A decent and ultra-comfortable pair of headphones for home and producing, but not made for the DJ booth. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them though if you’re looking for a casual pair to complement your sweaty, grimy DJ workhorse phones and you’ve got a couple hundred bucks to throw.
First Impressions / Setting up
The Samson Z55’s come with some nifty extras in the box. You get a leatherette pouch for storing them, the usual 1/8” to 1/4” adapter, and three different cables: coiled, straight, and thin one with a mic / remote for plugging into a smartphone or tablet.
I picked up the headphones and thought they were light. They don’t have that “heft” of higher-end headphones, but they don’t feel cheap either. This is an all plastic headphone, so I wasn’t really expecting any of that premium weight anyway (this is a good thing, to be honest).
The headphones fold into a ball for transport, and the ear cups swivel 90 degrees forward and 35 degrees back, so they don’t have a problem adjusting to your monitoring style whether you rest one ear cup on your shoulder, or even if you’ve got them almost on your forehead.
This brings me to what impressed me most about these cans: the ear pads are made of lambskin, and they are the most comfortable pads I’ve felt on a pair of headphones in this price range ever. They’re like having two really lux-feeling pillows on either side of your head – they’re some of the cushiest pads you’ll feel on your ears.
The headband helps too since it doesn’t squeeze your head like an egg. So far so good! Hooked them up to my Macbook Pro, loaded some tunes on Spotify and got to work.
The Samson Z55s sound decent. The highs are smooth and present without sounding like they’re grating your ears, and the mids are well defined and pronounced, although I’d say that they aren’t as up front so sometimes I find myself turning up the volume a little bit when I want to dig into some more lyrically heavy pop tunes.
The bass is (ahem) the low point of these headphones, unfortunately. They’ve got 45mm drivers, but the bass is quite weak and there’s just nothing special about it, and I’m left wanting more when I want to enjoy a dance-heavy playlist I made on Spotify.
For producing this could be a good thing, though, because the lack of “hype” in the lows won’t affect your production decisions, but there’s just not enough detail in them to really bring out the fullness of some synths or kick / bass drums that you’re using in your work. You may end up being less inspired, especially if really intricate bass is what you’re after (tip: Don’t mix on headphones if this is the case)
DJs will find the lack of bass a bit of a crutch in a live situation, and the cushy ear cups don’t do an excellent job of blocking out extraneous noise – good for when you’re at home or in the studio, bad when you’ve got two drunk dudes screaming for you to play Roses by The Chainsmokers yet again.
Despite the shallow low end, there’s still a lot to like about these headphones. I really like the highs and mids here, I can listen to them for a really time without my ears getting tired, which is usually the case with more shrill / harsher cans. If you ask me, comfort is the number one thing that ranks really high with these phones.
I really like these headphones are made for extended use, and as such they’re a perfect companion to bedroom producing and listening to music at home or on the go. I used them exclusively on a long haul flight home from the NAMM Show (10+ hour flights are rarely comfortable), and I was extremely pleased with how they didn’t make my head feel like it was in some medieval torture device. They sounded great for podcasts and movies too (I watched The Intern twice on the plane).
In all, a decent and ultra-comfortable pair of headphones for home and producing, but not made for the DJ booth. They’re also quite pricey, occupying the top tier in Samson’s Z Series of headphones, so picking up a pair certainly wouldn’t be an impulse decision for most. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them though if you’re looking for a casual pair to complement your sweaty, grimy DJ workhorse phones and you’ve got a couple hundred bucks to throw.