Shure SRH1440 Headphones (Playback)

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Headphones
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Shure SRH1440

iPod, iPhone, and iPad users will be disappointed that the Shure SRH1440s do not offer a dedicated iPod/mP3 player cable with built-in controls. Given that the cables on the SRH1440 are removable, I would think that offering a dedicated iPod cable would be relatively easy to do, but so far Shure hasn’t made one available.

With a sensitivity of 101 dB at 1 mW the SRH1440s sit in the middle of the sensitivity spectrum. Although not as hot as some ear buds, such as the 115 dB Urbanears Medis, the SRH1440s do have enough sensitivity to make it easy for an iPod to drive them. The SRH1440 are an open-back design, so they don’t completely seal their output from escaping into the world at large, but sound leakage levels were lower than I expected. And while I wouldn’t recommend the SRH1440s for public library use, commuters are unlikely to disturb fellow passengers at normal listening volume.

Given their size, the Shure SRH1440s probably won’t be most people’s first choice as a portable headphone, but they do make excellent headphones for jogging and other outdoor sports. The open-back design allows outside noise in so that users don’t lose contact with the world around them. Yes, the velour pads will absorb sweat during workouts, but since Shure supplies a spare pair and they appear to be washable, the SRH1440s could be a great choice for audiophiles who regularly brave the outdoors.

SONIC CHARACTER

  • Airy yet impactful bass
  • Detailed midrange
  • Smooth high-end
  • Excellent dynamic contrast
  • Accurate, well-balanced sound

During the time I had the Shure SRH1440s for review I was using a pair of PSI Audio A-14M powered professional monitor speakers in my desktop system, both fed from an April Music Eximus DP-1 DAC/Preamp. As is happens, when you plug headphones into the Eximus DP-1, outputs to the speakers muted, making A/B comparison quick and easy. Every time I took the SRH1440s off and went back to using the PSIs I was impressed by how similar their harmonic balances were. Of all the headphones I’ve reviewed and used in the past year, I’d rank the SRH1440s as among the most neutral and least harmonically colored. The other headphones that are equally uncolored are all more expensive. The SRH1440s harmonic linearity reminded me of the Ultimate Ears In Ear Reference Monitors, which also aim for a flat and neutral harmonic presentation.

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