Shure was founded in 1925. They began as a radio parts company and published their first catalog in 1926. Shure introduced their first microphone, the model 33N, in 1932, their first headset in 1942, and they haven’t stopped making microphones and headphones since. Many companies that have been around as long as Shure have expanded their “core business” into places they probably shouldn’t have gone and are no longer among the living. But Shure hasn’t strayed far from what they do best. Perhaps that’s why Shure is as vibrant today as it was eighty-seven years ago.
The SRH1440 headphones are one model down from Shure’s top-of-the-line, over-ear, open-back SRH1840s, but for music-lovers with headphone budgets of under $400, the SRH1440s could be the best all-around headphone Shure makes. With a feature set that will appeal to home, studio, or mobile users, the SRH1440 headphones are neutral enough to be used as a reference, yet musical enough to be the first headphone you’ll grab for pure pleasure listening.
Ergonomic Highlights and Lowlights
Headphone buyers who want a flashy looking headphone will be disappointed by the Shure SRH1440’s decidedly proletarian appearance. Except for the chrome accent oval around the outside of the driver enclosures the SRH1440 is comprised of dark grey plastic. Only the headband section has a slightly different, rubberized finish that reminds me of the B&W P3. The headband also sports embossed lettering that says, “Shure.” I wish they had used a similar printing method on the other parts of the headband. Instead of elegant embossments or logos the SRH1440s have large white printed lettering that reads, “Shure SRH1440” and a large R or L to designate the channel. While I appreciate the big lettering, it looks industrial at best, and downright dowdy at worst. Given their sonics, the SRH1440 deserve a bit more physical style. But the good news for audiophiles is that Shure didn’t waste money on cosmetics.
On the comfort scale the SRH1440s get high marks. They are designed to fit so their large soft felt pads surround your ears. The headband itself also has soft pillows on the inside. The headband size is not only adjustable, but it has a calibrated adjustment with numbers so you can quickly readjust the SRH1440 to your own exact settings. I used 1 on the right and the left. The SRH1440s also have about 15 degrees of horizontal adjustment so the pads sit flush on your head. I suppose there’s someone whom the SRH1440s won’t fit, but for the other 99.99% of the population the SRH1440s will fit like a well-tailored glove.
The SRH1440’s 82” signal cable is detachable, using Shure’s MMCX connector hardware. During the review period I found the connectors worked well as quick-release devices if you catch your cable on something unyielding, such as the edge of your desk. If you travel with the SRH1440s you’ll appreciate how quickly the cable detaches and reattaches, yet stays firmly in place during use. The cable itself is made of a flexible material that slides easily. The first 22” of the cable exhibited some degree of microphonics, but after the right and left cable junction the cable was immune to microphonic transmission.