SRH940 vs. SRH1540 – Which Is Best?

Recently, Shure released the new SRH1540 premium closed back headphones. The new model complements our existing closed back range, which includes SRH240, SRH440, SRH840, & the SRH940. However, from a price perspective, they’re actually on par with our premium SRH1840 open back model; making them the new top dog closed-back. In this post, we take a look at what makes them different from SRH940’s…

SRH1540 & SRH940


Which Is the Best Headphone?

As always, the answer to this question depends on what you want to achieve – combined with an element of personal taste. It’s less of a question of ‘which is better’ and more a case of which application you’ll be using them for. In short, the SRH940’s are reference studio headphones, whereas the SRH1540’s are a premium closed back design. So what does this mean?

Essentially, the biggest difference is the sound signature. For the SRH940, the sound is flat, which basically means the sound is not coloured or bias. Hence, they’re referred to as reference models (they reproduce your mix as accurately as possible). The SRH1540, on the other hand, actually accentuate certain aspects of your music or mix. They produce warm bass and detailed, extended highs. So, if you’re an audiophile and this is your thing, you’ll no doubt welcome the extra detail and energy. Alternatively, if you’re looking for accuracy, the SRH940 is still the best choice. It’s generally advised to have at least one good pair of flat, accurate, studio reference headphones when checking your mix, and the SRH940 delivers superbly in this category.

Design & Comfort

At Shure we pride ourselves on great design and the SRH1540 is undoubtedly one of the most comfortable headphones we’ve ever made. The headband is extremely ergonomic and lightweight, which when combined with the ultrasoft Alcantara® earpads makes for a headphone that virtually disappears.

Exceptional comfort is another factor in their appeal to audiophiles, where many hours of wear calls for greater comfort.


The frequency response delivered by SRH1540’s makes for a great listening experience, and they’re some of the most comfortable headphones you’ll wear. However, despite the cheaper price point, the SRH940’s are still the most accurate model on offer. To summarise, it’s likely you’ll prefer the 940 in your studio, and the 1540 for your Hi-Fi.

Features and more detail available on our website: SRH940 & SRH1540

Alternatively, you can try them for yourself at select Shure resellers.

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Marc Henshall

Marc forms part of our Pro Audio team at Shure UK and specialises in Digital Marketing. He also holds a BSc First Class Hons Degree in Music Technology. When not at work he enjoys playing the guitar, producing music, and dabbling in DIY (preferably with a good craft beer or two).

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  • I’m a fresh owner of SRH940 and the sound is great (better than my ears, for “shure”), package is also great and I hope I’ll not have any problems with anything breaking (some people reported such accidents). However comfort side is probably not universal – we all have different heads, so it seams. Ear cups are superb, comfortable, no problem here – but the head bridge is not comfortable for me. There are these four bumps – and only two of them rest on my head and after less than hour they start being even painful and I have to reposition the bridge forward or backwars. When I extend the bridge it does not help, only loosens pressure on the earcups, but the bridge itself stays rather flat-shaped on those two bumps. Anything with wider area would be much better. Minor gripe – but it reminds itself every couple of minutes. 🙁

    • shureUK says:

      Hey Richard, Thanks for your comment – we’re glad you love the sound quality of the 940’s. As you say, the comfort aspect is a really personal thing. We’ll certainly pass your feedback on to our development team, though.

      • I got somehow used to them (still on the hurting side on the top of my head though), but even worse, it’s exactly 3rd week I use them and the side broke during routine taking them off. 🙁 I’ll complain about it with my seller, but I expect never ending story of replacement in better case or refusal for “brute-force” although this never happend to me with many other phones. For such a price they are incredibly fragile and it was all so sudden. Crack! And here it is.

  • Mr.Chance D says:

    I love the design of 1540,it’s so perfect that I shall ignore the 940,but I prefer a balanced sound ,1540‘s treble has little extension and bass is too heavy for me!Can I use the silver cable makes 1540 more balanced? I am in china ,this place has no trial play of 1540,I am so helpless and confused to choose this 1540. As a student ,I can’t afford the risk if this sound still not
    my taste after changing the silver cable!Can you have a try to change the cable!

  • Jeff says:

    I intend to buy a good headphone to go with my Clavinova CLP545 digital piano from Yamaha, but I’m unsure if I should go for SRH1840 or SRH1540.

    What should I look for? Can anyone please share their experience? 🙂

    • shureUK says:

      Hi Jeff. Thanks for your question. It depends how important isolation and a private listening experience is to you. The SRH1840’s are an open back headphone, which typically sound more natural and less like you’re wearing headphones, however, they do let sound in and out.

      The SRH1540 on the otherhand are closed back, which will isolate better, giving you a more personal listening experience (also better for recording using a microphone). Here’s a little more information on closed vs open headphones:

      Hope this helps. If you can give us a general overview of the situations you’d be most likely to use the headphones, we will gladly help recommend which model would suit you best. Cheers, Shure UK

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