Can Shure bring its stellar reputation for microphone quality to the headphone world? Engineering the Sound tested the SRH440A and SRH840A to find out.
Shure has been doing its job for nearly a century now. Far from being a legacy brand, this American company has gone from strength to strength with solid classics like the SM57, SM58 and SM7B. But that doesn’t mean they haven’t evolved over time. Example: two new helmet models, 440A and 840A.
Aimed directly at audio content creators of all kinds, these two models are rugged, comfortable and perform well in a host of studio tasks. Engineering the Sound took a closer look at these two pairs of headphones and identified key similarities and differences.
Coming in at around $200 AUD, the Shure 440A is in a fairly competitive market for studio monitoring headphones. While they work perfectly well for casual listening, they lack the bells and whistles (Bluetooth, noise canceling, wireless operation) that you might expect from “lifestyle” headphones. They aim to get the job done with minimal fuss – an area in which it excels. Just plug in the cable and you’re ready to go.
They have a circumaural design, which means a seal is created all around the ear. This makes sounds easy to identify in noisy environments – and with its 40mm drivers – a wide span of the frequency spectrum is covered. Its character is punchy and clear, with a slight up-mid boost, which is ideal for working with heavy vocal material like podcasts and a natural fit for musicians to monitor sounds from the studio floor.
Priced around $400 AUD, the Shure 840A is a bigger investment. The packaging, however, is very similar to that 440A, except for an included carrying pouch. In terms of operation, it’s an equally simple affair – a standard wired headset. So what do you get for the extra expense?
They’re more blingy to begin with. Gold details stand out from the logo on the ear cups and the stitching on the headband. Even the golden adapter indicates a higher level of prestige. But as with all headphones, it’s all about the sound.
According to the Shure website, the 840A offers a “precisely matched frequency response [that] delivers rich bass, clear mids and extended highs. And when you listen to them, it is difficult to discuss. But to elaborate, the bass range offers multi-octave clarity, delivering more natural unders and lows (like bass guitar) with discernible detail.
At the other end of the spectrum, the above “extended treble” means you can dive into mixing detail at a surgical level and be confident that your decisions will translate effectively into many real-world playback environments.
So in short: yes, the 840A East worth double the price of admission. This is not to completely neglect the versatility of the 440A, which will do the job admirably in all but a few situations. But if you need to focus on the finer points of a mix, the 840A is your best bet.
For more information, visit Shure website.