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Shure SRH840 review

Andrew Williams

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Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR

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Shure SRH840
  • Shure SRH840
  • Shure SRH840
  • Shure SRH840
  • Shure SRH840
  • Shure SRH840
  • Shure SRH840
  • Shure SRH840
  • Shure SRH840
  • Shure SRH840
  • Shure SRH840

Summary

Our Score:

9

Pros

  • Excellent clarity
  • Warmth adds sonic enjoyment
  • Great value

Cons

  • Not light
  • Large
  • Some design quirks

Key Features

  • Removable coiled cable
  • Two pairs of pads included
  • 3.5mm-to-6.3mm jack converter
  • 40mm driver
  • Manufacturer: Shure
  • Review Price: £122.00

Shure has been one of the kings of in-ear headphones for years, but it's a relative newcomer to high-quality studio headphones. The Shure SRH840 are one rung down from the top-end SRH940 closed-back headphones, and sell for around £130. Designed for professionals rather than kids bopping along the road, will they sound as dull as elevator music for the sake of accuracy? In a word - no.

Related: More headphones for between £90 and £150

Design

The Shure SRH840 are over-ears headphones that encase your earlobes with foam-filled fake leather pads. Although they sound great plugged into a simple MP3 player - with 42Ohm impedance they're not particularly difficult to drive - they are not intended for use out and about. They want to be kept indoors, preferably in a room where a mixing board packed with a dizzying array of knobs and faders lives.

Shure SRH840 6

How come? There are several reasons. They are not particularly light and, despite a fairly tight-clasping headband, will work their way off your head if you move around too quickly. The Shure SRH840 are also large. A traditional, non-bulbous design doesn't make it immediately apparent, but they stick out a way from your head. Although by no means bad-looking headphones within their field, they will not make you look cool.

To add to the outdoors inconvenience, they use a tightly-coiled cable - it hangs a little heavily and is really meant for studio use rather than when you're sat at home, plugged into a home cinema. Less trailing cable means less likelihood of tripping and taking a £1k compressor down with you.

Shure SRH840 5

Viewed from the perspective of a studio engineer, they're much more attractive. The SRH840 fold up across a plastic hinge at the top of each earcup, and the cups also swivel around 180 degrees, letting you easily listen to a single channel without the other interfering.

The cable is removable too, using a 2.5mm stereo connection and a twist-to-lock mechanism to stop them from being yanked-out accidentally. De-concertina the coiled cable and it stretches to 3m, and it features a screw-on 3.5mm to 6.35mm jack converter for maximum flexibility. Straight 3m replacement cables are available for under £20.

There's one part of the SRH840 that seems curiously vulnerable for headphones that are otherwise heady-duty. Thin cables poke out of the earcup and snakes around into the headband on the outside. We assume this is to let the folding mechanism move freely without risking the cable, but it does leave you worried that a sharp snag could leave you with a useless pair of cans.

Shure SRH840

The one other hardware niggle is that the headband does apply slightly uneven pressure, with most of it on the very top of your head. As the part that makes contact is padded mesh rather than plastic - like some broadcaster headphones - it's not downright uncomfortable, but is worth considering if you're fussy about such things.

Like a home-worker typing out important emails in their pyjamas, a few aesthetic points clearly value function over form. Stickers on the headband indicating the left and right sides started to slip off during testing (and didn't look great in the first place), and we're not sure the red and blue indicators just above were really necessary either. With a single cable coming out of the left side - entirely standard for single-sided leads - it's immediately obvious which side is which.

Shure SRH840 7

Shure SRH840 4

Alongside the headphones, cable and jack converter, Shure provides a basic plastic-leather case and a pair of extra slimline earpads that slightly reduce how far the headphones stick out from your head.

SRH840 accessories

Continue reading for our thoughts on the Shure SRH840's sound quality.

Adam Cimarosti

January 13, 2013, 11:08 pm

I have had these headphones for a long time. I absolutely love them. First of all, they are crisp, but have a warm tone and fairly rich bass. I got these because, being a software engineer, I want to unplug from the noisy environment around me and listen to music loud without annoying those around me. They leak little to no sound and very effectively (passively) isolate you from outside noise, to the point colleagues at times need to tap my shoulder to catch my attention while I'm busy writing code. I wear these for hours at a time and find them quite comfortable, but note that I have a large-ish head. I travelled with them on public transport for a while and found that to be a bit of a chore (they ain't small), unless I was carrying a back-pack. I now leave these at work and I am looking for a second pair of headphones for electric guitar practice home.. ..and I might just buy a second pair.

If you're looking for something that is very sound-insulating and delivers a detailed, rich and warm listening experience look no further.

As an added note I would recommend to stay clear of all the tinny sounding active noise cancellation headphones like the over-hyped and overly-expensive Bose, they may be ligher, but these are unquestionably better in every other way.

Aaron Graham

December 15, 2013, 7:09 pm

I loved these headphones to death. The sound quality and clarity is really phenomenal, however he build quality is quite short of their "legendary build quality" standard. I've had these for just shy of a year and one day I tried to slide down the ear cup adjustment and low and behold the cup adjustment slide snapped with me hardly even pulling it down. I was considering buying there new SRH 940 ,however I don't think I will be buying too much more from Shure.

Al U

December 19, 2013, 12:02 am

A friend had raved to me about Shure's customer service when his e5s broke. Lo and behold, when I had a similar breakage to yours, they replaced the headphones for me, despite being 18 months out of warranty. If you have your receipt you should definitely get in touch with them.

Butch Ramsey

July 15, 2014, 10:38 pm

My plastic hinge on top of earcup broke away from my earcup,HELP:):)

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