Shure SRH1540

Clipdat Posts: 12,268
edited October 2020 in Headphones
Stock photos because I'm too lazy to take good pics:



I wanted a pair of closed-back dynamic cans, and after I returned the dumpster fire that was the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, I ordered these Shure SRH1540s.

First impressions is that they're extremely lightweight and comfortable! The perforated alcantara ear pads are luxurious as fvck! Let me just say that again, ALCANTARA EARPADS. Seriously. They also use lovely squishy memory foam that is just incredibly comfortable on your head.

They are very lightweight and compared to my LCD-3s I hardly even notice that I have them on. Easily as comfortable as my Senn HD600s! Very nice. Also, perfect clamping force! No adjustments needed. Wonderful.

Only thing that would improve them is if they had lateral articulation on the earcups so that you could shape them to your head a bit better. The HD600s get the edge there. But, overall, very comfy and light. Exceeded my expectations.

Sound wise, they're very clean. Power handling could be better. Despite their measurements which show boosted lows, I find them to be a little lacking in the bass department. Wish I still had the iFi Pro iCAN I just reviewed, because I feel like the 20hz XBass setting would be perfect with these as it was with the HD600s.

Soundstage and expansiveness is actually better than I expected. Definitely the "airiest" closed back dynamics that I've heard. Audio isolation is good, but they don't completely block you out of all outside noise because of the perforated earpads. I read a few reviews where people swapped in leather pads and reported increased bass response.

I don't like the micophonic stock cable whatsoever. It's overly stiff and just feels cheap. I might re-cable it with a 4-pin balanced cable, but at $190 for the one I like it's a little pricey:

Back to the sound, restrained bass, neutral midrange, and slightly accented highs with some sparkle. A little too much sparkle for my tastes as I get into the volume knob.

Aside from my LCD-3s, I've yet to really find a headphone that has the aural characteristics that I gravitate toward. I want big bass, neutral mids, and rolled off/warm highs apparently. Just seems like the majority of headphones that I try are WAY too peaky and harsh in the highs for my tastes. I have extraordinarily sensitive hearing, I don't need any accentuation in the treble areas.

Leave a comment if you know if any headphones that you think might fit the sound signature I'm describing.

Lastly, value? At $500 I'm just not sure. $350-$399 would have been a more fair price for these, in my humble opinion.


  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 12,268
    Or, I'm jumping to conclusions and judging them too harshly based on how they sound right out of the box without "burn in". But, Shure specifically says on their website that they don't need burn in:

    Is it necessary to "burn in" or "break in" Shure earphones?

    Shure earphones do not require a break-in period. Some headphone websites recommend "burning in" or "breaking in" new headphones with an audio signal for some length of time before use. There is some truth behind the idea of a break-in period for loudspeakers and even full-size headphones. The part of the loudspeaker being "broken in" is called the surround, which is the part that flexes when the speaker diaphragm moves in and out. In the case of the tiny drivers used in earphones, the diaphragm only moves about 1/1,000th of an inch in either direction when exposed to normal signals. It is doubtful that a break-in period would significantly alter the compliance of the driver. Shure has not measured any difference in performance between earphones that are brand new and earphones that have been used extensively. Because hearing is subjective, however, different users may hear different things when comparing new and used earphones.
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 12,268
    edited October 2020
    Rick88 wrote: »
    Great review!

    Puts mine for the AKGs to shame

    It's not a competition. We do this for the love of music.
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 12,268
    Oh, I forgot to mention something kinda cool about the headband adjustment. Instead of it using notches/segments like most headphones, it just slides smoothly and then "sticks" in that position.

    So, it's possible to get much finer more subtle adjustments than normal. The only downside, is that you can't really "remember" how you have them set if you collapse them fully. For example I know that on my Senns I like them at "4 clicks" or whatever.

    But, pretty interesting design that works well in general.
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 12,268
    edited October 2020
    Hah, I feel the same way. But there's no clicks at all with these!
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 12,268
    edited October 2020
    Was doing some searches for "warm" headphones with laid back treble and a few posts mentioned the Audioquest Nighthawk headphones. Looks like they've been discontinued though.

    Anyway, I think I'm done trying out new headphones for a while. Whenever I get the itch again I'll just bust out the LCD-3s. Which sometimes I don't feel like using because they're "too nice". I handle and treat them like they're a precious heirloom.
  • msg
    msg Posts: 8,811
    Re: Shure's position on break-in, they state earphones. Do you think that applies to headphones as well, which have much larger drivers than earphones? By earphones and context, I take that to mean IEM type, specifically.
    I disabled signatures.
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 12,268
    I just emailed them and asked.
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 12,268
    @msg Shure replied already:

    "Our headphones and earphones do not require "burn in." Per Yuri Shulman, 32 year veteran Principle Engineer:

    "This is more myth than fact. Some people make the argument that the driver's suspension could be a little unsettled when the headphones are brand new.

    At Shure we don't subscribe to that thinking – again, what could be true for some loudspeakers (where there can be a 100-hour or so burn-in period) doesn't directly apply here. It's a matter of perception. Shure headphones sound the same a year after using them as they did brand new."

    Here's a link to a great interview with Yuri regarding headphones and earphones --

    I hope this helps!


    Applications Engineer | Shure, Inc."
  • rooftop59
    rooftop59 Posts: 7,821
    My initial impression is quite different on these from yours...but I've only been listening very briefly, So far, I REALLY like what I am hearing.

    If you want bass heavy, that's the name of the current headphone game. Probably not as high end as you are looking for, but I find these very bass heavy and warm to dark sounding. Not nearly enough detail for my liking:

    Looks like there are newer versions...
    Living Room 2.2: Usher BE-718 "tiny dancers"; Dual DIY Dayton audio RSS210HF-4 Subs with Dayton SPA-250 amps; Arcam SA30; Musical Fidelity A308; Sony UBP-x1000es; Squeezebox Touch with Bolder Power Supply Game Room 5.1.4: Denon AVR-X4200w; Sony UBP-x700; Definitive Technology Power Monitor 900 mains, CLR-3000 center, StudioMonitor 350 surrounds, ProMonitor 800 atmos x4; Sub - Monoprice Monolith 15in THX Ultra Bedroom 2.1Cambridge Azur 551r; Polk RT25i; ACI Titan Subwoofer
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 12,268
    edited March 2021
    Hey Paul, thanks for chiming in. Once again, this shows that we all "hear differently" and gravitate toward different sound signatures that we prefer. I'm glad you are digging them so far.

    Thanks for the tip about the V-MODA headphones. I recently purchased a pair of the Dan Clark Audio AEON 2 open back headphones that I'm logging some time with now.

    They are super lightweight and comfortable! Great design! They don't sound as good as my LCD-3s, but they are a hell of a lot more comfy that's for sure!