Shure SRH1540 Headphones
|Features Usability Sound Documentation & Product Support Price
Other Comments Contact Info Overall Rating—Product Summary
The basic specs are as follows:
Type: Closed back, circumaural
The headphones, despite their large size, are remarkably light. The hard shell case, once opened via a zipper, includes the headphones, two identical six-foot cables, a gold, screw-on 1/4 inch adapter, and two replacement ear pads (identical to those already on the headset). Of note, the headphones don’t fold down, so despite being light, they don’t shrink into a smaller package. Unlike many of the other Shure models, the 1540’s earcups can’t be inverted for single-ear monitoring. However, you can always slide the cup off your ear a little bit if you want to hear more of the outside world.
The SRH1540’s split headband has enough padding to be very comfortable, though for comparison purposes, we noticed that Shure’s SRH940’s have even more padding along the headband. “Hair challenged” individuals might notice a slight difference between the two, but our shiny-domed reviewer found the headphones comparably comfortable.
The ear cups use memory foam wrapped in a soft, perforated cloth, which not only looks cool but is also designed to help minimize heat buildup.
The SRH1540’s perforated ear cups made these headphones so comfortable to wear that this alone might make them worth the price (we’ll get to the sound shortly).
Snapping in the cables was, well, a snap, and putting them on your head wasn’t too hard to figure out, either! The one thing we found surprising was the set of identical cords. We would have preferred if one of the cords was longer than the other, an extension cable, or perhaps even a coiled cable alternative.
The SRH1540 cords attaches at both ear cups, unlike the a single-ear connector found on most Shure headphones. While we didn’t find this to be a big deal functionally, it was surprising, and the more unique nature of this cable is presumably why an extra cable is supplied. You can’t just grab the twist-lock cable from your other Shure headphones in an emergency.
Let’s talk some more about these bloody headphones, okay? The good news about bleed is the minimal amount of it. We wanted to see how much sound escaped these closed-back headphones—important for tracking drums, acoustic guitar, and vocals. Happily, the amount of bleed was minimal, even at decent volumes.
The first thing we noticed was the richness of the bass on the SRH1540, even more so than on the SRH940, which technically feature the same response spec. The SRH1540 also had a clean and clear high-end, in addition to a deeper low-end frequency response (25kHz vs. 30 kHz). We suspect that this is due to slightly different EQ curves in these headphones. To our ears, the SRH940 headphones are slightly flatter across the spectrum, while the SRH1540 has a slightly more U-shaped EQ curve (boosting the bottom and the top). At reasonable volumes, this curve enhanced the sound, and we loved the great, wide stereo field.
However, when we listened at higher volumes, that U-shaped curve seemed to be more apparent, with the lows on the 1540 becoming more prominent, and to our ears, the highs as well, though to a lesser extent. We didn’t experience this phenomenon on the SRH940, which at higher volumes, seemed to be a little more balanced.
We are of the opinion that at louder volumes, you may develop a little bit of hearing fatigue from the enhanced curve of the 1540 sound. It’s subtle, but we found that during extended listening sessions, it was more comfortable sonically to listen at more modest volumes. Comparably, this wasn’t an issue when listening through the SRH940.
We need to remind you that we are splitting hairs here. The 1540s sounded great, just a bit better balanced when not blasting the volume (which you shouldn’t be doing anyway).
Documentation and Product Support
If you’re not sure how to operate a traditional set of headphones, we don’t have a tutorial on that subject, but fear not. The headphones include an owner’s manual that instructs you in the basics of their use, the audio specs, and their care.Price
The Shure SRH1540 (MSRP $624) sells for $449. While not cheap, we think you’d be hard pressed to find a noticeable difference in sound quality without encountering a significant jump in price. And did we mention how comfortable these are? As long as you’re not cranking the volume to 11, we think you’ll be very pleased with the both the comfort and the sound quality. But for critical mix decisions, we might prefer other models in the Shure product range.
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