Howdy friend and Welcome aboard!!
Before we get into the Shure SRH 840 vs. ATH M50 comparison, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..
You’ve come to the right place!!
What I will bring you in this review
For this article, I will outline the SRH 840, and then compare it to the M50 towards the end! 🙂
- Video Review
- Amp/DAC requirements
- Who these headphones benefit?
- Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
- Similarities & Differences
- Final Word
Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!!
- Type: Closed back. Closed back vs. Open back headphones.
- Fit: Circumaural
- Impedance: 44 Ohm. What is Headphone Impedance?
- Frequency Response: 5Hz – 25 kHz
- Sensitivity: 102 dB per mW
- Driver: 40mm dynamic. What is a Headphone Driver?
- Magnet Material: Neodymium
- Weight: 1.75 lbs.
- Included Accessories:
- Cable Type: Coiled, detachable, non-PVC, oxygen-free copper (OFC)
- Connector: Gold-plated 1/8″ (3.5mm) stereo mini jack plug with 1/4″ (6.35mm) threaded adapter
The Shure SRH840 is a closed back, circumaural headphone with an excellent mid-range and articulate bass response. There were some complaints that the bass simply wasn’t enough, but the vast majority of peeps loved the fact that it fit right in with the song rather than detracting from the rest of the sound signature (i.e. the mid-range and treble).
Build and Comfort
Build wise, they are pretty darn solid, but a unanimous decision was the fact that 1) They are heavy, and 2) They tend to dig into your head, causing discomfort and even pain. This was apparent in even the overwhelming positive reviews. So not quite a deal breaker, but something to definitely consider. That said, they are decently comfortable, but you will find yourself taking breaks and adjusting every so often.
- Excellent mid-range.
- Bass is balanced, fits in with the rest of the sound. It’s simply more articulate.
- Good isolation.
- Flat sound, very neutral and balanced. The clarity here is remarkable.
- Comfortable overall, but you will need breaks and adjustments.
- Good build, with a beefy cable.
- Good Soundstage for a closed back model. What is Soundstage?
- Poor headband design/snapped or heavy headphones in general. They tend to dig into your dome.
- Bass is lacking/not quite enough.
May need an amp to bring out the bass more. Others say the overall sound is fine without one. How to choose a headphone amp!
Some good options:
- Nuforce UDAC 2
- Audioengine D1
- RSA predator headphone amp
Who these headphones benefit?
- Classic Rock
- Choral music
Bands that got some positive mention:
- Explosions in the Sky (one of my old favorites!)
- Beck’s BQE album
- James Farm
- Esperanza Spalding
- Eva Cassidy
- Van Halen
- Colin Hay
- Bon Iver
- Charlie Parker
- Cannonball Adderley
- Black Light Retribution
- The Mars Volta
- Luis Agudo
- Porcupine Tree
- Michael Jackson
- Rodrigo y Gabriela
- Coheed and Cambria
- The Beatles
Not as good for:
- Bass heavy music.
- Heavy Rock.
- Casual listening.
Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
- Be aware of counterfeit models. From amazon, always make sure it says “Shipped from and sold by Amazon.” This will prevent a lot of headaches.
- The music may be a bit clinical at times, and devoid of emotion.
- One thing to keep in mind is that these are studio monitoring headphones, so don’t expect them to come equipped with full blown bass. It’s just not happening. 🙂
- Comes with a replacement set of ear pads.
- They may sound a bit harsh at first. Ample burn in time is recommended before coming to an opinion on sound. At first the treble will be too much and there won’t be enough bass. After some time however they start to open up nicely.
- They tend to be on the unforgiving side with low quality source files. Anything with 128 kbps and below is not recommended.
- They aren’t very portable due to their bulkiness.
- Exposed wires on the headphone may become problematic.
An analytical, flat sound that does well with most genres. Comfort is a mixed bag, with the consensus that they are heavy and will dig into your head and cause some discomfort and pain.
Similarities & Differences
- Structure. They each have a similar headband structure and padding. Somewhat minimal, but it gets the job done.
- Build. Both are extremely durable, have a similar build, and are meant to hold up over the long haul. I have had the M50’s since January 2013, and I can attest to this.
- Genre. Both do well with a variety of genres.
- Soundstage. The Soundstage and instrument separation with both is impressive, especially since neither are open back. The imaging you get will be solid, but not mind blowing as with other open back models.
- Portable. Neither are very portable, but the M50’s will be more agile in this department. I do on occasion wear mine out because I have the straight cable.
- Detail. The SRH840’s are a bit better at revealing the nuances of the music, while the M50’s are a little more bass heavy and the mid-range doesn’t come through as well. There is simply more clarity with the 840. So in this regard, the 840’s are better suited for mixing/mastering purposes, while the M50’s are more for fun and enjoyment.
- Clamp Force. The 840’s tend to be a bit more uncomfortable on your dome piece, as the clamp force is kind of harsh. The M50’s are very comfortable overall, but you will find yourself taking breaks every so often.
- Detachable chord. The chord on the 840 is a little better than the M50’s non detachable one. Keep in mind the M50x did improve upon this by making the chord removable. Also, The 840’s do not come with a straight cable, but one can be separately purchased. In the 50’s, you have a choice of buying a straight cable or coiled cable version of each headphone.
- Bass. As hinted at before, the M50 is more of a bass head’s can, while the 840 is better suited for critical listening. It’s bass isn’t as prominent, and sits comfortably in the mix rather than standing out.
- Treble. The M50’s do have a tendency to become harsh and sibilant at times depending on the song and the way it was mixed. For the most part they’re fine. The 840’s are a little more toned down in this regard. What does Sibilant mean?
- Size. The M50’s are big. The 840’s are gigantic in comparison.
- Flexibility. The M50’s fold up in a million different ways, which to me adds to their solid structure. There is less that can go wrong and break over time because pretty much every aspect to them is moveable. The SRH840’s fold up, but they don’t move in the same ways as the M50.
- Cups. The SRH840’s come with a set of replacement ear cups, the M50’s do not.
- Rap. The M50’s tend to do better with Rap and Hip-Hop. The 840’s still do well with these genres, but the bass isn’t nearly as prominent and therefore may not be the best choice in this regard.
If you’re looking for a little more punch in the bass region, I would recommend the M50. I’ve had it since January of 2013 and I don’t regret the purchase at all. In fact it has been a rock for me since then, and I still enjoy the sound though nowadays I much prefer a more balanced overall signature. It has that fun, V-shaped sound but doesn’t go over the top with it. The bass is tight and authoritative, but not so in your face that it detracts from the music. Keep in mind also that Audio Technica came out with the 50x, which is essentially an improved version of the 50. Interested in learning about it?
CHECK OUT MY OFFICIAL AUDIO TECHNICA ATH M50 REVIEW!!
While I do love the 840, I think you can get an incredible sound for less. The Sony MDR V6 is very comparable to the sound signature of the 840, but comes in way more affordable, and doesn’t have the discomfort issues in the headband. It’s been around for decades, and it’s battle tested build has really stood the test of time. Add to that it’s amazingly rich sound signature, and you have a recipe for greatness. Interested in learning more about one of my favorite closed back models?
CHECK OUT MY OFFICIAL SONY MDR V6 REVIEW!!
If you’re still interested in the 840, I understand, as it’s a pretty beastly headphone. If so:
Well that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this Bowers and Wilkins Shure SRH840 vs. ATH M50 comparison.
Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!
Which of these tickles YOUR pickle? I would love to hear from you. Until next time..
All the best and God bless,