Are you looking for a pair of headphones that will help you get an accurate mix? Do you record music or work in a studio? If you have a podcast, home studio, or just want to see why these cans are a crowd favorite – you came to the right place!
Compared to other popular reference headphones, we think they’re an underdog worth considering! Throughout this review, we’ll do our best to help you understand the best and worst features they have to offer, as well as hopefully answering any questions you have!
If you’re anything like us, you probably agree with the importance of having all the facts before you make your decision! Keep reading our Shure SRH440 Review to see if they really are one of the best pro studio cans under $100!
Shure SRH440 Review – Best Pro Studio Cans?!
Basic Features & Technical Specs:
- Closed back circumaural (over-ear) wearing design
- Driver Type: Neodymium dynamic
- Driver Size: 40 mm
- Frequency Response: 10 Hz – 22 kHz
- Impedance: 44 Ohms
- Sensitivity: 105 dB/mW
- Includes: Carrying pouch, 10 ft. coiled cable, 1/4″ adapter, and replacement ear cushions
- Weight: 9.6 ounces (w/o cable)
Before you move on, take a quick look at the links below that you can use to navigate our review. Each section will provide an in-depth analysis for each individual performance aspect.
Here are the 5 most important features you’ll want to consider before making your decision:
- Build Quality – Flimsy or Durable?
- Comfort & Noise Isolation
- Sonic Performance – Accurate or Distorted?
- Are They Better For Studio or Casual Use?
- Who Are They Perfect For?
Now that you’ve taken a quick look at the technical specs, let’s start by examining one of the most important features – their build quality! Are they flimsy, or durable?
Build Quality – Flimsy or Durable?
As you can see in the picture above, these feature an all plastic build. Everything from the headband to the ear cups are made of a shiny matte black plastic. When you’re holding them in your hands, you’ll notice that they feel pretty flimsy.
When you’re slightly twisting (or adjusting) the headband – the plastic has quite a bit of wiggle room. The ear cups and headband slider also make a noticeable creaking sound. Both ear cups have right and left indicators. The right ear has a red plastic indicator and the left ear has a blue one.
Folding Design & Carrying Pouch
Much like many other studio headphones, they fold into a fairly compact shape. You can fold them two different ways. (Our preferred method is to fold both ear cups up towards the bottom of the headband.) You’ll also receive a black drawstring carrying pouch.
Keep in mind that it’s not hard shell or reinforced but it does a good job at keeping your cans safe from most dust and other debris. Next, let’s take a look at the extended coiled cable design!
Extended Coiled Cable Design
The coiled cable has a proprietary twist-lock 3.5 mm connector and is completely detachable. You can use the included 1/4″ adapter to plug into your recording equipment or external DAC/amp. Like most 1/4″ adapters, it’s gold-plated and screws on and off.
If you don’t prefer using a coiled cable for any reason, you can replace it with a standard straight cable. As you’ll see in the section below, the 9.8 foot cable will come in handy if you plan on using these in your home (or professional) studio. The cable itself is fairly thick and feels pretty durable.
Are They Deceptively Durable?
Despite their flimsy-feeling plastic build, they are much more durable than they appear to be. We also reviewed the Status Audio CB 1 (since they both retail for under $100) and these cans have a much more long-lasting and practical build.
As long as you store them in their carrying pouch, they’ll last for years and years to come! Does the all plastic build make them more or less comfortable for longer listening sessions?
Comfort & Noise Isolation
Their all plastic build may have its downsides, but it does improve their overall wearing comfort. How? Well, for one, it makes for a lighter build and less aggressive clamping pressure. Although they have minimal, but adequate headband padding, their lighter clamp helps balance it out.
Since they easily fit most (if not all) head shapes and sizes – you shouldn’t have any issues adjusting the headband to fit over your head. The numbered headband adjustment notches are also pretty helpful for keeping track of the perfect adjustment for your specific head.
Shallow Ear Cups or Thin Cushions?
The ear cups are slightly shallow, but not nearly as much as the Sony MDR 7506. If you have bigger ears, your ear lobe might not completely fit inside. The included stock padding is also pretty thin which does tend to cause some minor discomfort after wearing them for longer than an hour or so.
Keep in mind, the ear cushions are fully-replaceable so you can trade them out for thicker cushions if it happens to become a major issue. Also, if you plan on using these for mixing or recording, we recommend using the included stock pads. Why?
Replaceable Ear Cushions & Overheating
The main reason that’s our recommendation is because your ears will be closer to the drivers. When your ears are closer to each driver, it makes a noticeable difference in terms of what you hear. The ear cups have a very slight swivel that’s helpful for adjusting to the shape of your head. It’s also important to note that they do not swivel a full 90°, which may be a significant drawback for some.
Each ear cushion is covered with a soft leatherette material that tends to heat up after wearing them for an hour or longer. Since they are a closed back monitor, they don’t have the best ventilation. If you want to avoid any major overheating, we recommend you take a break and let your ears rest every hour or so.
Noise Isolation & Sound Leakage – Better Than Average?
That being said – the closed back design isn’t all bad, since it definitely contributes to their impressive noise isolation. They block out a significant amount of outside noise – mainly due to their circumaural design and the slightly swiveling cups.
Even at extremely high volumes, there is very minimal sound leakage. Then again, if you plan on using these for mixing or recording, sound leakage is a pretty minimal factor to consider. (If you want to take them on-the-go, you can rest assured that they won’t blast your music out to anyone around you.)
Overall, these aren’t the most comfortable cans of all time, but you can easily wear them for extended listening without experiencing any severe discomfort! Now that you know what to expect in terms of comfort, you’re probably wondering if they’re better for studio or casual use!
Are They Better For Studio or Casual Use?
A lightweight build, extended coiled cable, and reliable performance usually make for an awesome pair of studio monitors. Many people who mix and record audio also prefer neutral playback that doesn’t favor any frequency over the other.
That’s exactly why these are usually better for the studio. Although you can use them for casual listening at home, they were specifically designed for getting an accurate mix. (If you’re wondering why, we’ll show you in more detail below.)
For Recording & Tracking Instruments
You can also use them for recording or tracking vocals, drums, guitar, etc. The only minor downside is their lighter clamping force. For example, if you’re a drummer who likes to have the freedom to move your head a lot as you’re drumming – they might not be ideal.
If you’re a vocalist, on the other hand, and you don’t move around very much while you’re performing – they should stay securely in place. As far as mixing and mastering (or casual listening), you won’t have any issues at all in this area.
Casual Listening & Portable Use
While some people do use these for casual listening, they’re not exactly ideal as an everyday walk-around pair. This is mainly because the extended cable isn’t exactly convenient to tuck under your shirt. Well, that and the fact that they aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing headphones (at least, we don’t think so).
Everything from their professional appearance to their sonic performance says “We’re here to do business”. As we mentioned above, these lean towards an accurate and neutral response. Read the section below for more details on what you can expect to hear!
Sonic Performance – Accurate or Distorted?
Before you read more about how they actually sound, it’s important to note that they are very easy to drive. Their low impedance of only 44 Ohms means that you can enjoy them with your smartphone, DAP, laptop, or PC. There’s no need to pair them with an external amp or DAC.
That being said, if you already own a portable amp, it never hurts to give them an extra boost! Now, let’s take a look at how they respond to each individual frequency!
Extended Bass Response?
For a pair of sub-$100 headphones, these have fairly impressive bass extension. Do they venture into extreme bass-head territory? Not exactly, but they do have significantly more bass than other studio cans like the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro.
The bass response isn’t quite as clean or refined as some much more expensive headphones, but it has a very smooth and accurate tonal quality. They don’t produce skull-shattering bass and there is some slight roll off in the sub-bass range.
Overall, although they slightly lack in terms of depth and sub-bass extension – the bass response is pretty impressive for cans in this price range.
Extended Mid Range & Vocal Presence
In the mid range, vocals are pretty neutral for the most part. Keep in mind, they can get a little bit harsh on sloppy or extremely chaotic recordings. On most tracks, they sound very forward, but not quite aggressive or over-represented.
Sharp & Peaking Treble?
On tracks like “Coolverine” by Mogwai (where you’ll usually notice any sharp peaking or harshness) the treble is nicely extended. Although their sound profile is fairly bright, it’s definitely not painfully piercing.
Listen to the full audio for “Coolverine” below to hear it for yourself:
It does tend to slightly lack in terms of clarity and detail separation, but once again, you can’t expect perfection at this price point. Overall, their sound profile is somewhat similar to the Sennheiser HD600 open back reference cans.
Soundstage Comparison – Can They Compete?
It might seem like a bit of a stretch, but we feel they’re worthy of that comparison. Also similar to the HD600, they have a narrow soundstage that isn’t very wide or spacious. Overall, they sound very accurate right out of the box.
You can expect your music to sound very neutral with a satisfying bass response and impressively extended treble. They work well for mixing a wide range of genres, especially if you’re on a budget. All things considered, there really aren’t too many drawbacks in terms of sonic performance.
They have very professional and neutral performance – no matter what kind of audio you need to smooth over! If you made it this far, you’re probably wondering if they’re worth adding to your studio setup!
Who Are They Perfect For?
These cans would be perfect for you if you’re looking for a very affordable pair of accurate studio headphones. Although they aren’t always at the top of everyone’s lists, we think they can easily compete with other popular reference cans at this price point!
Their professional appearance and understated performance make them a clear underdog worth considering (that is, unless you absolutely hate all-plastic headphones). The fact that they have a detachable cable and strong sonic performance are two of their most defining features.
The only drawback to their deceptively durable build is the creaking sound they make when you’re folding them or adjusting the headband. If you’re not sure whether or not they’re the perfect fit for you – take a look at the review table below! There, you’ll see the main pros/cons as well as how we calculated their final rating out of 10!
Now that you’ve read our entire Shure SRH440 review, what do you think? Should you add these to your studio/podcasting setup? Are they the underdog you’ve been looking for? What features would you add to make them absolutely undeniable?
If you’d like to see more information before you decide, click the link below!
Let us know what you think by leaving a question or comment below! We always do our best to respond as quickly as we can! Thanks for stopping by to take a look at our review, we hope you enjoyed!
Sonic Elevation: Ride The Waves.
Shure SRH440 Professional Studio Headphones
Sonic Performance (At This Price Point)9.0/10
For Studio Use9.0/10
Passive Noise Isolation9.0/10
- Accurate & Fairly Neutral Response
- Solid Bass Extension
- Fairly Compact Folding Design
- Coiled Cable Is Fully-Detachable
- Much More Durable Than They Look
- Ear Cups Don't Swivel 90°
- All Plastic Build
- Minimal Headband Padding