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AKG K495 NC

Posted

Pros: Build Quality and Aesthetics, Sound Quality - Very natural and robust, Noise Cancellation on par or better than Competitors while keeping audio clean

Cons: Some discomfort from pressure on upper ear after extended listening (4+ hours), NC can make lows overpowering at times, soundstage could be better

This isn't going to be an extremely detailed review because I'm fairly inexperienced. I'm no Audiophile but I do appreciate good sound and clarity in my headphones. The K495's definitely offer outstanding clairty and SQ, especially in comparison to direct competitors such as Bose, HK, PSB.

 

BUILD

 

These are BEAUTIFUL headphones. The design is sturdy and svelte at the same time. Leather wraps the headband and covers the exterier of the cups. Aluminum/metal appears to be at the core of the overall build and everything is made with attention to detail. The leather is soft and it offers a very classy look you don't often seen on headphones in this category or price-point. The size of the ear-pads are a sweet spot for me. Usually on-ears are just a little too small (the K490's are what I'm used to as far as size goes for on-ears) but the K495's seem to bridge the gap between on-ear and over-ear. They're almost big enough to cover my whole ear but they maintain a size that doesn't look absurd when wearing them casually or travelling. They have a nice profile that is tight to the head. The swiveling joints on each cup allow for a very relaxed and comfortable fit in combination with the plush, leather, adjustable headband and ear-pads. In the short time I've had them I've worn them several times for extended listening. Over several hours (4-5 or more) of listening, these do put some pressure on my upper ear which causes some discomfort. Removing them for a few minutes (which is recommended anyhow) alleviates the pressure and I'm good to go for more listening. This is probably the biggest negative for these headphones IMO and if I hadn't already tried the BOSE QC-15's that my friend let me borrow, I probably wouldn't even comment on this aspect because I wouldn't know the difference. The QC-15's are definitely more comfortably but the QC-3's, which are on-ears and are probably the ones directly comparable to these, are no more comofrtable in my opinion. The build quality on the Bose although light, is very dainty and cheap feeling to me. The K495's just exude the feeling of quality and craftsmanship. The wires are cloth coated and the travel case is a supple leather that these fold into nicely. I wish there was a little more room in the case, but it really isn't a big deal. 

 

SOUND

 

Again, I'm no audiophile but these sound very good to me. I generally prefer IEM's so most of my audio knowledge revolves around the sound qualities they produce and I'm generally inexperienced with on-ears/in ears. I had the chance to borrow a friend's Bose QC-15's for a few days and I feel that these BLOW them out of the water.. The Bose have a more exaggerated acoustic sound and don't play as nicely with equalization. The K495's have a pretty flat sound with some slight kick on the bottom end. They sound very natural and true to my ear. The bass is pleasant when the NC is off, and when it's turned on the Bass gets a little fatter and full. It can overpower a bit when the NC is on, but not a whole lot.. There is still plenty of clarity.  The mids and highs are solid and really shine in the vocals.. I listen to a wide variety of music that includes just about every genre. "Rock" and Electronic genres probably get the most play time and I think these cans are well suited for both.I think the soundstage is a little lacking here. I also might be spoiled because I'm comparing this to my Q-Jays which have an excellent 3D soundstage (yes a good soundstage for an IEM).  I still haven't given these a full and proper "burn in" but I've probably racked up close to 30 hours listening time and I haven't noticed much of a change in sound quality. There is hardly ANY sound bleed, even when pumping these up to high volumes.

 

NOISE CANCELLATION

 

I find that even though these are "on-ear" they have a slightly larger "on-ear" pad than most and as I stated earlier, these feel almost like the bridge between on ear and over ear. A hybrid if you will. The earpads provide very good passive noise cancellation on their own. The Active noise cancelling is also superb from what I've been able to test it with. The ANC can bring a loud floor fan to a silence and they have done well at blocking out environmental noise at home. I haven't had these on a flight yet but based on my experiences so far, I think they will do well. You can actually get hints of the NC in action when moving your head back and forth quickly to produce a wind sound over the controlling NC mics. You'll hear a sort of "woosh-woosh" sound. This isn't anything to worry about as it won't effect listening. (The movement and speed at which you'll notice this is far and above anything you'd EVER do listening to them). Compared to the QC-15's I tried, I think they performed equally as well in my home environment and the cancellation (hiss) isn't as noticeable as you'd find in the Bose headsets. The NC as stated before adds a bit of a kick to the bass, making it fuller and giving the general sound quality a warmer feel.  There is some slight distortion when the NC is on but it isn't from the NC directly but rather the increase in bass. This is easily rectified with some equalization to compensate for the boost in bass. A major plus is that these will work even with the battery for the NC has died.. The sound signature is excellent without the NC too.

 

OVERALL

 

This is a great pair of portable, luxurious and quality sounding cans. If you're in the market for something universal and portable without losing audio quality and you want noise cancellation... These are for you, or they are worth checking out at the very least. The value is right for a nice set of NC cans, and they exceed anything in the NC class in terms of sound quality besides the PSB's M4Us(which are more expensive and don't have the same NC effectiveness from what I've read) If you're interested in this set of cans, I recommend trying them out.. you won't be disappointed!

 

Here are some pictures :)

 

http://i.imgur.com/ojg4DLw.jpg?1

http://i.imgur.com/yhxdv2l.jpg?1

http://i.imgur.com/0NbaI4q.jpg?1

Posted

Pros: Most neutral sound, great design built to last, rugged cables, comfortable cushions, ANC that works pretty well, Great quality even with ANC off

Cons: Heavy, On ear, not over ear, ANC on/off switch is painful, ANC not as good as Bose QC15 (IDK, according to reviews), Costly

These are MSRPed at $399 and sometimes sold at $349. I got it at amazon for $299. I got lucky. 

 

I am really happy with these cans. The first thing I noticed was its beautiful finish and neat design. It's highly portable, designed with the a person who is constant on move in mind. It seems to me that AKG wanted to give great quality sound with noise cancellation and that's what they pretty much achieved. 

 

I have Bose AE2 and IE2 and I have to tell you, these are far more superior sounding. Looking and reading at lots of reviews online, I realized that they are not only a lot more natural sounding than Bose, but perhaps right on top along with other mid-price premium headphones. I have not owned a headphone that has is able to reproduce sound so rich while at the same time block out almost all the background noise.

 

Speaking of ANC, here is what I think so far. It is able to block off almost all noise, from low rumbling of the AC or Fan to footsteps on carpet to mild whispers in the library are completely blocked off! I am not kidding. The rumbling in the bus/train, the rumbling due to exhaust in restrooms etc...they are reduced to a great extent.  I have not experienced the defacto standard - Bose QC15. So I don't know if it's actually better or on par with it or if bose is better ...but this one does an awesome job and that's all I care about.

 

I have to give you a word of advise - These are on ear headphones, not over ear... So while listening, make sure that the phones are placed snugly and comfortably on your ears, otherwise, the sound would leak and noise may enter. 

 

A major complaint that it gets in reviews on many websites and on youtube about this is that it's too heavy, too tight and you cannot wear them for more than 2 hours...

Well, I gotta tell you, that comfort is a subjective thing. I have been wearing them for past five hours continously. And only now my ears are beginning to feel tired. But hey 5 hours is pretty decent. I did feel that they are a bit too tight, but that's probably because I have to break it in ? IDK... But hey it's design allows you to make it possible for you to get to your sweet spot, where you won't really feel uncomfortable or too tight. Fiddle around with the moving parts of the can, and I am sure you'll find yours.

 

The only thing that really annoyed me was the ANC on/off switch. It's absurd how they have set it up. I don't understand why. I have to remove the headphone and turn it on/off and put it back on again...It's almost impossible to work the switch while you're wearing them. But it's a flaw I am willing to overlook, mainly because I don't plan to turn off ANC. 

 

Another important thing I would like to mention is that you can charge your headphones and you don't need batteries like Bose needs. So that's a good thing. 

 

I love this headphone and it's awesome. I'd recommend anyone to buy who wants premium quality cans that would last a long time and meant to be taken on the road.

I'd say it's worth the money you have spent, specially keeping in mind the build quality and sound quality you get.

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AKG K495 NC
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Of course 'NC' stands for 'noise canceling', but it could also stand for 'no contest', because when it comes to pure, undisturbed sound, the AKG K495 NC headphones deliver high-quality performance and active noise control that are second to none. Durable and easy to charge through the USB, these top-of-the-line headphones create a perfect audio world: you get all the sound you want, and none of the sound you don't.

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