SRH-840, HD25-1, and ESW-9

When I say that the Shure is an all rounder, don’t mistake an “all rounder” with “mediocre for any music”, as the SRH-840 is far from mediocre. As a matter of fact, I highly enjoy listening to just about any music on the SRH-840. The thing with the SRH-840 is, sometimes a neutral sound can be under-appreciated, as nothing really stands out from its presentation. On the other hand, having the most neutral sound also makes it the most flexible headphone for amplifier pairings, as it can sound very smooth out of a tube amplifier like the WooAudio6, as well as sounding very dynamic from a good solid state.

As I’ve said in the beginning, all three headphones are great in their own respect, and I don’t think a best-to-least ranking is appropriate in this situation. Hence I’ll conclude the comparison like this:

The Shure SRH-840 is the all rounder. It handles a lot of music very well.
The Sennheiser HD25-1 is the cans to get if you like fast, impactful music, especially Rock and Rap.
The Audio Technica ESW-9 is the cans to get if you dig heavy tube flavoring in your music.

4.5/5 - (2 votes)



  • Reply December 16, 2010


    BE the Pokemon Master… Collect All Three!!! HE HE HE!!!

  • Reply May 5, 2011


    Hi Mike, Really like your reviews. I’m looking for a pair of on ear phones to supplement my IE8’s. I have tried ATH M50’s and find they are too big for my small head….. I listen to a wide variety of music from Female Vocal, Jazz, Electronic, Classical & Rock and would like something for all genres? Would the HD25-1 be a good choice or something open backed like a HD600 / 650? Suggestions greatly appreciated.

    • Reply May 5, 2011


      If you think the M-50 are too big, then the HD600/650 would also be too

      The HD25-1 is a good one, but it’s a bit too forward and claustrophobic
      for classical. If you want to spend more money (~$500), the Sony Z1000
      ( is a very good
      all rounder, though not as good as the HD25-1 for Rock. If you want to
      look into cheaper options, the ATH SJ55
      has quite a wide genre bandwith as well, should be good for most of the
      music you listed, except perhaps Classical.

      Obviously the Sony at $500 will give the best level of refinement, but
      if talking about purely genre bandwith, I think the SJ55 is just as good.

      • Reply January 21, 2012

        Chris Allen

        I thought the ESW-9 would be suitable for Classical music?

        • Reply January 21, 2012


          It’s not bad, but not the best choice.

  • Reply October 23, 2011


    Mike, just curious but where would the Beyerdynamic 7/800s fit into this big headphone mess?

    • Reply October 24, 2011


      The DT770-880s you mean?

      Well technically the 770-880 are more capable than this trio, but in my opinion their voicing is best suited for monitoring and not music listening, though I know people who loves the 770-880 for music.

  • Reply January 28, 2013

    Eric Thompson

    SRH840’s don’t have enough bass for me, my DT 770’s and Denon D-5000’s sound like beats bass cannons compared to the SRH840’s but they have a detailed and flat mid-range and treble for monitoring, they would be really good for rock if they had a little more bass. I wouldn’t care so much if you could get more bass out of them but eq doesn’t do much either

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