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AKG K81 DJ vs AKG 518 DJ Limited Ed.

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
Edit: must have been dyslectic 581 must ofcourse be 518 , and this for my very first review on headfi

Dear all,

So many asked for it, well here it is.

THE AKG K81 DJ vs AKG 518 DJ LE comparo with pictures!

This review is a work in progress, so I'll start with the eyecandy first

Second to come will be a detailed comparison on the sound quality etc... YES, there are some BIG differences between them. They are definitely not the same kind of cans

But first the eyecandy: Left brand new AKG K518 DJ, Right AKG K81 DJ

Ok, HeadFi crowd, the proof is there! I have some frequency response sweep measurements taken from a fully calibrated soundcard and SPL-meter.

Software used: Room EQ Wizard
Freq. sweep: 16Hz - 15kHz

Left measurement: AKG 518DJ , Right AKG K81 DJ

Hope this will enlight the community , because as you will see the AKG 518DJ has a much smoother response curve and you can tell while listening to them.

Be patient, more tests and appreciation results are coming
LL
LL
LL
LL
post #2 of 43
Thread Starter 

Update: Freq. Response Pictures added

FYI, msg has been updated with new info!
post #3 of 43
And I thought they were the same phone with diff colours =(
post #4 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stonyboys View Post
And I thought they were the same phone with diff colours =(
Yeah, and I was thinking it was the 581 DJ

Anyway, message has been edited and more listening and taking notes is being carried out.
post #5 of 43
so that 518 response is like that even with the thick foam intact?
post #6 of 43
Thread Starter 
The foam inserts were removed immediately , even before 1st use.

Like everybody else I was thinking, oh well...it's just a restyled K81 DJ, so yep let's do the 'K81 DJ remove foam insert mod'.

But guess what, the low freqs are prominent/detailed/dig low, the mids are tremendous like velour/candy to my ears and the highs are definitely there but with clarity and precision, no eq needed.

The earpads are a lot softer than those of the K81 at first use and will get more comfortable over time, just like those painfull K81 earpads.
Ear-clamping is a lot better than the K81.

Only 1 big issue: the headband of the K518 is hurting the top of my head

Maybe a 2nd issue: it's like having a subwoofer on your head! It challenges my SVS PB12/2 when low freq parametric eq'ing is applied to the K518

Consider this as a small preview, more details to come...
post #7 of 43
518 DJ LE, I supose
post #8 of 43
can you measure them with the foam inserts on just for curiosity sake. Maybe the 518 will be even flatter without the rising highs with the foam... hmm
post #9 of 43
Thread Starter 
Sure, but I think it will influence more the mid freqs than the high ones.

We'll have to measure and see.

BTW: without the inserts the soundstage and imaging IS fantastic. And wow, voices and instruments all over the place

Will set up the test rig
post #10 of 43
thanks! This thread is making me interested in trying out the k518. Compared to the k81dj, does the k518 mids sound clearer or does the upper bass muddle it?
post #11 of 43
Thread Starter 

AKG 518 DJ: The fight over foam inserts with freq response

Well, this happened to be interesting.

1) Listened to it first:
A) 75dBA SPL: soundstage totally ruined, more between the head sound, voices/instruments veiled and recessed, boomy, more recessed mid-high freq.
B) 100 dBA SPL: soundstage is back, more spacious sound and instruments come back to life
C) ~120 dBA SPL: only did this for about 30 secs, but the foam inserts are definitely put in place to protect(?) the DJ's against to much mid's. All freqs crisp and clear, and you feel the drivers are shaking your ears !
D) ~130 dBA SPL: very risky -about 10 secs - , but this can takes it with no effort and no distortion

2) The freq response: no foam inserts (solid) vs inserts (dotted)
LL
post #12 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by donunus View Post
thanks! This thread is making me interested in trying out the k518. Compared to the k81dj, does the k518 mids sound clearer or does the upper bass muddle it?
The 518 - no foam inserts - compared to the 81 - no foam inserts - is a bliss, it is your ticket to heaven

To answer your question: since our ears are more sensitive in the ~400-5KHz range, the human voice, the ~5dB+ hump - no foam inserts - at both ends of the spectrum doesn't really bother since it is neither boomy nor hissed.

What does happen is that the voices and soundstage are more upfront and the image goes wide open.
Another advantage is that at ~75dBA SPL you get a nice neutral sound were every aspect from a track comes to life without having to ruin your ears

The 518 is what the 81 should have been, period

Hope this helps
post #13 of 43
Thread Starter 

Human hearing: amplitude vs sensitivity

Attachment is courtesy of Home Theater, HDTV, Receivers, Loudspeakers; Reviews and News from Audioholics

This explains why the K518 sounds so neutral at SPL levels of ~75 to 80 dBA.

The reference freq sweep was set to 90 dBA, but would have the same response curve at 75-80 dB.

Highest low freq point: 95.3 dB at 63.6 Hz, -3 dB at 45 Hz, -6 dB at 38.8 Hz
Lowest mid freq point: 90.7 dB at 994 Hz to 2.01 kHz, +3 dB at 5.84 kHz, +6 at ~11 kHz

So you perceive the 63.6 Hz tones as loud as the ~1 kHz to ~2-3.5 kHz ones and this is a good thing for perceived neutrality in music/sound

This counters somewhat the human ears sensitivity vs amplitude when listening at 75-80 dB

Also keep in mind that the recording studio's boost the low and high freqs, just because of the human hearing characteristics.
This gives you great neutral sound at even ~65 dB SPL levels
Only the <45 Hz bass would suffer a bit, but it is still truly exceptional for this sub 100$ can!

Full credits for the image and link to Audioholics.com:
Human Hearing: Amplitude Sensitivity Part 1 Full Screen Image &mdash; Reviews and News from Audioholics
LL
post #14 of 43
Holy Recessions Batman! Thats a very big impact on Frequency response the foam inserts give.

By the way does anyone have any idea where to buy earpads for these cans in case they wear out? My old k81dj is with my cousin and the pads are totally destroyed but we have had no luck finding replacement pads. It is the only thing keeping me from getting a pair of k518s right now. The pads don't last much more than a year.
post #15 of 43
Thread Starter 

Forget about those pads. Go get the K518

You won't be disappointed, and...we'll have a second headfier willing to do a comparison between both
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