Quality Finds, Unbeatable Prices - TopBudgetFinds, Your Savings Headquarters

Proving great audio can come cheap

Recently, I’ve embarked on a journey to be a more active listener, even buying a dedicated MP3 player, a set of wired earbuds. The catalyst for this transformation was my secret (and surprisingly budget) audio weapon: The Samson SR850 open-back headphones.

Samson SR850

Samson SR850


Budget audiophile’s BFF

The Samson SR850 headphones are a budget wonder. With the open-back design and incredible sound quality, they offer a quality audio experience on a budget.


  • Incredible sound quality for the price
  • Imaging and soundstage impress
  • Comfortable

  • Highs can be harsh
  • Low quality PU ear cushion leather
  • Rips off AMG K240s

Cheap gear doesn’t mean low quality sound

Most often, good audio comes at quite extreme costs. Spending extra money can get you closer to the ideal sound, but even if you spend more, it doesn’t always mean a better sound.


Best cheap earbuds: Expert-tested budget models with premium features

Earbuds from Sony, Beats, and Google that sound great and won’t break the bank.

Of course, there are trade-offs, but if you just want to have fun, listen to different sounds and kinds of headphones, there’s a world of quality, budget audio gear. I quickly discovered this world four years ago when my last PC headphones broke, and I bought a second-hand pair of the Samson SR850 for just under $25.

Before putting on the Samsons, I listened to audio on cheap buds or wireless headphones. Some sounded different, some sounded better, but differences and nuances went mostly unnoticed.


I bought an MP3 player in 2024, and for the first time in years, I really listened to music

Sony’s 2017 MP3 player has made for purposeful listening, and even though I’m a rookie audiophile, I think it’s a game changer.

When I first plugged the SR850s into my PC, my low expectations were shattered. The sound was spacious, everything was so well telegraphed and positioned, and I could hear different instruments playing as if in different places. It was a wonder to listen to, and instantly changed how I listen to music.

Samson SR850’s made for more fun listening

Thanks to the Samson SR850’s, I love to throw on my cans and listen to music, hearing all the details and mixing choices. I even switch out my headphones mid-song to compare and contrast sound profiles. Needless to say, these cans have brought out my innermost audio geek.

Even four years post-purchase, it’s difficult to find headphones close to the Samsons’ quality. For $40 new, you get open-back headphones that sound, objectively, good. They have an exciting soundstage and imaging, and a sound profile that’s so different and more interesting than the closed-back competition, making them worth the purchase for a genuine open-back experience alone.


Best open-back headphones: Audiophile ranked and approved

From studio sessions to everyday tunes or Hi-Fi setups, find your tune with the best open-back headphones from Beyerdynamic to Sennheiser.

Samson SR850 5

Nice open-back design

To quickly sum up the specs: you get dynamic, 50mm drivers in each cup, with a semi-open design (which supposedly aid with bass response). They have a long, 2.5m cable with a 3.5mm jack, and a 6.5mm adapter in the box. Unfortunately, the cable is not removable.

When it comes to design, the Samsons are very much inspired by the classic AKGs 240s — a pair of semi-open-back, that share a nearly identical design and a comfortable ear cushion.

I’ll call out that the quality could be improved. Setting the ethics of very closely copying the AKG 240s aside, the Samsons are noticeably worse quality, especially the ear cushions. The foam and the fabric themselves feel relatively stable, but the PU leather holding the cushions on the earpieces feels a tad cheap — getting looser and peeling with every wear. While annoying, you can thankfully swap them with genuine pads from the AKG 240.


The best USB-C headphones for Android prove wired audio lives on

We’ve rounded up the five best pairs of USB-C headphones that you can buy for Android phones.

The open soundstage to beat

For bass heads, though, note that the open-back design sacrifices that thumping sound, resulting in a much calmer sound.

The Samsons excel at what good open-back headphones should do: creating the illusion of space in the audio.

That said, the imaging and soundstage is the headphones standout feature. Generally, open-back headphones excel at creating an illusion of space in the audio, so the music sounds all-encompassing rather than just inside your head. The Samsons accomplish that signature feature, and you can clearly hear the separation between instruments.

The SR850s, however, favor high frequencies, with emphasized trebles and even mids. If you’re used to more of a V-shaped sound curve, you might find the Samson treble focus jarring. I, however, prefer an open soundstage over heavy bass.

Samson SR850 9Perfect PC companions

Connected to my PC, I use the Samsons to listen to music, while gaming, and YouTube binging. The wired design eliminates charging or connection headphones, plus the cloth ear cushions and open back design make them comfortable for long-wear sessions.


12 ways to increase FPS and boost gaming performance of your PC

If you got yourself a shiny new gaming PC and managed to grab a new graphics card, here’s how to make the most of them.

The sound profile is also ideal for watching movies and YouTube videos, with very clear speech and dialogue. Gaming also sounds excellent, as sounds like footsteps and gunfire benefit from the headphones’ imaging capabilities.

Samson SR850 6

Not for ANC lovers

Of course, their open-back nature also has some drawbacks. They have major sound bleeding issues, which results in my wife needing to use her headphones simply to block the noise coming from mine.


These Bose QuietComfort Ultra give me the best ANC, but there’s a catch

With incredible ANC, spatial audio smarts, and a comfortable fit, these buds almost deserve the $299 price tag, but miss on some key features.

They also don’t block anything from the outside, which means I can hear everything from my Roomba to construction outside.

Whether my puppy is having another inventive idea concerning my flowers, or my wife has a fresh piece of gossip, I can instantly know something’s going on.

However, I like how this open-back design allows me to hear everything that’s going on around me. So, whether my puppy is having another inventive idea concerning my flowers, or my wife has a fresh piece of gossip, I’m instantly aware of my surroundings.


It’s difficult to not the value proposition of the Samson SR850s, offering great sound and a unique open-back experience that’s hard to find from budget headphones. They’re by no means noise-cancelling, but they do promise great sound, even for gaming and streaming. They do have their drawbacks, like harsh highs, an understated low-end, and an average build quality.

All around, though, the Samson SR850s have resurfaced my joy of just listening, thanks to their unique sound. They show that you can have fun with your music even without a high price tag for what’s considered audiophile-grade.

Samson SR850

Trending Products

Add to compare
Corsair 5000D Airflow Tempered Glass Mid-Tower ATX PC Case – Black

Corsair 5000D Airflow Tempered Glass Mid-Tower ATX PC Case – Black

Add to compare
CORSAIR 7000D AIRFLOW Full-Tower ATX PC Case, Black

CORSAIR 7000D AIRFLOW Full-Tower ATX PC Case, Black

Add to compare
Corsair iCUE 4000X RGB Mid-Tower ATX PC Case – White (CC-9011205-WW)

Corsair iCUE 4000X RGB Mid-Tower ATX PC Case – White (CC-9011205-WW)


We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Register New Account
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart