Great value - hard to beat for <$100

A Review On: AKG K 420 Foldable Mini Headphone - Blue

AKG K 420 Foldable Mini Headphone - Blue

Rated # 375 in Headphones
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Price paid: $65.00
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Pros: Price, sound (for the price), balanced sound, design

Cons: Cable may be too short for some

I've been looking for a good open headphone that I can use in the office instead of my IEMs. It proved a little tricky to find a portable open headphone, but I eventually narrowed it down to the following list:


  • AKG K420
  • Sennheiser PX100
  • Jays V-Jays
  • Koss Porta Pro
  • Aiaiai Tracks


After much listening and comparison, plus a little thinking about my wallet as I don't need a flagship sound quality for this application, I settled on the AKG K420s.


The K420s offered easily the most balanced sound of those listed above. The Sennheisers came a close second, but for the extra money, I felt that they were limited to sounding good on bassy genres while lacking some space and resolution for more subtle acoustic tracks.


The K420s are fairly no-frills. Except for the denim coloured trim on the grey frame, there is no bling and they come with a simple, short (1m) cable and a simple carry pouch. For me, that's perfect because the cable is just long enough to reach my laptop without pulling or tangling.


The sound from the K420s is outstanding if you keep the price tag in mind. Clearly they're not going to compete with some of the $200-$300 offerings out there, but I can't find an option under $150 that comes close to their balanced, clean sound.


Bass is ample and responds well to a good EQ, mids are solid and clean, and highs are detailed and resolved to a good level.


In comparison to the PX100s and Porta-Pros, the K420s could seem a little bright at times and therefore may become fatiguing and high volumes, but haven't listened for long enough to know yet. For me, their ability to create space in the soundstage and resolve detail was what pushed them past the competition.


For less than $150-200 (perhaps more?) you will have a very hard time finding a better blanced sounding portable, open headphone. The PX100 would be my choice for a bass-oriented sound, but these win hands-down for balanced sound.


open sound - superlux hd 668b / samson sr 850c
Thanks for mentioning these. I might check them out at some stage. For now, I was focussed on portability though and the Superlux and Samson appear to be more full-size.
So have you narrowed them down to The One ?
Hi JaiSAn, what do you mean "The One"?
For my tastes, the K420s consistently outperform everything in the nearby price range. The PX100s are the next best to my ears, but are less detailed and revealing. Nothing portable in this price bracket (that I've found/heard) is a giant killer, but the K420s are incredibly enjoyable for the price.
You've just answered my question........The K420
Cool. Glad I could help. I continue to be impressed by the K420.
Completely agree with Loquah, the only other contender for me is the Beyerdynamic DTX 501p, albeit a little more expensive. The AKG is nearly faultless at this price point, an annoyingly short cable is about my only gripe, slightly soft highs and the tonal balance in general is slanted downward towards the mids and bass. The 420 is overall very musical if not the last word in detail, if you favor a more analytical presentation with more HF extension, the DTX 501p merits consideration.