Pros: Ultra-portable, detachable cables, good sound
Cons: Short and fragile cable, hard clamping, made in China
The AKG K 450 is the first higher-than-SHS3200-end pair of cans I had (and at that time it's the only one). I wanted to be able to listen to good sound in the bus without hearing uninteresting conversations, so I started to search for good budget closed headphones for Christmas. After having spent four hours searching, comparing and reading reviews on Head-Fi.org ("Wow, this is a good site, I should keep it in mind..."), I decided that it had to be the K 450.
This will be rather a pragmatic review, because I don't master English very well yet.
Value: I wanted a very portable pair of "cheap" (60 € on Thomann) cans. I didn't wanted headphones I would have had to wear around my neck all day long. The K 450 isn't very expensive, and is carried very easily. The case takes up in an Eastpak The One bag, which is very handy, and it is quite tough. There are two cables in the K 450 packaging: a 50-centimeter long one (that is, in fact, 54.5-centimeter long [this is very important]) and a 110-centimeter long one. The 50-centimeter one is quite handy when you can put your source into your chest pocket. On the other hand, the 110-centimeter isn't long enough. Pluging it in you computer prevents you from moving freely, otherwise you pull on it, and it's quite fragile, as I could read on reviews. The headphones themselves looks (and are) pretty tough.
I have a problem with mine: the cable inside the headband is badly placed, and when I collapse the cans, the cable gets "hurt". This will cut it at last, I think.
EDIT : It has happened. The cable has cut down. I sent the 'phones back to have them changed.
Apart from this, even after one year of daily using, none of the cables cut, and the sound is still very good, maybe even better than at the origin (burnt in?).
Features: The K 450 come with :
• Two detachable gold plated cables
• A gold plated 1/4" > 1/8" adaptator
• A gold plated 2,5 mm > 3.5 mm adaptator
• A nice carrying case
Sound: I haven't had the opportunity to compare the K 450 with many other headphones or earbuds. All I can say is that it sounds better than Philips SHS3200 and than Panasonic RP-HTX7 (okay, these are cheaper, but I never had the chance to listen to more expensive headphones, so I compare with what I know). Sound is more... pure, more precise (you hear interferences very well). The K 450 sounds very well to my ears.
Edit : (Thanks to Lorspeaker) : After having listened to them carefully, I realized that I felt the bass instead of hearing them. I just EQed down the bass a bit, and it was better.
So yes, there are a lot of bass in these cans.
There are crappy distortion stains on Metallica songs from Death Magnetic. I don't know what component of the drums makes that noise, but it sounds crappy. Maybe it's 320 kbps MP3's fault, but I don't think so. Otherwise, even at high volume (20 out of 30 with my YP-K3), the sound is very pure.
I won't speak about the soundstage very precisely, because I've never heard cans with good soundstage and I don't know what it is. All I can say is that sound seems to come from very very close to you ears. Sometimes it is even right inside your skull (listening to Andy McKee with these is pretty surprising, it's like being inside his guitar).
Comfort: The K 450 clamps a bit hard, and it becomes a little uncomfortable from about one hour of listening, especially if you wear glasses (take them off, or it will really hurt).
So, as a conclusion, I will repeat the title: these are very good budget portable closed cans.