Samson SR850 vs. Audio-Technica ATH-M30x vs. AKG K240STUDIO: And Our Winner Is…

Between the Samson SR850 vs. Audio-Technica ATH-M30x vs. AKG K240STUDIO headphones, which one is the best?

Here it is ladies and gentlemen. Three highly popular headphones side-by-side facing off. While each pair has its standard ups and downs, they also have their own unique benefits. Depending on what you’re looking for in a pair of headphones will determine which of these might be the best choice for you. After extensive research, personal experience, and reviews; We formulated an in-depth comparison between each one. May the battle commence!  

But first…

What Makes A Pair Of Headphones Good?

  1. Sound Quality: How good the overall audio quality of music, phone calls, or video.
  2. Comfort: The ability to remain comfortable for extended periods of time without itchiness, annoyance, or ear pain.
  3. Build Quality: The overall durability and longevity. Able to withstand harsh conditions for extended periods of time.
  4. Noise Isolation/ Active Noise Cancelling: If any at all, how well the active noise cancelling or noise isolating abilities are.
  5. Battery Life: How long the battery life of the headphones are at a full charge.
  6. Added Features: A few examples of added features headphones offer can be Bluetooth capabilities, built-in AI assistant, headphone controls, built-in microphone for phone calls, flexibility, rotatable earcups, etc.

We compared and contrasted each of these factors for the Samson SR850, Audio-Technica ATH-M30x, & AKG K240STUDIO

Sound Quality

Especially for music listeners, the overall quality of sound is a massive factor in finding your perfect pair of headphones. There are various factors that impact a pair of headphones’ sound quality.

Samson SR850
With their large 50mm drivers, the sound quality will blow you away for the meager price. Repeatedly people say the sound can stand toe-to-toe with many headphones four times the price. The blend between the lows, mids, and highs is well-balanced and precise. If I had to critique the sound, I would say the lows are not big enough for those who prefer a lot of bass. However, the detailed sound is absolutely stunning for the price.

Audio-Technica ATH-M30x
With the copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils, 40-millimeter drivers, and rare earth magnets; It provides outstanding sound quality and clarity for the low-price. Amazingly, these are one of the few headphones in this price range that sound engineers happily use. The frequencies are well-balanced throughout the spectrum with a minuscule dip in the bass. If you prefer bass-heavy headphones, these may not be the best choice. However, I’m a huge fan of the clearly pronounced midrange sound. Overall, the sound quality is very detailed and precise. Especially for an affordable price, you will be pleased.

AKG K240STUDIO
The sound quality is very clear and detailed. It provides a flat sound that is great for mixing audio. The AKG K240STUDIO does not overcompensate the bass end. Instead, the clear mids and highs offer more detail and brightness to the sound. In many cases, these headphones bring out some overlooked features in songs that are generally missed.

Overall, the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x has the overall best sound quality. However, if you prefer neutral sound, the AKG K240STUDIO is the flattest.

Comfort

The ability for headphones to remain comfortable for extended periods of time without itchiness, annoyance, pressure, or ear pain. Considering many people use headphones for commute, air travel, or work; Comfort is a vital factor.

Samson SR850
Some say these headphones are very comfortable while others say they are not. For my head and ears, they were decently comfortable and I did not have any issues. Compared to the others, I would say these are the least comfy.

Audio-Technica ATH-M30x
Not the best, but the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x is a relatively comfortable pair of headphones. I recommend these headphones for anyone who needs to wear them for 2-3 hours at a time. After a few hours, you may need to take a break.

AKG K240STUDIO
These headphones were much comfier than I was expecting. They are able to be worn for periods of 3-4 hours without fatigue. The pads are made of thick leatherette which is slightly firmer than I prefer. However, they are pretty comfortable for the price.

Overall, the AKG K240STUDIO is the most comfortable of the three.

Build Quality

What good are your amazingly sounding headphones if they break in a few months? The overall durability and longevity are crucial for any investment you make. Especially for those who need headphones for commute, it’s important they’re able to withstand vigorous traveling conditions consistently.

Samson SR850
The build quality for these headphones is basically what you would expect for its low-price. They are made of plastic. We do not recommend these for continuous travel.

Audio-Technica ATH-M30x
Besides the semi-plasticky feel, these headphones are robust and sturdy. Especially for the low price, you will be satisfied with its durability and lifespan. If I had to be picky, the joints are a bit weak. It has a circumaural design that easily fits around your ears. They are collapsible for more convenient travel. Overall, you will be satisfied with the build quality and they will last you a much longer time than most headphones below $100.

AKG K240STUDIO
These headphones have a slightly better build quality than their price. Nothing too amazing, but not bad at all. The headband is adjustable which definitely comes in handy. Overall, you wouldn’t be disappointed with the build.

Overall, the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x has the best build quality.

Noise Isolation/ Active Noise Cancelling

Don’t be confused between active noise cancelling and noise isolation headphones. They are both entirely different. Noise-cancelling technology is very unique. Unlike noise-isolating headphones, noise-cancelling headphones do not eradicate outside noise by physical insulation. Within the ear cups, they have a mini microphone that picks up the outside environmental noise. It then triggers a frequency entirely opposite to the outside ambient noise. Thus, canceling out most outside ambient sound.

Samson SR850
These headphones are open-back. They provide no noise isolation. The music bleed is extremely high, as well. If you don’t want people to hear what you’re listening to, we don’t recommend these headphones.

Audio-Technica ATH-M30x
These headphones do not have active noise cancellation. However, it provides extremely good passive noise-isolation. It easily covers the entire ear and blocks out a great deal of outside noise once you put them on. Unfortunately, these headphones have a bit of sound bleed. People around you can hear what you’re listening to at higher volumes. Once put on, they naturally reduce outside ambient noise by 50%. Especially for the low price, the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x are overall very good noise-isolation headphones.

AKG K240STUDIO
These headphones are semi-open back. They provide no noise isolation. The music bleed is extremely high, as well. If you don’t want people to hear what you’re listening to, we don’t recommend these headphones.

Overall, the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x is the only noise isolating headphone pair on the list.

Battery Life

Battery life is an overlooked subject when speaking about over-ear headphones. Obviously, the only headphones that have a battery life are those which are wireless. Many headphones on the market do not have wireless capabilities. But for those who do, a more extended battery-life becomes a convenient factor.

Samson SR850
These headphones do not have wireless capabilities. They must be plugged in via wire.

Audio-Technica ATH-M30x
These headphones do not have wireless capabilities. They must be plugged in via wire.

AKG K240STUDIO
These headphones do not have wireless capabilities. They must be plugged in via wire.

Added Features/Summary

Here we summarize each pair of headphones and talk about some of the added features.

Samson SR850
These headphones do not have wireless abilities, a built-in mic, Bluetooth, etc. However, here is the lowest-priced pair of headphones on this list. The Samson SR850 running under $40 on Amazon is a fantastic value for the quality. Not only is it the lowest priced pair on this list, but it’s also rated and reviewed relatively high. If you only care about great sound quality at the cheapest price, these are the ones for you!

Audio-Technica ATH-M30x
These headphones do not have wireless abilities, a built-in mic, Bluetooth, etc. However, they are a superb choice for anyone looking for clear, precise, and detailed sound quality. With a solid build, decent comfort, and good noise isolation; They are a great bang for the buck under $100. I recommend them for sound engineers, video editors, audio editors, or mixers on a very tight budget.

AKG K240STUDIO
Like the others, these headphones do not have wireless abilities, a built-in mic, Bluetooth, etc. Overall, if you’re looking for great sounding open-back headphones with a decent build in the $60 range, these are a great choice. They also have the flattest sound response on the list.

Similarities Between Them

  • All highly-rated
  • All very popular
  • All very affordable
  • None have Bluetooth wireless
  • None have active noise cancelling

Our Winner

Keep in mind that our opinion is not the end all be all. Like mentioned earlier, everyone has different needs, requirements, and budgets for their headphones. However, our winner is the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x for many reasons. It has the best sound quality, build and design, and best noise isolation.

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