SHURE SRH840 PROFESSIONAL MONITORING HEADPHONES
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There is no shortage of headphones on the market today, and each has its own strengths and weakness, depending on the specific use and job that the headphones in question are being called upon to perform. Today I am going to be reviewing a set of headphones that are certainly good enough to enhance your music listening enjoyment at home, as well as also being able to handle semi-professional as well as professional studio chores. The headphones that I am talking about are the Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones. Read on and see if these headphones have some of the sonic characteristics that you might be interested in looking into the next time that you are auditioning a set of headphones for yourself for any of the above applications.
The Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones are billed as being Professional Studio Monitoring Headphones. There are many different headphones on the market today that have the words "Professional" and/or "Studio Monitoring" in their name, and sadly few live up to serious professional standards or the needs such as would be the case with studio use. However, the Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones live up to their name. The Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones have a retail list price of $250.00, but with a bit of hunting, they can easily be found selling at a discount for as little as $171.99 at some of the better Internet electronics dealers. In an effort to help making your purchasing decision process a bit easier, I shall now describe some of the characteristics and specifications of the Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones, as well as discussing some of their strengths and weaknesses.
The Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones have a circumaural closed back design. This means that the padding of the headphones encircles your ears and forms a seal. The closed back design prevents sounds from leaking out of the headphones and feeding back into a microphone during live recording situations. This is extremely important in recording situations, such as when a singer is listening to a backing track while simultaneously recording a vocal track into a live microphone. This is clearly a situation where one does not want sound leaking out of the headphones and bleeding onto the recording track. The results could be potentially disastrous if this were to occur. This circumaural closed back design also prevents unwanted sounds from getting in to disturb your listening experience, and makes it potentially more enjoyable to listen to music in the studio or in the home setting, as external noises are less apt to interfere with your enjoyment of the music you are listening to.
The closed back circumaural design of the Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones also permits more accurate analysis of the sound of the music that one is listening to, which is of course a very important consideration when trying to adjust and fine tune the sound of vocals and musical instruments during a professional or semi-professional mix down process. This can also prevent the generation of an undesirable feedback loop being inadvertently created when the headphones are being worn in proximity to a live microphone during a recording or broadcasting session. One of the problems with a set of headphones with a circumaural closed back design it that they can get uncomfortable after 15 minutes or so of listening. However, this is not the case with the Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones. These headphones are very comfortable to wear, and they weigh only 11.2 ounces, and they have a very comfortable wide padded headband, as well as very comfortable ear cups. The Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones are built to last, and have some features that are designed with this in mind. For example, the cable is detachable, and therefore replaceable. The cable is 3 meters long, which is just under 10 feet. It has a gold-plated mini-stereo plug on the business end of the cord, and the other end of the cable attaches to the headphones with a bayonet type locking mechanism. The package also contains a ¼ inch adaptor, which makes these phones usable for studio use and home use as well. The package also contains a set of replacement ear pads, and a carrying pouch for storage. The headphones are foldable, and fit securely into the carrying pouch for safe storage or transportation.
The Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones have a Sensitivity rating of 102 dB/mW. O.K., so what does that mean? Headphone sensitivity is measured using 1/1000 of a Watt of power (1mW), and then measuring the sound pressure level (SPL) in dB at the earpiece of the headphones. The Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones have a somewhat slightly above average degree or level of sensitivity for headphones in this category.
The Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones have a flat versus sweetened frequency response. Headphones or speaker systems that are used for home music listening often sound different from one set to another. The reason for this is that many of these headphones or speaker systems are "sweetened" to make the music sound better to a listener. This is achieved via an emphasis in the equalization of the bass and treble response, which makes the music sound fuller or brighter. For example, people who are into dance music or hip hop, might prefer a set of headphones or speakers that have an accentuated or exaggerated bass frequency response. However, the Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones are flat and unsweetened. This is critically important in a studio listening situation, as a flat frequency response permits a more accurate and precise comparison of sounds and levels between musical instruments. Of course no real professional would ever consider completely mixing a tune using headphones alone, but it is important to use headphones in certain circumstances to get an idea of the balance and blend among different musical instruments and the vocals on a track that are being mixed, and in such circumstances, using a set of headphones that have a flat response is very important.
Using a set of headphones with a flat response like the Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones is especially important to people who are making home recordings. The listening environments in many home studio's are not ideal, and if a listening environment is not set up correctly, the sound one is hearing from even a good set of studio monitors can be misleading, specifically because of the acoustical environment the sound is being played in is not ideal. For example, a reasonable distance for setting up speaker monitors for accurate listening is to have them about 5 feet from any wall, and to avoid placing them in corners at all costs, as proximity to walls and especially corners accentuates the bass frequencies. Just how many home based recording studios have a mixing room with that much space? Very few I would guess. As such, using a good set of headphones with a flat response can help to pickup on potential problems that might exist in a mix due to poor or inadequate listening room acoustics.
The Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones.have a Frequency Response of 5 Hz. to 25,000 Hz. This means that these headphones are able to handle frequencies between 5 Hz. to 25,000 Hz. without distorting. This extended frequency response may seem a bit odd to some of the readers of this review, since the range of hearing for a healthy young adult is usually between 20 Hz. and 20,000 Hz., and most musical instruments do not come anywhere near producing sounds above or below the range of human hearing. So why would anyone want or need a set of headphones that has such an extended frequency response, unless of course they are planning to let their pet dog listen to their favorite recording of a chorus of dolphin's vocalizing. Well the answer to this question is deceivingly simple. Although most music instruments do not produce sounds above or below these frequencies, it is extremely important to be using a set of headphones that will not distort when one is trying to listen to musical passages over extended periods of time, as listening to distorted sounds can very easily fatigue a listener. Thus, a set of headphones with an extended frequency response, such as is the case with the Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones, are less likely to be subject to distortions from musical notes or their high or low overtones. This is very important in a recording situation, as one does not want to erroneously think that a track was recorded with distortion, when in actuality it is the headphones themselves that are causing the distortion that is being heard.
The Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones have an Impedance of 44 Ohms. This means that they would be considered to be low impedance headphones. People who may be considering using the Shure SRH Professional Monitoring Headphones with an MP3 Player may be upset that the volume is not as loud in these headphones as in some of the less expensive headphones that they may be used to using for such listening purposes. The reason for this is that many inexpensive headphones that are designed to be used with portable listening devices have an impedance rating of 16 Ohms, and in some cases less, and as such they will appear to be louder. Louder is of course not better. The Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones are so clear, clean, and distinct sounding, that even at low volume levels, music sounds great, and as such, MP3 users should be pleased even if these phones are not as loud as some of the cheaper brands of headphones specifically made for use with portable listening devices.
O.K., well how do the Shure SRH840 Professional Headphones sound? In listening to music with these headphones, I was highly impressed. The Shure SRH840 Professional Headphones felt very comfortable to wear. The bass was punchy and clear, the highs were clear and undistorted, and the midrange frequencies were very accurate and well balanced. They also did an excellent job of isolating the music I was listening to from any other noises that were going on in the room. I was impressed with the overall sound and accuracy of the Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones. The sound in the headphones was clear and undistorted. I was very impressed with the sound of the highs, the midrange, as well as the clarity and definition of the bass and other low end sounds and instruments. The sound that I heard in the Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones was extremely close to the same as the sound I was hearing through the Yamaha HS80M powered monitors that I compared them to in my studio. This is a point that any home recording enthusiast, or professional would be interested in knowing. Audiophiles might also be very interested in this point as well, as the musical sounds that are being heard in the Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones are very likely to be very similar to the sounds that the performers, studio engineer, and recording producers had in mind when they were mixing the original tunes in their respective studios. To me, this is a very exciting and desirable feature of these headphones. The sound that one hears in these phones is very likely to be extremely close to the sound that the producer, engineer, and performer heard when the piece of music they were working on was recorded and eventually mastered.
So who are the Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones best suited for? The answer is that these headphones would be suitable for most professional, semi-professional, and serious audio listeners. If you are a person who wants to listen to recordings of music which are not colored or sweetened, then these phones are worthy of your consideration. The flat response, and highly accurate sonic reproduction of the Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones, make them a very desirable piece of audio equipment. The only drawback I can think of is the price tag, as most consumers are not going to want to shell out close to $200 for a set of headphones. On the other hand, for serious listening purposes, it would be hard to find a better sounding and more accurate set of headphones in this price range.
Well I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my review, but now if you will excuse me, I must get back to my practicing my guitar.
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