Shure SRH1540 – Open-back sound quality in a closed-back skin

Shure SRH1540

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The Shure SRH1540 is where impressive sound quality meets a premium construction.

If you care about how best your headphones look as much as how they sound well than perhaps this is the best choice for you.

Let’s start with the cup; they are made from an aluminum and carbon-fiber construction. They are covered with Alcantara – a microfiber similar to suede that you will commonly find in car seats. It has tiny holes to allow breathing and thereby prevents overheating and sweat that is a common prob in leather pads. The lightweight materials used in it keep these headphones from exceeding 300 g in weight – and an impressive feat considering the relatively large size. You will find yourself being able to wear them for an entire day without feeling discomfort which is a plus because that is exactly what you would want to do.

The fanciness does not stop there; the top band is covered in pleather (protein leather). It’s got a longer lifespan than real leather and provides greater relaxation. All of these elements together create a posh looking set and super comfortable headphones. It’s something we would expect for the affordable asking price.

Now onto the most important part – that is sound. We would say it mostly sticks to a neutral presentation and exposes every element of the production which you’re listening to. While some reviews point out a mild inclination towards treble and bass, making the mid-range seem slightly recessed, we could not identify this as an issue in our testing. Its sound quality can be highly subjective, but we can say safely that there is a unanimity conclusion that these headphones produce a clean, crisp sound production that is very true to the source. On top of this, the soundstage is mainly considering the closed-back design and gives the sound a sense of depth.

Honestly, the fault in these headphones lies in the isolation of noise. While sufficient for everyday use they do not block out sound as good as other less expensive models like Sennheisers’ HD Pro 280. Clearly, this is a trade-off for excellent comfort as the soft clamping force, and soft plush ear pads don’t lend themselves well to blocking out circling sound. Though this is not a big deal since these cans are also super great for mixing, with audio production rivaling that of many high-end open-back models.

Necessarily, these cans hit a sweet spot before we enter the diminishing returns infidelity that occurs once you reach a certain price point. It is a top headphone pick for any multimedia environment, but it is limited portability tells us that it’s foremost a studio monitor that should not ever leave its natural habitat.

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Pros

  • Classy materials
  • Super comfortable fit and durable
  • Lightweight
  • Solid noise isolation
  • Solid sound production with a large sound stage
  • Detachable cords

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Cons

  • Does not fold
  • Mediocre noise isolation
  • Oval ear cups might be significant for some

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