Headphones have become ubiquitous in the daily life of a DJ. From listening to new music while traveling, performing a DJ set, or mixing and mastering your latest production. Selecting a pair of headphones that can handle various tasks is not an easy challenge. In this review, we check out the Shure SRH840. A pair of headphones that aims to handle a variety of jobs.
The Shure SRH840 is a well-priced pair of headphones with some excellent features. Let’s check out where it shines and where it falls flat.
The Shure SRH840 has a lot to offer the modern working DJ. Let’s breakdown these great headphones in more detail.
One of the greatest features of the Shure SRH840 is the excellent audio quality. These headphones offer a pleasing natural and flat response.
The bass is not overly prominent which makes these an ideal candidate for studio work. But, for DJs that mix bass-heavy music, the softer low end may not be ideal. When DJing having a pronounced low end can make beat matching easier. But, that same pronounced bass can warp your perception when in the studio. It’s a difficult balance to strike. If you are primarily a producer these are an excellent choice.
The mids offer plenty of depth with no muddy tones. The detail is crisp allowing you to accurately define the key components of your mix. Likewise, the high-end is clean and clear. Excellent definition with no harsh highs.
The Shure SRH840 is heavier than other headphones.
As expected with closed-back headphones the soundstage doesn’t have much room to breathe. Despite this, the excellent balance between frequencies limits too much audio build-up.
For DJs that don’t need loud and distinct bass, these are excellent. When you factor in the neutral response they become an excellent all-rounder for both performing and studio work.
The comfort level on the Shure SRH840 is another standout feature. The depth of the earcups is not very deep so you may feel your ears touch the inner padding. Luckily this doesn’t impact the comfort level even during longer listening sessions.
The pleather coating is quite common for DJ headphones and generally equals decent comfort. While they can get a little hot and sweaty they also offer solid durability. A spare set of pads is also included.
The long coiled cable allows you to comfortably move around when listening.
The headband follows the same pleather padding approach and sits comfortably on your head. As for the clamp feel these are on the looser side. For some, this may be a benefit but for aggressive head-bobbing, there is the chance these will slip off. The lighter clamping does add to the comfort but I prefer my headphones to sit a little tighter on my head.
The only drawback is that these are on the heavier side compared to other headphones. It can be a little jarring when you first put these on. Despite the heavier feel, the comfort level isn’t impacted.
A comfortable set of headphones that perform well when used for extended sessions.
The design of the Shure SRH840 does leave a bit to be desired. The primary issue is the exposed wiring between the cans. I’m always very wary of headphones that have exposed wires. The risk of accidentally pulling at them is there. Even if you are very careful it wouldn’t take much to have these wires catch on something.
Exposed wires can easily catch if you are not careful.
These headphones are foldable which is excellent for transportation between gigs. It’s also a nice feature if you like to pack up your peripherals between studio sessions. An included carry pouch is also included.
Appearance-wise they are passable but not as attractive as other headphones available. If you like your headphones to make a statement I’d suggest looking at other options. But, if you don’t want a statement pair of headphones these do look better than many budget options out there.
At first glance and feel the Shure SRH840 feel solid and dependable. Despite the full plastic build they appear to be able to stand up to the rigors of regular use. But, there have been reports of these headphones failing early. Primarily that the plastic is prone to cracking if not treated with care.
These headphones are for studio use. In these situations, it is unlikely they will take too much damage. But, it is still worth noting if you are a little rough with your gear.
I always suggest taking good care of your gear but it seems even more important with these headphones. If you tend to be rough with your equipment you may want to look elsewhere. Given the durability reports, it would have been great if Shure included a hard clamshell case as opposed to the soft pouch.
If you look after your equipment these should serve you well.
The Shure SRH840 offers excellent value for money. While these are certainly not budget cans they are affordable. When you consider the excellent sound quality these quickly rise to the top as a recommendation.
The Shure SRH840 comes with a range of accessories.
Included accessories are sparse with only one cable. The all-plastic build probably goes a long way to explain the more attractive price point as well.
Despite a few shortcomings it is hard to find a pair of headphones at this price point that delivers such excellent sound.
What Others Have To Say
The Shure SRH840 is a polarising pair of headphones due to their more analytical sound profile. Some love them while others prefer a more colored and bass-heavy response.
Why Flat Response Is Important
For most people, the speakers and headphones we grew up with had one purpose. To make music sound great. As a result, many of the Hi-Fi systems and headphones that are popular tend to have a very colored response to audio. They often have an increased emphasis on satisfying bass and warm tones.
While these traits are great for general listening they quickly fall short in a more professional environment.
A good pair of neutral headphones allow you to keep working without disturbing others.
Much like good quality studio monitors, a flat or neutral response aims to deliver the audio in its purest form. This neutral response is the best way to properly mix your levels and master your productions. By using a flat response you’ll have a clear idea of how you music sounds. This means it has a higher chance of sounding good on a variety of sound systems. From small earbuds to large festival sound systems.
When producing in your studio you may not always be able to use your studio monitors. Children at home, your partner working from home, or neighbors can all restrict you from using speakers. This is where a good pair of headphones is critical. You’ll be able to continue working on your productions without disturbing other people.
If this is something you think you’ll encounter often it is best to get a pair of neutral-sounding headphones. Your productions will sound better for it.
There are plenty of other options if you are in the market for a good set of headphones. Here are some other DJ headphones worth considering.
Sennheiser HD25 Review
The Sennheiser HD25 pair of headphones are among the most popular headphones for DJs. They do have a more colored profile but still maintain a reasonable balance for producing.
- Excellent sound profile that is capable of both DJing and studio work.
- Durable construction that can handle rigorous use.
- The on-ear design may not be comfortable for some people.
Read our full Sennheiser HD 25 review for more detailed information.
Sennheiser HD 25
Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Review
Audio-Technica is another well-respected brand. They offer both budget and professional options for DJs. An attractive set of headphones that delivers on the sound front.
- Distinct and punchy low-end that is excellent for DJing.
- Rugged construction and comfortable fit for extended DJ sessions.
- Not the best choice for producing due to the pronounced low-end.
Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro Review
The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro is another excellent pair of headphones. A good choice if you don’t do many gigs and prefer to DJ and produce at home.
- The balanced audio output is a good fit for studio work.
- Replaceable components and good build quality.
- Earpads are comfortable but prone to getting dirty easily.
Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro
Should You Buy?
The Shure SRH840 is a great pair of headphones. The price point is reasonable and the sound quality is head and shoulders above some of its competitors.
The build quality could be better but if you treat them well they should last the distance. The balanced output may not be to everyone’s taste but seasoned professionals will appreciate the neutral response.
An excellent pair of headphones for the DJ who also has a heavy focus on producing.