The Shure SRH1840 runs about $499. Sporting an open-back design, it’s definitely packing some high-end sound. But just how good of a sound is it? And is it worth the price tag?
Shure SRH1840 Review
The SRH1840 comes in a large box that holds the headphones, a carrying case, two pairs of removable cables, an extra pair of earpads, and a 1/4” stereo adapter plug.
Build quality is superb, with the headphones making use of a thick aluminum extenders, as well as ample pleather padding on the headband and velour padding on the earcups. As comfortable as it is sturdy, these headphones handle long listening sessions particularly well.
|Sensitivity||96 dB SPL/mW|
|Maximum Input Power||1000 mW|
|Frequency Range||10 Hz – 30 kHz|
|Weight||0.59 lbs (268 g)|
|Cable Style||Dual-exit, detachable oxygen-free copper|
|Cable Length||6.9 ft (2.1 m)|
|Plug||Gold-plated 1/8″ (3.5 mm) stereo mini-jack|
The specifications reveal a headphone with decent volume levels, a fairly wide frequency range, and a relatively low nominal impedance. While you could probably achieve a decent sound when using these headphones with a portable player or computer, we chose to amp them with the FiiO A3 amplifier – a nifty $59.99 model that offers more than enough power to properly drive these headphones.
The lows on the SRH1840 are deep and fairly full, with plenty of detail. Bass features some strong impact, and good control means there is no bleeding. As a result, sound in the low end remains clear with ample separation.
Accuracy in the midrange is spot-on, with an overwhelming amount of fine detail that isn’t compromised by distortion or compression. Instrumentation is good, but vocals are downright fantastic.
In the high end, the sound may lean somewhat bright, but still with an overall smooth sound. The highs aren’t sharp, but seem so controlled that they perfectly straddle that fine line between highly detailed and borderline unpleasant. High highs will approach the limits of this headphone, but without becoming piercing. As such, stringed instruments on the SRH1840 sound almost uncannily realistic, while vocals remain smooth and pleasing.
With good depth and some okay placement, the soundstage does sound a little bit compressed or closed in. Still, instruments seem to travel over some distance before entering your ears, and the sound is relatively rich and full – no doubt helped along by some excellent clarity and separation.
The Shure SRH1840 is a homerun as far as a Shure headphone is concerned. With great build quality, ample accessories, and a highly-detailed sound, these open-back headphones offer an hard-to-beat sound at an extremely fair price.
If you’re a basshead, the Shure SRH1840 may give you something of the low end that you desire, while retaining excellent detail. Of course, if you’d prefer something bassier, the Sennheiser HD650 might be a safer bet, though the sound may seem more “fun” with slightly less resolution. Or, if you desire something brighter, the Grado RS2e might deserve some consideration.
Perhaps the closest competitor to the SRH1840 would be the Hifiman HE400i. During a short listening session, the two sound almost identical to my ears, but with one major difference: while the HE400i has finer low end detail, it lacks !840’s openness in the mids and highs.
For most listening tastes, the Shure SRH1840 is a safe bet, if not the perfect headphone for those who want a well-rounded (but still detailed) listening solution. For more particular or niche tastes, however, other headphones may offer a more tailored sound.
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