The vinyl black headband is lightly padded--too lightly, as discomfort sets in after an hour of continuous use, even though the headband is adjustable. This issue shouldn't arise with a pair of headphones intended for long recording sessions. The rest of the headphones' frame is also black, and made of hard plastic. The hinge allows you to fold the earcups inward for storage. Also, exposed wires, starting from just above the hinge, run along down through the side of the frame and end in each earcup--very old-school and a potential snag magnet.
The Shure SRH440 headphones use a single 10-foot detachable coiled cable cord with 1/8-inch gold-plated adapters on both ends. The cable securely locks into the connection port of the left earcup. The coil is extremely loose--no tension whatsoever for forced recoil--and provides more than enough slack to let you roam from one spot to another. Such a long and coiled cord adds some unnecessary weight, further exasperating the problem we have with the overall design--it looks clunky, a throwback to a headphone design of more than a decade ago. We would've preferred a straight cable, as being much more practical for studio use (a straight cable is available as a separate purchase on Shure's Web site). But the fact that the cable is replaceable is great, especially for those who are always shorting out studio headphone cables by running over them with chairs.
Although the SRH440s are not able to replace large studio monitors, the headphones do have most of the spectrum covered. The SRH440s will satisfy classical listeners with a crisp interpretation of strings, as well as jazz, folk, world, ambient, trance, trip hop, new age, and most rock subgenres.
The bass is far from overwhelming, but does have more boom than a flat-response set of cans would produce. The drivers are capable of reproducing frequencies generally handled by a subwoofer. It's just enough to where every instrument has a turn to shine. The sound signature strives for balance and clarity; it's neutral but rich--add a headphone amplifier and it's even better.