Shure SRH-840, Shure SRH-750DJ
The two Shures have gained quite a reputation among headphone enthusiast, and indeed they are good headphones. The SRH-840 is the top of the line in the monitoring line up, where the SRH-750DJ belongs to a different line up as it was designed to be a DJ headphone.
Designed to be worn for hours of continuous use for professional monitoring purposes, the SRH-840 comes with a bigger and comfier pads. It has a medium strength clamping force, and is more comfortable to be used over long periods. The SRH-750DJ, is not nearly as plush in feel, but it gives a better noise isolation due to the stronger clamping force. It’s still quite comfortable, but not as much as the SRH-840. Primarily the difference in comfort is caused due to the smaller and stiffer pads of the SRH-750DJ. While the SRH-840 can lack isolation when worn outdoors, the SRH-750DJ is designed to be used in noisy club environments, and would work better for outdoor uses. Although both are made primarily from plastic material, the SRH-840’s housing feels better built using better quality plastic. The SRH-750DJ is not as good, and the housing sometimes makes creaking noises when I try make adjustment.
The two Shures are like two kids born from the same parents, and sharing similar facial features, yet have two different attitudes. The color and timbre of the sound is very similar, yet the attitude is quite different. The SRH-840 is more laidback, more refined, has a bigger soundstage with more linear top and bottom extension. The SRH-750DJ has a smaller soundstage, but has a more focused and agressive sound. Despite the slightly superior technicalities of the SRH-840, it comes with laid back sound signature, and doesn’t have the attack and energy of the SRH-750DJ.
Both headphones sound quite warm. The frequency balance is fairly linear for the SRH-840, but the SRH-750DJ is less so. Don’t let the DJ tag on the SRH-750DJ make you think that it is a bassy headphone. On the contrary, since house and electronic music are very bass heavy, a good DJ headphone need to have a tight and controlled bass performance, and the SRH-750DJ is exactly that. With the SRH-750DJ, you have more emphasis on the upper midrange and upper and mid bass, where on the SRH-840, you have a more linear frequency balance. As a result, the upper treble and the low bass sometimes is not as prominent in the SRH-750DJ. The SRH-840 can also sound more sibilant, due to the more linear treble extension. So, the SRH-840 has the upper edge in neutrality and frequency range, but the SRH-750DJ can be the more fun sounding.
By nature, the more agressive SRH-750DJ will sound more exciting and involving than the bigger brother. Vocal is also more intimate due to the emphasis on the upper mid, and the punchier bass also contributes to a better PRaT factor. While the SRH-840 is fine for Slow Rock, Jazz, Instrumentals, and Accoustics, it lacks the energy that the SRH-750DJ has. I do think that the more agressive nature of the SRH-750DJ makes up for the lesser technicalities, and for Hard Rock, Electronica, and RnB listeners should go with the SRH-750DJ.
Sometimes it’s hard to choose between the two, but in this case you don’t really have to, because the Audio Technica M-50 takes the best of both headphones and combine it into one.