What you’re thinking is likely what I was thinking – that you’re not going to get audiophile headphones for $50. If you’re like me, you assume that your low-end “good enough” headphones are some $100+ Grados, maybe the ATH M50x, or the like. Certainly nothing for $50. They can’t be that good, can they?
Actually, and – to me – surprisingly, they are. As I said in the video, yeah, they’re a wee bit brighter than the M50s, and a bit quieter, but only a little on each account. Otherwise, they’re remarkably faithful to the source material. Also, they’re very, *very* comfortable, so you can listen to them for as long as you’re going to want to listen to them: hours. As much as I love the M50s, they’re not comfortable for the long haul, at least not for me. These are.
They include a detachable cable, and they include a 1/4″ adapter, both of which are nice, but neither of which were necessary for me (replaceable cables are great, but I don’t tend to replace mine, and I have plenty of adapters), but they might be important additions for you.
I listened to these for a total of about 8 hours before doing this review – about 4 on my Nexus 6, and about 4 on my Marantz receiver. The receiver, obviously, had the power to drive them louder, but the Nexus had plenty of juice to get them more than loud enough. During the two listening sessions, I went through my playlist, and these made every song sound great – well, as great as the songs actually sound (some aren’t mastered as well as others). In other words, these are, essentially, reference headphones.
Some of the songs I listened to with these:
* “It Doesn’t Matter,” Allison Krauss & Union Station
* “Shatter Me Featuring Lzzy Hale,” Lindsey Stirling
* “Take Me To Church,” Hozier
* “I See Fire,” Ed Sheeran
* “Endgame,” Ital
* “Eminence Front,” The Who
* “Dark Horse,” Katy Perry
* “Yeah!” Usher
* “Defying Gravity [Hani Flying So High Short Mix],” Idina Menzel
* “I Can’t Stand the Rain,” The Commitments
* “Lazarus,” Porcupine Tree
* “Love With Bring You Back,” Mae Moore
* “Dorina,” Dada
* “Satellite,” Dave Matthews Band
* “Theme from ‘Hatari'”, Henry Mancini
* “Somewhere over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World,” Isreal Kamakawiwo’ole
* “U & Me = Love,” Jewel
* “Eight Tons of B-Flat,” Karen Savoca and The Mind’s Eye
* “Johnny Feelgood,” Liz Phair
* I May Know The Word,” Natalie Merchant.
* “Armagideon Time,” The Clash
* “Destination Calabria,” Alex Gaudino
* “Uninvited,” Alanis Morissette
So, a pretty wide range, and, obviously, that’s not all of them, but I just wanted to provide some example of the different songs I used to judge these headphones. Many of those songs are quite dynamic, and these cans allowed me to experience that. Also, the songs include plenty of highs, lows, and midrange. All in all, the 8 hours of listening exercised these 850s well. And yes, the did seem even smoother toward the end, after a bit of break-in time.
I was very happy to listen to these, and the time flew by. If you’re looking for affordable and yet audiophile-grade headphones, these will make you very happy, too.
Review disclaimer: I received this item for free (or highly discounted) in exchange for an honest review, and, as with all such review items, I used it long enough to really get a feel for how good it is. I don’t only get 4 and 5 star product samples, but do I tend to review only the 4-5 star ones, which is why my reviews of samples tend to skew higher. I’ll often use a product as part of my daily routine for days or weeks to get a good feel for it before reviewing it, and, because of that, I’m always open to questions in the comments section about it. I take pride in my review process, and I’m always happy to help you with your product-buying decision.