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AKG K518LE Review

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 


Hello Head-Fi! Since I bought my AKG K702, I pretty much sold off all my headphones that were worth selling, and pretty much have only used the K702 at hom (I use the Portapros and KSC75 for travel). However, I missed having a pair of closed headphones (the M50's were my favorite of the bunch I had), and contemplated rebuying them, but didn't want to spend that much money. My search led me to the AKG K518LE, which are supposed to be bass monsters. Here are my thoughts:


Fit and Finish:

The K518 comes in a nice package - the LE package is nice {IMO) than the DJ or the K81 pictures that I have seen. While the K518LE/K518DJ/K81DJ are technically the same headphone, the LE is different from the 81 and the DJ in that the cable is much shorter - only 3ft to be exact. I don't have a need for a long cable, so this was actually a plus in my book. I didn't have to tie anything up!


The headphones are lighter and more plastic-y than I thought. While they feel solid, the headband is definitely a little bit janky, and not what I'm used to (I guess I was expecting V6 or M50 durability). Because of the lighter plastic, I'd be more worried about these snapping, but only time will tell. The cable is not super thick either, but the 3.5mm does have a protector to prevent damage.


Putting the headphones on, I realized what people were talking about by the clamping factor. Yes, these headphones really do clamp. They cause some pain/discomfort on my ears, but it varies. Sometimes I will feel it, adjust them a bit, and then it'll be gone, and then the pain will come back. I'm going to try stretching them over my bookshelf speaker (like I did my M50's) and see if it helps. The 'phones do run a bit small, and I had to extend to the "9" marker on the headband (there are 10 total). I have a Large hat size (I find the AD700 comfortable and not too loose), though, so if you have a small or medium it should be fine.



Here's the good stuff! I bought these mainly for the bass, and was excited to try them out. First up was 4 A.M. by Kaskade. The bass was articulate, thumpy, and maybe a tad boomy. Nice! I went over a few songs (I actually don't have many bass-heavy songs as I listen to 95% classical) in my library that I thought would do well, including "1 BR / 1 BA" by Vienna Teng, "Meant to Live" and "This is Your Life" by Switchfoot, "T9X" by Tech N9ne, and "Human" by The Killers. I thought these were very fun to listen to, yet still detailed. The mids sounded a little recessed, so these, to me, have more of a U shaped frequency response (not what Headroom shows). Even with the more-emphasized highs, these are not bright headphones (not like the V6). I also did try some classical music with them, and found their soundstage to be pretty narrow. Also, the recessed mids just makes instruments sound weird/bad. I won't be listening to Mahler on these (but possibly some low organ music!)


The bass, for the most part, is tight and punchy, but there is the occasional bit of resonance boom. Nothing too distracting, though, and I currently don't have any plans to mod them to make their bass tighter (this is saying a lot, coming from a K702 and AD700 lover!).


In comparison to the M50's, from what I remember, I would actually say these might be a better deal then the M50. The M50 had a smoother and warmer sound, but in terms of detail, clarity, and bass (80-120hz), I would say they are pretty close. The M50's bass extends lower and has higher output at lowest frequencies. Reminder: This is from memory. The M50 is definitely more comfortable,



Yes! I got these for $55, and I think it was money well spent.


Next Steps:

The clamping factor is the biggest issue for me. I will most likely buy the Sennheiser HD25-II velour pads to try them on. I let my roommates try these headphones, and they were both happy and impressed by them (their initial reaction: "ANOTHER PAIR!?!" Look at my signature to see why they reacted that way ;-). I feel like these are very good "fun" headphones to wear. Definitely not what you'd want to use to monitor or mix, but very fun to use.

Edited by blackzarg - 10/13/10 at 1:09am
post #2 of 10

I got them too and i agree on all, they are perfect for electro/techno ecc ecc stuff, but a pita for comfort

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Ah, I wanted to say one more thing. These are great alternatives for those people looking at Monster Beat Solo or Skullycandy headphones.

post #4 of 10
Hey blackzarg,

Has the comfort on these improved at all? I got these a couple of days back and am going through the clamping pain!! Grado comfort complainers should really try these out!!

Any suggestions on improving the comfort would be welcome smily_headphones1.gif
post #5 of 10

Stretch them over some books or a ball.

post #6 of 10
Originally Posted by blackzarg View Post
 (their initial reaction: "ANOTHER PAIR!?!" Look at my signature to see why they reacted that way ;-). 

ROFL My friends are the same way except I've only owned like 6 pairs - -


post #7 of 10

I want to buy these headphones, but I already have the Razer Orca. Are these headphones better than my Orca? 

post #8 of 10
Originally Posted by Konvict View Post

I want to buy these headphones, but I already have the Razer Orca. Are these headphones better than my Orca? 
Yes! Anything by Razor isnt very good.
I had Razer Electra and the only good thing is the soundstage!
post #9 of 10

Agreed. Since gaming headphones carry big soundstage, the only thing the need.

gaming headphones for audio enjoyment is HIGHLY NOT RECOMMENDEDdeadhorse.gif

post #10 of 10

I'd say sound quality of K518 is comparable to gaming headsets cost up to 150$. Expect maybe the best ones.


I've seen these go for sale as low as 40$. Pretty good for that price especially. And well built.

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