Wednesday, 15 February 2017 12:33

4pm Coffee: Samson SR850 Studio Reference Headphones Edition

It's 4PM and Here's My Coffee Thoughts for Wednesday, February 15, 2017

How I'm Feeling:

For the past couple weeks, I've felt a bit unfocused. I've got so many things going on that it's all beginning to come apart at the seams.

I have a bunch of stuff to do at work, but I lack the gumption to really put my heart into it.

I have a ton of reviews to do, but don't really feel like doing that either.

I've spread myself thin on the websites I'm working on. There's four sites that I should be working on and maintaining, but every time I sit down, I really don't feel like working on any of them.

I need to refocus, and that's going to be the next topic that I address on this blog.

Samson SR850 Studio Reference Headphones Review

Samson SR850 studio reference headphones

I picked up a pair of really nice studio headphones for about $40 from Samson late last week, and have been using them for listening to music at work. They're excellent headphones that have really nice sound, and a long cable so I don't feel like I have to hang my head over my desk in order for the headphones to reach the jack.

Many audiophiles have put the overall quality of the headphones and the sound quality in the same level as headphones such as the Sennheiser HD600 and AKG K240's. For those who know these headphones, both of the latter are really good for both studio use as well as just enjoying music as I do.

When I got the headphones, they were packaged in a nice sturdy box, but the only accessory that comes with the headphones is a 1/4" adaptor that screws on to the normal 3/8" headphone jack.

When you look at the headphones, they look like they mean business. They're self adjusting and just look really cool.

The Samson SR850's are a semi-open back design. This simply means that if you're using them in the studio, they allow some external sound from the room bleed in. When you're mixing, this is important as it allows you to hear not only the output from the deck, but the actual sound that's coming directly from the performers.

When it comes to using them in the workspace, I chose these headphones because they allow me to hear others in the office to some extent. When I'm listening to music, it's not that loud (on the Rune Pi player, I only have the volume around 50%) and I can hear people talking, although I don't hear what they're actually saying. This allows me to monitor the room in case the boss calls my name or something.

Price: $36 via Amazon | Check Current Price

The Technical Specs:

  • Semi-Open Construction
  • 32 Ohms Impedance
  • 50mm Drivers
  • Frequency Response 10Hz-30kHz
  • 1/8" inch jack
  • 98" cable (8.16 feet)

Musical Response:

SR850 Bass Response

If you're a basshead, these just aren't for you. If you like to hear clear, clean bass that compliments the rest of the music, then you'll absolutely love these headphones. The bass can really get down there, and you can hear the difference on the 30hz band on the graphic EQ. It's not going to be overpowering, but you definately can hear (feel) the bass and know it's actually there. Additionally, bass frequencies don't sound muddy or run together on these earphones. They are very distinct and clear.

SR850 Midrange

The whole midrange spectrum sounds really good on these headphones. It's clean and really clear, but best of all, it doesn't get lost in either the lows or highs from either end of the soundstage. One can easily recess or bring out the mids with a few tweaks to the EQ, and the SR850's handle the difference really well.

SR850 Highs

Wow... The highs have great definition! They don't hurt your ears, nor do they sound "tinny". Every note is clearly represented and sound absolutely fantastic!

How I use the Samson SR850 Reference Headphones

I run the music from a Raspberry Pi running RuneAudio. Rather than use the built in audio jack on my laptop, I pump the sound through the USB port to a Digital Audio Converter, or DAC. The audio signal is then sent to my headphone amplifier and from there to the headphones.

It should be said that these headphones have a 32 ohm impedance. While they work with your phone, tablet, music player or computer, they really come alive when you run a headphone amplifier to take care of your volume needs. 

These are some of the best sounding over the head earphones that I have that cost under $50! They were well worth the cost, and after 30+ hours of listening since I got them, they just keep sounding better and better.

What's In The RunePi?

X-Japan: La Venus (Youtube Link)

La Venus is the main track from the band's newest album (and film soundtrack) due to be released on March 3rd in Japan, "We Are X". It's the first song in the playlist on the RunePi today.