Selecting a good pair of open-back headphones is an integral decision for your studio. These headphones are ideal for critical listening. Plus they are also fantastic for enjoying your favorite music. In this review, we check out the top-of-the-line offering from Shure the SRH1840. Do these headphones deliver? Read on to find out.
The Shure SRH1840 premium open-back headphones offer an exceptional array of features. Good sound quality coupled with premium materials makes them one of the best options available today.
There is a lot to unpack when it comes to the Shure SRH1840 studio headphones. Below we take a deep dive into what these premium headphones have to offer.
The audio experience is first and foremost for any assessments. And the Shure SRH1840 does not disappoint.
As with all open-back headphones the design lends itself to a spacious and pleasurable listening experience. There is plenty of room for the music to breathe without unwanted frequency build-up. The SRH1840 does an exceptional job of making you feel like you are listening to speakers rather than headphones.
The Shure SRH1840 offers premium-level sound quality.
The soundstage is broad and you can feel the placement of the elements. Everything has its place and they offer a great translation of the source material.
This precision extends to the frequency response. These headphones are exceptionally flat and on par with some of the most neutral headphones available today. The highs are bright and clear. They may be a bit overly bright for some, but I like a distinct hit of sharpness and clarity in the highs. The mids are equally clear and precise. Plenty of warmth without colorization. Though the lower mids do start to show some weakness. As with many neutral headphones, the bass is flat which may disappoint some people. If you like thumping bass you’ll need to look elsewhere. But for critical listening these are great.
At 65 ohms these perform reasonably when connected to modern electronics like smartphones and tablets. But if you do want to get the most out of them I’d suggest pairing these with a good headphone amp.
For mixing and mastering these are a fantastic set of headphones. And depending on your preferred taste in music they are equally impressive for general listening.
If you are looking for comfortable headphones for long studio sessions you’ve come to the right place. These are lightweight at just 0.59 lbs. (268 grams). But more importantly, they offer a light clamping force that alleviates the potential for strain. Over longer sessions, you won’t feel these on your head. This is despite the relatively low amount of headband padding which did make me nervous at first glance. While light on clamping force these are secure enough to not slide around on your head.
The Shure SRH1840 offers minimal headband padding but retains comfort.
The ear padding is also soft and durable. The velour pads also help minimize heat which adds to the comfort level. The high-density, slow-recovery foam offers just enough adaptability to handle most head and ear shapes. The ear padding is also replaceable with a spare set included in the box.
I like the direction Shure has taken with these headphones. They have the professional in mind. They offer an attractive and understated profile. The combination of black and deep grey doesn’t scream out at you. Sleek, stylish, and professional. The added high gloss silver finish around the drivers does add a little sparkle to an otherwise muted aesthetic.
The Shure SRH1840 is expensive but offers high-quality components.
Beyond appearance, the Shure SRH1840 offers 40mm neodymium drivers. These types of drivers are popular for headphones due to their higher sensitivity and accurate response. They are also individually matched for consistent performance.
The Shure SRH1840 also offers a detachable cable. This reduces the potential for damage from unintentional pressure on the connection points. Plus this also allows you to replace the cable if required. As with many studio headphones, these do not offer a collapsible design. Nor do they offer swiveling earcups.
These headphones will also leak sound due to the open-back style. If you want isolation you’ll need to look at closed-back options.
With a high level of performance and precision Shure has delivered an excellent set of professional cans. When you add in the sleek design there is little to fault.
A premium set of headphones needs to deliver in this area. When you are investing in a pair of high-end studio headphones you want them to last. In this regard, Shure has not let me down. There is an excellent balance between functionality and durability on display.
The aircraft-grade aluminum alloy yoke is dependable and lightweight. The drivers are high-quality and perfected executed. The stainless-steel grilles are also excellent and help protect the drivers. But as with all open-back designs, there is the potential for dust build-up.
The Shure SRH1840 includes two detachable cables.
The straight 6.9′ (210cm) cable is also solid and dependable. It offers dual-exit cables with gold-plated MMCX connectors. The included adapter is also high-quality. Shure also offers a long two-year warranty and great support in the unlikely event that something was to go wrong.
Replaceable components also add to the appeal. I’ve always disliked having to buy a whole new set of headphones when all I need is a new cable.
At this price point, I expect high quality throughout, and Shure has delivered.
Studio headphones can vary greatly in price. The Shure SRH1840 is not a cheap set of headphones. But it does offer good value. The sound quality is great and the component quality is high. These are an investment but one you can make with confidence.
The hardshell case is an excellent inclusion.
There is plenty of added accessories included. The hardshell case is perfect for protecting your investment between listening sessions. An extra set of earpads is also a welcome sight. Plus a backup cable. You have everything you need in the box to ensure you get plenty of long-term value.
Despite the high price point, the Shure SRH1840 is worth every dollar.
The Shure1840 is a very popular set of headphones. Praise for the sound quality is abundant. There are also no complaints when it comes to comfort and the build quality.
Are Open-Back Headphones Right For You?
I’m a firm believer that any music lover should own a pair of high-quality open-back headphones. The sound delivery they offer is a unique and different experience to regular closed-back headphones. Allowing the music to have room to breathe opens you up to a pleasant and engaging listening experience. The soundstage is broader and more detailed and the representation of the music more precise.
Open-back headphones are excellent for analytical listening.
But open-back headphones are not without their faults. If you are looking for a pair of headphones for your daily commute these are not great. They leak sound so that everyone around you hears what you are listening to. Likewise, they let sound in. This is the last thing you want on a plane or train. It is also not ideal for casual listening at home in a noisy environment.
Understanding what your needs are can quickly steer you in the right direction. If you need headphones for accurate mixing and mastering, open-back headphones are a no-brainer. But if you need isolation or don’t require a high level of accuracy there are other options you can explore.
There are several options available in the studio headphones market. Below are some alternatives to the SRH1840 that are worth considering.
Sennheiser HD 600 Review
The HD 600 from Sennheiser is an icon in the studio headphone space. After almost two decades these are still among the highest rated studio headphones available.
- Ultra-flat response for accurate mixing and mastering.
- High clarity and comfort for long studio sessions.
- Not as attractive as the Shure SRH1840’s.
Read our full Sennheiser HD 600 review for more detailed information.
Sennheiser HD 600
Beyerdynamic DT 990 Review
The Beyerdynamic DT 990 is a more affordable option if the price point of the SRH1840 is too high for your budget. They still offer great sound quality but are not as flat and detailed.
- Super comfortable ear pads that are replaceable.
- Spacious soundstage and a more pronounced low-end.
- The hardwired cable is not amazing.
Read our full Beyerdynamic DT 990 review for more detailed information.
Beyerdynamic DT 990
Monolith M1060 Review
If you don’t care too deeply about accuracy the Monolith M1060 is a good option. Offering a striking and bold design these headphones are well suited for casual listening.
- The large 106mm drivers deliver a lush and pleasant listening experience.
- Unique design that catches the eye and instantly makes a statement.
- At nearly double the weight of the Shure SRH1840, these are rather bulky.
Read our full Monolith M1060 review for more detailed information.
Should You Buy?
I’ve had the chance to review several options from the Shure range of headphones. Each time they have not disappointed. The SRH1840 lives up to its premium title and price. It is clear they have taken the same legendary attention to detail they offer in their range of microphones and applied that here.
They are a serious set of very capable headphones. Great sound, functional design, and premium accessories. If you are looking for high-quality studio headphones the Shure SRH1840 is a great choice.