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AKG K550 - NEW!! - Page 83  

post #1231 of 1493

 

So I bought a pair of these after spending a while looking for something to replace my B&W P5s. I've had a number of headphones in recent years (the most high-end of which was Grado's GS1000) but I picked up the P5s because I was looking for something smaller & lighter, with good isolation. I'm going to compare it with these because, here at least, they have the same recommended price. (though I did get the AKGs at a discount)

 

The P5s appealed to me due to their construction: mostly metal & leather with little plastic, a replaceable cable, and their premium styling. In less than a year though, the memory foam pads had worn thin, and combined with the tight clamping force of the headphones, they became painful to wear for more than an hour or two. The right headphone started "clicking" every so often (I think it was something to do with the hinge construction) the cable that runs down the outside of the left driver had come loose (there's actually nothing to hold it in place) and the main cable came apart—I will never understand why anyone puts a straight connector on a 3.5mm jack, 90 degree connectors have never given me a problem. Sure, the cable is replaceable, but put a 90 degree connector on there and you shouldn't have to.

 

I did like the isolation that I got from the P5s though, and the sound signature was great for film & games, which is more of a priority than music for me these days, and they're one of the first closed headphones I could stand to listen to. I've never liked the sound of most closed headphones, but I don't have the luxury of a quiet enough environment to wear open headphones any more.

 

 

So on to the AKG K550.

 

First impressions are almost the exact opposite of what I had with the B&W P5s. When you open up the P5s, you immediately smell the leather used on the earpads, which is incredibly soft when you pick them up, and the construction looks & feels great.

The AKG K550 looks cheap & plasticky in its box, is held down with twist-ties, and absolutely stinks of the off-gassing of the cheap pleather used for the padding. (at least that seems to be what it is) It's probably just my particular pair, but while I like the idea of the screw-on jack adapter, it's poorly threaded and doesn't screw on/off easily. As I am often changing between sources, I'll have to leave it off and use a standard 3.5mm adapter anyway. Oh, I should point out that due to the construction of the connector, I can't see it falling apart the way the B&W one did despite being a straight connector. (it's pretty chunky)

 

Once you actually get them out the box, they do look better when you see the profile and the design of the cups with the metal accents. They styling is good, it's the materials I object to.

 

 

The fit of the headphones seems pretty good for me. I think I must have quite a wide, but short head, because I often find that with most headphones, I don't have them extended very much, if at all, but I do usually need to stretch out the headband quite a bit to reduce the clamping force. (something I could never quite get right with the P5s, exacerbated once the foam wore thin)

I have both sides set to 3/13 (they're marked to 12, but have a notch below that) which puts my ears right in the middle of the cups, and I haven't had to do anything to the headband to reduce the clamping force, as I normally would. This seems to give me a pretty good seal, as pressing on the sides of the headphones doesn't really change the sound of them as some people here seem to have mentioned. Another thing about the construction: the right side works as intended, but I really have to pull hard on the left-hand-side to adjust them.

 

I was somewhat concerned by how thin the top of the headband looked, but I've had these on for four or five hours now, and it seems fine. The size of the cups, combined with the width of the band, and the overall design doesn't seem to put much force on the top of your head, unlike some of the other large headphones I've owned in the past.

 

While they are a comfortable fit though, they're still very big. Not as big as the GS1000 I had before, but they definitely shift around a bit on your head when you move, simply due to the size of them (though the pleather helps them stick in place more than real leather might have) After having them on for this length of time, I'm definitely starting to notice the weight of them—which was part of the reason I moved to the P5s in the first place. There don't seem to be any specific pressure points though; the GS1000 pads had a small contact area which could leave ring imprints on my head after having them on for a long time, and the top of my head would get sore due to the thin headband.

 

While the pleather pads are fairly soft, I'm not sure that they're soft [i]enough[/i] that I can wear these headphones with my glasses on for long periods of time—that's one of the other reasons I had shifted over to using on-ear heaadphones rather than circumaural ones. That's something I'll only find out after trying them for a few more days.

 

Isolation seems good, but maybe not quite as good as the P5s, to my surprise. Because it's a circumaural design, I was expecting them to isolate better than the on-ear P5s. Perhaps because it's pleather rather than leather, and there isn't such a tight clamping force?

 

 

So enough about that, how do they sound?

 

Keep in mind that I haven't spent a huge amount of time with them yet, but they're definitely the most "open" sounding sealed headphones I've ever tried. There seems to be a fairly good soundstage and positioning, certainly a lot better than the P5s in this regard.

The overall sound signature is actually very similar to the P5s they replaced, but with a bit more bass extension and treble. Bass doesn't seem quite as "tight" as the P5s though, it doesn't seem to hit quite as hard. They do seem quite sensitive and detailed headphones though, I'm noticing details on tracks such as subtle reverb/room echos that I hadn't heard before, even after playing them with many other headphones, and when driving them from my TV, you actually hear pops & clicks when it's changing resolution (as it temporarily cuts off the sound) which I hadn't noticed before. On a positive note. they're not so sensitive that there's background noise (hiss) which has been a problem with other headphones when using certain sources.

 

With clarity in the trebles, there's potential for sibilance though, and I'm certainly noticing a bit more "sparkle" in the upper end, but I don't know if I would call the headphones sibilant in the way that my GS1000s were, definitely not as sharp and piercing as those could get at times. I need to spend more time listening before I find out whether or not it would be an issue for me.

 

Overall, it seems like quite a well-rounded sound signature that is probably quite well suited for extended listening.

 

 

 

So I'm a bit torn about these. From what I've heard so far, I'm happy with how they sound, they're a good fit, and seem pretty comfortable.

At this price-point, I'm very disappointed with the construction though. They're solidly put together, but I would happily pay a premium for the same design if they used better materials; get rid of the plastic, and use real leather. Pleather only gets worse with time, leather gets softer and fits better as it ages. I can't see any way of removing the pads to replace them either. The ear cups are only attached to the headband at one side, which is another potential point of failure. (it seems fairly sturdy though)

I didn't realise that these actually had a fixed cable though; I thought a mini-XLR cable was a standard feature of all but the cheapest AKG headphones. (I must admit, I hadn't paid too much attention to AKG in the past, as most descriptions of them seemed like they wouldn't suit me)

I'm a bit unsure about the size of them as well. They're very big headphones, which is probably why they're so comfortable, but you couldn't get away with using these as portable headphones due to that, and the length of the cable, and I don't know how the weight will be for me, as I've definitely noticed neck & shoulder pain from wearing other large headphones and sitting at a desk using a computer all day. Probably not an issue for most people that have other large headphones though.

post #1232 of 1493

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank I View Post

 

 

I only have these a couple odf day bit I will do say in a few weeks after getting more familiar with them If you read Tyll review I would say he was very accurate in describing what I have been hearing so far.

 

Thanks, I will wait for an impression smily_headphones1.gif

post #1233 of 1493

First of all, i have the AKG K550, and i really need some sort of hard case or something to carry them in, any ideas? i don't use them on the road, its to and from work..

 

secondly, i love them.. my reference is my old K240 Studio mark 1, so nothing special, and they are open, i tried to get the same sound as from my AKG K240, and i did, but MUCH MUCH better. i am really happy with the AKG´s.

 

The form and fit is perfect for me although i need to press on the cups to get them to seal properly, i always use them stationary at a desk or at home, so maintaining the seal is not a problem.

 

I do like the materials, even though they use pleather. much on the headphone are metal, which gives it a nice overall quality finish.

 

I do NOT like that the cord is fixed, i love the cord on my AKG k240, since i have one in the cable tray on my office desk, and then one at home, and i like being able to remove the cord while transporting the headphone.

 

The sound however, i love it. i don't even think that the Treble is to light in sound, its REALLY good for live music, and really responsive, the bass is also impressing me, and the soundstage is really good for a closed back headphone, i don't feel I'm missing something going from my K240..

post #1234 of 1493

interesting comments on the K550 so far, I had to order these and I'm going to Bestbuy soon to pick up these cans.  Can't wait and really looking forward to experiencing an "open" experience in a sealed headphone.  Just wish it was a detachable cable!

 

post #1235 of 1493

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by RasmusDC View Post

 

The sound however, i love it. i don't even think that the Treble is to light in sound, its REALLY good for live music, and really responsive, the bass is also impressing me, and the soundstage is really good for a closed back headphone, i don't feel I'm missing something going from my K240..

 

After using these for more than a week now, I have to agree—I'm very happy with how these sound. I definitely wouldn't call them sibilant as others have. There might be some treble emphasis, but it's not piercing in the way that most "sibilant" headphones are.

 

I was somewhat concerned, but the pads do indeed seem soft enough that you can wear these headphones with glasses on. I did find that I have to raise my glasses slightly though, or else they start putting pressure on the bridge of my nose. (I think just from the weight of the headphones)

 

While they're bigger and heavier than the headphones I've been using for the last couple of years now, it's not too bad. They distribute the weight well.

 

The earpads are comfortable for longer periods of time, but they do warm up after a while. I suppose all closed headphones do though. I would still much rather they were leather, and I'm wondering if there's anything that can be done about that. I've seen some older topics where people have hand-made leather earpads for other headphones. I just generally dislike the plastic and metal construction, even if it's solidly put together.

 

I'm still annoyed that the cord is not removable though. Haven't had them long, and they've nearly been run over by an office chair already. I wonder how difficult a mod for that would be. Unfortunately, the cable comes out of the headphones at an angle, and on a curved surface.

 

 

But I can definitely recommend them if anyone is looking for [i]sealed[/i] circumaural headphones. I've yet to hear any better.

post #1236 of 1493

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewfee View Post

I was somewhat concerned, but the pads do indeed seem soft enough that you can wear these headphones with glasses on. I did find that I have to raise my glasses slightly though, or else they start putting pressure on the bridge of my nose. (I think just from the weight of the headphones)

 

no on-ear and over-ear headphones are in any way acceptable while wearing glasses... seriously you are missing out. Get yourself contacts, switch to IEMs or just put down you glasses while listening.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewfee View Post

After using these for more than a week now, I have to agree—I'm very happy with how these sound. I definitely wouldn't call them sibilant as others have. There might be some treble emphasis, but it's not piercing in the way that most "sibilant" headphones are.

 

Yep, wouldn't call them sibilant (no spike in 5-8khz) but due to the large 9-10khz spike they seem to pierce some ears indeed.

 

post #1237 of 1493

I wear glasses while wearing my on ear and over ear headphones all the time. Suggesting people should not wear their glasses or get contacts seems a bit much... rolleyes.gif But that may be how you look at it for yourself wink.gif

post #1238 of 1493

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dweaver View Post

I wear glasses while wearing my on ear and over ear headphones all the time. Suggesting people should not wear their glasses or get contacts seems a bit much... rolleyes.gif But that may be how you look at it for yourself wink.gif

 

Oh, I guess what I typed sounded a bit off. I just want to let you hear you cans for their full potential and point out that there is a reason you should consider taking off you galsses while listening.

Most people will tell you that a bad sealing can will sound off and has less body. That's why most cans apply some amount of pressure to create a decent seal. Your glasses relieve some pressure and where they are in contact the seal will be broken.

 

If you are happy the way you are listening with glasses on, than that's quite great. But do yourself the favour and do a bit of testing. The K550 especially has some problems getting a propper seal even without glasses worn.

 

post #1239 of 1493

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by roBernd View Post

 

 

no on-ear and over-ear headphones are in any way acceptable while wearing glasses... seriously you are missing out. Get yourself contacts, switch to IEMs or just put down you glasses while listening.

 

 

 

Do you have any proof on which you base this fact, or you're just saying it...? I wear glasses all the time, and have been wearing them, with all my headphones. I always try headphones with and without glasses when they're new to check the differences, and there's no difference in sound whatsoever. Even if pulling glasses out while music is playing, I can't notice any difference.  Ear pads on any headphones are more than soft enough to cover the small bump that glasses create and give a proper seal.

post #1240 of 1493

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by roBernd View Post


If you are happy the way you are listening with glasses on, than that's quite great. But do yourself the favour and do a bit of testing. The K550 especially has some problems getting a propper seal even without glasses worn.

 

 

 

I have K550 - no difference whatsoever with / without glasses. Pads are soft enough to just go around the glasses frame and create a seal. The problem with K550 seal is the lower part of the cushion, the part thats under and behind the ear, where the skull is curved and thinner than in front of the ears, and pads are flat. Pads should have been like on 701's,  fatter in the back, thinner in the front, that's the only way to create a proper seal, and frankly, its absolutely unbelievable to me that most manufacturers don't realize such an obvious thing.

post #1241 of 1493

Nice review Andrew. I have also found that onear headphones tend to isolate better then over ear. To bad they are so uncomfortable though pretty much without exceptions for me.

 

I will certainly try these out. Hope they isolate at least as well as DT 770 Pros for example or Ultrasone Pro 750/900?

post #1242 of 1493
Quote:
Originally Posted by roBernd View Post

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewfee View Post

I was somewhat concerned, but the pads do indeed seem soft enough that you can wear these headphones with glasses on. I did find that I have to raise my glasses slightly though, or else they start putting pressure on the bridge of my nose. (I think just from the weight of the headphones)

 

no on-ear and over-ear headphones are in any way acceptable while wearing glasses... seriously you are missing out. Get yourself contacts, switch to IEMs or just put down you glasses while listening.


 

Are you actually serious? All my headphones are fine with glasses. W5000 and K701 didn't fare that well, but far from totally unacceptable.

 

Getting a sport type frame, with straight arms does help too.


Edited by Ra97oR - 5/1/12 at 1:27pm
post #1243 of 1493
Quote:

Originally Posted by roBernd View Post

 

no on-ear and over-ear headphones are in any way acceptable while wearing glasses... seriously you are missing out. Get yourself contacts, switch to IEMs or just put down you glasses while listening.

I have to disagree. Certainly with other headphones like my Grado GS1000 or HF2s which use fairly stiff foam and have a small contact area, I couldn't wear my glasses at the same time.

With the B&W P5s (even though they are on-ear, they didn't press against my glasses like the HF2s did) and now the K550s, I have no problem wearing them with my glasses on—I just need to make sure they're not pressing down on my nose when I first put the headphones on. Obviously they are not quite as comfortable with glasses on as they are without, but the K550 have to be some of the most comfortable headphones I've used while wearing glasses.

 

It doesn't seem to impact the seal much either—I guess the contact area is large enough, and the foam/leatherette is soft enough, that it still manages to seal well with them on. It's actually soft enough that I can put my glasses on, or take them off, without removing the headphones. (I only have a minor correction, so I don't actually need to wear them all the time)

 

I've had several different IEMs from Etymotic, Sennheiser, Ultimate Ears, and more, but I just don't find them comfortable to listen to for long periods of time, and dislike the way they "internalise" the sound. Even with the less microphonic cables, I've always found that to be a problem too. I've also found them to be quite unreliable. I don't know that I've had any pair of IEMs last me a year before developing some kind of fault.

 

 

I can't say if there are any better sealed headphones to wear with glasses, but it hasn't been a problem for me, and getting glasses for the first time a few years ago was what prompted me to sell my GS1000s. If you're happy with IEMs, they're probably a better choice, but I just don't like them when listening for long periods of time, and most of the other sealed options I've seen seem like they would be less comfortable than the K550.

post #1244 of 1493

I picked these up today and man they're gorgeous.  Pads are very comfy and clamping is pretty light but you'd have to be head banging to have them come off.  Opening the box, it really does stink, never had this experience before but once out of the box and on your head, the smell is gone.  As I'm listening, the soundstage is more wide than deep.  This aspect is quite nice compared to other closed cans I have.  The bass is very polite, not much impact but of good quality.  I kind of wish the headphones fit tighter because when I push on the headphones, I get more bass impact.  Maybe I'll be searching for alternative pads.  Any info. would be appreciated.  Mids are forward and seems in your face on certain tracks.  I actually really like the vocals on these headphones.  I hear some grain, minor sibilance on some poorly recorded tracks but nothing like the Pro 900 and T70P's I was listening to earlier today.  Those actually hurt my ears on occasion but these have not.  Overall, I find these to be very balanced and a very nice sounding can.  The big and airy presentation is really something on these.  I think these are keepers for me.  

post #1245 of 1493

Only over ear headphone I tried that is okay with glasses was the AD 700. I always have my glasses on top of the ear cups. No difference to be without glasses. Is the size of the K550 cups similar to the K701s?

 

Dannybai how do you find the isolation compared to your Pro 900?

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