Philips SHP9500 vs. AKG K240 vs. Samson SR850 vs. Grado SR60e

Updates:

  • 2/2/21. Article posted.

The article still needs:

  • Comparison Chart
  • Photo Gallery
  • Video Discussion

Which of these headphones should you purchase without hesitation? Which should you avoid? What kinds of issues are present in each?

All of these answers and more, comin’ up…

What’s up bass head? Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions leading to a beautiful audio experience that will make you fall in love with music, all over again, so… don’t want to read?!

Video Discussion

Coming Soon!

In The Box

Philips SHP9500

  • Philips SHP9500 HiFi Stereo Over-Ear Open-Back Headphones
  • 1/4″ Adapter
  • Cable Strap
  • Limited 1-Year Warranty

AKG K240

  • AKG K240 Studio Professional Semi-Open Stereo Headphones
  • Gold-Plated 1/4″ Adapter
  • Detachable Cable
  • Limited 2-Year Warranty

Samson SR850

  • Samson SR850C Semi-Open Studio Headphones (Black)
  • Gold-Plated 1/4″ Adapter
  • Limited 2-Year Warranty

Grado SR60e

  • Grado SR60e Headphones
  • 1/4″ Golden Adapter
  • Limited 1-Year Warranty

Specs/Pricing

Philips SHP9500

Philips SHP9500 vs. 9600

  • Price: Check Amazon!
  • Driver Type: Dynamic
  • Design: Over-Ear (Circumaural)
  • Type: Open Back
  • Frequency Response: 12Hz – 35kHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ohm
  • Sensitivity: 101dB/mW
  • Cable Length: 1.5m (detachable 3.5mm)

AKG K240

AKG K240 vs. Samson SR850

  • Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater!
  • Driver Type: Dynamic
  • Design: Over-Ear (Circumaural)
  • Type: Semi-Open Back
  • Frequency Response: 15Hz – 25kHz
  • Impedance: 55 Ohm
  • Sensitivity: 91dB/mW
  • Cable Length: 3m (detachable mini-xlr)

Samson SR850

Samson SR850 Review

  • Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater!
  • Driver Type: Dynamic
  • Design: Over-Ear (Circumaural)
  • Type: Semi-Open Back
  • Frequency Response: 10Hz – 30kHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ohm
  • Sensitivity: 98dB/mW
  • Cable Length: 2.51m (non-detachable)

Grado SR60e

Grado SR60e vs. 80e

  • Price: Check Amazon!
  • Driver Type: Dynamic
  • Design: On-Ear (Supra-aural)
  • Type: Open Back
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ohm
  • Sensitivity: 99.8dB/mW
  • Cable Length: not specified (non-detachable)

Sound

I believe you should purchase the SHP9500 without hesitation as it’s better than the other 3 and has fewer issues. I would avoid the 60e unless you plan on EQ’ing 2kHz down by about 9dB. The SR850 has a really bright treble that’s likely to annoy you, but it does do really well with Gaming and Film without the need for EQ. The K240 Studio is second-best among this crop but has some comfort issues which we’ll delve into in a jiffy.

With music, the SR850 gets strident fairly quickly and it becomes painfully obvious that it’s trying to be detailed, even though said detail is really quite lovely. For a headphone under $50, it does a lot of things right. The mid-range is excellent, and bass articulation is phenomenal even despite considerable roll-off, akin to a K240 Studio.

Speaking of, The K240 Studio has a fantastic mid-range but a bit of an odd sound due to the 1-2k dip and 5-6k peak. It’s a headphone that will likely sound very strange to you at first before you get used to the unique signature. It really is quite a treat with older recorded rock, soul, Motown, and the like. Treble on it is perfect, as I can listen for hours without musical fatigue. There is plenty of detail there and just enough sparkle not to become boring or dull.

Its issues lie in the less than stellar comfort levels due to the shallow cups and the propensity for your ears to dig right into the drivers.

The 9500 is bright and can get a bit essy/sibilant, but less so than the 850. It’s a classier sound signature with less intense, in your face peaks and an excellent mid-range that stands out without being too forward. Related: Philips SHP9500 vs. 9600

Philips SHP9500 vs. 9600
The venerable SHP9500.

Grado SR60e vs. 80e

The 60e sounds very good outside of 2k, but you’ll quickly notice that it becomes too much of a good thing, sort of like sex with a prostitute. Make sure to DOUBLE UP, yeah mate? Related: Grado SR60e vs. SR80e [With Video Comparison]

Soundstage/Imaging

Both the 9500, SR850, and K240 have excellent Soundstage width and depth, as you’ll frequently get those out of your head sensations while gaming, watching film, or listening to music. Related: The Best Headphones for Gaming [In Depth Guide]

The 60e’s is slightly above average, but I wouldn’t call it fantastic or anything. Still, for a cheap on-ear headphone, it does impress but is the black sheep of this lot, yeah?

Imaging on all 4 is fairly stellar as well, as you’ll be able to place where instruments are pretty easy. They are all very similar in this regard,

Bass

All 4 of these headphones have quite a bit of bass roll-off save for the 60e which rolls off a bit less than the others. Mid-bass on each are all very nice, as there isn’t any bloat or bumpiness to speak of. All 4 would make fine mixing/mastering cans as well. I’d take the 9500 first, then 850, followed by K240 and then 60e.

For gaming and film, perhaps swap the 850 and 9500 and keep the order the same for the other 2.

For music, swap the K240 and 850 and leave the others the same.

Comfort

Comfort is going to be perfect with the 9500, average to slightly above average on the 850, and fairly abysmal with the other 2, at least in terms of an extended listening session.

The K240 and 60e are satisfactory at first but really start to dig after about 45 min. – 1 hr. The K240’s drivers press against your ear as noted earlier, and the 60e’s pads do the same, unfortunately.

The Best Headphones for Classical
Brooklyn’s Finest.

I frequently forget I’m even wearing a 9500, and don’t believe I’ve ever had to adjust it due to discomfort in nearly 4 years. The SR850 isn’t too bad, but you’ll start to feel it on the bone behind your ears. The cups are a bit deeper than the K240 which gives it a slightly better comfort factor, but you’ll still have some issues from time to time.

Build

As far as build is concerned, the 9500 is the clear winner here, with the others sort of falling in a gray area. The 9500’s build is simply impeccable. I’ve had it for 4 years without a single issue. All are comprised mostly of plastic, but the 9500’s seems like a more rigid plastic with adjustment mechanisms containing a bit of metal. It’s a headphone that is built much better than its meager price tag would indicate.

I’ve never personally had problems with the K240 or SR850, but both are very flimsy and feel like something you’d find in the toy section of your local Wal-Mart.

Both of those headphones sport the famed hammock style adjustment, while the 9500 opts for the traditional click mechanism. The 60e’s are basically 2 poles that go through a piece of plastic on either side.

Some people have reported to me build issues with the 60e’s over a period of time, others have had them for years without an issue. Your mileage may vary.

Amplification

The K240 studio is really the only chap here that needs some sort of amplification as it’s got a very low sensitivity and needs quite a bit of power from an Amp to reach acceptable listening levels. The other 3 can be driven off of a phone, but I’d recommend something like an E10K or K3 to start.

Good Resources I’ve written for you:

Final Word

Overall, the 9500 is the clear winner out of this bunch, followed by the K240, SR850, and 60e. The 9500 is a jack of all trades headphone that excels in many different applications including mixing/mastering, gaming/film, general music listening, etc. It will do well with most genres as it’s got a relatively flat sound signature outside of the sometimes peaky treble.

A couple of great options that really help tame down the treble are the FiiO K5 Pro and iFi hip-dac. My favorite pairing currently being the K5 Pro.

Top Choice: SHP9500

  • Comfort: A+
  • Build: A+
  • Sound: A
  • Imaging: A
  • Clarity/Detail: A+
  • Balance: A-

 

Second Place: AKG K240

  • Comfort: B-/C+
  • Build: B+
  • Sound: A-
  • Imaging: A+
  • Clarity/Detail: A+
  • Balance: A

 

Third Place: Samson SR850

  • Comfort: B-/B
  • Build: B-
  • Sound: B-/B
  • Imaging: A+
  • Clarity/Detail: A+
  • Balance: C

 

Fourth Place: Grado SR60e

  • Comfort: B-/C+
  • Build: B-
  • Sound: B-
  • Imaging: A+
  • Clarity/Detail: A+
  • Balance: C

 

Well, that’s about it for today my friend! Hope you enjoyed this Philips SHP9500 vs. AKG K240 vs. Samson SR850 vs. Grado SR60e Shootout/Comparison. I also hope you have a better idea of the similarities and differences between each.

Do you agree with my assessment? Which of these are you going to purchase? Let me know down below!!

If you love what I do here and want to support the blog and channel in a more personal way, check me out on Patreon and discover all the value I have to offer you.

If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to drop a comment in the box, or Contact me! I very much look forward to speaking with you…

All the best and God bless,

 

 

-Stu

[Xtr@Ba$eHitZ]

Can’t decide which headphones to purchase? Interested in a complete buyers guide outlining over 40 of the best options on the market? Click on over to the best audiophile headphones to learn more!!

Be sure to also check out my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!

Photos…

Photo Gallery

Coming Soon!

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *