Shure SRH145 on-ear headphone review

Shure brings style and great sound to the budget segment

http://www.androidguys.com/buyers-guide-headphones/

[dropcaps]Shure is well known in the audiophile community for pumping out some serious audio gear.  However, those who do not want to spend an arm and a leg on a pair of headphones may have not had an opportunity to hear what they’re capable of.  As of late, Shure has been trying to stretch its reach to cover more budgets.  One of the latest additions is the SRH145 on-ear headphones.[/dropcaps]

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Design

In touring the product, I get the feeling of compromise and balance.  As all headphones in this price range (and even much above), you see cut corners in the materials.  The band is not made of the best feeling plastic.  But in what I consider a great move, Shure laminated the entire surround of the headband with a sleek-looking brushed-metal finish.  This was a fantastic choice in material, which gives an inexpensive product an expensive look, and stands out (in a good way).  It feels nice too.

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For portability, Shure engineered a hinge system on the left and right sides of the bands.

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They fold so that the cups fill the space and reduce considerably in size.  This is always a great feature to have, if you’re taking these on the go.  However, since the thought is portability, I wish Shure would’ve included a carrying case in the box.

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The cord is considerable in length (5ft to be exact).  It connects to both cups, from their bottoms (non-removable).  The headphone jack is a 90 degree connector.

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Everything here feels as it should, sturdy.

The earcups wobble to allow for different angles of ear placement.  To fit varying head sizes, instead of the typical band extension, the earcups slide up or down on a railing.

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Comfort

Since these headphones are on-ear (they rest on the ears, as opposed to over-ear earcups, which encompass the ear), the earpads are made of a supple cushion.  It feels similar to memory foam, and I didn’t notice any discomfort over a period of continual use.  Although, they do heat up my ears, but this is a common occurrence with on-ears.

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The upper portion of the headband has a similar, cushiony material, for comfort as the headphones rest on the top of your head.  Together with the lightness in weight, I didn’t find any discomfort here either.

Sound

*I used an iBasso D-Zero MK2 DAC and Tidal HiFi music samples to conduct this review.

So now to the most important aspect of every headphone review – the sound.  I found the SRH145 to have a mostly balanced sound signature.  That is, there isn’t a particular frequency range that dominants too much (i.e. bass).  The way I would describe it is that a little prominence is taken from the treble and given to the bass.  The mids sit at a nice place.

The bass provides a considerable punch when the song demands it, and can sometimes be boomy.  It should be sufficient to satisfy bassheads.  It’s slower-paced kind of response to my ears and definition was occasionally questionable (but decent for the most part).  Mid-bass holds its composure better than sub-bass does (punchy rather than low-end rumble), and can even steal the show.   This is fine with me as a compromise, as mid-bass is generally dominant in music.

I love the mids on this thing, they’re done very nicely.  I always appreciate when vocals aren’t pushed back in favor for the other frequencies.  Shure has a tendency not to do this, and it shows on the SRH145.  Treble leaves a little to be desired.  It doesn’t appear to reach that far, at least compared to more detailed (expensive) headphones.  But from what I can hear, it gets the job done.

I don’t expect much on soundstage and imaging from on-ear headphones (due to the spatial limitation, compared to over-ears).  Also, at this price point, I imagine more of the focus is on getting the sound right.  The soundstage of the SRH145 slightly exceeded my expectation.  I would say it’s wide enough to satisfy most people.  But expect more of an in-head-directed sound, not very spacious.  And that goes for imaging too.  Certain instruments can slightly show spatial differentiation, depending on how the song was made, but it isn’t going to wow you.

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Final Thoughts

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I had a great time checking out the SRH145 on-ears.  I wasn’t sure what to expect or what focus Shure took with them.  I was left pleasantly surprised with what you get for your money.  I just about agree with all of the choices and compromises Shure took.

Most people want a considerable bass response, and the SRH145 certainly delivers.  Also, the mids (which are often neglected) are done beautifully in my opinion.  Design is equally done well for the price.  Comfort is where it should be, they fold down for portability, and the metal-finish band is a simple solution to adding a good, non-cheap look.  This is a great offering for the $39 asking-price.

Shure SRH145 Product Page