compact, great sound, too bassy

A Review On: AKG K451 High-Performance Foldable Mini Headset (Black)

AKG K451 High-Performance Foldable Mini Headset (Black)

Rated # 67 in On-Ear
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Review Details:
Audio Quality
Comfort
Design
Value
Purchased on:
Price paid: $190.00
wallaby
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Pros: compact, foldable, comfortable, great sound

Cons: too bassy!

I bought these about 3 weeks ago as a to-go pair with my QLS QA350.  I should preface by saying I'm not particularly experienced with audiophile gear.  These would be my first considered purchase in the reasonable-quality area after becoming fed up with lousy fidelity from mainstream mp3 crapola.

 

I bought the QLS and the AKG's simultaneously, so I'm not entirely sure which exactly the qualities emanate from, but I'll hazard a guess.

 

SOUND

First things first. The initial characteristic that leapt out at me the moment I tried these was smooth! I don't know what the technical underlying basis for this characteristic is but, compared to what I've listened to in the past, these just sound blissfully smooth (if someone can tell me the basis, i'd be interested).  For an analogy, it brings to mind the feel of that matt silicone rubber that's popular as cases for stuff these days - not slippery per se, but very smooth. Very pleasant to listen to.

 

In terms of frequency response, the midrange is there.  Not prominent but adequate. Likewise for the high end - there's enough detail there for the price.  I'm not hearing ultra-high end but that could well be my ears.  There's an agreeable level of detail and clarity (and I think they can be had for considerably less than what I paid).

 

But then there's the bass. That's definitely there too - in spades.  It's reasonably well defined and the extension is good especially considering these are compacts, but there's a hell of a hump.  It's not that the sound is bad, or that I don't like bass. I do, but it's disproportionate. It's like there's two drivers and the bass one is driven at twice the level of the mid/highs.  

 

I assume this is AKG pandering to the masses. They are positioned as i-pox accessories after all.  Annoying because this is exactly the kind of thing I wanted to avoid by buying reasonably good stuff.

 

COMFORT

Moving on from sound, comfort is fine.  I probably have about an average-sized guy's head and they feel good.  Probably not for endless hours though - they are on-ears.  Pressure is moderate without being excessive.  The earpads are pleather-whatever and although they never really seem to feel like they're in the right place, moving them around doesn't seem to make any difference to the sound.  

 

They are hot though. Forget about wearing them for exercising in warm weather.  I wore them for 5 minutes on my stationary cycle and took them off.  Not unique to this device I'm sure.

 

BUILD

seems reasonably good quality, commensurate with the price.  I wouldn't expect them to break with careful use.

 

ISOLATION

none.  I wore these to the gym (sounds like I'm a fitness junkie - i'm not!) and the mixture of the rather loud music playing in the gym and the sound coming from the phones rendered both unlistenable so I gave up and put them away.  Again, probably not unique to these phones.

 

ACCESSORIES

comes with a nice moulded flexible zip box, a plain cord and a cord with i-phone controls.  I'm not obsessive enough to pack them in the box after each use, but it'll be handy when I flog them on ebay.

 

SUMMARY

sound nice and I enjoy listening to them despite the BASS, but I'll be getting rid of them for that reason.  I'm already eyeing up a set of Beyerdynamic DT1350's.

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