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Over-Ear item created by nightmancometh, Dec 2, 2010
Pros - Resolution; price
Cons - Bad frequency balance; harsh treble; extreme fatigue
These cans are rated "studio" which means that you probably have good equlization equipment to compensate for their murderous and sibilant elevation at 4-8KHz range. The sound is very detailed but fatiguing and there is no smoothness or finesse to it. Bass is a bit empty but sufficient. Upper treble is obscured by 8-10KHz so equalize once more, don't listen to them flat. Clamp is too strong and pleather pads provoke intense sweating. These headphones properly equalized and amplified turn into a magnifying glass or a microscope with which you may explore recordings on sub-level but you can't see landscapes with it if you get what I mean.
Actually SR950 are even worse. The only difference is that they sacrifice resolution for more subbass extension to make even 10Hz audible but it aint worth it.
Recommended parametric EQ:
Characteristics (subjective, 10 max):
Frequency range: ...................8
Balance (5 means equal):
High relative to mid: ................8
Low relative to mid: ................5
Frequency accentuation brakedown:
Bass is more: ........................low
Mids are more: ......................middle
Highs are more: ....................middle
Pros - Natural vocal / mid.
Cons - Not flat. Sibilance, boosted high, mid-high frequency.
Samson SR850 Review Frequency Response; to my ears:
Low: 0 (Neutral)
Low-Mid: -2 (sounded a little bit thin)
Mid: 0 (Neutral)
High-Mid: +4 (sibilance)
High: +4 (sibilance)
Overall Impressions Compared to other headphones (several different prices) I've passed during research before deciding to buy. The SR850 sounded (ascending according to what I feel):
Open, Clear, Bright. Especially when compared to higher end headphones which often sounded darker. It makes those high end cans sound kinda muffled. SR850 is comparable to other bright sounded headphones i.e AKG's.
Natural vocal. The fact, there are many headphone out there are much worse than SR850. This is the main reason why I bought SR850.
Powerful bass but not overpowering. There are many headphone I've tried that I can't push the volume louder, just simply because the bass is too overpowering since the beginning.
Overall, it is realistic & natural. But not flat.
Overall a little bit thin. Especially on vocal.
Comparable to < $200 AKG's.
Comparable to > $200 Audio Technica's
Comparable to < $100 Beyer Dynamics
Surpass other headphones in <$100 ( SR850 price range)
Sounded Wide, but a little bit fake reverb (echo). The 3D spatial is not that great, I can't pin-pointed each instrument. Maybe because the echoey reverb.
What I don't like I found myself tinkering with EQ quite much. Especially trying to lower the high & mid high. Which a small inaccuracies in my EQ-ing might affect the overall the song original mood.
I may not comparing apples to apples.
But I hope my experience can give you impression on how might SR850 sounded like.
Compared to my Creative HQ1900 Headphones:
Surprisingly creative is still a relevant competitor, in term of openness, brightness, and natural. But major lacking in the bass.
Narrower (less reverb), with a little bit more pin-pointed 3D Spatial. Makes the SR850 sounded like a fake reverb effect (doesn't sound natural anymore) compared to HQ1900.
Compared to my bookshelf speakers:
Bookshelf speakers still win.
3D spatial is incredible, Wide staging, with extremely accurate pin-pointed sound source. This is the only speaker that can gave me illusion of a center speaker (new sound source) emerging in the center of my front wall.
You can pin-point easily how many vocalist, and where they are came from; whether they (vocalist) stacked in line, or spread in formations.
To achieve the similar result; I've been tuning the cross-feed filter with my SR850. But haven't found the quite same experience. I still love my bookshelf.
Conclusions SR850 sound quality surpass the all it peers in given price range. It definitely can compete with higher priced headphones.
Given note that several higher priced headphone is not, definitely not the best sounding headphones after all. And for sure there's more flatter more natural cans out there I haven't found yet.
Confusion Regarding Faked / Photoshopped Pleather Superlux Lookalike I have mine from online retailer; which the preview showing the faked superlux (pleather) with SR850 stamp on it. I received several days later an original SR850, with velour pads. The original one as in www.samsontech.com.
Having reading Head-Fi I have enough confidence to buy one, knowing there are lots faked image of SR850 which believe as an early prototype of current SR850.
Pros - Mildly better than the Sennheiser HD202.
Cons - Sound/frequencies not differentiated enough. Hurt my ears due to pressure.
I bought these for $75 Australian dollars. Australia is not competitive so that we pay top dollar here for just about everything. Unfortunately, US sellers don't sell to Australia due to some wholesale agreements or whatever.
Now to the headphones: The headphones are overrated in that the frequencies are not separated enough. They lack some mid tone and that sweet treble. I can't hear the spit in the voice that I'd like to hear when someone gets close to a mic. Unfortunately, the frequencies get a bit blurred. I had some old Sennheisers 15 years ago that sounded amazing. The frequencies were all there. The sound was excellent as I could detect and hear ALL nuances needed for mastering. For bass-heavy stuff I used a Yamaha set of phones that also sounded amazing. Unfortunately, the Sennheiser broke, as did the Yamaha (the plastic broke). I then bought a set of Sennheiser HD202. Unfortunately, they suck. The sound lacks that refined, crystal clear treble, clear mids and punchy bass as the old ones did. The SR850 are mildly better than the Sennheiser HD202 in terms of 'sweetness' or 'softness' of the sound and cost me the same. The Sennheiser sounds very harsh, has more lower mids and the bass is not very clear. The Samson does better in this respect and has better definition. If you want to master vocals, I'd go with the Samson SR850 but the Sennheiser for guitar due to the added mid-range. Both are uncomfortable to wear and both hurt my ears. That's not good for mastering as it usually takes hours.
I can't recommend any other headphones in that price range so that I am forced to use the Samson for now. They will do but it does make mastering tracks not as easy as when I had the Yamaha and old Sennheiser. Looks like things don't always improve over time.
Pros - style, good build for the price, overall sound, value
Cons - not the best for those with large heads
These are admittedly my first pair of "decent" headphones. I've collected a myriad of speakers over the years until last year I finally bought my dream speakers, the Klipsch Heresy. With my speaker quest done, I wanted to start experimenting with headphones. I wasn't gonna shell out over a hundred bucks on something I might not even enjoy so I set my limit at a cheap $60 bucks. I was actually gonna buy the Koss Portapros due to the sheer amount of rave reviews on Amazon but personally thought they were a bit too funky looking for my taste, the Audio Technica M-30's were another contender but decided to take a leap of faith in these AKG look a likes, after all they were only 50 bucks, so what could go wrong?
They arrived the next day (the Amazon warehouse is like 30 minutes from where I live). They come in a simple black box with a 1/4 adaptor and a manual, that's pretty much it. The box also has this pretty young lady who has a big smile on her face as she listens to the SR850's, a bit of foreshadowing for you.
These are 32 ohm headphones which means you will not need external amplification to play these at a loud volume, I listen to these through my uDac 2 with no problem.
My first song was Florence and the Machine's "Spectrum", this song has an orchestra in the background, good female vocals and some percussion. This song immediately revealed that this headphone is quite bright, the highs were well defined, but unnatural and borderline tinny, mid range was quite good but the upper mids were a bit too forward for my tastes. Both bass and lower mid range were recessed, the drumming lacked impact. These arrived around 5 and after a few songs it was time to eat dinner and went down, after dinner I watched two episodes of Top Gear downstairs, It was almost 9 by the time I got back and I found out these had been playing the whole time. 3 hours of burn in really changed these headphones!
Bass- The bass had become much more "full" and punchy it had lots of impact, it also has good extension and reaches very low, no doubt that these will satisfy anyone who listens to bass driven music.
Mids- A bit forward, but now a lot more smooth and open, very clean sounding, upper mids also improved with much of the harshness gone,
Treble- These 'phones certainly don't hold back on the treble, but the treble is always clean and never abrasive, I've heard many nuances in the high frequency range that I've never heard until listening to these headphones. Although they are on the bright side, I don't find myself putting these down to rest my ears.
Soundstage- Very good, as these are semi-open headphones, soundstage is very large. These have a spacious sound to them, I found them great for gaming.
Comfort- The big cushy vinyl earpads are very comfortable but clamp is a bit high,maybe it's because my head is kinda big and I wear glasses. I also find myself pulling the self adjusting headband down alot because they slide up, I think over time the elastic string will break in and this will be no longer be a problem.
Build Quality- Although these are only 50 bucks, the build on these things is good, EVERYTHING except the plug is plastic, however it is very well made and solid for the price and I think will withstand some abuse, I know these won't have that problem with me as I take care of my things very well. The build correlates with the price.
Aesthetics- While not everyone will like the dark olive green/black combo, I don't mind it that much as the green is very dark and looks black from afar. It looks good, probably because it looks like an AKG K240 DF.
Design- Overall well designed headphones, just wish the elastic bands had a bit less resistance.
Bang for the Buck- for 50 bucks I'm positive no other new headphones can match these, I even prefer these to the SR80's, you don't always get what you pay for, sometimes you get more for what you pay for and these headphones are exactly that.
Overall- An amazing 50 dollar headphone that kills most -$100 dollar cans and gives many -$200 a run for their money.
Bass- 5/5 Midrange- 4/5 Treble 4.5/5 Soundstage- 4.5/5 Comfort 3.5/5 Build Quality- 4/5 Aesthetics- 5/5 Design- 4.5/5 Bang for the Buck-5/5
Pros - Inexpensive, Good bass, Great Mids, Style, Comfort, Long cord
Cons - Build material is budget, pads are vinyl, Highs can be a little fatiguing
Samson SR850 An inexpensive semi-open high performer
First let's get some information across. The Samson SR850 is a clone of the Superlux HD668B. Same headphone. They simply rebranded it and changed the style of the headband. The Samson SR850 more resembles the AKG series headphones. The Superlux HD668B more resembles the AudioTechnica series. Keep that in mind depending on which style you may prefer, as they are the same headphone and virtually cost the same. I went with the SR850 because I like the look better and the headband way better than the HD668B. This headphone is low impedance and sensitive, you will not need an amplifier at all.
Why: Well, I wanted to try out various inexpensive (budget) headphones to get a feel for what's all out there. Here at HeadFi, and other online communities, there seems to be a lot of blind suggestions when it comes to a headphone that is popular when mentioned in a thread. My favorite example is the AudioTechnica AD700 for gaming specifically. The problem is that a lot of people are recommending that headphone for someone who wants a headphone for gaming, who have never even heard that headphone, let alone gamed with headphones sometimes. Anyhow, I wanted to find another headphone that was even more inexpensive and capable of being great for gaming and music and movies all the same. After doing some hunting around, that landed me on the SR850. Part of the deal was that it had to look good and feel good, not just perform good. Again, landed me on the SR850.
What Comes in the Box:
The headphone itself of course.
1/4" adapter (cable terminates into 3.5mm).
Owner's manual (gee, thanks).
The packaging is very simple. No extravagant packaging extras, no accessories. It's just a headphone with a cord and an adapter for the termination plug. This is not a plush or luxury item. It's an inexpensive budget item. Note, I didn't say cheap as that comes off as a negative and that's not to be implied here. It's inexpensive and budget in a good way. You're not paying extra premium for junk that you throw away anyways.
Construction, Materials & Comfort:
Right away, you'll notice it looks a lot like an AKG headphone. It definitely clones their look, which is a really good thing to grab attention (which is what these kinds of marketed items are made for). The cups that house the drivers pivot, so they are not broad-straight, they adapt to whatever surface they press to. The bars on top are sturdy and provide the grip needed to keep the headphones in place. The grip is not forceful, so it doesn't cause discomfort, nor is it so completely lite that the headphone wobbles off. Very easy to wear. The headband is a vinyl that is molded/stamped to look like leather. Nothing fancy, but it's actually a nice detail compared to just getting bare vinyl I guess. The way the cups attach to the headband and bars is exactly like the AKG sets. There is an elastic band on each cup that pulls it towards the headband, that extends when you place it on yourself and pull down to increase the size of the headband for fit. Literally, the same as AKG (I compared the mechanism to my K701, it was pretty much the same build). The headphone is of course semi-open, so you can see the vents that open to the driver housing. Inside the cups, there is a filter.
The cord is long and terminates with 3.5mm, and you get a 1/4" adapter.
The pads are where the budget comes into play. The pads are decent, they are relatively large, definitely envelope the ear with some room to spare both in circumference and in depth. The material is another vinyl type material with a semi-soft foam inside. They're not super soft, but they're not hard. The vinyl material is the only part of the build quality that sort of makes me grimace, but that is because I'm hyper sensitive to non-velour/velvet pads. I don't even like the AudioTechnica M50's pads, to give you a reference point. So this fault is more my preference, not necessarily a fault of the headphone for someone else who prefers non-cloth pads.
Overall, the headphones are pretty light weight and are fairly comfortable to wear. I've put many hours into it so far and often found myself realizing, "Oh, I'm wearing the headphones...". When you hold them, they don't have a heavy metal feel, they feel like very light plastic, which they are. Plastic and vinyl. They seem to sit just fine over my glasses too.
When you first put on the headphones, you realize right away, they are not what you expect. These have a big sound. They have full rich bass and generous mids. The highs are very present, it's actually a sort of bright headphone and the highs are the only weak point in the sound if that's a problem for someone. It gives them a nice full sound feel with some detail etched around it.
Quick summary of the sound of the SR850:
Bright treble (highs).
Full bass, great impact.
Full mids, no recession here.
Great for literally all genres of music from acoustic to dubstep. And I tested it extensively.
Easy to drive, no amplification needed.
Good sound stage and separation of sounds.
Music tested included: Ani Difranco (Acoustic, Female Vocals), Regina Spektor (Folk, Pop, Female Vocals), Euge Groove (Jazz, Bassy), Ludovico Einaudi (Classical, Piano), Keith Jarrett (Classical, Piano, Live Concert), The Cranberries (Pop, Female Vocals), Elton John (Classic Rock), Avantasia (Metal, Fantasy), Buckethead (Alt. Metal), Rusko (Dubstep), Ephixa (Dubstep), JesusDied4DubStep (Dubstep), Robyn (EDM), BT (Trance, Techno), OceanLab (Trance, Techno). All in lossless format.
The highs forward and bright. Too bright sometimes to the point of sounding like they are going to be sibilant and fatiguing, but the more I listened, the more this became less of an issue. I only noticed it really bothering me at higher volumes. At normal listening volume, I had no problem with the highs and I didn't experience sibilance. But at high volumes, beyond my listening level, it definitely goes that direction. So keep that in mind if you listen to headphones very loud. This headphone is bright and can fatigue you. Otherwise, the detail of the highs is great, it's airy too. They felt like they etched a level of detail across audio that made things like acoustic really interesting and clear to listen to. The highs are not rolled off on this headphone. This is not a laid back sound at all.
The mids are forward and present, very rich and with good clarity. The mids are not recessed or drowned out by the bass. The sound is very full and I find any headphone with solid mids and even a hint of bass will perform well in nearly all music as mids make up the bulk of what we listen to (from instruments to voice). Vocals are great, guitar sounds wonderful and piano was very powerful. I was very pleased in general with the mids as a lot of budget headphones are recessed in mids to make a bassy/treble headphone which tends to be more fun and popular. That's not the case here. Mids are full steam ahead.
One thing you always wonder is whether an open or semi-open headphone will have any real bass to talk about. Sure they have impact and give you a touch of snap, but they don't usually have great reverberating bass that makes you want to shake your head or dance. Well, that's not the case here. This headphone has some bass. I was completely surprised how low this thing went. I'm not used to open-air headphones being able to perform bass like this. I was listening to dubstep and it was keeping up with other headphones that I have that are colored for bass. I was thrilled to say the least, being a basshead in general anyways. These SR850's provide some serious kick even though they're semi-open. Decay is not too quick, so you get a pleasing rumble, but it's not so fast that you hear no bass at all. It's a fast response too, it kept up with everything rather well.
Isolation, or rather, Sound Leaking:
Make no mistake, these are semi-open, which might as well be open-air. They leak. You will have no isolation. Everyone in the room will hear you. I suppose I can rate how much they leak, but I can't measure it really beyond my perception. Grados leak like mad. Beyers don't seem to leak that bad. These are some where in between. If privacy is needed, these are not for you. The compromise is that you get that open sound stage.
Soundstage is pretty good, it's an open headphone though, so you expect that. Instruments and vocals all had great separation from each other, not congested into a cramped clump of mush. The channels fade back and forth nicely and it's easy to generate a 3D field depending on what's powering them. I say that because these are excellent for movies & gaming where position is important and pleasing. In other words, here's a $59 headphone that is great for gaming that is less expensive than the common "gaming" headphones that get recommended left and right blindly. The difference on top of that is that these have plentiful rich bass, so they're great to listen to music and watch movies on too. Not just focus on little foot steps in a FPS game. Everytime I see "AD700 for gaming" I think "No, SR850 for gaming, AD700 for foot steps in FPS games only."
Conclusion & Closing:
The SR850 is an inexpensive high performer. It exceeded my expectations. I'm not completely pleased with the headphone, as I would prefer the highs to be a little tamer (I use an equalizer and dropped the highs down a tad and all that fatigue went away while still sounding excellent). And I would prefer different pads on the cups (cloth!) but that's my main preference anyways on headphones (velour). The bass was surprising. Very low and full. The mids are forward and present. The headphone in general is warm (warm in my definition references bass and fullness). The highs add a nice etch of detail to the whole image. I'd really like to get a pair of Beyer pads and see if they fit around these, because if they did, bam, it would be awesome. These headphones are excellent for all musics and great for gaming and movies. They're inexpensive and yet give so much. This is to be expected being a hidden Superlux HD668B which we all know is an excellent budget headphone.
By the way, if you want a closed version of this headphone, the CAD Audio MH310 is this headphone, but closed back.
Pros - Sound
Cons - Earpads
I picked up this headphone a few weeks ago and this is the first headphone that ive owned and im not much of an audiophile so i will not be able to give much comparative value but i guess ill just put my quick impressions of it here and let you guys take it as you like....
CONS :: ill first start with the weakness of this headphone .... the biggest problem i have with this phone is the earpads .. they are fairly thin and they do hurt your ears fairly quickly as your ears are pressing against the inner part of the housing ( my ears are average so i feel this would be a problem for most) i think at the very least you should stuff some kind of padding or fabric under the earpads or get new ones all together but assuming u dont mind doing either of these things it really isn't really a problem as its fairly simple to order new pads or cheap to just stuff something under them ... doesnt seem to effect sound quality and if anything i think it improves the sound stage...kinda weird not sure if this is an effect of the increased distance between your ear/driver or its just the songs i listened to before i did it
BUILD QUALITY :: aside from the pads the build quality is pretty plasticy and light... although it seems fairly sturdy and i cant see these breaking with anything short of excessive force(maybe some people like throwing their headphones at walls?) these have been said as having a high grip force and i can see why some people say that.. but its not really a concern of mine as if you want them looser you can just put them on something the width of your head(or wider) when your not using them.. super easy fix and imo not a huge problem as far as comfort goes ( far far far far far less of a problem than the pads ) ... i rated the design a 4 as im sure there is some room for improvement(ie. the 668 has detachable cable) but i have no issues with the build quality.. comfort i rated as 2.5 because of the pads... after a simple mod they are prolly 3.5/5 ( as i imagine velour pads, lighter grip would be an improvement..as is its not like i forget im wearing them)
as far as the audio goes.. like i said im not an audiophile so ill do my best
LOWS :: the bass has some nice punch to it .. you cant feel it in your chest... and it doesn't "slap hella hard" but ive never thought that i need more bass in any song these headphones do a very good job and i cant see anyone aside from a huge basshead wanting more ..
MIDS :: im not sure how to explain the mids... but i haven't had an issue with the sound( middle frequencies )
HIGHS :: the highs could use a little work in my opinion in not really sure how to describe it but i just wasn't impressed with the highs but after some EQing they are more than acceptable no real qualms here after the EQ
ISOLATION :: isolation is pretty minimal... almost non-existent but does muffle some of the noise around you .. would have no problem hearing someone talk at a normal/high voice with these on ( if music was off )
SOUND STAGE :: sound stage is not mind blowing .. but it is impressive .. you have a good sense of depth... a sense of up/down high/low ...im not really sure about forwards and backwards( no exact examples come to mind) but its not like ive noticed a lacking ..... overall im impressed with the soundstage but its not like the sounds are exactly real ( i imagine much more expensive headphones could do better) but even though im new to headphones i cant see many cheap headphones being able to do this
RATINGS :: overall impressed with the audio and rated it a 5/5 because it hasn't let me down in any aspect and was better than anything ive experienced in a headphone/earbud (granted this is limited)
value i rated this a four... i didnt rate it a five simply because you cant really assess value without comparison and i have no real headphone experience i can draw from i cant exactly say these are the best value ... but as far as i can tell they are a very good value and couldn't be happier
overall this headphone is a very good entry level(real entry level not audiophile 300$ entry level ) i would consider the sound good even if i paid much much more.. so its a give-in that i would recommend these ... i just really cant believe they would throw such small pads onto these T.T .....
in the sound if i had to pick something i didnt like i could only think of the highs ( as they arnt above my expectations like everything else was) i really feel i had to EQ them ( but i think all headphones need some EQing in the high end???) so im not really sure if this is an issue at all or just something that's not as amazing as the rest of the headphone
COMMENT ON OTHER REVIEW :: i understand these are said to be the 668 oem and that this and the 668 are "giant killers" ... i couldent see this blowing away any 200$+ headphone ... but i could easily believe this would compete very well with 100$+ headphones
FINAL WORD :: my overall rating was 4/5 only because of the pads ... and please excuse my horrible punctuation and any spelling errors or rambling you have came accross
Pros - Imaging, Transparency, Neutral but fun signature, Comfort, PRICE
Cons - None.
These headphones cost $50 bucks yet they can take on the likes of the Denon D1100 and ATH-M50 with ease. They need a good amount of burn-in(200 or so hours) before they reach their full potential but they sound great out of the box. The bass reaches down past 20hz and punches with authority while being textured and tight, the mids are exquisite, and the highs are superbly detailed.
This is all presented in a soundstage that is wide and has rather impeccable imaging. The sound is the most transparent I've heard extensively(the previous best being the M50).
The build is not flashy or extraordinary, but satisfactory enough to make me feel like they will last years. They are semi open, but don't leak much more than some closed headphones such as the RX700 or Dre Beats.
I can't think of a better value in headphones than these or their very similar cousin, the Superlux 668B.
Full review at: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/546544/samson-sr850-superlux-oem-review-a-50-budget-champion