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Shure SRH1840 headphones review

From the makers of arguably the most well respected audio tools out there, most notably the SM58 microphone, Shure present the SRH1840 professional open backed headphones.

Shure have come up with a series of high quality headphones for professional use and this model is specifically aimed at professional recording and mastering engineers or discerning audiophiles. The SRH1840 headphones arrive in deluxe packaging and on opening one can sense the attention to detail. Aside from the headphones themselves, you’re also given a zippered hard travel case, which has moulded space to fit your headphones and keep them safe from wear and tear in transit. A spare set of velour ear pads and an extra detachable cable are also included. The cables themselves are generous in length, measuring just over two metres each and ending in 1/8” stereo jacks with a threaded ¼” adapter neatly hidden in the pouch of the travel case. The detachable cables are easy to snap in and out of their mini sockets but at the same time remain sturdy and tight enough to not fall out by accident. These are open backed headphones which allow some of the sound to leak out of the back of the ear cups and in turn allow some of the ambient sound in. This gives a natural and spacious listening experience that allows you to perceive the sound source as coming from a distance, rather like you would if you were listening to a set of quality speakers. Conversely, closed back headphones don’t leak out sound and don’t let any ambient sound in, making it feel like the sound source is coming from your own head.

The build quality of the headphones is of a considerable standard, with gold plated jacks and cables made with oxygen free copper dressed in kevlar jackets for added durability. Oxygen free copper helps the conductivity in audio equipment – by very small margin, admittedly – but Shure don’t cut corners and if small percentages can give the edge in terms of higher fidelity then that’s what they’ll do. The steel driver frame is carefully designed to lessen internal resonances, and the headset is easily adjustable and comfortable. The whopping range of frequency response goes all the way down to a floor shattering 10Hz and ceilings at a dog whimpering 30,000Hz , far wider than human ears can actually perceive.

So what is the experience of listening to audio through the SRH1840 head phones? To answer this you need to know the source quality of your audio.These headphones are designed to let in the surrounding ambient sound.;that means that before you even start your music, your listening environment will be affecting what you hear. (Nobody is going to creep up on you whilst you are wearing these as you can still perceive the outside world.) You can hear the perception of depth in the music with a full three dimensional perspective. The bass doesn’t bear hug you like it might do when listening through closed back headphones, there is a transparency to the sound and, as you would expect, a wide stereo image. These headphones don’t care what music you like; they want to deliver hi fidelity and present the sound in its entirety. They want the music to seduce you and to this end they deliver.

There have been a lot of high profile (and expensive) headphones on the market recently which have raised the stakes – such as the Beats by Dr Dre – and it would seem people now expect more from their headphones. In this age of digital music it might appear ostensibly that people are not interested in high quality audio anymore. But mastering techniques are adapting to this new world, with many artists getting their music especially prepared for mp3 compression. In a lot of ways audio quality has never mattered more and there are more ways than ever to enjoy your music privately. There are plenty of closed back headphones that are very easy to fall in love with, but when it comes to open backed headphones the SRH1840s are top of the tree.

Review: Robin Lee 


Transducer Type Dynamic, Neodymium magnet
Driver Size 40 mm
Frequency response 10Hz – 30,000Hz
Sensitivity at 1Khz 96dB/mW
Impedance at 1Khz 65 Ohms
Maximum Input Power 1000 mW
Weight 268 grams with out cable and package. 2.29 Kgs in box
Connections 1/8″ gold-plated stereo minijack with 1/4″ adapter
Cable 2.1 metre detachable oxygen free copper