With plenty of Shure products landing on my desk this week, it seems like the perfect opportunity to tackle different models in each pricepoint. And for those searching for an open-back headphone around $300, the Shure SRH1440 maybe the answer to a prayer. But just how well does it stack up to the competition?
Shure SRH1440 Review
Mmm mmm mmm.
The SRH1440 is plastic, fairly light, and sporting some comfy velour padding on the ear cups, and a bit of pleather padding on the headband. Inside the box, there’s an extra pair of earpads (also velour), two detachable 6.9 ft (2.1 m) cables, and a 1/4″ adapter plug.
When I put the SRH1440 on my head, I’m surprised by clamping force. It’s a little bit uncomfortable, but it would probably be even more uncomfortable if it weren’t for that luscious velour padding.
This headphone has a frequency range of 15-27000 hertz, and a nominal impedance of 37 ohms. Pairing it with the FiiO Q1 – a decent-enough portable amp/DAC – offered a noticeable if slight improvement in clarity. I was also appreciative of the Q1’s bass boost feature, which paired well with the natural-sounding low-end of the 1440.
Mids remain excellent, with no bleeding at higher volumes. Highs never get piercing or unpleasant. Overall, it’s an articulate, detailed, and lifelike sound. Whereas the similar closed-back SRH940 might offer a similar amount of detail and clarity, the realness ain’t there. But in the SRH1440, you can feel your favorite artists breaking the 4th audio wall.
Compared to the Beyerdynamic DT880, the Shure SRH1440 may sound a little less-relaxed, without as much separation. However the Beyerdynamic DT880 also seems less sensitive. Another popular headphone, the HiFiMan HE400s, fares worse, with good, detailed bass to its credit, but lacks significant amounts of high-end detail that is present in the 1440. Finally, there’s the Grado SR325e. And as much as I love Grado in general, this particular headphone can’t hold a candle to a Shure thing. First, there’s the harsher highs, which almost grate on my nerves. Then we’ve also got less controlled bass, getting sloppy at times and bleeding into the mids. Ugh.
Sooo, if you’ve gotten your tax return already and you’re thinking of a decent open-back headphone around the $300 pricepoint, our recommendation is going to be on either the Shure SRH1440, or even the Beyerdynamic DT880. If you want the best all-rounder, opt for Shure. If you listen to old sub-par recordings or prefer a more relaxed sound at the expense of detail, go with the DT880. If you’re a recovering basshead and feel the urge to fall off the wagon again, give the HiFiMan HE400s a listen. As for Grado, well, we’d say save up another two hundred shekels and think about picking up the RS2e.