Shure SRH1840 review

Not cheap, but comfortable, wonderful sound and worth every penny Tested at £600

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Brilliant to listen to, with an amazing ability to bring out the fine details of a recording


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    Excellent detail

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    insightful, confident, natural sounding

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    flexible build

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    They really ought to be partnered with high-quality equipment

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Shure’s SRH1840s are the ‘Goldilocks’ of headphones. As in the fairy tale, these cans are ‘just right’ – a confident and composed pair of headphones, their relatively mundane look masks the superb sonic quality they can achieve.

So what makes these Shures ‘just right’? Well the 1840s sit in a sweet spot between the Grados and Sennheisers, combining comfort and refinement with agility and toe-tapping entertainment.

Shure SRH1840: Sound quality

Simply put, these 1840s are a delight to listen to. Listen to James Rhodes playing Bach’s Chaconne in D Minor, and the piano glides along beautifully. You’ll be immersed in the way the Shures deliver each note with plenty of insight and enthusiasm for the full 16 minutes of the piece.

They’re able to handle more complex recordings without ever feeling strained. The intricate arrangement in Radiohead’s 15 Step can be daunting, but the Shures hold their own: each instrument is separate while also working with the rest to make

musical sense.

They are nicely fluid with dynamics too, so they go loud easily without losing control while also allowing quieter moments to retain depth.

These Shures have a great ability to make recordings sound as realistic as possible: treble has a natural shimmer, and basslines are taut and agile, giving them an edge over the Beyerdynamic T5p.

But it’s their ability to dig out the more subtle details of a recording that really makes these Shures a five-star sure thing. Nuances in vocals are revealed, laying bare the emotional touches of James Vincent McMorrow’s mournful lyrics in Follow You Down To The Red Oak Tree.

The Shures aren’t just efficient – they are also enormously fun to listen to. Their deft handling of any style of music in varying file sizes means you will be endlessly entertained by the 1840s. High-quality headphones like these deserve the best partnering equipment, so make sure you have a decent headphone amplifier.

Shure SRH1840

Shure SRH1840

Shure SRH1840: Comfort and build

These cans are up there with the Sennheiser HD700s for comfort as well. They’re not as light as the HD700s, but the plush velour ear pads make them a cosy fit and they are comfortable to wear for hours on end.

The headphones themselves are of a sturdy build, with a padded headband that’s flexible and easy to adjust. Shure has clearly given some thought to the presentation and longevity of these high-end cans: additional cables and ear pads are provided inside a well-built storage case.

To put the icing on an already extremely impressive cake – and despite being rather large open-backed headphones – the Shures leak the least sound of any similarly configured rival here. And yet they sound as open and spacious as the Grado PS500s.


When you consider that this is Shure’s first foray into open-backed headphones, it’s

quite an impressive feat. It also means that you can just about get away with listening to your favourite tracks in public.

Shure has a winner on its hands; we can’t praise the 1840s enough. This is a wonderfully musical pair of headphones that comfortably justify their price.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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