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.
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.
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.
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.
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 :)