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Shure SRH1440 review

Andrew Williams

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Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Shure SRH1440

Summary

Our Score

9/10

Pros

  • Revealing, detailed sound
  • Removable cable
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Not quite as comfy as Sennheiser rivals
  • May be a tad bright for some

Review Price £239.00

Key Features: 40mm neodymium driver; Open-back design; Removable cable; 3.5mm jack with 6.3mm converter; Velour pads

Manufacturer: Shure

If you want the very best in headphone sound quality, you need to look for a full-size open-back pair like the Shure SRH1440. They're thoroughly impractical in anywhere but quiet rooms, but other types rarely get close to the expansive, detailed sound they can offer. However, as a name known more for earphones than high-end headphones, can these Shures really make an impact?

Design

Upon first opening up the oversized case of the Shure SRH1440, we couldn't help but notice how close in design these headphones are to those of Sennheiser's open-back HD range. The Sennheiser HD 650 have become a standardbearer for headphones of this type, and Shure seems to have its sights set on the same audience.

Shure SRH1440 8

However, the Shure SRH1440 have an ever-so-slightly less attractive design. Its chunky plastic arms joining the cups to the headband have a whiff of the practical "studio" headphone rather than the more carefully-styled home-bound type. There's not a great deal in it, though, and in our book comfort and sound quality should always be top concerns in an open set like this.

Shure SRH1440 10

The Shure SRH1440 are constructed using a surprisingly wide variety of materials. Most of the outer is tough black plastic, at the heart of the headband is a flexible strip of metal, the driver grilles are black-painted metal, the headband padding topped with synthetic leather and the earcup padding is covered in velour. There's just one part here that's just for show, which is the band of silver that rings around the speaker grille. Shure SRH1440 2

Although not bowled over by the Shure SRH1440 looks, build quality is excellent. The synthetic leather used in the headband is so soft and convincing that we had to check with Shure whether it was the real deal, the headphones are feel sturdy and the tension of the headband is well-judged - low-to-mid, for home use.

They are a little heavier than Sennheiser's models, at 325g, and the earcup padding doesn't quite feel so luxurious. Hence, no, they're not quite as comfortable as the HD 598, but it's a little like comparing various brands of sports car - we'd happily wear these headphones all day long. Their open backs make them much cooler on your ears than a closed pair and the velour doesn't stick to your skin like some synthetic leather cups do. Shure SRH1440 3

The drawbacks of an open pair like this are that they leak sound readily and they barely block out any external noise. If you want a pair of headphones to give you brief respite from screaming kids, these are not they. And it goes without saying that they're utterly useless for on noisy streets, buses and so on.

Shure SRH1440 5

Shure SRH1440 4

This is no knock on the Shure SRH1440, just the reality of what open-back headphones are all about. Within the field, these headphones make no big mistakes. An important bonus, the 2m cable is fully removable, with a simple gold-plated pull-to-release mechanism at the bottom of each earcup.

Shure SRH1440 6

Opting for flexibility rather than flouncy audio cred, the jack is a 3.5mm jobbie threaded to accept a 6.3mm converter, included in the box. A large, well-padded case is included too.

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Cp1

July 28, 2012, 1:26 am

I fly a lot. I use professional headphones by Bose while I'm flying my PA-28a Piper Aircraft. When I'm not in the pilot's seat I use the Bose Quiet 15 for listening to music and audio books. If I'm traveling transcontinental I always bring my Bose Quiet 15 headphones. I've tried Shure and Sennheiser HD 650 but they just can't keep up with the Bose Quiet 15. The title says it all "QUIET 15". These are the best noise cancelling headphones on the market today. If you want the best all around noise cancelling headphones then these are it period!! You wont be disappointed.

stranded

July 29, 2012, 10:04 am

So sad to see companies taking the wrong Sennheiser way. Also it is clearly a home product, not a pro studio, sound and design. At least this looks a little nicer than laughable Sennheiser designs.

wookiemaster

January 12, 2013, 4:32 pm

You can not have the best sound AND keep out noise, it does not work that way. The Bose quiet 15 are good for keeping out noise, but very average sound.

Me

September 30, 2013, 10:35 pm

Please tell me more about this headset!
(bose, no love from me)

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