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Just received Samson SR850, disappointed/confused with the sound quality

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hey all,

 

I just received a set of SR850s in the mail.  I do a bit of team gaming, and I've been on the lookout for a set of cans that would remain comfortable for hours on end.  Previously, I had been using Koss Portapros, and they're just not cutting it for long-term listening comfort (though I do love the sound).  I had been considering the AD700s, but I was a bit turned off by the purported anemic bass.  The SR850s have been suggested by quite a few people around the forum for a more bassy, warm sound, and they're nearly half the price.  

 

When I unboxed and tried on the SR850s, I was immediately disappointed with the sound quality.  Music sounds thin, tinny, as if I'm listening to a pair of $20 CVS headphones.  Bass is weak.  They are quite comfortable, but the sound is just junk compared to my Portapros, which have a nice full, warm sound and punchy bass.

 

Does this sound realistic?  I feel it's doubtful that I've received a defective pair, but it has crossed my mind.  Perhaps it is just a difference in my taste for the headphones' sound signatures?  Does anyone have any suggestions for a ~$100 (max) set of cans with sound quality at least (preferably better) as good as my Portapros?

post #2 of 19

If you want a warmer overall tone, but still good balance, look at the Creative Aurvana Live!   It uses the same Foster drivers that were in the Denon 1001.  Most people find them comfortable, as they have very soft pads, but the opening in the middle is on the small side, so your ears may not completely fit within them.

 

Unfortunately, they are still at their maximum price right now, which is $99 at Amazon.  They drop down in price periodically, and I got mine for $55 not all that long ago at Amazon.  You just need to catch them on sale.


Edited by Kerry56 - 5/1/12 at 6:35pm
post #3 of 19

I think op need to burn them in that's all.  

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 

I'm kind of wary of the Aurvana Live!, simply because I really hate the aesthetics :(  They're one of the few pairs of headphones I consider ugly enough to avoid.  Also, I've started the burn-in process with the SR850s.  To be honest, though, I can't imagine burn-in affecting the sound as much as I would require for a decent listening experience.  The sound is just miles below the Portapros.

 

How are the Grado SR60i?  I've heard good things about the sound signature, seemingly similar to the Portapros, and I dig the aesthetics.  My only concern is that they might not be comfortable enough for extended listening.

post #5 of 19

Leave the SR850 plugged in, play some music with some thump in it, and leave the SR850s under a pillow somewhere for a few days.

What are you plugging the headphones into?

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 

Plugging into my laptop's built-in soundcard.  I'm aware of the limitations of the hardware, but the SR850 feature a low impedence, so I figured that wasn't the problem.

 

And yeah, that's what I'm doing to burn in the headphones at the moment.

post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by valleyman View Post

Plugging into my laptop's built-in soundcard.  I'm aware of the limitations of the hardware, but the SR850 feature a low impedance, so I figured that wasn't the problem.

 

And yeah, that's what I'm doing to burn in the headphones at the moment.

Do you know anyone with a nice sound card in their computer or a nice A/V receiver or Apple audio player?

Anything good quality to test the headphones.

post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by valleyman View Post

I'm kind of wary of the Aurvana Live!, simply because I really hate the aesthetics :(  They're one of the few pairs of headphones I consider ugly enough to avoid.  Also, I've started the burn-in process with the SR850s.  To be honest, though, I can't imagine burn-in affecting the sound as much as I would require for a decent listening experience.  The sound is just miles below the Portapros.

 

How are the Grado SR60i?  I've heard good things about the sound signature, seemingly similar to the Portapros, and I dig the aesthetics.  My only concern is that they might not be comfortable enough for extended listening.


I think the SR60i is great within its own narrow field.  I like it for most of the rock I listen to, but would not recommend it as a general purpose headphone.  I never use mine for gaming or watching movies for example.  It is not a bass heavy headphone by anyone's standard, but what is there has good impact.  It just doesn't extend very far and hasn't got the reverberation that you can get with other sets.  Your Porta Pro's are bass heavy in comparison.

 

Comfort with Grado is hard to predict.  I always thought my Porta Pro's were extremely comfortable, and was surprised that I didn't like the stock pads that came with the SR60i.  I tried other pads and eventually went to a custom set with a sock mod to get better comfort and tame the slightly harsh upper register.  You might not have any issues at all with the S-Cush Comfies on the SR60i however.

 

I wouldn't recommend getting Grado's for your purposes without being able to audition them, or perhaps have a clear cut return policy.

post #9 of 19

Give them a few more days for your ears to adjust to them atleast, I quite enjoy mine.

post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Do you know anyone with a nice sound card in their computer or a nice A/V receiver or Apple audio player?

Anything good quality to test the headphones.

 

And/or borrow a friend's amp/dac.  Don't know about yours, but many good cans don't sound very good (after burn in) from a laptop or portable device.

 

Does your laptop have a sound card or chip.  If so, what is it?

post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Do you know anyone with a nice sound card in their computer or a nice A/V receiver or Apple audio player?

Anything good quality to test the headphones.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by KG Jag View Post

 

And/or borrow a friend's amp/dac.  Don't know about yours, but many good cans don't sound very good (after burn in) from a laptop or portable device.

 

Does your laptop have a sound card or chip.  If so, what is it?

 

I've tried the SR850s with my iPod Nano in addition to the built-in laptop audio card.  The card is a generic "High definition audio interface," but it does include external 7.1 support.  Could the sound card be an issue with a pair of headphones with such low impedance (36 ohms)?  Keep in mind that I'm comparing to a pair of Portapros, which feature a higher impedance (~50 ohms, I believe).

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Noobpwner View Post

Give them a few more days for your ears to adjust to them atleast, I quite enjoy mine.

 
We'll see, but I'm having a hard time believing my tastes will change.  The Portapros just sound so much more lively than the SR850s.  Have you compared your pair to Portapros?
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by valleyman View Post

I've tried the SR850s with my iPod Nano in addition to the built-in laptop audio card.  The card is a generic "High definition audio interface," but it does include external 7.1 support.  Could the sound card be an issue with a pair of headphones with such low impedance (36 ohms)?  Keep in mind that I'm comparing to a pair of Portapros, which feature a higher impedance (~50 ohms, I believe).

 

Yes--I believe that the audio card/software and/or the internal DAC could limit your performance.  For a more definitive answer, you should turn to PurpleAngel.

 

The PortaPros are designed to play out of most anything.

post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 

PurpleAngel seems to imply that an Apple audio player has sufficient power to drive the SR850s.  I've tried the headphones with an iPod Nano and heard a similar lack of sound quality in the SR850s.

post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by valleyman View Post

PurpleAngel seems to imply that an Apple audio player has sufficient power to drive the SR850s.  I've tried the headphones with an iPod Nano and heard a similar lack of sound quality in the SR850s.

Apple products seem to have a little better audio support (better DAC) then typical audio players.

Try the 48 hour burn in.

post #15 of 19
In past i had superlux hd668b - sr850 OEM, and i was too dissapointed of sound. coming from bit bassy iem,they sounded tiny and harsh. Bit of eq and brain adaptation they started to sound good- realy great detail and sufficient bass, but highs still was harsh, unlistenable and overall sound grainy, so i sold and new owner realy enjoys them.
In conclusion- sr850 is studio monitors and isnt your cup of tea, so sold them, as i did. It isnt depending on source too.
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