Open-back designs features ear cups that provide strong, open-backed frames in which drivers are mounted in the open air, free to radiate sound forward into your ears, but also to the rear (most designers use thin, open-weave meshes or grills to protect the rear surfaces of the drive units). In most instances, open-back ‘phones are lighter than their closed-back counterparts and, not surprisingly, provide limited noise isolation capabilities. Because drivers are mounted out in the open air, they must provide their own damping mechanisms to control unwanted driver diaphragm movements, and must also provide powerful and extended bass without relying on reinforcement from the ear cup enclosures. The payoff, though, comes in the listening, in that today’s best open-back ‘phones can and do sound remarkably open, transparent, and dynamically alive, which perhaps explain why so many of today’s top-tier, premium-priced headphones are open-back designs. Does Shure’s SRH1840 offer these same desirable sonic qualities? Let’s find out.
- Drivers: 40mm dynamic drivers with Neodymium magnets promise, says Shure, “smooth extended highs and accurate bass.”
- Open-back, circumaural (surrounding the ear) design said to provide, “exceptionally natural sound, wide stereo image, and increased depth of field.”
- Driver frame: The SRH1840 feature what Shure describes as a, “unique steel driver frame design (that) improves linearity, eliminates internal resonance, and ensures consistent performance at all volume levels."
- Headband frame/ear cup yokes: According to Shure, the SRH1840 offers, “Lightweight and durable dual-frame construction with aircraft-grade aluminum alloy yoke and stainless steel grilles for enhanced durability.”
- Overall design is said to be, “optimized for connection to external headphone amplification system.” Translation: Don’t drive it from your iPod; use an amp.
- Velour ear cup pads featuring “high density, slow-recovery foam for exceptional comfort.”
- Detachable (and thus user-replaceable) signal cables, featuring oxygen-free copper conductors with Kevlar-reinforced jackets.
- Very low weight: 0.59 lbs.
- Impedance: 65 Ohms
- Sensitivity: 96 dB/mW
- Frequency Response: 10Hz – 30kHz