The HiFi headphones allow us to enjoy audiophile sessions even more intimate and personal way than with conventional loudspeakers, because while isolated from environmental noise permit, in certain cases, better appreciate the little details in our favorite recordings.
This time, we were able to thoroughly test the high – end headphones Shure SRH1840, the first approach to the headphones with open format of the mark (along with its younger brother the SRH1440), which have caused us the very good impression, as you can see to the continuation.
Before we begin a brief note commenting on the headset with an open design, this configuration differs from the models basically closed the transducer is not within a sealed enclosure, but to the outside, allowing the diaphragm to move more freely and avoiding internal resonances of the speaker.
This, in theory, should provide a clear, crisp sound in the medium and high frequencies, while a controlled bass though perhaps less deep than in closed models. We’ll see if these assumptions are met in the Shure model.
Presentation, design, and finishing
Just open the box we find a nice and well finished semi-hard case with zipper for transportation headphones, within which we can see the SRH1840 and a small pocket with a cable 2.1 meters two terminals plated gold and threaded to connect headphones to the audio source and an adapter also gold plated and threaded to adapt the jack of 3.5 to 6.35 mm.
In the box, it is also, in addition to a brief instruction manual, a pair of replacement pads and another cable two identical terminals to the previous, so that we can always have one in the case and another in the place of use included. These cables have two terminals on one side a jack 3.5mm and the other two small connectors that must be inserted into the right and left pavilions with light pressure.
If you look at the design SRH1840, we can see that this is a headphone circumaural type (completely surround the pinned) which on the inside has a quilted velvet high quality and on the outside with a metal grid revealing the huge transducer that is responsible for producing the sound.
Both pavilions are joined by a headband made of aluminum alloy and padded top that allows you to adjust its position on the vertical axis and is flexible in the horizontal so that we can tailor the handset to the shape of your head.
On paper, the SRH1840 is presented as a device focused on the professional or semi – professional market, as well as very demanding users. This will quickly check its specifications to read the transducers are made with neodymium magnet size 40 mm and have been adjusted individually. The other specifications are:
- Sensitivity: 96 dB SPL / mW
- Impedance: 65 Ohm
- Maximum input power: 1000 mW
- Frequency range: 10 Hz – 30 kHz
- Net weight (without cable): 268 g
- Cable length: 2.1 m
- Cable Type: Cable removable copper, oxygen-free
- Plug: Stereo mini plug 3.5mm gold plated
Environment, equipment and musical themes for tests
To make the different auditions we have opted for a room of 25 square meters and well insulated from the outside ambient noise that will control to perform a test in a quiet environment and relatively noisy one another.
As are some auditions focused on “desktop” headphones (not intended for use on the move, or at least should not be used to give them), the connect to a computer that has sufficient quality. In this case, our audio source is a computer with a sound card Asus Xonar Dx connected by optical and HDMI cable to a receiver Onkyo TX-SR806, the output of helmets use to power the headphones. Of course, we will put both playback software and sound card and amplifier in “direct” mode, without applying any equalization.
As the chosen songs will be quite varied, trying to cover a wide range of styles, all in format WAV and FLAC lossless and when possible with several versions for a bad recording will not influence the outcome. Thus, for example, and starting with classical music, hear several waltzes and nocturnes Frederic Chopin, the “Piano Concert No. 3″ by Rachmaninov, the subject of the death of Siegfried Wagner ‘s”Pictures at an Exhibition” by Mussorgsky or ” clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622 “by Mozart.
Later will test the songs “Nite Mist Blues” by The Monty Alexander Trio, the album “Cause and Effect” by Maria Mena, the album “Leave Your Sleep” Natalie Merchant, the theme “No sanctuary here” Chris Jones, “Everlasting Everything “Wilco,” Tired “Adele,” Dear Avery “and” The Hazards of Love 4 (The Drowned)” by The Decemberists,” Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out “Katie Melua,” The Day before the Day “Dido and” Vicarious “Tool.
We stand helmets and adjust quickly and easily to our head to start auditions. The first thing we noticed before giving the play is that the isolation from the outside is not absolute, one of the defects (or features) typical of open headphones.
This implies that with headphones certainly are quite comfortable, we can hear the sound environment around us, but yes, slightly dimmed. Similarly, whoever is around us you can more easily hear what we are hearing us that if we used closed helmets. This a priori is neither good nor bad, depends on the use that we will give the team.
We started testing the subjects of classical music to our ears to adapt to progressively higher volume levels. Starting with the topics less instrumentation, where the piano, clarinet, string section and other instruments are heard clearly defined, crisp and vivid.
This is something we can check quickly in the orchestral pieces, where he also found a great clarity of the set that allows us to easily differentiate and position the instruments in the orchestra. The stereo field is also well defined and coupled, giving a great sense of naturalness.
It is worth noting the good dynamics that can reach SRH1840, allowing us to appreciate both the small details of the pieces as the passages with a great noise, especially noticeable on the issue of Mussorgsky.
Following the themes of contemporary music pieces recorded with the public (e.g. “Nite Mist Blues”) show excellent performance allowing live relive the atmosphere of the room in which they were recorded. It stands out above all the naturalness of voices, such as in the areas of Maria Mena, rich in harmonics and recorded with the microphone close to the singer, who in other headphones may turn out to be too bright, while the Shure are very content.
Another example is found on the topic “The Peppery Man” Natalie Merchant , where at the beginning can distinguish an excellent naturally serious, very serious voices of male companions moving from right to left, and then the voice of the singer sharper but very leveled with the rest and focus on stage.
The stereo field, as with classical music, is excellent, perfectly defined and allows us to perfectly position the singer, accompanying and different instruments. An example is the issue of Chris Jones, where the choirs are heard where they have heard, expanding our sense of spatiality without giving us the impression that the sound is coming from inside our heads.
In some open headphones, this feeling of spaciousness can be affected by the lack of internal reflections in the transducer case, something virtually unnoticed in this model, especially if the musical piece incorporates echoes and reflections “series” in the own recording.
To test the bass response and feel they cause us, we look for example in parts of The Decemberists and especially in “The Hazards of Love 4 (The Drowned)”, the last disc, in which the principle can listen to the bass “with stops” between 40 and 100 Hz. playback is great, serious content, without distortion or reverb, something we certainly thank the open design of helmets.
By putting a “but” these Shure (and especially if your usual listening system is boxes HiFi), we could say that like the rest of headphones guilty of what I call “lack of subsonic scenic realism”. Why? What I mean by this? I mean intrinsic characteristic common to all headphone technology: the lack of subwoofers that have an impact on the body. I’m talking about less than 30-35 Hz frequencies not only hear but must feel that our brain interprets heard it as a scene from real life.
Headphones can only transmit sound to our ears, not the rest of the body. This problem, of course, is also given in the Shure and is perhaps most notable below 25-30 Hz, although generally not in most music, because conventional instruments hardly have information at these frequencies.
So where can we tell? For listening cinema, whether we hear the central and main channels separately and together in a stereo mix, this lack of realism is evident in the shots and effects more subwoofer (e.g. in the “Die Hard 4.0” in the initial assault or at the beginning of “the Avengers” when Loki steals the cube).
Do not get me wrong, the sound is excellent and natural, especially in the scene of “The Avengers” where even surprised you have so many serious (surely the large size of its transducer aid in this task), as well defined and content, only if you are used to hearing film with good quality speakers and with the help of a subwoofer, you will notice something missing that gives you that extra bit of realism. Anyway, it is a problem of all headphones technologies at all attributable to the test model.
Shure SRH1840 are high-end headphones with well-constructed, elegant, easy to use, lightweight and comfortable enough (in several sessions over I almost forgot that one hour wearing them).
They offer a very high-quality sound, very definition over the entire range of frequencies, with some midrange and treble crisp, crystal without saturations and a controlled bass without strange reverberations.
They allow a large dynamic range and great listening quality at all volume levels. While we run the risk of wanting to give more and more power to the amplifier, as we soon got used to the volume, which the Shure support without any problem, at least to my ears levels have allowed me to try.
If we had to define the sound of the SRH1840 with a couple of words we could use “natural” and “balanced”. The good frequency response is very close to the ideal flat response is sought in hi-fi equipment. This surely is because its primary objective is to serve as a hearing system for professional music creation or semi -professional, though of course can be used by any amateur at HiFi you can afford its high cost.
Certainly are excellent headphones that will delight the most demanding users. Of course, when we open them in a fairly quiet room for two reasons, the first is because if the ambient noise is medium-high will be mixed with music and hear without much difficulty, especially if they do not climb much the volume of the amplifier.
The second is to not disturb who is with us in the room, as you can hear the murmur of music escaping from helmets without problems.
After testing without ambient noise, I proceeded to turn on the TV, located about 5 meters away, a medium-low, volume being perceptible with headphones so be especially when the music down intensity; hence, to maximize the characteristics of these Shure necessary to tell a noiseless room.
Of course, they are not well suited for outdoor use headphones or means of transport such as aircraft or trains, as the acoustic insulation they provide is not enough. If instead you count a noiseless space in which to enjoy your auditions and a large budget, SRH1840 are a very good alternative.