Frequently we get asked – which will be the most flat sounding closed back headphones out there? When it comes to neutral frequency response, will there be a Sennheiser HD 650 equivalent among closed back headphones? Shure SRH1540 will be mentioned in answers to both these questions. However, there are always a couple of what to know before you grab your credit card. Continue reading! As Black Friday is here you can expect some of the cool gadgets price reducing right now.

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Last updated on May 16, 2022 3:48 pm

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Exceptionally flat frequency response
Includes two sets of ear pads and cables, and a strong hard case

High 3rd harmonic distortion in the low-end

Build quality

Shure SRH1540 are designed using lightweight materials more prevalent in cars than studio headphones – aircraft grade aluminium alloy yokes, alcantara covered ear pads, carbon fiber enclosure end caps. Each one of these fancy parts are placed together effectively and the build feels durable. Ear cups remain plastic but that doesn’t eliminate from the premium look and feel of the headphones. Every little detail is nice to touch, like the cable. The spare ear pads and cable certainly are a great inclusion and the excess durable transport case includes a dedicated pocket or compartment for each and every of the accessories so it’s simple to take them with you together with the headphones, which means you won’t get stranded with a broken cable.


Shure states that SRH1540 “steel driver frame with vented center pole piece increases linearity and eliminates internal resonance”. Headphone manufacturer marketing claims rarely could be supported by our measurements but with SRH1540 it’s accurately the case.

All studio oriented Shure closed back headphones that we’ve ever measured are remarkably flat in comparison with competition and SRH1540 will be the flattest of these all – like true flagship ought to be. SRH840 is a close second but SRH1540 has better low end extension and more smooth highs. In addition to the bump at 100 Hz, there’s relatively little correction needed. The response deviates only +/- 3dB in exceptionally wide variety, from about 170 Hz completely up to about 17 kHz. During writing, out of your all closed backs we’ve measured, only the now discontinued Oppo PM-3 and these Shure SRH840 come close when it comes to neutral frequency response.

Channel balance

Out of your seven pairs measured, five had just about flawlessly matched channels, however the other two had some flaws. One had a low-shelf like disbalance of 2.5 – 4 dB from 200 Hz down, which really isn’t befitting the high cost. The other one had similar issues but at more narrow bandwidth and lesser magnitude, making the disbalance practically imperceivable.


Our testers had mixed feelings when it comes to long listening session comfort. Unlike almost every other over ear studio headphone designs, the ear cups can’t swivel, so there’s a set angle for ear pads and headband to rest against the listener’s head. If this angle matches the condition of your head, probably you’ll find SRH1540 divinely comfortable, if not, it’s likely that after about one hour useful you’ll feel a distressing pressure applied by the headband. According for some users online, the steel headband could be bent very easily to tailor the ear cup angle to one’s head shape, which solves the headband pressure problem. Others mitigate this matter through the use of additional DIY cushioning to the headband.

Nonetheless, the foam ear pads, wrapped in gentle alcantara, were loved by everyone – they’re very comfortable and pleasurable to wear.


SRH1540 cost about €500, that is a lot. All of the fancy materials found in building SRH1540 don’t come cheap, I’d imagine the study and development work involved to create so neutral sounding drivers requires some resources aswell. In terms of closed backs with flat frequency response, these Shures are first rate, yet as a standard package, sadly, they’re still not perfect. The worthiness score is dragged down by the relatively poor THD performance and comfort that’s less universally loved than a few of its rivals.
In the pre-digital correction era €500 for flat headphones will be fair enough, however now when you’re able to get the same results with a lot more affordable hardware paired with headphone calibration software, SRH1540 appears more like an extravagance one may easily do without. It’s a different story if you want headphones for computer-less setup though.
Observations how headphones perform after applying Sonarworks Reference calibration Total Harmonic Distortion

It is the greatest SRH1540 weakness. In the event that you use sub bass heavy material, however you can’t expect completely transparent sound in the lows – another harmonic distortion rears its ugly head. There’s numerous genres of music where this will never be an issue but if you require pristine transparency in the sub bass region, SRH1540 isn’t for you.

Utilize a computer-less setup and want neutral sounding headphones, and you don’t require pristine bass, and you involve some cash to blow? SRH1540’s are for you personally! Only if there wasn’t the THD issue and the comfort was more universal, SRH1540 will be the best closed back studio headphones for anybody, period. They could’ve been perfect, hence every con feels especially harsh. However, If you use acoustic music, classical, rock music, basically anything without prominent sub bass – Shure SRH1540 will be the best closed back studio headphones you can purchase. Just make certain to try them on for so long as possible to check on the fit!