The Shure SRH1440 headphones have an open-back, circumaural design that offers a more "open" and less "canned" profile than closed-back headphones. The SRH1440 certainly succeeds on that score, and while it can be used on-the-go with phones and digital music players, it shines brightest at home with an AV receiver. The $399 SRH1440 is expensive, but it's ruggedly built and a solid investment choice for audiophiles shopping headphones to last a lifetime.
Design and features
The SRH1440s are large, over-the-ear headphones, and they don't collapse or fold flat. They also lack a remote control on the headphone cable, which may limit their appeal for people hoping to pair them with a smartphone outside the house. The padded, black plastic headband and oval earcups have a quality feel, but it's not on par with the $300 more expensive, mostly metal Shure SRH1840 headphones.
The SRH1440s' low (37 ohm) impedance and high sensitivity sound great with portable music players and at home, plugged into a receiver or dedicated headphone amplifier. The 40mm drivers, with neodymium magnets, are the same size as the ones in the SRH1840 headphones, though that headphone driver's voice coil and magnet structure are different than the ones in the SRH1440.
The headphones come with two identical sets of 6.9-foot cables that terminate in 3.5mm gold-plated plugs. A screw-on 6.3mm adapter plug is also included with each cable. The part of the cable where the plug joins the wire is heavily reinforced, which should significantly reduce the chances of cable failure.
The cables plug into the headphones' left and right earcups with snug-fitting connectors, but Shure claims the connector isn't proprietary and is now being used on almost all of the company's full-size and in-ear headphones. That's a smart move; since no headphone company can make an unbreakable cable, Shure does the next best thing and offers user-replaceable ones instead. The SRH1440 also comes with an extra set of earpads. One nitpick: the cable lacks an integrated microphone for cell calls.
I noticed a strong plastic smell when I first unboxed the SRH1440, but the odor dissipated over a few days. Soon after, I realized the odor comes from the semi-hard travel case included in the package, so you might want to avoid using that if you're sensitive to chemical odors.