~ An Elliot Holmes Review ~
• Fantastic price considering the quality and comfort of the headphones.
• Detachable cabling so users can replace the cable if it breaks or need a cable with more length for studio use.
• Closed-back design blocks out background noise effectively and stop your music from leaking.
• Due to the size of the headphones some may find them slightly on the bulky side.
• The small exposed wires, running from the headband to the ear cups, could be damaged easily.
• They may not go down too well if you like loads of bass.
Let me be perfectly clear before I put these headphones through their paces and warn you that I am a Shure fan so I’m expecting these to be excellent. However, I’ll try and not let my own experiences with Shure bias my review (ex-scouts honour).
Well I’m not a big one for caring about packaging, or unboxing videos and reviews in general, as I just want to get my filthy hands on the goodies inside and couldn’t really care less about what the packaging looks like at the end of the day. I’d have to say though that the box the SRH440 headphones are delivered in is well put together with nice little sections for the headphones, cables and with the product information layered on top like an awesome cake. The only criticism I have for the packaging is that some might prefer the headphones to not be in a zip-lock freezer bag within the box.
The headphones themselves are easily attached to the coiled cable by simply plugging the cable in to the left ear cup and twisting to lock it in place. Once you’ve done that, unless you have a burning desire to read over the warranty information or the very basic manual, you can plug them in to your player and enjoy.
While there isn’t a huge amount I can say about the design really – there’s only so much you can do with headphones without being ridiculous – but Shure have thrown in some nice little touches.
The Shure SRH440 headphones fold neatly away when not in use and can be stored, with the detachable cable, safely in their little carry case. The ear cups themselves rotate very, very slightly but I couldn’t see this turning enough to do more than hear what someone is saying (so you’d need to do your best Boyband-in-a-recording-studio impression with one cup pushed away from your ear if you want to use them for DJ-ing) and not much else.
Oh and you can use the built-in slider to change the headband size as required and the ear pads appear to be squishy and comfortable.
The detachable cable is worth mentioning briefly as it’s been well planned out for studio use. What I mean is that the cable only attaches to the left cup so isn’t split across a ‘Y’ axis and certainly makes things easier if you were using the headphones while recording (trust me there is little more annoying than getting tangled in cables while your recording – I’ve lost count of the number of missed hits because of headphones having a split cable). Moreover, a few reviews have mentioned that the cable feels awkward and weighs the headphones down. This isn’t something I noticed but would say you’re best keeping in mind that really these are studio headphones so the cable is meant to go down your back meaning it’s out of the way and isn’t tugging down the headphones.
Shure seem to have been looking back in time a little bit while developing the overall style of the headphones as they are slightly ‘retro’ looking. This shouldn’t realistically put too many people off since they look nice enough and they’re certainly more modern looking that some of the Grado ranges.
Sound and Comfort
I’ve decided to group these two together since the two often go hand in hand. After all you aren’t going to want a great sounding set of earphones which you can only wear in comfort for 5 seconds before tearing them off your head and vice versa.
I’ve heard a few comments about these headphones not being comfortable for prolonged uses but this is something I’ve not come across myself so far. The leather pads are squishy and my ears fit inside the cups easily with no noticeable discomfort. In fact I’d have to say that they’re much more comfortable than the Sony MDR-EX300 headphones I normally use at home as those are just soft pads so squash themselves against your ear and can be pretty irritating after a short while.
Now that we’ve briefly covered how comfortable these bad boys are we can move on to the good stuff – the sound quality.
A) Using the Shure SRH440 Headphones with an MP3 Player:
I’d have to say that the sound, to my ears anyway, is pretty well balanced with the various frequencies coming through quite clearly. Being fairly eclectic when it comes to music I’ve tried a fair few different genres and bands just to see if there was any radical difference or preference to a particular genre. Really I couldn’t pick up on one genre sounding especially poorer than another but I’d have to say that to my mind the SRH440 headphones might be a better choice for fans of rock or electronic music as they are pretty punchy whereas they didn’t handle live tracks or classical music quite as well (N.B. the live tracks were recordings of my old band on tour so haven’t been mastered and as I find classical music a tad uninteresting, I don’t have a fantastic collection).
On the whole the Shure SRH440 headphones should work pretty well for personal enjoyment but they are perhaps a bit too big for some people to feel comfortable wearing while walking down the street. I could see them being pretty effective for long commutes since they’re fairly darn comfy.
(Source players: Creative Zen Vision: M 60GB and a Cowon X7 120GB
Selection of artists played: Give Up The Ghost, Roni Size, Roots Manuva, Chase & Status, Clint Mansell, The Smiths, La Dispute and Thrice).
B) Using them in a studio:
OK so I’m not fortunate (rich?) enough to have a real recording studio in my home so had to contend myself with using them on my electric drum kit (it’s hooked up to my PC for recording so I’m now considering this a recording studio so I feel more financially sound. So there); which is a near-studio level Alesis DM5 Pro with a fairly hefty level of output power from the ‘brain’.
I’m pleased to say that the Shure SRH440s fared very well here with all the drum sounds coming through nice and clearly, with a decent amount of ‘oomph’. They also didn’t feel too heavy on my head and stayed in place effectively while playing – and I move about quite a bit. I also found that the one sided cable was, as suspected, effective at keeping out of the way behind my back and I didn’t catch on my sticks once.
Well I’m sure by now you’ll have read between the lines and realised that I really enjoyed the Shure SRH440 headphones. They come across as being well balanced and have a great price point if you’re looking for a set of great sounding headphones without an equally great price.
However, for those who like lots and lots and lots and lots of bass might be better off with some Sennheisers. Don’t get me wrong, as mentioned earlier, the bass response is strong but maybe not strong enough for some.
I’ll sum up by saying that considering how good these headphones sound for the price they’re a great bargain and shouldn’t disappoint.