Finally comes the long awaited headphone from Shure. Along with the SRH-840, Shure also introduced two lower end models, the SRH-440, and the SRH-240, as their first ever entry into the headphone market.
The headphone comes with an extra set of pleather pads, a removable 3m coiled cord and a 1/8″ to a 1/4″ converter, and a carrying pouch. I really like the extra pleather pads, and I think every manufacturer should ship headphones with an extra sets of pads. The removable cord utilizes a 2.5mm connector to the headphone side, and a standard 3.5mm connector to the amplifier side. Since a 2.5mm connector doesn’t come with its own locking mechanism (unlike the mini-XLRs used by AKG), Shure has implemented a locking collar to prevent the cable from being pulled out accidentally.
Wearing the Shure feels very comfortable. They have the perfect amount of clamping that is not too hard, but enough to keep the headphone steady even when walking outdoors. The pleather pads is one of the most comfortable pads I’ve tried, only slightly less comfortable to the Beats Studio headphones. I initially felt that the Shure provides no breathing space for my ear, and that my ears gets warm really quick while wearing the Shure. But after spending a few days with the Shure, now I don’t feel that my ears get warm anymore, I don’t know if the pads have “broken in”, or if I just got used to the pads. Clearly, they are now very comfortable. Compared to other popular closed cans like the Beyerdynamics DT770, Audio-Technica ESW-9, the Audio-Technica M50, and the Sennheiser HD25-1, I personally prefer the fit and the comfort of the Shure, though the ESW-9 is also very comfortable.
The only problem with the ergonomics of the Shure, is that their very thick headband, though very comfortable, added to the overall bulk of the headphone, and the Shure is not a lightweight like the HD25-1 or the ESW-9. Even the full size Beyer DT770 still feels lighter than the Shure. Good thing is that the superb fit and comfort helps you forget the weight of the headphone.
The Shure has an impedance of 44 Ohms and a sensitivity of 102 dB/mW, both at 1kHz. That means an Ipod can drive the Shure to really loud levels. Outside sound isolation is very good, although the HD25-1 is still king in outside isolation.
Fresh out of the box, I listened to the Shure SRH-840 using the Ipod Touch 2nd Gen, and a Corda 3Move amplifier. The sound is definitely warm. It has a sweet midrange that reminds me of the SE530 IEM — the IEM with the Shure signature midrange. It has plenty of bass, sometimes even more overpowering than the Beats Studio Headphones that I reviewed. The bass is uncontroled, and is a big mess. The treble is rough, and doesn’t fall in line with the smooth sounding midrange. While the overal sound signature is very good, the SRH-840 certainly lacks in refinement. I saw the potential of the Shure, and I quickly put the Shure for a pink-noise burn in. A pink-noise burn in is very hard on the driver, and is not recommended to be done for long-term burn in, so I just did a 5 hours pink-noise burn.
Five hours later, the overpowering bass has been greatly reduced, separation is clearer, and treble begins to smooth out. Awesome. The SRH-840 definitely has potential. I still think that more burn in is needed, but this time for longer time, and instead of pink-noise I’ll use some real music for a more natural burn-in.