Shure's high end SRH models have proven to be a real force to be reckoned with. Today we are looking at Shure SRH1540, the Ying to SRH1840's Yang. These models are among the very best studio headphones you can get your hands on for less than $500 at the moment.
Design wise, Shure didn't waste too much time and effort on SRH 1540. They pretty much took the same platform they have used for SRH 1840, only making it a closed back chassis. Even though this might come across as sloppy, it was actually the right move to make. The frame, headband and padding solutions these headphones share, have proven to be the right kind of solution for professional applications. The only real aesthetic difference apart from the driver housing being closed, is the color of the forks. Both models feature high quality aluminum forks, but SRH 1540 offers them in silver compared to bronze like color on SRH 1840. With all that said, the overall design does look a bit off compared to more standard solutions out there. Either way, no one can deny the style and appeal Shure has managed to achieve with SRH 1540.
Closed speaker enclosures aren't the only thing different on SRH 1540. Shure went with a slightly different set of 40mm drivers for this build, which are dialed in to work better with this type of headphone. One of the easiest tells is the frequency response range that is a bit narrower than on the other model, and goes from 5Hz to 25kHz. With SPL of 99dB and nominal impedance of 46 Ohms, SRH 1540 comes across as more friendly to mobile devices. As expected, the padding is top notch. Shure used the same headband layout on both SRH flagship models, with what appear to be the same ear pads as well. Again, some will fault them for basically copying the same headphone with slight changes, but why fix something if it works? Lastly, the cable is a dual exit one, fully detachable on both ends and featuring oxygen-free copper core.
What SRH 1540 do really well is bring out that complete coverage of the mix. With that said, these are aimed more at actual recording rather than mixing, although they can do both on a level that is more than acceptable. The clarity, mixed with proper noise cancellation makes working with a pair of SRH 1540 rather enjoyable. The definition across the range is great. Lows are present but neutral, mids pretty vivid and trebles just the right kind of sharp. In terms of comfort, things are looking great as well. Even though you might think that padding is somewhat skimpy, you will find out that Shure has managed to strike that Goldilocks zone. Headband packs just enough cushion to make a fairly heavy set of headphones almost noticeable. On the other hand, ear pads are a true bliss of velour and actual ventilation.
Shure SRH 1540 have really shown to be a surprisingly awesome solution for fans of closed back monitoring. These offer plenty of transparency, lots of detail and borderline complete noise cancellation. It doesn't really get much better than that. Along with the other SRH superstar, 1540 is an awesome choice.