Audiophile headphones with fun factor
frequency range: 5 - 25000 Hz | sound pressure level: 99 dB | impedance: 45 Ohm | dynamic
... musical, always unobtrusive, detailed, authentic and balanced.
Bass Mids Trebles Stage Imaging
8.5 8.5 9 8 9
Processing Comfort Earpads Headband Weight
9 9 9 9 286 grams
Price 400 €
Pro Contra - HARMAN - somewhat garish mids
- processing/weight - "simple" design not for everyone
- very good tonality - isolation
- treble presentation - bass sometimes acts slightly bloated
Besides the professional equipment, which SHURE has in their portfolio especially for live events, they are probably known for their SE-IEM series and the KSE (electrostat in miniature format). But SHURE has of course also Over-Ears in their assortment and what kind of them. These are more designed for the studio area, but especially the SRH1540 cuts a very good figure on the road, not only because of its closed design.
The SRH1540 combines several advantages that make it one of the most user-friendly headphones. First of all, it is a flyweight compared to many other closed over-ears, has a low contact pressure but still high wearing safety and a comfortable Alcantara padding. The headband can be easily adjusted, or rather the SRH1540 slides into a comfortable position almost by itself.
There are slight deductions in the headband padding, which is somewhat thin, and the ear cushions could be a few millimeters deeper/thicker.
Otherwise, the SRH1540 impresses with a simple design, where clearly functionality was the main claim, which I personally find to be the more important attention instead of a pompous design.
Equally functional is the selection of accessories. Included are a second replacement cable, a hardcover case, another pair of Alcantara pads and an adapter to 6.3mm. The cable has a MMCX connector, which is rather unusual in the world of headphones and more common in the IEM universe. Unfortunately the connectors are a bit too deep in the case, so I can't connect my own MMCX-IEM cables with the SRH1540, even if the connector would fit. So a quick changeover to a balanced operation would have been possible without investing money in an expensive special cable. A small downer.
The isolation could be better for a closed headphone. Outside noise is passively blocked more effectively, but through the "open pores" of the pads some music still gets through to the outside world, even if this brings sonic advantages.
With their SE846 SHURE set a benchmark for what a balanced armature driver can deliver in terms of depth. The SRH1540 doesn't set a very high standard in bass, but it combines high quantity with quality. Personally, I find it a bit too much emphasized in places, since it is a bit too thick, especially in the mid-bass. This is quite fun for some genres, but can be a bit tiring for bass-intensive music. A little more firmness would remedy this. The bass is quite punchy, but all in all more of the softer variety without the too powerful kick basses. I find the extension and the texture of the bass appealing. A good mixture of fun factor and precision on a very high level.
In contrast to many other closed representatives, the SRH1540 relies more on a neutral alignment with raised low frequencies instead of a V-signature. As a result, the mids within the signature have a higher radiance and are not pushed too far into the background. This gives voices, including men's, a nice presence and makes for a more homogeneous overall sound image, even though female vocals have more liveliness. The only major criticism of the SRH1540's midrange is the slight tendency towards garishness. With harman-oriented headphones you can sometimes hear that the range around 2-3 kHz gets a bit too much attention. With the SRH1540, however, I find this even more than acceptable and only sometimes disturbing (brighter voices or electric guitars). The mids do get a warm shower from the bass region, but I find this warmth pleasant and not falsifying, even if the clarity suffers a bit.
The high frequency is for me the cream of the crop of the SRH1540. It is on the spot and finds the perfect balance between presence, transparency and relaxation. The variety of information is at the highest level, but without slipping into the artificial or being unpleasantly conspicuous. The high frequency provides hours of pleasure, which also makes it predestined for continuous professional use. It is always clear and clean, with a velvety soft but at the same time definite way of sounding. Tonally it is quite neutral without drifting off in the dark or light direction. Strong!
The acoustic pads of the SHR1540 (perforated structure), which are not only breathable but also sound permeable, create an appealingly large stereo stage (when changing the pads to e.g. "closed" ( imitation) leather, the difference becomes clear) and also smooth the frequency response. The stage is still not the measure of all things, but it finds a good mixture of width and intimacy.
The precise imaging produces a sophisticated 3D image that is convincing and above average. This should also be expected in the upper middle class range of the SRH1540 and with the professional demands.
What I like most about the SRH1540 is the ease of music presentation. Nothing seems pressed or artificially expanded, even if the bass plays a significant amount north over neutral, which may not suit everyone's taste. Exactly this feature makes it almost more attractive for me in mobile use than in the studio, even though, apart from the bass, it can still be described as neutral in its basic signature, with Harman influence.
Due to its high sensitivity and low impedance the SRH1540 can be used with a cell phone, even if you have to make dynamic sacrifices, which can be compensated with a powerful mobile DAC!
For me the SRH1540 is a very good all-rounder and a headphone that is not only at home in professional use, but also a great companion in everyday life, if you have the necessary change.
Thanks to SHURE for providing the test headphones.