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AKG K550 Review. - Page 8

post #106 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by elvergun View Post

 

I bent the crap out of the ones I tried and the seal actually became worse.  I had to bend the back to their original shape and things got a little better.   I looked at them an thought that if could put some more padding on the headband so the ear pads would sit slightly higher on my head then the seal would improve. 

 

But then I though...meh, it ain't worth all the hassle.

 

My head is not exactly small either.   Before the K550, I had not tried one headphone that would fit at it's lowest setting - I always have to adjust the headband by three or four notches.   The fit is not over-exxagerated.

 

 

The K550 is what you get when design engineers go to work stoned...or when your test subject is André the Giant.


Yes, I thought I have a larger than average head as well.  After trying on the K550, I felt like Bettlejuice (his character had a shrunken head in case the reference too old or obscure).


Edited by Craigster75 - 9/3/12 at 8:25am
post #107 of 320

It has been mentioned that the K550 has a plasticky resonant glare in the upper mid range region and tend to takes on a plastic tonality. I guess this "plastic tonality" thing has also been mentioned of the K701 in the past. Anyone found this to be an issue and would it be ameliorate with run-in ?

post #108 of 320

I have had that issue with the K550s.  It happens sometimes with high hat drum roll.  It also happens sometimes with a electric guitar strum, what I like to call a wall of electric guitar.  I find equalizing down the 4k-8k range helps mitigate what people are calling plasticky resonance.  I call it grinding because that is what it sounds like to me.

 

When i first got the cans, this effect was unbearable.  With substantial burn-in (100+) almost all the grinding has gone away.  Every now and then on a electric guitar heavy song, I still can hear it.  Not everyone hears it, so some people maybe less sensitive to it, or they got a pair of cans that didn't have the issue.  For me, the grinding is no longer an issue on these cans.  Over time, it has gone away.  Tom Sawyer, by Rush, sounds absolutely amazing now.  I have never heard drums sound so good in my life.  Tom Sawyer is a good test song b/c it includes heavy drums, electric guitar, distortion, and synthesized sounds.

 

The other issue I had with these cans originally was a piercing pain when the cans delivered a certain note.  I'm that guy who can hear a dog whistle.  Those dog deterrents that set off a high pitch to deter dogs on people's property, yah I hear it.  Sux sometimes.  Anyhow, I could never put my finger on the range of sound that caused that pain with the K550s...but after burn-in, this has also gone away.  I no longer feel a sharp pain at any time during my listening experience.

 

From my personal experience with the K550s, I would recommend a ton of burn-in, and at HIGH volume.  I've never seen a pair of headphones change so much in my life.  In fact, I recommend people don't even put them on until the K550s are properly burned in.  I now absolutely love the K550s.  So to make a long story short, yes burn-in does reduce that effect.

post #109 of 320

has anyone been able to compare them to the HD600, DT880 and of course, Q/K701???

post #110 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by litster View Post

I  They are super comfortable comparing to my HD 650. HD 650s have much stronger pressure.

 

soundwise, how do you think they compare to HD 650?

post #111 of 320

Had a K550 some weeks ago, i had no problems with the seal even though i have a small to medium sized head. I used them on "2". Just make sure you push the cups on the _back_ end of your ear and you should get good seal and plenty of bass. I never thought they were bass lite nor peaky in the upper mids. The T90 sounds more like a closed headphone as the K550 does, just for reference. I'm actually considering buying them again

post #112 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leveler View Post

soundwise, how do you think they compare to HD 650?

I've seen this question, and I've been dreading it.  Because it is a hard question to answer.  I wanted to make sure I had time to write a full comparison to not slight either headphone.  I will preface the comparison by stating I enjoy the sound of open cans.  It's not just because they produce a better sound stage.  It is because of a ethereal quality the sound possesses.  I also want to bring into the discussion my DT990 Pros. I own the 3 full-sized headphones I do b/c they all serve a purpose.  

 

The HD650s strength is its warmth.  Definitely a lower half of the spectrum headphone.  The sound stage is amazing, but you are a few rows back.  Majority of the sound plays in front of you.  There is a slight roll off at the high end, but that is okay...because the HD650 never tries to be a headphone that is "balanced".  It is a great phone to sit back and enjoy the music.  When I want to relax, these are the headphones I always reach for.  And like many have said before me, they scale beautifully.  The more juice I give it, the more enjoyment it gives me.  They leak, so I use them for home listening.  But they are very dynamic and good for all genres of music.  I especially enjoy them with classic rock and classical music.  Pop a bottle of pinot noir and zone out for a couple of hours.  If these cans have a weakness, it is that roll-off at the highs...aka the veil of Sennheiser.

 

The DT990s are my analytical pair.  There is a pronounced V shape sound, but I find when amped by my yamaha receiver, the lower mids REALLY fill in.  But the extreme clarity of the highs is ever-present.  Its a bit exhausting to listen to these cans.  They are always surprising me with something I never heard in a song.  I'm always engaged and jubilant when I listen with these.  These are great for acoustic guitar and pop.  Whereas the Senns roll off the top, these shine with crisp clarity.  And whereas the Senns bass is warm and flowing, the DT990s are even analytical in the bass.  There is great separation from note to note, so it is fantastic for listening to an artist like John Entwistle of The Who fly his fingers up and down the scale.  Won't have the bass impact of Senns, but the separation brings a different enjoyment at the low-end.  They are pretty much the exact opposite of the HD650s.  These cans' weakness is two-fold.  Some may find the highs a bit too piercing and the mids a bit recessed.

 

Finally, the K550s.  These are the most balanced pair of the bunch.  Oddly enough, these, although closed-back, have the least bass of the 3.  Seems kind of counter-intuitive, eh?  The sound stage isn't as vast as the other 2, but it is amazing for a closed headphone.  In fact, its sound stage is bigger than that of a lot of open-back headphones.  These cans have decent bass, but very little to no sub-bass.  These required the most burn-in of the 3.  These cans roll-off the top, but not as much as the Senns.  It's not a complete flat sound signature.  I would call it a mesa-shape.  There is a dip at the very low end, and another dip at the very high end.  These cans are a jack-of-all-trades, and a master of none.  Do they seal?  check.  Do they have bass? check.  Do they have a decent mid?  check.  Do they have clear highs?  check.  The only real weakness is with electric guitar and music with a lot of electronic distortion.  When there is a lot of electric guitar, like bands like Radiohead and Linkin Park (two of my favorites), these headphones struggle.  There is a distorted, garbled, gurgle when trying to portray heavy electric guitar.  I find these VERY bad for hard rock/heavy metal.  And electronic music with a ton of distortion, like Moby, these cans struggle in this same manner.  These shine when playing pop, techno, classical/opera, and acoustics.  I own these for one reason...because they have amazing sound stage with a closed headphone.  I will hardly ever pick these up when i'm at home.  They are my good traveling pair.  The other two need a good amp.  The K550s power perfectly with my Cowon Plenue Z2 with no amp.

 

So in a long-winded answer...i can't compare the two...let alone three.  They are all so different, and I use them so differently.  These are all 3 great headphones, and they all reward me in vastly different ways.  Synergy in my cans is what I've achieved by owning the 3.


Edited by Eargasmo - 9/13/12 at 11:12am
post #113 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eargasmo View Post

I've seen this question, and I've been dreading it.  Because it is a hard question to answer.  I wanted to make sure I had time to write a full comparison to not slight either headphone.  I will preface the comparison by stating I enjoy the sound of open cans.  It's not just because they produce a better sound stage.  It is because of a ethereal quality the sound possesses.  I also want to bring into the discussion my DT990 Pros. I own the 3 full-sized headphones I do b/c they all serve a purpose.  

 

The HD650s strength is its warmth.  Definitely a lower half of the spectrum headphone.  The sound stage is amazing, but you are a few rows back.  Majority of the sound plays in front of you.  There is a slight roll off at the high end, but that is okay...because the HD650 never tries to be a headphone that is "balanced".  It is a great phone to sit back and enjoy the music.  When I want to relax, these are the headphones I always reach for.  And like many have said before me, they scale beautifully.  The more juice I give it, the more enjoyment it gives me.  They leak, so I use them for home listening.  But they are very dynamic and good for all genres of music.  I especially enjoy them with classic rock and classical music.  Pop a bottle of pinot noir and zone out for a couple of hours.  If these cans have a weakness, it is that roll-off at the highs...aka the veil of Sennheiser.

 

The DT990s are my analytical pair.  There is a pronounced V shape sound, but I find when amped by my yamaha receiver, the lower mids REALLY fill in.  But the extreme clarity of the highs is ever-present.  Its a bit exhausting to listen to these cans.  They are always surprising me with something I never heard in a song.  I'm always engaged and jubilant when I listen with these.  These are great for acoustic guitar and pop.  Whereas the Senns roll off the top, these shine with crisp clarity.  And whereas the Senns bass is warm and flowing, the DT990s are even analytical in the bass.  There is great separation from note to note, so it is fantastic for listening to an artist like John Entwistle of The Who fly his fingers up and down the scale.  Won't have the bass impact of Senns, but the separation brings a different enjoyment at the low-end.  They are pretty much the exact opposite of the HD650s.  These cans' weakness is two-fold.  Some may find the highs a bit too piercing and the mids a bit recessed.

 

Finally, the K550s.  These are the most balanced pair of the bunch.  Oddly enough, these, although closed-back, have the least bass of the 3.  Seems kind of counter-intuitive, eh?  The sound stage isn't as vast as the other 2, but it is amazing for a closed headphone.  In fact, its sound stage is bigger than that of a lot of open-back headphones.  These cans have decent bass, but very little to no sub-bass.  These required the most burn-in of the 3.  These cans roll-off the top, but not as much as the Senns.  It's not a complete flat sound signature.  I would call it a mesa-shape.  There is a dip at the very low end, and another dip at the very high end.  These cans are a jack-of-all-trades, and a master of none.  Do they seal?  check.  Do they have bass? check.  Do they have a decent mid?  check.  Do they have clear highs?  check.  The only real weakness is with electric guitar and music with a lot of electronic distortion.  When there is a lot of electric guitar, like bands like Radiohead and Linkin Park (two of my favorites), these headphones struggle.  There is a distorted, garbled, gurgle when trying to portray heavy electric guitar, and electronic distortion.  I find these VERY bad for hard rock/heavy metal.  And electronic music with a ton of distortion, like Moby per se, these cans struggle in this same manner.  These shine when playing pop, techno, classical/opera, and acoustics.  I own these for one reason...because they have amazing sound stage with a closed headphone.  I will hardly ever pick these up when i'm at home.  They are my good traveling pair.

 

So in a long-winded answer...i can't compare the two...let alone three.  They are all so different, and I use them so differently.  These are all 3 great headphones, and they all reward me in vastly different ways.  Synergy in my cans is what I've achieved by owning the 3.

thanks a lot, from all I have read, I think I'm going to end up buying DT880's or HE-400s. the K550 look exquisite, but 90% of the music I listen to has distorted guitars (Huge Prog Metal and tech death fan here) so from what you've told me, the K550 are just not for me, and the Senns I dont know if the highs are just going to be too rolled off for my taste, since I my preference is to have vocals and instruments right in your face, take a SRH440, put treble boost and listen to some Veil of Maya, I just love the energy of the treble, so I guess a can that goes on the brighter side of stuff is what would suit me :)

post #114 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leveler View Post

thanks a lot, from all I have read, I think I'm going to end up buying DT880's or HE-400s. the K550 look exquisite, but 90% of the music I listen to has distorted guitars (Huge Prog Metal and tech death fan here) so from what you've told me, the K550 are just not for me, and the Senns I dont know if the highs are just going to be too rolled off for my taste, since I my preference is to have vocals and instruments right in your face, take a SRH440, put treble boost and listen to some Veil of Maya, I just love the energy of the treble, so I guess a can that goes on the brighter side of stuff is what would suit me :)

Yeah, Sorry I took so long to answer.  But i wanted to put a lot of thought into it.  The K550s are exquisite.  They are also VERY sturdy.  I've already dropped them a couple of times with not a single mark.  But they would be horrible for your type of music.  I listen to almost all genres of music, minus country, so I can find a good use for them.  But with your focus on distorted guitar music, stay far away from the K550s.  I'm really glad that I could help. You may also want to consider Grados.  In your face guitar is Grados specialty.  If you aren't a huge sound stage fan, the Grado 325s may suit your needs.  Similar price range as the rest of the cans at which you are looking.  

post #115 of 320

I listen to rock, metal and other related forms of music nearly exclusively and I think the K550 sounds fantastic with them. I don't hear them struggling with any electric guitars although there were occasions when I thought a guitar part was relatively loud compared to other parts. I'm really not sure if this wasn't just in the recording though.

post #116 of 320

I am wondering how the K550 will compare to the Tiesto 267?
 

post #117 of 320

OP said he uses the K550 as a portable...

 

Aren't they absolutely huge though?

post #118 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by cactus_farmer View Post

OP said he uses the K550 as a portable...

 

Aren't they absolutely huge though?


Yes and not a good seal at all.  I would not recommend as a portable.

post #119 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by Craigster75 View Post


Yes and not a good seal at all.  I would not recommend as a portable.

I use mine for portable use. They isolate wonderfully. It's all about how you adjust them on your head. For me I have mine set to #2 on both sides. I get a lot of people asking me what type they are.
post #120 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by cactus_farmer View Post

OP said he uses the K550 as a portable...

 

Aren't they absolutely huge though?

I use them when "traveling".  Plane rides and such. I use the UDG case and throw them in my bag.  They lay flat, so they fit great in the UDG case, and the UDG case fits good in my backpack.  

 

They isolate WONDERFULLY.  I can't hear anything when I have them on.  And no one can hear what I'm listening to.

 

I don't use them for walking around or gym.  My IEMs fill that need.


Edited by Eargasmo - 9/13/12 at 8:56pm
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