Been searching for a closed HP for the last month to replace my new Sennheiser HD1s The HD 1s are very good with very deep base and smooth highs but not open sounding enough for me for Classical.
I’ve read hundreds of reviews and nearly pulled the trigger a couple of times. I was very close to getting the 99 Classics but then I read about the Shure 1540. This HP has really good critic and user reviews similar to the 99. Several user reviews noted that the 1540 sounded like a closed version of the HD650 which I own and love. Also the 1540 got excellent reviews for comfort, openness and soundstage. So I ordered the 1540.
They arrived today and after just a quick run through of my reference tracks I can say WOW these are really good. Extremely comfortable and fit and feel like an open HP. They are well made and have a quality look and feel.
As to the sound. Yes they are very similar to the HD650 but with a deeper more impactful bass and a more neutral (less warm) midrange. If you check frequency graphs for both you will notice that the 1540 bass extends deeper and the midrange is slightly recessed while the 650 has a more prominent midrange. Treble is almost identical. In concert hall perspective the HD650 is front row and the 1540 is row 10. The soundstage on the 1540 is bigger, wider and deeper and actually sounds more like an open phone than the 650. The 1540 is so comfortable and open sounding it’s hard to think of them as closed. I recently sold my T90s which were semi open and the 1540 is superior in every way. They were originally priced at $499 when released and at the current price of $374 they are a great deal.