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Samson SR-850 - What in the BLOODY HELL?

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 

My apologies if my first post is a semi-rant - I've lurked this site a fair bit before, but obviously I didn't have anything unique to say pre-purchase.

 

Background: I've been using and enjoying a Koss SB-45 headset for the last couple years, but it almost broke (sounds goes out whenever the cable is at the wrong angle), so I figured I'd take the chance for an upgrade. I browsed and asked around a LOT and settled on the much-praised Samson SR-850. I got them today.

 

The sound, especially the bass, is absolutely pathetic; my half-broken Koss SB-45 headset murders them so hard it's not even funny. Seriously, it's making me angry to use them. Every percussion instrument sounds like a sheet of metal being beaten; every singer seems to be talking through a ******* telephone.

Since the Koss are 100 Ohm and the Samson are 32 Ohm, could it be entirely the fault of the onboard sound card (VIA 785G)? Various guides I read suggested the opposite - that an integrated sound card would most likely have trouble with high, not low impedance. But I find it quite hard to believe that they're so drastically overrated and/or that the Koss are so drastically underrated. Also these Samson are really comfy and well-built so I would hope they do have a great sound hidden in them.

 

If it provides any hint, using my cellphone instead (which I expected to only make things worse) somehow makes them sound noticeably better. They're still god-awful and almost lose to my KSC-75 portables, but at least the music doesn't sound like it's amplified by a metal sheet and doesn't give me quite as much of a headache.

post #2 of 50

Sometimes, more detailed headphones will sound terrible out of sound cards--they give out a lot of noise.

 

If you have it plugged directly into the line out of the sound card, you can also end with other problems.  Sometimes, the output ends up being too hot and hard to control with sensitive headphones.

 

That said, it sounds like the Samson aren't a good fit for your tastes.

post #3 of 50

Your motherboard does not come with a dedicated headphone amplifier

Adding a low cost sound card with a built in headphone amplifier might help.

Asus Xonar DG (PCI), $10 dollar mail in rebate this month.

Built in headphone amplifier and does Dolby Headphone 5.1.

post #4 of 50

Are the output jacks on the motherboard set to "headphone" or "speaker" output?

Also try updating to the latest software/drivers for your built in sound card.

post #5 of 50
Thread Starter 

I already tried every jack (front and back) and every potentially relevant option in the driver's panel (which hasn't been updated since last year).

 

I might try a sound card but (1) it would prevent me from using the front panel, which I prefer (2) I live in Sweden, so the price for the model you quote is the equivalent of 48 US dollars, more than half of what I paid for the Samson. I would probably do that if people were sure that that's the reason the Samson aren't the eargasm the reviewers promise, but not for something that 'might help'.

 

Thanks for the replies, by the way.

post #6 of 50

Try them with a real sound card, and a proper amp. Those are low impedance cans, they need all the current they can get, which your integrated sound card can't even provide (via integrated sound? on a 785G board? that's quite rare, you usually see realtek solutions with such chipset... anyway, both are far from ideal to drive headphones directly). Once you do that, the bass hits you with a baseball bat while being quite detailed...

 

They also need some burn in, give them 10 hours of use to start noticing what they're capable of, and a further 100-150 hs before judging them. You'll notice they get better and better with use! But please try to get an amp and a better source.


Edited by vodkex - 10/11/11 at 4:44pm
post #7 of 50

Maybe you got a bad pair? I was very impressed with mine...For $45 or so, they were awesome.

post #8 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndBurningRain View Post
I already tried every jack (front and back) and every potentially relevant option in the driver's panel (which hasn't been updated since last year).

I might try a sound card but (1) it would prevent me from using the front panel, which I prefer (2) I live in Sweden, so the price for the model you quote is the equivalent of 48 US dollars, more than half of what I paid for the Samson. I would probably do that if people were sure that that's the reason the Samson aren't the eargasm the reviewers promise, but not for something that 'might help'.

Thanks for the replies, by the way.

The Asus Xonar DG come with a front panel audio header, which can be hooked up to the headphone jack on the front of the case.

Most computer case come with a cable running from the front panel audio jack, which I assuming is connected to your computer's motherboard audio header.

So you would need to disconnect the audio cable from the motherboard and just plug it into the Xonar DG.

 

I'm 90% sure it would help, my Superlux HD-668B has a great sound, and Supurlux makes the SR850, the HD-668B and SR850 appear to use the same cups.

My HD-668Bs are great all around headphones, I've used the Hd-668Bs about a month ago with the Xonar DG, it sounded fine.

I've seen people who have posted they like the SR850 better then the HD-668B.
 

 

 

post #9 of 50

Don't listen to all the amp chatter. While a dedicated amplifier and DAC will help over the onboard sound, it will not change your headphones completely. The SR850 is plenty efficient, the onboard sound shouldn't have any trouble driving them, it'll just do so with distortion and noise. If you remove that, it won't make your headphones suddenly spectacular if you already hate them.

post #10 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndBurningRain View Post

 

 

could it be entirely the fault of the onboard sound card (VIA 785G)? 



Via Onboard sucks. Use a good soundcard. Try different sources and make a final decision..  

post #11 of 50

Go find somebody you know that has either a Cowon media player bigsmile_face.gif, or an actual half decent stereo amplifier you can try them in that has a headphone jack.( or go to a stereo shop with your cans and try some, say you are buying next payday...) That way you can rule out whether or not you got a defective pair ( it happens ), get a contrast to see what the sound is actually like through a better source ( see what you want to upgrade if any ) and you don't have to spend any $ checking things out this way. Figure it out after. Some people figure they need breaking in for a time, but it may not be a drastic change. It varies.

 

pretty sure the 785 is Realtek, not that it matters much.

post #12 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Head Injury View Post

Don't listen to all the amp chatter. While a dedicated amplifier and DAC will help over the onboard sound, it will not change your headphones completely. The SR850 is plenty efficient, the onboard sound shouldn't have any trouble driving them, it'll just do so with distortion and noise. If you remove that, it won't make your headphones suddenly spectacular if you already hate them.

Exactly. It seems that every time someone doesn't like a headphone's sound, the answer is "change your source" or "try a better amp". Although a better amp or source will influence the sound, it won't make it something different. If you already like a headphone with an onboard sound card's amp, you will like it more through a desktop amp, of course. But if you hate something, you won't love it by changing into the best amp possible. Users here exaggerate a lot the difference an amp can do. of course it makes a difference, but not so much as to invert your opinion of it. It's like saying that ever since you tried headphone X with a different cable, you like it much more...

post #13 of 50

Forget DACs and amps...burn in is the real game changer. Prepared to be amazed in 468 hours time.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LizardKing1 View Post

Exactly. It seems that every time someone doesn't like a headphone's sound, the answer is "change your source" or "try a better amp". Although a better amp or source will influence the sound, it won't make it something different. If you already like a headphone with an onboard sound card's amp, you will like it more through a desktop amp, of course. But if you hate something, you won't love it by changing into the best amp possible. Users here exaggerate a lot the difference an amp can do. of course it makes a difference, but not so much as to invert your opinion of it. It's like saying that ever since you tried headphone X with a different cable, you like it much more...



 

post #14 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by leng jai View Post

Forget DACs and amps...burn in is the real game changer. Prepared to be amazed in 468 hours time. 

 



I LOL'd.

 

Its funny you think its 468 hours, when in my personal experience its been more like 792 hours... I timed it with 4 watches, each quart movement and sychronized to the suns magnetic radiation.  They were labelled hi-fi when I bought them for $42,000 a piece.

post #15 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by LizardKing1 View Post

Exactly. It seems that every time someone doesn't like a headphone's sound, the answer is "change your source" or "try a better amp". Although a better amp or source will influence the sound, it won't make it something different. If you already like a headphone with an onboard sound card's amp, you will like it more through a desktop amp, of course. But if you hate something, you won't love it by changing into the best amp possible. Users here exaggerate a lot the difference an amp can do. of course it makes a difference, but not so much as to invert your opinion of it. It's like saying that ever since you tried headphone X with a different cable, you like it much more...



Well, this headphone actually improves a lot from both upgrades. Try it, you'll be amazed at the difference, and what these are capable of when paired with the right setup. The bass comes alive, among other improvements.

And most of all, these DO need burn in.

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