Headphones come in all shapes and sizes, with different designs, price points, and features. Some people want all kinds of bells and whistles while others are just looking for good sound, compact design, or any number of other criteria. Samson makes a wide variety of professional studio equipment, including headphones of varying features and capabilities. Today I’ll be talking about a pair of mid-range over-ear headphones, the Samson RTE X Active Noise Cancelling headphones.
- Ideal for travel, fitness, rest and relaxation
- Active Noise Cancellation technology (90% noise reduction)
- 20 hours of battery life via single AAA battery (ANC only)
- Unlimited Passive mode operation
- 1-touch Monitor mode
- Flat-fold, over-ear design with high-protein leather cushioning
- Premium 40mm drivers with rare earth magnets
- 20Hz–20kHz frequency response
- Detachable audio cable
- Protective carry case included
What’s in the Box
- 1x Samson RTE X headphones
- 1x Detachable audio cable
- 1x Protective carrying case
- Instruction booklet
Where some headphones go for a somewhat gaudy, over the top appearance, Samson has a much more understated design going with the RTE X. The headphones are predominantly plastic, though a good, solid plastic. The headband and earcups are padded with a soft leather cushioning which makes them comfortable to wear, even for long listening sessions. The earcups each have a chrome oval with the Samson logo, name, and headphone model number in the middle. The left earcup has the 3.5mm audio input for the detachable audio cable as well as the multi-function button for Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) and one-touch monitor mode on the back of the earcup. The right earcup has the battery cap, which can be removed to install or replace the AAA battery (not included) which powers the ANC. The headphones can be used in passive mode without ANC turned on as well.
There are no wireless connections on the RTE X headphones, it’s all wired all the time. That may bother some people, and if so Samson does offer other varieties of headphone with wireless capabilities. I personally don’t mind wired operation though, as most of my normal (i.e. non-review) headphone usage is wired.
The earcups also rotate 45 degrees in order to lay nearly flat, which is how they fit into the included protective case. The case is a relatively hard shell zippered case with room for the headphones as well as a large open area in the middle for the audio cable and perhaps a spare battery or two. The formed area where the earcups sit each have holes, likely for ventilation, though they have the added benefit of making the back of the case look like a smiley face. Yeah, I’m easily amused.
Since there’s no wireless operation to speak of, we’ll dive right into the wired sound. In passive mode, the Samson RTE X headphones have a nice, clear sound, though it is a bit soft on its own. Activating ANC beefs up the sound pretty significantly while also blocking outside noise to provide a more enclosed experience. These headphones have decent bass without really pushing it too hard. Bass comes through pretty well, but not at the expense of mids or highs. Everything from punk, to rock, to alternative, jazz, dubstep, and others sounded good. I used these headphones quite a lot while playing video games on my computer too, and music, action, and everything in between came through clearly.
If you need to quickly hear what’s going out outside of your headphones you can simply tap on the ANC button to activate monitor mode. This drops any music or other audio that you’re listening to and allows you to hear what’s going on around you. Just note this doesn’t necessarily pause whatever you’re listening to, just something to be aware of.
ANC can be activated without any music playing and it does slightly dampen any ambient noise. Samson claims a 90% noise reduction, and while I’m not sure how they determine that percentage, I have heard better overall noise reduction. Granted, that was on a significantly more expensive pair of headphones, so it’s really not fair to compare the two in this instance. The Active Noise Cancellation does effectively provide a better music listening experience, which is really what you want anyway.
Samson claims around 20 hours of Active Noise Cancelling with one AAA battery, though I honestly have gotten quite a lot more than that. I’ve used these headphones to listen to quite a lot of music, though I’m unsure of the exact amount. What I can say though, is that as of the time of this writing, I’ve put more than forty hours into XCOM 2, more than half of which — and probably closer to ¾ — have been played wearing these headphones, and they’re still going strong.
You can purchase the Samson RTE X headphones for a regular price of $99.99 at a wide variety of electronics and music stores, and that’s honestly not a bad price for these headphones. Amazon has the RTE X headphones at a bit of a discount for only $69.11, which is a great deal considering the included Active Noise Cancelling.
Not everybody wants or needs to spend $250 or more on headphones. Sure, it’s an option that is available, but there are plenty of attractive options available in a more budget-friendly price range. The Samson RTE X Active Noise Cancelling headphones definitely fit that bill, providing good sound and features in a reasonably priced package.
*We were sent a demo unit of the Samson RTE X headphones for the purposes of this review.
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