Top positive review
18 people found this helpful
on October 19, 2009
Not only are these the most handsomely packaged headphones you're likely to find (gold lettering proclaiming: "Samson Stereo Reference Headphones Dynamic Output Design"; "for Studio Reference"; "Accurate Monitoring"; "Maximum Isolation and Extended Low Frequency Response with Close Ear Design"--all this on a transparent box displaying the phones as well as two gold-plated stereo plugs--full-sized and mini), but once you put them on, they pretty much live up to the production values and hype. One thing's certain: you'll never find anything better at this price. I considered this a "justified purchase," since I work in a studio, where I do public announcing and music broadcasting.
For the record, these compare favorably to the studio's Sony MDR-7506s, even though the latter are about six times the price. The bass is "extended," to be sure, but never heavy, boomy or muddy. With all controls on the amp or sound source set "flat," the treble is a bit soft for my tastes, but nothing that a minor EQ adjustment can't fix. The all-important middle-range is present, definitive, clear--for both vocals (spoken and sung) and instrumentals. Perhaps compared to the studio Sony phones, these are a trifle bigger, a little bit heavier and slightly more loose-fitting but, as advertised, they're constructed with a "closed-ear design providing maximum isolation." Away from the studio I prefer my Sennheiser PX-100s or Koss Portapros, but either of these is too open and lightweight for working close to a microphone. Feedback becomes a problem shortly into a broadcast. Although I'm a fan (apparently, one of the few) of the Koss UR-40s (about twice the cost of the Samsons), the Samson CH700s certainly appear to be better made--rugged, strong and, most likely, more durable than the UR-40s (the Koss webbing broke loose during the first several months of use). Moreover, the Samson CH700s have a generous and relatively thick cable (expecially compared to the thin, short wire of the Koss UR-40s) PLUS single-cord attachment (usually found only on costly phones yet practically mandatory for the sort of scrambling I do while broadcasting and operating as many as 4 decks at the same time).
One more A-B comparison: the Sennheiser Evolution EH-150 full-sized headphones vs. these Samson CH700s. Initially, the EH-150s seemed large to me (especially after the PX-100s), but alongside the Samson CH700s they appear relatively trim. In other words, some individuals may be turned off by the size of the Samson phones; others, most likely, will be drawn to them because of their solid, engulfing appearance. (My guess is that they would not be a big hit with many female listeners or, for that matter, individuals with heads any narrower than mine). As for the sound, the Sennheiser EH-150s are likely to impress many young listeners--instantly. The bass is not merely "extended": it's prominent, and it's punching. For that reason alone, some listeners may judge them worth the price (which is more than twice that of the Samson CH700s). Not this listener, however. The bass from the Samsons is far more "natural," clearly-defined, and pleasing over the long stretch (it doesn't take long for the bass from the Sennheiser EH-150s to wear out its welcome, becoming muddy and uninteresting--at least to some experienced ears).
In short, Samson is a good name and can only get better, thanks to the quality and value of products like the CH700s. The company has practically cornered the market with the world's most popular (not to mention effective and affordable) personal digital audio recorder (Zoom H2), and they've impressed the most fastidious critics with a slightly more sophisticated (and expensive) successor (Zoom H4n). They're currently taking a lot of flak for their latest product, the Zoom Q3 (basically a Flip videocam attached to an H2). They goofed big-time by completely (and inexplicably) ignoring the public's current obsession with "HD video," but look for that oversight to be corrected in short order.
Heck, if you decide not to purchase these phones, you could do far worse than invest the money in a share or two of the company's stock.