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The AKG K550 Appreciation/Discussion Thread! - Page 83

post #1231 of 1734
Thanks for the clarification, Jon. Moving on...as an audio engineer, how would you say the K550 stacks up against some of the more expensive headphones you have used? If you could post an example or two that would be helpful.
post #1232 of 1734
Quote:
Originally Posted by jon parker View Post
 

ALL im saying is i dont think you can class the 550's as audiophile quality. That's all I wanted to say really - Forums are so easy to be misunderstood and to get ones intended meaning across.

please don't take anything I say here as overly literal, I was trying to make a point using exaggerated extremes - sorry

 

I think the K550 are audiophile quality.  Perhaps they are entry level audiophile quality.

 

The K550y can certainly compete with the audiophile headphones of yesteryear.   What is your take on the HD650, the K701 and the DT880?   Do you believe that they are not audiophile quality headphones?

post #1233 of 1734
Quote:
Originally Posted by jon parker View Post

Yes, as an Audio Engineer I understand [and agree] very much with what your saying. Jeez, all Im saying is that these sub $100 cans can not really be labelled as audiophile + the guy asked for an opinion so i gave one! They are advertised as 'Reference headphones' - Do you have any thoughts what this actually means? - I personally wouldn't use them for 'reference' [in so much as how i would use headphones for referenceing audio in the studio?] as they colour the audio too much. 
I do find them  a very interesting sound though smily_headphones1.gif i do like them.
Sometimes i listen to music for fun, in which case they are great but if I want to listen to music that is exceptional in its recording/mixing or engineering or if they are 'HiRez' then I use other 'phones.
They have a very nice warm clarity but they are let down [for my ears only!] by too much excitment,warmth, and an overbearing mid-bass although I wouldn't call this a fault more a unique quality.
I do take all your points but I do have and have had phones that express the audio in a way which I find quite faithful to the original. I mean if Im listening to Bach's Cello Concerto there are phones out there that have the capacity for you to hear so much, the woodiness of the instrument be it soft or hard, . . .  I could go on for ages biggrin.gif 
Its funny I love all the aspects of the 'audiophile' world - how much joy and pleasure one can get from hearing music through superb headphones and a great rig...but Im not one of those obsessed ones you mention. I feel lucky to have found the sound that I like and am satisfied, I don't feel the need to look elsewhere (luckily, its hardly a cheap hobby!!)
Can I join you now?...please x

Definitely, you are now a member of the club! Forgot what people tell us "audiophile" headphones should be, and just worry about what you like best smily_headphones1.gif

See, I am a Grado fan. I prefer the SR80i to many of the top headphones in the <$200 headphones that others like on this forum, although I like my Grado SR225i a little better smily_headphones1.gif I would note that one thing I like about the Grados is the transient response of the mids, which is a different measure of accuracy. But really it's the whole "package" of the sound signature combined. In fact, I think sometimes we forget in our efforts to tease out individual characteristics of headphones (or speakers) to try to describe them that Gestalt theory would tell us that the sum of the parts is more than the whole.

You are right about "reference." All these terms like "audiophile," "hifi," and "reference" have been over appropriated by marketers they just don't have much meaning in talking about headphones.
post #1234 of 1734

@cel4145 - I fell in love with the Grado GR10 IEM's. to the degree that I have no desire to look anymore for other headphones. I feel lucky in that respect! If you love the Grado sound then I think one REALLY loves the Grado sound  :D


Edited by jon parker - 3/2/14 at 8:23am
post #1235 of 1734
To me audiophile is a person not the gear. An audiophile is someone that can hear differences in gear and cares enough about their listening experience to pay a premium based on those differences.
Edited by bassboysam - 3/2/14 at 9:07am
post #1236 of 1734
Quote:
Originally Posted by elvergun View Post
 

 

I think the K550 are audiophile quality.  Perhaps they are entry level audiophile quality.

 

The K550y can certainly compete with the audiophile headphones of yesteryear.   What is your take on the HD650, the K701 and the DT880?   Do you believe that they are not audiophile quality headphones?

I [personally] find them not to be Audiophile quality but as I mention later in this post that doesn't matter - if they ARE for you then thats fantastic and fortunate for you to find such a great pair of cans at such a good price - Im happy for you!

 

 To be honest with topics such as this there are so many variables its impossible to say 1 particular headphones is inherently this or that - Also It depends on so many things - Was it you that mentioned? . . .You have the Original mics used, the studio, the engineer, the mix engineer, the mastering engineer - whether the recording is a hirez Vinyl rip / SACD etc etc + the DAC chip on your chosen device and of course how you listen - Not many people have a capacity in this day and age to really take the time to sit down and concentrate / listen  (present company excluded :)

i think if you work with sound you do tend to listen in a different way

As far as the term Audiophile goes, again we all have our own understandings im sure.

For me it means that it sounds like it would if I was standing in the room with the musicians themselves and also that each instrument sounds exactly as it should and that its individual qualities shine in the recording. For example in a song with a lot going on you can still hear the wood of the drum stick hit the cymbal & then the cymbal sounds ...like a cymbal and you hear from the first hit the note and its slow fade to silence.

The difficulty I find with talking about such topics is that if someone has not shared your expereince they tend to assume or believe that you are wrong. understandable but a tad frustrating at times.

Its taken me quite a long time to learn how to listen and to deeply appreciate what a well recorded / mixed / mastered album actually sounds like! I worked in the wine trade many years ago and in a very similar way it took me along time to understand why a 1970 Petrus Bordeaux is SO good - The more i work with audio the more I feel I have to learn - there is so much to learn about audio itself - when you start looking into how different aspects of sounds effect the mind then its just mind blowing :)   

So anyway, i think its a little unfair to say too much about specific headphones because it depends on so many different things. If someone loves the sound of the AKG 550's and feels them to be Audiophile quality then I should really just rejoice in the fact that are happy with them and are enjoying their music!!

post #1237 of 1734
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDBiotek View Post

Thanks for the clarification, Jon. Moving on...as an audio engineer, how would you say the K550 stacks up against some of the more expensive headphones you have used? If you could post an example or two that would be helpful.

 

I wouldn't use the 550's in the studio...not for work purposes. They don't have any useful specific characteristics...but as a I say I do like them a lot :) 

I work mostly with voice - recording, mixing & mastering. At each stage I use different headphones. During the Recording stage I use ath m40fs because they have a fairly good flat frequency response & they are quite comfy!. For mixing I find Grado in general to be very good because they can be quite brutal at revealing flaws especially the very quiet background sounds which other headphones aren't accurate enough to pick up. Some of the cheaper phones can be ok for this stage such as the HifiMan RE400!

Mastering is usually done on speakers but I have an old pair of freebee earbuds from an old panasonic MiniDisc player that I have had perfect results from ?!

i have a good audio engineer friend in London who mixs and masters on a horrible pair of speakers [i cant remember right now the make] with the philosophy that if the music sounds good on 'those' speakers then it will sound stunning on higher end gear :) 

It works.

So yeah, I use the various characteristics of different headphones for specific purposes - Unlike with my music listening Im not a snob at all when it comes to working in the studio.

Apologies to take up so much of this space with my own opinions but it is nice to talk with you and get your own ideas and thoughts :)


Edited by jon parker - 3/2/14 at 8:48am
post #1238 of 1734
Quote:
Originally Posted by bassboysam View Post

To me audiophile is a person not the gear. An audiophile is someone that can hear differences in gear and cares enough about their listening experience to pay a premium for based on those differences.

Spot on - I agree 100% Thanks for such a succinct definition

post #1239 of 1734
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


"True to the source" with headphones or speakers is really a state of perfection that one can never reach. Besides, when it comes to headphones, most people couldn't tell if it was an accurate reproduction or not unless they are musicians with the ability to pick out perfect pitch, or experienced audio engineers. And to me it's a meaningless phrase anyway. The "source" is the music when it was played not the recording. The recording has been mixed and mastered--filtered by a human being. It's a facsimile, like a painting or photograph.

So certainly, there are audiophiles that are obsessed with some ideal of accuracy that may never be realized. Must be frustrating. And there rest of us audiophiles are interested in what sounds good, which is a purely subjective listening experience which puts the gavel of judgement in the hands of the listener, not what someone else tells us it should be or how much we should spend. Come join us. It's more fun smily_headphones1.gif

Amen brother!

post #1240 of 1734
Quote:
Originally Posted by jon parker View Post
 

 

I wouldn't use the 550's in the studio...not for work purposes. They don't have any useful specific characteristics...but as a I say I do like them a lot :) 

...

So yeah, I use the various characteristics of different headphones for specific purposes - Unlike with my music listening Im not a snob at all when it comes to working in the studio.

Apologies to take up so much of this space with my own opinions but it is nice to talk with you and get your own ideas and thoughts :)

Thank you for this post. I have heard stories of other audio engineers using  a variety of headphones and speakers, often times not terribly expensive or necessarily good-sounding, but the gear can help you to focus in on some specific characteristics you are looking for.I  hate to rely on metaphors, but I imagine it is a bit like switching out lenses on a camera. Listening for enjoyment is very different realm.

post #1241 of 1734
Quote:
Originally Posted by jon parker View Post
 

ALL im saying is i dont think you can class the 550's as audiophile quality. That's all I wanted to say really

That's a pretty ridiculous thing to say though.  As per Webster's definition, an audiophile is: "a person who is enthusiastic about high-fidelity sound reproduction".   Now you can purchase a set headphones for 10$ if you don't care about sound quality.  But to claim that headphones costing 20 times that, which are designed with high performance and high sound quality in mind isn't audiophile quality is silly. 

 

But as always it's a matter of defining your terms. If by audiophile you mean: "an arrogant petulant snob only interested in ridiculously expensive flagship models", then yeah obviously the AKG 550s aren't 'audiophile' quality.  But for the common man, they are.  I guess it's elitism, which we're probably all guilty of on some level:  People are always trying to elevate, brand & differentiate themselves with some stupidity.  Oh I have a Mac, iPhone, Beats, BOSE speakers, CK purse, Nike shoes, sports team hat, golden watch, and all sorts of nonsense.  Then they think it elevates them from the common rabble without that junk, and even then even within the circle you'll get the same ****:  iPhone 4 is out, so ah, you've only got the iPhone 3 you're a loser now, you see to be hip you need the latest iPhone, you're not one of us anymore.  

 

I don't know, I guess it's all about that circlejerk in the end.  For me personally, an audiophile is simply someone who enjoys music and cares about sound quality.  Beyond that, you'll get the same type of people you get everywhere else; the posers, the arrogant petulant snobs, deluded fools, those only interested about the tech and not so much the actual hobby, etc.,  I guess they're all sub-groups.  Sigh.. Labels and groups... Arrogance...  Human stupidity...  I'm depressed now.  ;)

post #1242 of 1734
Quote:
Jeez, all Im saying is that these sub $100 cans can not really be labelled as audiophile + the guy asked for an opinion so i gave one! They are advertised as 'Reference headphones' - Do you have any thoughts what this actually means? - I personally wouldn't use them for 'reference' [in so much as how i would use headphones for referenceing audio in the studio?] as they colour the audio too much. 

Reading some of the later posts... Yeah, probably just used the wrong term when you said they weren't audiophile 'quality' when you meant studio monitors.  Really not the same thing.

 

For the "reference headphones" marketing, again, it's all relative.  You can buy studio monitors (speakers) for 200$ just like you can buy some for 10000$. Of course, the 10000$ will do a better job than the 200$ ones, and you might not end up using the 200$ studio monitors to engineer the latest Justin Bieber album, but that doesn't make the 200$ studio monitors 'less' studio monitors.  The 550s 200$ 'reference' headphones in the same way, can you really go "they're not as good as others costing 5x more so they can't be said to be 200$ 'reference' headphones!".   For someone who only has 200$ to spend, the fact that a 1000$ alternative exists means little.  And so you have to judge in the price point.  At 200$, are they at least decent at what they advertise?  Of course there's better phones out there, but I don't think anybody ever claimed they were perfect and the absolute best headphones you can purchase at any price point!  ;)


Edited by GirgleMirt - 3/2/14 at 10:07am
post #1243 of 1734
Quote:
Originally Posted by GirgleMirt View Post
 

Reading some of the later posts... Yeah, probably just used the wrong term when you said they weren't audiophile 'quality' when you meant studio monitors.  Really not the same thing.

 

For the "reference headphones" marketing, again, it's all relative.  You can buy studio monitors (speakers) for 200$ just like you can buy some for 10000$. Of course, the 10000$ will do a better job than the 200$ ones, and you might not end up using the 200$ studio monitors to engineer the latest Justin Bieber album, but that doesn't make the 200$ studio monitors 'less' studio monitors.  They're 200$ 'reference' headphones, can you really go "they're not as good as others costing 5x more so they can't be said to be 200$ 'reference' headphones!".   For someone who only has 200$ to spend, the fact that a 1000$ alternative exists means little.  And so you have to judge in the price point.  At 200$, are they at least decent at what they advertise?  Of course there's better phones out there, but I don't think anybody ever claimed they were perfect and the absolute best headphones you can purchase at any price point!  ;)

 

Studio monitoring headphones [for me] are quite different to Audiophile Headphones as they have different functions. I mainly want a flat frequency response for the studio so im getting an accurate as possible representation of the sound. To me audio sounds quite dull through headphones with a vert flat freq. response! Good point though..Its not so much that more expensive headphones are better i think its more that the build and materials used 'should' give a better frequency response/quality etc etc. (sorry, can't think of the right words here!) I kinda agree with you but I wouldn't be a snob to flatly refuse to use $200 monitors...its simply that for that price its highly unlikely you would get the accuracy you would need to do the job. To be fair Im only saying that from the point of view of the professional audio engineer's needs in a pro studio. Ive used $200 monitors for my own little projects from time to time and been happy enough with the results.

I totally agree with you about being aware of the 'snobish' parts of me - Im aware they exsist but for the most part I just love and enjoy HiRez audio through well designed quality. There is nothing so heart warming as seeing a friends amazed face light up during a listen to quality audio for the first time. :D

I drink a lot of Chinese tea - Pu Erh to be exact which i drink from a Japanese iron Tea Pot - basically because it makes it taste nice! Even my friends will come up to me and accuse me of being a tea snob as I fill my flask with hot water !?! Its not as if Im mincing down to the kitchen swinging my tea pot so everyone can see!!  Im not a snob, i just enjoy nice tea - I also like earl grey tea, Typhoo, Yorkshire gold...Builders Tea (a very english expression)

I should also add Im not saying im right or wrong - they are just what I currently think...they all might change


Edited by jon parker - 3/2/14 at 10:26am
post #1244 of 1734
Quote:
Originally Posted by jon parker View Post

@cel4145 - I fell in love with the Grado GR10 IEM's. to the degree that I have no desire to look anymore for other headphones. I feel lucky in that respect! If you love the Grado sound then I think one REALLY loves the Grado sound  biggrin.gif

I'd like to try the GR10s sometime smily_headphones1.gif

Back to the K550. My Grado SR225i are my favorite goto headphones after trying many of the top open favorites in this under $300 price range. But sometimes, I need a closed headphone. And with some music, I want deeper bass extension. And I still want a fairly big soundstage. The K550s have fit the bill for me as my alternate headphones better than anything I have tried.

I just wish that the pads were a little plusher/plumper so that it was easier to get a seal on them. I do not understand how AKG came to the design decision on these pads. LOL
post #1245 of 1734

My parents bought me my first stereo system when I was 14 and some 35 years later I can still say I absolutely cherish the time I get to spend listening to music. Some people say "how can you just sit and listen for hours" and "isn't is boring... like watching grass grow" No it isn't, I can be deeply moved by a piece of music and it brings me great joy to be part of the entirety of music. I am the important final step in the musicians process of creating music, I the listener, the one who enjoys and appreciates the thought and work involved in creating it. I am an audiophile but have to say that headphones have opened a whole new world for me and although I'm new on this journey I am thoroughly enjoying the process. The AKG K550 intrigue me and I might end up buying them, I might not, I may end up buying and selling them later but even if I do they will be a part of this fascinating journey. Thanks to Head-Fi for being there with help and advise whenever I've asked... I hope somewhere down the road I will be able to offer a bit of advise to someone else new to this exciting hobby.

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