Shure is no stranger to the headphone space. I’ve had the chance to review several of their models and each time they have impressed me. In this review, I check out the Shure SRH240A to see if this budget-priced option lives up to the Shure name.
The Shure SRH240A is a reasonable pair of headphones at a great price. While these are affordable they do fall short in some key areas. Here are the quick pros and cons before we check these out in more detail.
Budget headphones are full of compromises and the Shure SRH240A is no different. But despite some shortcomings, they are a reasonable choice. Let’s take a closer look.
I’ve always been impressed with the Shure range of headphones. They often deliver excellent sound quality. But this low-priced option is the first time I walked away feeling a little underwhelmed.
The Shure SRH240A offers a fairly neutral sound profile.
First the low end. It is quite balanced and not boomy. A good choice for accuracy but not ideal for people that love bass. The upper and mid-bass stayed true to form but the lower bass region rolls off.
If you like thumping bass these will likely disappoint. But if you prefer your bass to be clean for more analytical listening these do a pretty good job at keeping everything in check.
The mids are also clear and precise but a little too forward than I would like. There is also a bit of brightness present which can be fatiguing over longer sessions. But don’t read too much into this. They are not horrible and expectations need to be realistic at this price point.
The highs also present a little bright but more recessed compared to the mids. The result is a sound profile unlike I’ve heard before in a pair of Shure headphones. For the price point, these are pretty decent but coming from Shure I expected a little more balance across all ranges.
I can’t see these as a staple in a serious studio environment. But for light and casual work, these will get the job done. There is enough neutrality here to set them apart from other headphones in this price bracket.
It all comes down to expectations. These headphones offer a low price point compared to proper studio cans. When set against other options at this price point they perform reasonably well. Not amazing but certainly not woeful.
The Shure SRH240A closed-back headphones offer a decent level of comfort. A noticeable improvement from Shure’s previous entry-level option.
The headband has a good level of padding. You won’t feel these dig into your head and the stability level is fairly high. The clamping force isn’t too light but also not overly tight. It’s a solid balance that results in good comfort levels over long sessions.
The SRH240A features good padding on both the earcups and headband.
The earpads also offer a good level of padding. But a noticeable step down from other options in the Shure range. There is enough form factor here to embrace your ears without issue. Heat build-up is also fairly low for a pair of closed-back headphones.
The only real drawback is that there is no swivel in the cups to adjust to your head shape. This doesn’t greatly decrease comfortability but does present issues with achieving a tight seal.
These headphones are also reasonably lightweight at just 0.63 lbs. (286 grams). The distribution of weight is also good resulting in an unobtrusive feel.
I’ve reviewed many budget headphones and these do a great job of providing comfort without a big price tag.
I’ve generally liked the appearance of Shure headphones. They certainly don’t catch the eye like other headphones. But the simplicity and refinement are something I appreciate for a studio setting.
However, the Shure SRH240A does lean into a few budget headphone tropes that make it less appealing. The main issue is the predominant use of shiny black plastic. I much prefer the matte finish that Shure offers on their other headphones.
The high gloss finish is prone to scratches.
Excessive use of chrome-like edging or shiny black plastic instantly makes headphones look cheap. Of course, everyone has their preferences when it comes to design. But for me, these don’t tick the right boxes.
Looking beyond appearance the SRH240A offers passive isolation thanks to the closed-back design. They do a decent job but the lack of swiveling earcups means the fit isn’t as refined to give you a high level of isolation.
This fit also results in some sound leakage. It is fairly minimal though so unless you have these ultra-loud you shouldn’t experience any bleed in recordings.
These headphones also don’t offer a collapsible design. Not a great choice if you intend on taking these on a trip. These are best left at home or in the studio.
The hardwired cable is another drawback. Dual connection points may also be an issue if you prefer a cable on just one side.
On the compatibility front, these do a great job with a rating of 38 ohms. This ensures that you can use these with lower-powered devices like smartphones. No sacrifice in power. And at 107dB these are reasonably loud.
These are a no-frills pair of headphones without a great number of features. But once again at this price point, you can’t expect too much.
Unfortunately, this is another area that was disappointing compared to other Shure headphones. There is a noticeable dip in build quality.
The black plastic is fairly solid and can handle the odd bump. But as with most shiny plastic, it is prone to scratches. Matte headphones do a much better job of hiding and disguising superficial damage.
The Shure SRH240A features a full plastic build.
The plastic also presents a fair amount of creakiness. The headband is quite flexible but you can certainly hear it when placed under some pressure.
The cable quality is pretty good and at 6.6 ft (2 meters) it is long. A good choice if you like to move around a bit. Or if you tend to sit quite far away from your connection point. The 40mm neodymium dynamic drivers are also decent and housed securely in the casing.
I’ve seen a lot worse at this price point but I’ve also seen a lot better. It’s a middle ground approach that doesn’t inspire confidence. But at the same time, these won’t fall apart the moment you look at them sideways.
This is the strongest feature that the Shure SRH240A offers. These are an aggressively priced pair of closed-back headphones.
Finding good quality headphones in this price range is a very difficult task. This price point is littered with dozens of sub-par options. And these are not one of them. A capable and reasonable pair of headphones that match well to their price.
The Shure SRH240A doesn’t come with any accessories.
But there are no included accessories. No extra cables since the SRH240A don’t offer detachable cables. No included pouch or case. The only other inclusion is the ¼-inch adapter.
Despite no accessories, the SRH240A still offers value for money. A simplistic and decent-sounding pair of headphones. Something I much prefer over flashy and gimmick-laden options that clutter this price range.
I’ve been fairly harsh on these headphones but these are still exceptionally popular. Plenty of satisfied customers appreciated the cheap price point. The comfort level is also a common point of praise for the Shure SRH240A.
Resist The Urge To Turn It Up
Sensitivity levels are one of the most common specifications associated with headphones. This measures the loudness level in decibels (dB).
Most good-quality headphones will offer a level that exceeds 100dB. To put this in context a hairdryer comes in on average at about 90dB. When you consider this you can imagine what this level of volume can do to your hearing.
It is generally best to keep volume levels at around 60-85 decibels. This minimizes the potential of damaging your hearing.
But if you are anything like me you like your music loud! Shorter bursts at higher levels are okay but you should aim to avoid long sessions at high volumes.
But what sensitivity levels can illustrate is the amount of headroom a pair of headphones offer. High sensitivity means that the headphones have more power up their sleeve. This is why you can turn up some headphones and not experience distortion.
So headphones with high sensitivity are worth exploring. Just don’t push your headphones that high frequently. Your ears will thank you for it as you get older!
Digging through the enormous amount of headphones in this price range is challenging. But I’ve done the heavy lifting for you. Here are some other affordable headphones worth considering.
The ATH-M range from Audio Technica offers up a great spread of options. The M20x is their entry-level option. It is also a little cheaper than the SRH240A.
- Pleasant sound profile that is not as bright as the SRH240A.
- Lightweight and comfortable but the ear padding is a bit stiffer.
- Exposed wires between the earcup and headband. Can lead to damage.
Audio Technica ATH-M20x
Shure SRH440A Review
I’ve been quite critical of the SRH240A, mainly because the SRH440A is so impressive. This next level up in the Shure range strikes an excellent balance between price and quality.
- Great level of detail across the full frequency range with good neutrality.
- Durable and attractive design. These also fold flat for travel.
- Much like the SRH240A, it does lean a little on the bright side.
AKG K72 Review
If comfort is high on your list of priorities the AKG K72 should be on your shortlist. These budget-priced headphones have a lot to offer.
- Super comfortable headband and earpads. Great for long listening sessions.
- Good build quality while retaining an aggressive price point.
- The low-end delivery is not the best. Not good for bass lovers.
Should You Buy?
The Shure SRH240A is a decent inclusion in the budget-headphone space. The sound profile is pretty good. The level of detail is quite solid and more than capable of light studio work. These are a bit bright for my liking but everyone has a different preference when it comes to sound.
The creaky build does hold it back a bit but the price point is very appealing. So while it does get some things wrong it also does get some things right. Especially in the comfort department. If you are set on picking up a pair of Shure headphones these are a decent choice for those on a budget.