I had been looking all over the web for reviews or impressions of
Shure’s new SRH840-Pro full size headphone but came up empty. So I
decided to do my own review of Shure’s next step down SRH440-Pro
phones. There’s a significant price difference between the SRH840s and the SRH440s and I
didn’t want to take too big of a chance with the pricier 840s, so I
bought a set of 440s at a very good price. Here’s what I have
The 440s are almost physically identical to the 840s
but the price is half. There are some minor cosmetic differences.
The 840s have chrome caps at the pivot points and the brace is shaped
with a bit of angularity. The 840s are going for $200 while the 440s are
$100. Shure products being identified with high end gear, those prices
are about half what other audiophile grade headphones cost. A
set of audiophile grade phones from Sennheiser or Grado will set you
back around $400 to $500. I don’t know what those sound like because I
have never listen to them. But I did obtain a “cNet Editors Choice” and
“Top Headphones” set of Sennheiser HD280 Pro Headphones, which have a
current retail price of $100.
I can say with enthusiasm, the
Sennheisers are no comparison to the Shure 440s. From my experience
with the two phones so far, the Senns aren’t even in the same ballpark
with the Shures. The Senns have a flat, lifeless struggling sound,
whereas the Shures are full of soundstage, presence and boldness. The
Shure 440s sound like the Shure SE530 canalphones, which are $500 IEMs, but
have a fuller, more dynamic sound quality. The upper mids are a bit
grainy, but highs, lower mids and lows are all superb and are accurate.
There is no lack of quality bass with these phones either.
I was a bit
concerned about how well these full sized phones, the Senns and Shures,
would work with my MP3 players. I felt they would likely need amping to
get the most out of them. Although They do require a higher volume setting than
my canalphones on some of my MP3 players, I’m happy to report that
my higher end players drive them with seeming ease. Of the players I’ve
tried so far, the iriver E10 and Sonys, an NWZ-A818 and NWZ-A728, do the best with them. My
Clip+ does very well but the volume needs to be on “high” setting and about 60% for my taste.
Ironically, my COWON D2 doesn’t do as well. I have to set the volume at
about 85 percent before the phones begin responding to my likes. I say
ironically because the D2 is supposed to have a beefier amp section
than most players. I find, though, the sound quality of the
iriver E10, Sonys and Clip+ to be quite impressive with these SRH440s. And I am using
OGG/Vorbis@350 on the iriver, FLAC on the Clip+, and AAC@300 on the Sonys.
One physical quality I greatly appreciate about the Shure phone, the SRH440 and SRH840, is the
detacheable cord. The end that connects to the phones is a 2.5mm miniplug the plugs in and
twists to stay put. Unfortunately, the cord is a coiled variety and very long. There are no
optional cords available from Shure, so I modified this one to a much more manageable 14". I
simply chopped out the coiled section and discovered the cable, though beefy looking and large
enough around to hold 4 larger conductors, use only 3 very small gauge conductors. In fact,
the conductors are the same as the IEMs.
This is where the Senns excell on the Shures. The Sennheiser HD280-Pros also come with a very
long, but non-detacheable, coiled cable and I chopped it down as well. There were 4 larfger,
beefier wires in the Senn cable. However, the Shure cable can be easily replaced with any
3.5mm miniplug cable with the use of a 2.5mm to 3.5mm straight adapter. It requires, though,
some modification to the socket at the phones, which is nothing more than trimming out some of
the plastic so the adapter will slide in fully.
I recently found a review of the Shure 840s here
that gave high praise to them comparing them to double the cost
audiophile headphone and from my experience with the 440s, I believe