Shure is a pioneer in the headphone world. The company may not be as well known as the likes of Beats among consumers, but when it comes to professional audio, it’s one of the most important companies out there. In fact, I’ve been using a pair of Shure headphones for years now — the Shure SRH840 headphones.
Of course, generally speaking we review new headphones rather than aging ones like the Shure SRH840 headphones — but the fact is the SRH840s are still being sold, and therefor still current. Because of that, we decided to put them through our testing to see how they fared.
The Shure SRH840 headphones are an over-ear pair of headphones that feature a sleek black look. While they fold up pretty well, the fact is that they’re better suited to being your stay-at-home (or stay-in-the-studio) pair of headphones. Why? Well, they’re pretty big, and don’t have a particularly tight clasp. That’s not necessarily a bad thing for home listening, but these aren’t your street headphones.
Still, compared to other home or studio headphones, the Shure SRH840 headphones are pretty compact. They fold up and fit inside a carry case, so if you do have to take them out to another studio, you’ll be able to pretty easily. Not only that, but each ear can flip around 180-degrees, so you can listen with one ear while you’re mixing.
The fact that the headphones are pretty large doesn’t mean they’re ugly — they’re not. Not by a long shot. The color scheme combined with the metal plate on each ear cup gives the headphones a very premium and professional look.
There are a few quirks to mention when it comes to design. For example, each earcup has a super thin wire that features on the outside of the headphones — and that cable could pretty easily be broken if you aren’t careful. The assumption is that this is due to the folding nature of the headphones, but the result is the same regardless. You’ll want to be a little careful to not let that wire snag, or else you may find yourself with a useless pair of headphones.
Speaking of breaking, the general build-quality of the headphones is pretty good. We would have liked to see a little more metal, but the plastic used is strong and well-built, so we can’t complain too much.
In the box, you’ll find a coiled cable, an extra pair of foam ear pads, a 1/4″ gold-plated adapter, and a leather carry pouch.
In general, the Shure SRH840s look great, and while they do have a few design quirks, nothing’s perfect.
The Shure SRH840 headphones are very comfortable. The clasp isn’t too tight at all, and while the headphones are pretty heavy, there’s plenty of padding on the headband to prevent that from becoming too much of an issue.
Not only that, but the ear pads, which should last a few years, can be replaced — so if they get worn out you’re covered. In the years that we’ve used them, we’ve found that there is also some wear and tear on the headband — but the fact is that’s normal for a pair of headphones.
In general, the Shure SRH840s are comfortable, and while they’re not overly light, that doesn’t become too much of an issue.
The sound quality is by far the best thing about these headphones. They’re clear, crips, natural-sounding, and they don’t go over the top in any frequency range. Safe to say, if you’re looking for a pair of headphones for a great sound, these are the ones to get. They sound like a dream.
Let’s start with the bass, which sounds great. There’s plenty of bass to speak of here, and while a totally natural-sounding pair of headphones would offer slightly less, the fact is that once you get used to that you can adjust your mixes accordingly. Or, if you’re not mixing but rather listening, you might like the ever-so-slight bass boost the headphones have on offer. That’s not to say that these will be good for mega-bass fans — people looking for huge bass boosts should keep on looking.
The mid-range is extremely well-tuned. It offers a slight warmth to it, but not too much to sound muddy or overly low-mid-heavy. The high-mids are clean and crisp, without being too present — which would be problematic.
The high-end of these headphones is beautiful. In general, the headphones lean a little more towards the high-end than others, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The top frequencies are super clean and clear, which helps things like vocals and guitars shine through in the mix. Cymbals sound clear without being piercing.
In general, the headphones sit in an interesting spot. They are tuned a little to sound more fun than other studio or professional headphones, which makes them perfect for home hi-fi situations. That being said, they still work great for mixing engineers looking for a pair of reference headphones — as long as you take into consideration the sound profile that the headphones have to offer.
The headphones are closed-back, meaning they offer some noise isolation — but if you’re looking to truly cut out the outside noise you may want to look into a pair of active noise cancelling headphones.
Nothing’s perfect, but the Shure SRH840s come pretty close — and at a good price too. The headphones are well-built and look good, are generally quite comfortable, and sound awesome. No, they don’t sound boring for the sake of accuracy — which some people might be looking for — but they still sound natural and would be a great pair of reference headphones for any studio, or a great pair of listening headphones for any home. The headphones aren’t cheap, to be sure, but at $199 you really can’t do much better.
In fact, the fact that these have such good value for money and sound better than many headphones double their price means that the Shure SRH840 headphones win the Headphone Review Gold Medal.
|Frequency response||5Hz – 25kHz||Active noise cancellation
|Driver size||40mm||Noise attenuation||Unknown|
|Total harmonic distortion
|Rated input power
|Maximum input power
||No||Cable length||3m (9.8ft)|
||Yes||Case type||Carry pouch|