Whether you are a DJ, casual listener, or studio professional a solid set of closed-back headphones is an essential bit of gear. In this review, we take a close look at the top-of-the-line SRH1540 from Shure. A powerful and professional set of headphones with a lot to offer.
The Shure SRH1540 delivers in several areas but it isn’t without fault. Check out the highlights before we take a deeper dive into the details.
The Shure SRH1540 is the highest-priced offering in the SRH line from Shure and are very good headphones for music production. Below we take a deep dive to see how they stack up against the competition.
For headphones in this price range, I expect exceptional performance. Thankfully the SRH1540’s are up to the challenge. The sound profile of these headphones is fantastic.
The highs and mids are the real standouts. Highs are tight and crisp with plenty of definition. Likewise, the mids are full and warm. The lows are well-rounded but a little lacking. But this is where it depends on what you’re after from headphones.
The Shure SRH1540 headphones offer premium sound quality.
These are very neutral. They maintain a consistent response across the full frequency range. This is excellent for analytical listening. It’s also ideal for professionals in the studio. But, for DJs and lovers of bass, they may not be as satisfying as other headphones. With a frequency response of 5Hz-25kHz, they have plenty of room in both directions to deliver satisfying performance.
Another highlight is the soundstage. Closed-back headphones can sound a little cramped. But these perform as well as some open-back headphones I’ve used. Spacious and generous. Excellent for mixing and mastering.
If you need or prefer a neutral response these headphones are among the best available. But if you prefer a bit more colorization in the low end these are not ideal.
The Shure SRH1540 offers a very comfortable fit. The plush earpads cover the large 40mm neodymium drivers. These earpads are low density and offer slow-recovery foam. The result is a pleasant and inviting fit that covers your ears. They also come with a spare set which is a thoughtful inclusion.
The Shure SRH1540 earpads are comfortable and offer good breathability.
Heat build-up is always going to be an issue with closed-back headphones but the SRH1540 are not as bad as some other options. You can use these all day as they offer enough breathability without excessive discomfort or annoyance.
The headband also offers some padding but there isn’t much there. You can’t swivel the earcups so you might find that they sit awkwardly depending on your head shape. Most people are more than happy but there are a few outliers.
Appearance-wise the Shure SRH1540 offers a refined and sharp approach. These are professional headphones that do not aim to make a huge statement. The aircraft-grade aluminum alloy adds to the appeal offering a sleek and lightweight profile.
Premium components with excellent attention to detail.
The detachable cable is also a welcome sight with dual-exit connection points. A replacement cable is also included. No exposed wires are another tick in the good design column. But, the SRH1540 isn’t without some drawbacks. The headphones are not foldable making them not an ideal choice for compact transportation. Additionally, the earcups don’t swivel which may be a dealbreaker for some.
My only other gripe is the length of the cable. I would have loved for Shure to include a longer cable as an alternative. At 6ft it’s a little short for some applications.
Despite lacking a couple of features the Shure SRH1540 is an attractive and professional set of headphones. An excellent choice for the home studio.
The Shure SRH1540 offers solid build quality. This is a pair of headphones that are capable of handling frequent use. If you are a working professional you’ll already know how important that is. At this price point, I also wouldn’t expect anything less.
One of the most appealing aspects of the SRH1540 is how robust they are without adding unnecessary weight. These come in at just 0.63 lbs. (286 grams).
Durability is also extended due to the option for replaceable components. Both the cable and earpads are easy to change. The inclusion of backups of both adds to the appeal.
This is one area where it is difficult to judge the Shure SRH1540 headphones. On the one hand, they are expensive and not a small investment. But, they also offer exceptional sound and build quality. Way more than what other comparable models offer.
The Shure SRH1540 comes with an excellent range of accessories.
There are plenty of added accessories including as well. The super tough plastic case is exceptional. And when I say tough I mean it. It is one of the most robust cases I’ve ever seen included with a pair of headphones. Replacement pads and cables are another great inclusion that adds to the value proposition. The threaded gold-plated adapter is also a nice addition.
So while these headphones may be expensive they do offer excellent value.
The vast majority of people love the Shure SRH1540. The exceptional sound quality and included extras are often the top features people mention. With an average score of 4.5 out of 5 stars, this is a well-regarded set of studio headphones.
The Power Of Replaceable Parts
We live in a wasteful world. There was a time where you bought something once. Then if something went wrong you would get it repaired. Unfortunately, there has been a shift to lower-quality products over the last few decades. Products that fail early and offer no option for repair.
Save money with replaceable parts so you can spend more on other studio gear.
But in the headphone space, there are still some excellent options available that buck this trend. Companies like Shure and Sennheiser, to name a few, offer replaceable components. This attention to durability will save you money in the long term. Instead of having to throw out your headphones, you can simply buy the relevant part. You also don’t need a great deal of technical knowledge to make those replacements.
So the next time you are looking at headphones consider if they offer replaceable components. Not only will you save money down the road you’ll also help to ensure there is less rubbish in landfills.
If you are looking to buy studio headphones there are plenty of excellent options available. Here is a small selection of contenders worth considering.
AKG K712 Pro Review
The AKG K712 Pro is another superb set of studio headphones. Perfectly suited to serious studio work they are a workhorse pair of headphones that won’t let you down.
- Fantastic build quality. Dependable and durable headphones from a legendary manufacturer.
- Precise audio delivery that is detailed and neutral. Great for picking out details in your mix.
- The high neutrality also results in a slightly bright top end.
AKG K712 Pro
Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Review
If you want something that is more budget orientated the ATH-M40x from Audio-Technica is a reasonable choice. While not as refined as the SRH1540 it offers excellent value for money.
- A distinct low-end response that is rich, thumpy, and satisfying.
- You’ll have the choice of two cables. Both offer a secure locking mechanism.
- The sound profile is not as balanced as the SRH1540.
Shure SRH840A Review
Shure also offers a cheaper set of headphones in their range. The SRH840A is lower in price but still maintains a lot of the great features of the SRH1540.
- High level of sound quality with excellent balance across frequencies.
- Foldable design makes these a more appealing option for transporting.
- Not as balanced as the SRH1540.
Should You Buy?
The Shure SRH1540 is an impressive set of closed-back headphones. The sound quality is the true stand-out feature. If you care about precision or need it for work these are among the best.
Durable and lightweight these are a dependable set of headphones. Despite a high price point, they offer excellent value for money. A fantastic option for any studio.