My short review of the Shure SRH-1440, comparing mostly to other Shure headphones.
SoundMagic HP200, Final Audio FI-BA-SS, V-Moda M100, Sennheiser IE800, Beyer DT770LE, FiiO E07K/MicroStreamer/Vamp Verza DAC/amps, FiiO E12/Zen Head amps.
Brilliant review Dale and congrats on the purchase!! I am curious about these (am currently saving up for the HD800), I see here that the 1840 is priced at £479 and the 1440 at £329 (Amazon). At these ratios which do you think is better value? I am currently saving up for the HD800's, you've heard those right? Would you say they are worth twice the price of the 1840's?
PC>JRiver> DAC/amps: Fiio, Audinst, Yulong, Arcam, Fostex, Audiolab, Schiit, Oppo, Ifi ●
Headphones: D7000, Q701, M80, M100, DT770, DT880, HP100, HP200, Mad Dog, HD650 ●
The HD800 has a slight advantage in upper harmonic clarity and soundstge over the 1840, but the 1840 has almost none of the fatiguing brightness of the HD800, so it's a tossup. My preference would be the 1840, even at equal price. Build quality is about the same, and comfort is better with the 1840.
Ironically, if I wanted a headphone much closer to the HD800 sound, that would be the Shure 1440.
Edit: I had the HD800 for 2-1/2 years, used very little, and donated to a photo club just last month.
Hang on let me just get my head around this... You gave away your HD800s?!?!
Do you mean the 1440 is brighter than the 1840 and thus more like the HD800?
When I had a go with the HD800s recently I did notice that brightness but also noticed how a good DAC/amp deminishes it greatly, a very good one made it disappear entirely (for me anyway). Admitedly it's annoying to spend more on the DAC/amp than the already extremely expensive headphones but.. it was really very impressive.
I really appreciate your thoughts on the Shures and will definitely consider them now, just need to find somewhere that I can test them.
Yes, gave the HD-800 away. I know that the better the amp the better they sound, but they had other limitations besides amping.
Yes, the 1440 sounds more like the HD-800 all the way around, top to bottom. And based on prior user input from the SRH-940, I would guess that with the best amp you can pair with the HD-800, if you use that same amp with the SRH-1440 you will also get very close to the HD-800's sound. Or you could save a ton of money and buy a 1440, a small amp like the O2, and just get some foam or cloth inserts for the earcups to dampen some of the excess highs, and have 99.5 percent of perfection for 10 percent of the cost. Or just get the 1840 and skip the rest.
I tend to think of the Shures (esp. the 1440 and 1840) and the Grados (esp. the PS500) as archetypes for the "cool, neutral" and "warm, lush" type of sound. I am not familiar with other major brands like AKG, Audio-Technica, Denon and perhaps a couple others to see how they would fit into those archetypes. I am familiar with Sennheisers, but I think they're somewhere in between.
Thanks for your thought Dale, sounds like you are well impressed by the Shures. Hope I get to try some out soon. Happy listening
Thanks to you - I've appreciated your contributions here, and I'm sure the other readers here do as well.
Now here's a little top secret tip for you. Have a $400 Shure 1440 but want it to sound like a $700 1840? You'll need 2 pairs of extra earpads. You can start with one pair, but 2 pairs gets you closer to the 1840 sound - almost exact in fact. Cut the thin foam backing off of the extra spare earpads right up to the stitching, so you now have 2 oval-shaped foam pieces, and carefully tuck them into the earcups on top of the foam that's part of the headphone's earpads, inside of the earcups. Using the spare earpads you'll gain one layer and that makes two layers - the existing layer from the earpads that are already on the earcups, plus the new layer you tuck into the earcups. That one additional layer may be all you'll need if you find the 1440 to be too bright, but a second additional layer makes the sound very, very close to the 1840 sound.
Edit: Adding video review:
Awesome little trick there Dale, cheers! It's pretty amazing that just modifying the pads would make that much difference!
I tried something similar with the SRH-940 back last Fall when so many people were complaining about the brightness, but I didn't consider that the actual material I stuffed into the earcups would make any difference. And so I never came up with a good solution. And I didn't have a target sound either, since the HD800 I had was just as bright. This time I used the very foam that Shure uses, and with the 1840 as a target I could test the results with one or two extra layers. I'm finding it difficult to believe that I've gotten such a perfect solution for the 1440, but I'm on hour 12 of listening and every time I think I have a discrepancy I switch to the 1840 and sure enough, they sound virtually identical. And since this mod doesn't change the headphone at all - I can just pull the pads out - it's a no-brainer.
This is my extended look at the SRH-1440 earpad mod, to make the 1440 sound more like the 1840.
At the Stereophile headphone forum (which has view statistics) the SRH1440 review in 16 days has now gotten as many views as the 1840 review got in 39 days. It shure looks like the bargain hunters are taking a good look at the SRH1440.
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