impedance (1kHz): 65 Ω
* Max. input power (1kHz): 1000 mW
* Frequency range” 10 Hz - 30 kHz
* Net weight (without cable): 0.59 lbs (268 g)
* Length of cable: Coiled: 6.9 ft (2.1 m)
* Type of cable: Dual-exit, detachable oxygen-free copper
* Plug: Gold-plated 1/8" (3.5 mm) stereo mini jack

What's in the Box:

 * Shure SRH1840s
* Carrying Case
* Extra Velour earpads
* Detachable Cable (2x)
* Threaded 1/4" adapter
* Manual


This is something that definitely needs to be discussed a bit. You see, I (and I believe that a LOT of Shure past owners) was looking for something game-changing. I basically THOUGHT that this new flagship headphone was going to be similar to the SRH940s but "open-sounding" and with more bass presence... and I think we got something a bit... different.

Don't misinterpret though, I'm not saying that that is bad!! I actually liked the sound of the SRH1840s. Highs were not as pronounced like on the SRH940s (which is good especially for "faster" genres like Punk and Metal) but they still extended quite well. Mids were not as pronounced either but still you got great reproduction of guitars and vocals (love female vocals on these!). Bass, which was quite anemic on the 940s, is definitely present here so these actually sound... "full"... but still... they just sounded too similar to my Sennheiser HD600s!!!!

Doing A/B comparisons they were just so similar sounding! Now, where the Shure really took the cake was: sound stage and instrument separation! Good God! Some tracks just shined on the SRH1840s leaving the Sennheisers crying in a corner! But other than that, I kept using the Senns more and more...

What else can I say... The Shure SRH1840s definitely comes with extremely comfortable earpads!! The pressure on top (headband) is similar as the SRH940 and it feels better since it's actually a lighter headphone.

For a whole month I kept comparing and testing this new offering against the 940s and HD600s and I definitely came away impressed but only with the "right" tracks. Other than that I was left asking myself: Why would I choose these over my Sennheiser HD600s as my open-back headphones of preference... and I didn't.


So... Shure has definitely come to the "open-back" headphone market with a Great offering. The headphones feel great, are good-looking, come with a great deal of accessories (every other Headphone maker should take note dammit!!!!) and the sound is very balanced throughout the whole spectrum. Again, highs are present but not ear-piercing, mids are not recessed but don't JUMP out on you either, and bass is ... 'there'... (just not enough sub-bass, but still make the headphones sound 'full') But still, if you are in the market for this type of sound, you can do a similar buy and spend $300 less...

All in all, Like them NOT Love them.

If I was going to give them a rating, I'd give them a 3.5 out of 5!

Hope you enjoyed the review.

P.S. For sources I used my PC --> MP3s/FLACs --> Nuforce Icon HDP. Also tested on portable amp by JDSLabs, c421.

Bonus Pics:


Anonymous said...

I also use Nuforce icon HDP + SRH 1840, after 50 hrs break in plus upgrading the cable, performance is much better, 20%+ improvement. BTW, sometimes I use colorfly C4 or cowon C2 + corda stepdance headphone amp, SRH1840 perfectly fits my taste, it is very natural and neutral sounding IMO. Well, you got many top tier cans, cool!

Angel Melendez said...

Oh, don't get me wrong, I really liked the sound from the 1840s and in fact, actually believe it is BETTER than the 940s. Is just that other than the spacious sound stage and instrument separation, nothing else set it apart from what I get with the Senns HD600.

But I believe that Shure has another winner on their hands with this one!