Shure SRH1540 Mastering & Studio Closed-Back Headphones
The SRH1540 is the flagship studio headphone from audio giant Shure. These are high-end premium headphones that will be too expensive for many home recording studios, but to quote Robbie Stamp from Future Music who gave them a 5 star rating, "It is often the case that you can't imagine better sound quality until you hear it, and the 1540s opened our ears to the possibilities".
These headphones feature high tech materials like carbon fiber, and aircraft-grade aluminum paired with their best 40mm driver design with proprietary materials for better linearity and lower Total Harmonic Distortion (THD).
The ear pads feature memory foam for enhanced comfort over long sessions.
Closed-back headphones are not as popular for use with mixing but the soundstage and response of the SRH1540 offsets that.
- Type: Closed-back
- Driver Size: 40 mm
- Magnet Type: Neodymium
- Frequency Response: 5 Hz – 25,000Hz
- Maximum Input Power: 1000 mW
- Sensitivity: 99 dB
- Impedance: 46 Ohms
- Noise Attenuation: Not Specified
- Weight: 10.1 oz
- Cable and Connectivity: 6 ft dual-exit, detachable oxygen-free copper cable; Gold-plated 1/8" stereo mini jack
User and expert reviews take note of its expansive and open soundstage despite being a closed back design. The sound signature is said to be balanced though not neutral. The ultra low bass response is particularly praised along with natural sounding mids and non-fatiguing highs and many users found that mixes done on the headphones translate well across systems because of the level of detail reproduced. In his MusicRadar review, Robbie Stamp mentioned the "high end is crystal clear and the transient detail is immaculate across the board - kick drum punches aren't pulled, reverb tails can be picked out in a dense mix, close vocals fill your head and, most importantly, the slightest distortions are instantly noticeable". The material used to construct the ear pads of these headphones is fairly breathable, which contributes to the comfort factor. Since the headband doesn't have a bulky construction, these headphones are also light enough to not weigh down on the wearer's head. It's worth mentioning that a lot of sound engineers found them very durable. Comfort is noted for being luxurious and a joy to wear for long periods.
The isolation isn't the best for tracking especially with loud volumes. Some users mentioned that the earcups provided for limited adjustments, which may affect whether the headphones sit well on your head. The bass is not as hard hitting as some people would like but this is a trade-off for the clarity on offer.
These headphones provide an excellent monitoring experience that translates your mixes well across different listening devices, all while providing luxurious levels of comfort for long sessions.
Although these were previously on several of our recommended lists, there are now more highly rated options available which you can see in our guides to: