Shure SRH1840 Headphone (Playback 62)

Shure SRH1840
  • A spare set of velour ear cup pads.
  • A spare detachable signal cable.
  • A gold-plated ¼-inch phone jack to 3.5mm mini-jack adapter plug.
  • A zippered, hard-shell storage case.


The frame of the SRH1840 is, as advertised, light, strong, and adjustable. But sadly the frame allows ear cups to swivel in the vertical axis only; it does not allow the ear cups to swivel in the horizontal axis (that is, to tilt from side-to-side to better fit the sides of your head). Two-axis, swiveling ear cup mounts are in our view a big plus for comfort-minded listeners and they happen to be a feature almost all other premium-priced headphones provide as a matter of course. What’s more, Shure has seen fit to give its less expensive SRH1440 model a different frame that does allow two-axis adjustments.

We don’t’ mean to make a big deal of this, since many listeners find the SRH1840 light and reasonably comfortable to wear. Even so, we think Shure’s much less costly SRH1440 fits better and is substantially more comfortable to wear than its big brother (go figure).


Perhaps our strongest and most lasting impression of the Shure SRH1840 centered on the headphone’s terrific clarity, detail, and tonal purity—especially through the midrange on up through the very top of the treble region. If you play recordings rich in detail, high harmonics, and subtle reverberant cues, you may well come away, as we did, feeling that the Shure rarely misses a thing. With the SRH1840 in play, you have the satisfying sense that you’re hearing all, or nearly all, of the subtle touches that recording engineers and record producers strive to capture, but that many headphones fail to reproduce.

Bass, however, is one area where the SRH1840 tends to evoke mixed reactions. On one hand, the Shure’s bass descends quite low (lower than you might at first expect) and offers pleasing qualities of tautness, control, and admirable pitch definition (there’s no muddiness or sonic uncertainty with these ‘phones). On the other hand, the fact is that the SRH1840 mid- and low bass are somewhat too lightly balanced, enough so as to give serious bass aficionados that uneasy feeling that, “something’s missing.”

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