Truly a premium product
Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with Shure or any other company. My opinions are mine, and my own.
Pro: Offering exceptional fidelity and comfort with a brilliant construction and thoughtful extras the Shure 1540 is a headphone that is not easily bested.
Cons: With a rather steep price tag it can be a large pill to swallow for someone hesitant to take the leap.
Overall: The new Shure closed flag ship is a major contender to the headphone market. I believe it to be one of, if not the best closed back headphone on the market. It brings superb comfort with an above average imaging and soundstage that makes it hard to put down. It is simply a joy to listen too.
The Shure 1540 is the first headphone I have come across in my budding audiophile career that seems to check almost all the boxes. I have had the absolute pleasure listening to them. I have had friends listen to them (one who never seems to see the difference in my headphones). She instantly remarked when I took them out of the box “those look like really nice headphones.” A moment later I played a song and had her listen. Her comment was, “okay yeah these do sound really good.” I feel this puts these in a nut shell. The just sound and feel so right. I will break down this review into several topics. If you want a streamlined version I will have a numerical breakdown listed below (for those impatient readers!).
Sound: The sound I can best describe as something like a Nike swoosh. It has a bump in the bass (but controlled) and a slight spike in the upper treble to give it some sparkle. It is, however, very close to neutral to my ears which is great as it allows me the EQ it to my personally needs relatively easily however my ideal sound is very close to its “normal” sound so I don’t really need to do much to it as far as EQ is concerned. I should also mention that I have been using the Fiio E17 with these. They do not require an AMP to be used, but they do scale up well.
The overall sound isolation is good (rated at 15 db) which is about average. They leak little noise unless at dangerous volumes. This means if someone is singing along to your music with these on your head, turn the music down!
Comfort: As you may already know after reading other reviews these headphones are extremely comfy. The ultra-plush ear pads have a slow recovery memory foam which molds to your head exerting just the right amount of force to create a good seal, but not too much to cause pressure points. This is vital for me as I wear glasses, and these are the first pair of headphones I have ever worn that don’t put pressure on them. It is truly remarkable. Furthermore these pads get even better, as they are covered in an Alcantara™ fabric. It is essentially extra durable synthetic suede which is very soft on the skin and breaths better than most other pads.
Style: This is a less essential category but many people do care how their headphones look. They are simple, yet stunning. They have a very modern feel and the carbon fiber backing is a unique look. I personally like how they have a more understated design, but not simply boring. I think Shure did a good job in the department.
Durability: These headphones are clearly built to last, as the premium price should indicate. They are made of aluminum, carbon fiber, and high quality plastic housing. There are hardly any moving parts, only part that moves is the adjustable headband, which is one of the smoothest mechanisms I have used (no clicking). This lack of moving parts means fewer things to easily break, like hinges. In addition the cable is replaceable and the pads. If they either wear out or some tragedy causes them to break then Shure is kind enough to provide you with spares of each, included with the purchase. If the headphones were not strong enough they come with a substantial carrying case which will protect these cans from most anything, although it is a bit bulky. In short these are meant to last
Value: As I have stated this is a sizable purchase, however some things to consider are: They come with all replaceable parts which separately are expensive as well. It is logical to assume that this influenced the final price tag. Many people have grown used to buying Beats for 400, so in reality this is a phenomenal deal, as you get superior, well… everything in my opinion (yes I have listen to Beats, specifically the new studios). Sound is much better, comfort is better, build is better, and value is better. Having said this they are still a large purchase and are not suited for everyone. That is your decision to make as a consumer. I can say that if you have the budget these are well worth your time or interest.
Summary: These headphones are hands down the best that I have heard and currently own. The offer a superior imaging and sound stage for a closed back headphone, of which I have not experienced before. The sound is rich and supple making these a pure joy to listen to, which is good cause their comfort allowing me to listen for very long durations! I hope this review helps, feel free to comment and ask questions I will do my best and reply/ answer!