Pros: Consistent bluetooth sound, scales well, long battery life and range, design and build
Cons: Various minor issues.
Take the well received Akg K545, and add 50 dollars for a mic, amp, nfc, battery and Bluetooth capability. Is it worth it? TLDR, if you don’t have an amp and/or want bluetooth, put this in your top three to consider at the 200 - 300 dollar price point. So in short, yes.
Pros: Simple minimal packaging, easy to unbox
Cons: Lack of accessories
Yeah it’s nothing to write home about, easy to unpack but all you get is the can itself, a micro usb to usb adapter and a headphone cable plus some pamphlets. No carry bag, no wall wart. There isn’t even an akg sticker. It gets the job done though.
Straight out of the box you will find most of the positive qualities I will mention about the sound. However the upper mids will be a bit hot (so female vocals may get shouty). In around 50 hours of usage though, said upper mids tame down considerably, the soundstage opens up bit and I think the bass got a bit tighter. All in all a small but noticeable improvement that comes quite quickly and still sounds great out of the box.
Pros: Gorgeous minimal looks, removable ear pads and cable
What can I say? It's just beautiful, clean and minimal and quite futuristic looking as well. Matte plastic cups with glossy acrylic sides, textured metal swivels, and a stainless steel head band, with protein leather ear and head pads. A great looking aesthetic. Plus it’s functional too with removable pads and cables. Has a black and white version, got the white one.
Pros: Strong build with nice materials
Cons: Minor assembly problems (YMMW)
With the aforementioned metal plus quality matte plastic, this can is going to last a while, and will gracefully hide rough usage due to the matte finishes. However out of the box there are some concerns with with the assembly with gaps in the plastic that moves a bit when pressed. However, not all models will have it and has never negatively affected the construction during my rough time of throwing it in bags, and using it through bad weather.
Pros: Small for an over ear design, swiveling ear cups
Cons: Can’t fully compact like many portables
While a lot smaller than it’s brother the K550 , it’s not smaller than many other portables like the solo 2s, nor can it fully compact like a solo. Still the swiveling circumaural ear cups allows for easier storage, and it’s small enough to throw it in your backpack with no troubles. And still sounds a tonne better than those one ear portables and is far more portable than many over ear headphones in it's price and sq range.
It leaks very little and isolates most sounds, but that’s par for the course for most closed phones. Far better than any open headphone obviously. Great but it’s nothing spectacular.
Pro: Quite comfortable
Cons: Requires a bit of fiddling at first
It’s not the most comfortable can in the world but once you find that sweet spot, the soft protein leather ear pads will caress your ears. Very comfy. otherwise the clamp can hurt your head, and will force you to take the headphones off and adjust the clicky headband. Unlike most other headphones you can’t really do that while it’s on your head. Kinda annoying really.
Even when you get the sweet spot, your ears touch the drivers, and the headband is not the most plush material in the world either. Still more than adequate. Also heard the Hm5 pads and the hd280 head pad can fix these problems for the K545. I’ll assume it will work on the K845s.
Pros: Great range and battery life
cons: Controls to skip tracks could be useful
Nfc or not, it was quite easy to pair it with my ios, android or windows phone. And after the first pairing all you need to do is click the power button on the akg then turn Bluetooth on on your smartphone.
Range is great, I can go three four rooms away and downstairs from my smartphone and it will still blast music loudly. Not that it’s recommended though, since it lacks the ability to skip tracks. Still on the right side you get a power button, play pause button, and volume controls (which controls the built in amp, not the phone itself so you can’t configure a press & hold to skip track function). And while I’m on the same topic, there’s also a led indicator, a jack to plug in your wire, and on the other side there’s micro usb port to charge the thing.
It charges pretty quickly. Tops up from 0% to 100% in about 2 hours. And those 2 hours goes a long way. The estimated 8 hrs battery life seems to be correct. For me two days of heavy usage with hours spent out and about didn’t even kill the thing. It doesn't have the best battery life for a bt can, but should last you more than enough for a day or even 2 and a bit. As long as you don’t mind using your phone to control your music, the K845 should offer you more than enough bt capability
Oh yeah there's a mic on the right side as well for bt calls. Quality is mediocre, but I doubt anyone will care.
Bluetooth sound quality
Pros: Consistently transparent sound, great soundstage and imaging
Cons: A bit flat sounding at low volumes and should sound a bit more even, no aptx, slight treble roll off
And let me get this out of the way, to me aptx and standard bt is like flac vs 320 kbps mp3. Will you notice a difference in quality? Sure, but how good the headphones sound matters way more than how much data the can can transfer or whether it’s lossless or not. Just my 2 cents.
Via itouch 5
And these headphones sound good. Nice deep detailed bass with decent impact, classic transparent akgs mids, and crisp clear highs. And these things are surprising transparent, even on Bluetooth. And while it is a little crowded, considering its form factor, its soundstage is superb and the imaging and separation makes good use of it. It gives of an intimate yet uncongested sound. It’s decently wide and surprisingly tall, but the depth can use some work. Did I mention it sounds pretty open of a closed can?
I also do wish for the sound to be more even and the attack and impact to be stronger but those problems are fixed when you amp this baby or put it through a good dac.
Via xperia z ultra with Viper4Android
Viper managed to improve everything, soundstage got a bit bigger, volume got a bit louder and I can make the bass thump harder at the expense of detail and balance. Playing games and watching movies are great via bt although with a ds emulator called drastic there’s constant clipping with the sound. But it’s probably the app that’s causing the problem.
Overall great sound, probably one of the best if not the best you can get on a bt headphone.
Wired unamped sound quality
Pros: Same pros as bt
Cons: Same cons as bt, picky with sources, volume is lower than bt mode
Via itouch 5
Same as before, but volume is a bit lower
Via xperia z ultra
I don’t know if it’s something wrong with the custom rom or the dac on the phone, but it sounds thin, cold and a bit congested. Not very loud either. I’ve heard the akg 545 is a bit picky with sources and the same is true here. Viper didn’t help here.
4 to 8/10 depending on the source
Wired amp and dac via e07k
Pros: Same pros as bt plus a even bigger soundstage, even more detail, more bass impact and attack, and a more balanced sound
Cons: Still quite picky with amp (but obviously not a problem when using the e07k’s dac), a bigger soundstage (but not really a con considering its form factor)
Now this is where the sound gets really good, and I’m sure it can get even better with a better dac/amp setup.
It handles the 307k’s bass boost brilliantly (although there is a bit of distortion when the volume get unreasonably loud and the bass boost is all the way up, not a problem though), giving it a nice punch without losing detail or tightness and offers a surprising amount of sub bass. The treble boost does fix the roll off somewhat, but can make the sound sibilant when overdone.
Otherwise the warm and fun e07k makes the mids even fuller without losing detail. And the mids and highs sound even more transparent and airy. When the music makes full use of the soundstage certain sounds makes me want to turn my head, and when I close my eyes it feels like the people are talking right in front of me when I’m watching a movie. Great separation too, with classical and jazz music I pick out where 90% of the instruments are and can focus on each one without too much effort. On other genres it can get a little crowded and the soundstage for classical doesn't sound too realistic. Still like I said its achieves intimacy without much congestion, though I do wish for a bigger soundstage so all genres don’t sound crowded. But I can’t really expect that for a closed semi portable headphone right?
This is via the dac for my pc and z ultra btw
When amped with my itouch, it sounds a bit warmer at the loss of some detail. And amped with a z ultra it sounds similar to the itouch but there’s a really higher noise floor that makes it unlistenable. However lowering the gain fixes this at the cost of volume. Interestingly via some apps the noise goes away for the most part, like drastic or asphalt 8 (which btw sounds great the the rumbling sub bass). Speaking of drastic there's not clipping at all when wired in. The can is still as picky as ever. But since I use the dac on the 307k for everything it’s not a problem at all.
Well what else is there to say really, transparent (for the price) relatively neutral sound with a slight a mid and bass emphasis, above average soundstage plus superb imaging. Similarly amazing sound via bluetooth, with great range and battery life. Sturdy build with a trendy minimal design. And due to the fact it’s picky when wired but consistent when connected via bt, if you have sound problems with the k545 (as the 545 sounds the same as the k845 when wired) but like the sound signature, paying the extra 50 bucks for bt can be really worth it when you don’t have/want an amp/dac. Paid 300 CAD.