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Need help choosing between Klipsch Mode M40, B&W P5, AKG K490NC & K495NC, and Sennheiser PXC 450

Poll Results: B&W P5 vs. Klipsch Mode M40 vs. AKG K490NC vs AKG K495NC vs Sennheiser PXC 450

 
  • 22% (5)
    Bowers & Wilkins P5
  • 18% (4)
    Klipsch Mode M40
  • 18% (4)
    AKG K490NC
  • 31% (7)
    AKG K495NC
  • 9% (2)
    Sennheiser PXC 450
22 Total Votes  
post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm in an incredibly confusing debate regarding to the headphones I wish to purchase. I own the Klipsch Image S4, and I like the details in bass and treble. However, I feel they're a bit empty on the middle range, and besides they give me headaches (excessive bass & In-ear). I'm searching for more comfortable, larger headphones, preferably with noise canceling. 

I'm currently debating between the Klipsch Mode M40s ($350), AKG k490nc ($250) and k495nc ($350), B&W P5 ($300), and Sennheisers PXC 450s ($350). $350 is more than I would like to pay, but I would if it's worth it. My priorities, definitely are sound clarity, and soundstage. Getting immersed in my music is the most important. I won't deny I like somewhat colored music, but by no means I'm a basshead. The P5s seem incredible, but I think I would be missing the NC. Does anyone know if the Mode's dual drivers are really that better than Senns or AKG? The k490s look great for $250. I listen mostly to Rock, Pop, and Classical. 
 
I know I can't expect much from NC headphones in clarity...

Edited by mepds9 - 5/29/12 at 6:43pm
post #2 of 9

I have found a nice pair of reviews about the AKG K-490, here:

 

http://www.soundandvisionmag.com/blog/2012/03/09/review-akg-k-490-nc-and-k-495-nc-noise-canceling-headphones

 

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2400202,00.asp

 

Keep us informed about your private investigation, please.

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

The K490 NC seem to be incredible headphones for the price. They seem to be quite neutral, and seem to have good clarity and noise cancellation. They don't seem, however, to be absolutely stunning headphones, and don't get amazed reviews like B&W gets. The price is absolutely great though.

 

The Klipsch seem to be much more bass heavy, without sacrificing detail due to the dual driver design. I'm somewhat worried about the midrange in these, and I've heard reviews that even though sound reproduction is very precise, it sounds muffled and "pillow" like. I don't really know if Klipsch has gotten to the expertise point in fidelity that AKG or Senns have. I do recognize that their in-ears are great. especially the X10. They are just incredibly warm and detailed. The seal, comfort and weight is also stellar. Shame I couldn't afford those over the S4s. I really believe that the Klipsch modes could have a big advantage over the K495NC, for the same price. I really don't think I want the K495 over the K490.

 

All seem to be extremely comfortable headphones. Except the Klipsch; that's another point less for them. They just seem so... hard. They are probably the best in specs, but could their dual drivers present better clarity than advanced Duofol Diaphragms in Sennheiser? Than AKG? B&W are somehow excluded for not being NC, but I guess they are still considerable if they are the best sounding of all.

 

AKGs are extremely hard to get still, and Senns and Klipsch are hard to find and audition. The only "findable" ones are B&W in an Apple Store. I somehow think that Sennheiser and AKG will sound better than Klipsch, just for being big brands with +50 years of expertise in high fidelity equipment (they're also German and Austrian, respectively). Klipsch and B&W are great for speakers. B&W always tend for perfection in their products; whereas Klipsch seek a more costumer-oriented sound.

 

The only way is for someone to test them. Certainly, I can't. Maybe the Klipsch surprise us all.

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

I'm also starting to consider the AKG K550. Does anyone know how they compare to the B&W? To Sennheiser? Clarity-wise I believe they would probably be the best, and definitely the most neutral sounding of all...

post #5 of 9
I have the akg k550 and I will have to say that they are great. They are very neutral and have crisp highs, detailed midrange, and very controlled tight base. They are my second favorites behind my HiFiman he500. My biggest issue is that they don't have replacible cables. I do a lot of portable gaming and they have very directional sound. Personally I would either choose k550 or the b&w p5s. The p5's bass may be a little exaggerated but that's sometimes good if you like to watch movies. The p5s are on ear and not around the ear like the akg k550 and the sound stage is a little compressed. I would keep away Crome the klipsch mode headphones. The are small and uncomfortable, and I haven't heard a pair of noise canceling headphones that compair to the sound of the similar praised noise isolating headphones. Another pair you might want to consider is the ultrasone pro900. They have awesome bass. Good luck on your choice
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

Wow! Great! Would you say the P5's are warmer? How does the soundstage and isolation compare?? Thank you!!

post #7 of 9

Sorry it took so long to reply I'm never on here.  The P5's soundstage is compressed compared to the akg k550.  The k550 have more natural high end and the isolation is better.  The P5's treble sounds artificial and didn't have nearly the instrument separation that the akg k550's have.  On the other side though the akg k550's bass is a little lower than I like.  

post #8 of 9

Don't know if I'm too late, but the M40's are accurate on the pro side. They can be comfortable as well, and the accessories that come with it are of high quality. They are also a beast when it comes to noise canceling, and are comparable to any bose headphone, noise canceling wise. They seem to lack liveliness though and for most people, their weight and design causes ear fatigue to many listeners over prolonged periods of time. Also, they get VERY warm when listening to them, sometimes to the extent that you'll sweat in them. I like them, but I don't face a lot of these problems (fatigue and such).

 

Sources: I'm a proud owner.

post #9 of 9
I bought the AKG K 490 NC headphones a week and a half ago while transfering at Schiphol *going home* after an overseas flight with ladies chattering constantly about everything and nothing right behind me and crying babies a few rows back.

I got a good deal on the headphones, 169 EUR (~ 219 USD) vs. retail 249 USD, and after having used them almost every day at work since I returned home I would buy them again and again also at full price.

I almost bought a pair of competing Sennheiser PXC (sorry, forgot exact model) first, but before checking out I decided to try some of the tablets being demoed in the store to look up reviews. I'm very glad that I did. The Sennheiser and other competing headphones cost up to 100 EUR more and had much less favorable reviews!

My only regret is that I did not buy these headphones on the way going out!

I can only confirm the reviews - they sound great, and when I switch on noise cancelling the sound that I experience really changes very noticeably - nearly all outside sound magically vanishes after a few hundred milliseconds where the DSP learns the environment, and I am left listening to almost nothing besides my audio source. A friend pointed out tonight that noise cancelling is a luxury, and it may well be a luxury that I will find hard to give up. These are my first noise cancelling headphones.

Since these headphones go on the ears they don't isolate completely. Instead they pack very efficiently. I would not buy the K 495 NC because they only have larger pads, not larger drivers, and don't pack nearly as well.

I admit to being a bit of a basshead and I mostly enjoy electronic music, but don't let this put you off - I also have a pair of in-ear AKG headphones which I bought to get bass, and they are significantly more bassy, but the K 490 NC have enough bass and so far excellent clarity to keep me very happy.

I understood from reviews that if you require Hi-Fi to the point where you wouldn't dream of listening to the DAC in a portable audio player, laptop, or airplane personal entertainment system, but only to your self-built magic DAC and headphone amp then you will also want to spend more money on headphones. I considered it, and I am that guy with software, but not with audio. This is the sweet spot for me.

There are a few points to keep in mind about the K 490 NC, which you may or may not find important.
  • They have an internal rechargeable battery which has a limited lifetime
    Not a problem for me - I expect it will last long enough.
  • The battery must be charged from a USB connector.
  • There is no USB DAC. :\
    A built-in USB DAC would have been a killer feature IMO, as it would mean that the headphones were *always* fully charged after having listened to them at the computer. Anyway, while charging it is thus not possible to listen to an audio source. It's still possible to enable noise cancelling though, ie. wear them to silence the environment. I may look into a hack to be able to listen and charge at the same time.

On the plus side they are light, pack really really well, have detachable/replaceable cables, and come with airplane adapter and a soft but not flimsy neoprene pouch.

I can only recommend the AKG K 490 NC to anyone who considers a purchase!
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Need help choosing between Klipsch Mode M40, B&W P5, AKG K490NC & K495NC, and Sennheiser PXC 450