Want a pair of headphones that sound good but don't want to pay too much money? The smart money is on professional headphones. Not only are you getting great sound for the cash, but the headphones are designed to last forever. While they usually look uglier than consumer models, who will care if you're using them at home?
One of our favourite pairs is the Sony MDR-7506, which is apparently built by Audio Technica, and features crystal-clear, effortless sound for less than AU$150 online. Coming up against these are the range of professional phones from Shure — a company better known to consumers for its in-ears and in the audio profession for its headphones.
The SRH840 sits at the top of the company's range and the fit and finish are superb. The headband is cushioned yet flexible and the pleather ear cups are padded. However, if you have big ears you may find that the SRH840 mash against them uncomfortably after a while. By careful arrangement you might be able to get them to sit better, though.
The Shure SRH840 also features a flexible, detachable cable that locks into the bottom of the ear cup, which is great for ensuring the longevity of the product. Surprisingly, there is an inclusion of another set of replacement ear pads in the box — the pleather does degrade over time, but most companies only supply them as an aftermarket accessory. We like your thinking, Shure.
During use of these headphones we were continually reminded of another studio-quality model — the Sony MDR-7506. While Shure’s are much more rugged the two are very similar in design, from the curly headphone cord to the shape of the pleather ear cups. The thing is, we prefer the Sony headphones as they are more comfortable and have a little more sonic sparkle.
Shure's headphones excels with detail retrieval. If you want to dig up parts of the music that other headphones or speaker systems conceal without spoiling the overall balance then get a pair of Shure SRH840s. Bass is deep, mids are detailed and treble is sweet without being forward. As a result, these headphones are exceptionally versatile and will suit any style of music, and even movie watching. If only they were AU$100 cheaper.