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The AKG K550 Appreciation/Discussion Thread! - Page 21

post #301 of 1758

I saw this on Razordogaudio's FB page. Posted it to the deals thread but thought there might be those here looking for a deal on the K550. Razordog is an authorized AKG dealer.

 

www.razordogaudio.com has a deal going for the AKG K550. $224 shipped after coupon code RAZORDOGK550 till the end of February. 

post #302 of 1758
Quote:
Originally Posted by Venasa View Post

Its been said a few times on here but improving the seal really does improve the bass. I have been slowly bending the headband tighter and tighter so that now the headphones clamp comfortably and then I go and listen to something like the tron legacy soundtrack remixed and laugh at the idea of them being bass light. They are definitely not bass heavy either but as Baghera points out the Bass extension is brilliant and really detailed, you can actually here all the different things that bottom end is doing instead of it just being a loud indecipherable mess. 

 

The reason for K550's "excellent" bass extension is because the sub-bass region is boosted. It differs from most headphones in this regard (having two peaks in the bass rather than one - most headphones just have one peak in the mid-bass).

 

Since human hearing has much weaker perception of sub-bass, boosting it was a very good decision by AKG in my opinion.  This is why K550's bass sounds "linear" (even though it technically isn't), because the mid-bass doesn't drown out the sub-bass like in most other headphones.

post #303 of 1758

I recently picked up a pair of K550's to keep in my office, as potential replacements for Denon D2000's that seal better. (Also bought Fostex T50rp's to modify.) I also own Senn HD580s, Ety ER-4s, and ADDIEMs, as well as Senn PMX-100s for working out.

 

Overall, the K550's sound decent (hat size about 7.5), and seal just fine wearing glasses. Obviously, they don't move as much air as the D2000 down low, but that's to be expected comparing a balanced dome to an edge-suspended cone of the same diameter.

 

The one problem I have is similar to the issues reported in these earlier posts:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beagle View Post

I've only had the K550 for a couple of days. One thing I have noticed is that hi-hats, cymbals and vocal sibilants tend to be emphasised. They really stick out of the mix on most recordings that have them. Hopefully this will tone down as they get run-in.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post

The upper mids and lower treble of the K550 are very weird.  Not natural.  It's a plasticy, echo-like feeling.  They're not the most harsh of headphones, but the top-end isn't really that clean either.

 

The treble emphasis does make them a bit fatiguing over a long listen.

 

I wonder what AKG did, if anything, to damp the backwave of their driver. I've heard similar issues in DIY speakers with "wideband" driver speakers that were solved by damping the cabinet with fiberglass or Bonded Logic Ultratouch. 

 

Anyone know how to take 'em apart so I can see what (if anything) is in the back cup?


Edited by DS21 - 2/22/13 at 6:17pm
post #304 of 1758
Quote:
Originally Posted by DS21 View Post

The treble emphasis does make them a bit fatiguing over a long listen.

 

I wonder what AKG did, if anything, to damp the backwave of their driver. I've heard similar issues in DIY speakers with "wideband" drivers, speakers, that were solved by damping the midrange chamber with fiberglass or Bonded Logic Ultratouch. 

 

Anyone know how to take 'em apart so I can see what (if anything) is in the back cup?

Found this:

 

The upper-mid/lower-treble issue get a bit better after 100+ hours, since the overall mids warm up a bit.  But the range between 5k-8k is just too bright on the K550.

post #305 of 1758
Quote:
Originally Posted by imackler View Post

I saw this on Razordogaudio's FB page. Posted it to the deals thread but thought there might be those here looking for a deal on the K550. Razordog is an authorized AKG dealer.

 

www.razordogaudio.com has a deal going for the AKG K550. $224 shipped after coupon code RAZORDOGK550 till the end of February. 

That's annoying I just paid 279$ for them on the first on this month from RazorDog! I should have waited. 

 

55$ Less 


That sucks oh well. 


EDIT: I emailed Razor Dog! about it. Asked them if they are willing to provide a partial refund of the difference. Lets test to see how good they are. 

 

EDIT 2: Seriously, RazorDog! is one of the most honest businesses with the reply they made to me. Happy offered this to me!

 

Would HIGHLY suggest dealing with them!


Edited by pclov3r - 2/23/13 at 6:56am
post #306 of 1758

I just got a k550 in a trade here, put them on, and immediately though ' pioneer hdj2000'. So i grabbed the pioneers, they are a little similar, the pioneers having more bass with further extension and just more forward across the spectrum. the akg has an airier sound with more neutrality

post #307 of 1758
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bagheera View Post

Found this:

 

The upper-mid/lower-treble issue get a bit better after 100+ hours, since the overall mids warm up a bit.  But the range between 5k-8k is just too bright on the K550.

 

Any idea how to get the pads off for access to those 5 screws? I pulled different ways, but couldn't figure it out.

 

As for the "break in," I suspect that's more listener accommodation than any actual difference in the sound.

post #308 of 1758
Quote:
Originally Posted by DS21 View Post

Any idea how to get the pads off for access to those 5 screws? I pulled different ways, but couldn't figure it out.

As for the "break in," I suspect that's more listener accommodation than any actual difference in the sound.


check page 1 smily_headphones1.gif

for me personally, i liked them more after 100+ hours, less sibilance
post #309 of 1758

Got my K550 yesterday. The sub-bass extension is definitely noticeable (comparing to HD600) and the sound stage is pretty wide. But the highs can be too bright for my ears sometimes and making some songs harsh without EQ.

post #310 of 1758
Quote:
Originally Posted by eroarex View Post


check page 1 smily_headphones1.gif

for me personally, i liked them more after 100+ hours, less sibilance

 

 

Yeah, because you got used to them. The test would be to compare an out-of-the-box pair to a "broken in" pair, blind. 

 

Sorry, I'm not one for audiophool idiocies.

post #311 of 1758

The other thing I've noticed about the K550's on my head is that if I push down on the bottom of the earcup I get much more accurate bass. Somewhere between my Senn 580s and my Denon D2000s. I prefer that balance. Any ideas how to adjust them to keep them clamped that way? I tried stuffing the top of the pad a bit with weatherstripping (to tilt them downwards) but that didn't work. Nor did stuffing the bottom. I suspect the difference is not in the seal but rather in the trapped volume of air.

post #312 of 1758
Quote:
Originally Posted by DS21 View Post

 

 

Yeah, because you got used to them. The test would be to compare an out-of-the-box pair to a "broken in" pair, blind. 

 

Sorry, I'm not one for audiophool idiocies.

There are a lot of audiophile myths that aren't true.  I for one don't believe re-cabling produces a perceivable difference in sound, for example.

 

But "break-in" for headphones and speakers isn't one of them. The difference is actually measurable.

http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/evidence-headphone-break

 

Headphones/speakers driver units are mechanical devices; they require a period of time to settle into a more permanent operating state. This rule is universal for all mechanical constructs.

 

Also, as Tyll already pointed out, several other variables can and do change the sound of brand new headphones VS an older one. Anything from changes to the tightness of the headband to the depth of the earpads (both of which change gradually with use) affects the sound.  Since you mentioned blind tests, here's one:

http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/testing-audibility-break-effects

 

Tyll identified the broken-in pair VS a new pair 13 out of 15 times. This is not random guessing.

 

I am not saying psychological factors aren't at play when it comes to "how big of a difference break-in makes".  In most cases the difference is exaggerated, yes - people who claims night-and-day differences after break-in is likely exaggerating. And I think people who claims headphones need 300+ hours break-in are also letting their minds play tricks on them.


Edited by Bagheera - 2/23/13 at 5:22pm
post #313 of 1758
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bagheera View Post

There are a lot of audiophile myths that aren't true.  I for one don't believe re-cabling produces a perceivable difference in sound, for example.

 

But "break-in" for headphones and speakers isn't one of them. The difference is actually measurable.

http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/evidence-headphone-break

 

Headphones/speakers driver units are mechanical devices; they require a period of time to settle into a more permanent operating state. This rule is universal for all mechanical constructs.

 

Also, as Tyll already pointed out, several other variables can and do change the sound of brand new headphones VS an older one. Anything from changes to the tightness of the headband to the depth of the earpads (both of which change gradually with use) affects the sound.  Since you mentioned blind tests, here's one:

http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/testing-audibility-break-effects

 

Tyll identified the broken-in pair VS a new pair 13 out of 15 times. This is not random guessing.

 

I am not saying psychological factors aren't at play when it comes to "how big of a difference break-in makes".  In most cases the difference is exaggerated, yes - people who claims night-and-day differences after break-in is likely exaggerating. And I think people who claims headphones need 300+ hours break-in are also letting their minds play tricks on them.

 

Tyll's data don't say what you think they do. What they say is that with continuous use, the headphones change. That's obvious. The effects of continuous current through small wires over time are well-documented. But what happens after the drivers cool back down? The curve goes back to the "zero hours" state. I've seen the data on tweeters (I think from one of the Harman folks; Harman, of course, owns AKG) and that's what happened.

 

Here's what former Harman research head Dr. Floyd Toole wrote about this alleged break-in phenomenon:

 

"In parts of the audio industry, there is a belief that all com- ponents from wires to electronics to loudspeakers need to “break in.” Out of the box, it is assumed that they will not be performing at their best. Proponents vehemently deny that this process has anything to do with adaptation, writing extensively about changes in performance that they claim are easily audible in several aspects of device performance. Yet, the author is not aware of any controlled test in which any consequential audible differences were found, even in loudspeakers, where there would seem to be some opportunities for material changes.  A few years ago, to satisfy a determined marketing person, the research group performed a test using samples of a loudspeaker that was claimed to benefit from “breaking in.” Measurements before and after the recommended break-in showed no differences in frequency response, except a very tiny change around 30–40 Hz in the one area where break-in effects could be expected: woofer compliance. Careful lisening tests revealed no audible differences. None of this was surprising to the engineering staff. It is not clear whether the marketing person was satisfied by the finding. To all of us, this has to be very reassuring because it means that the performance of loudspeakers is stable, except for the known small change in woofer compliance caused by exercising the suspension and the deterioration—breaking down—of foam surrounds and some diaphragm materials with time, moisture, and atmospheric pollutants. It is fascinating to note that “breaking-in” seems always to result in an improvement in performance. Why? Do all mechanical and electrical devices and materials acquire a musical aptitude that is missing in their virgin state? Why is it never reversed, getting worse with use? The reality is that engineers seek out materials, components, and construction methods that do not change with time. Suppose that the sound did improve over time as something broke in. What then? Would it eventually decline, just as wine goes “over the hill”? One can imagine an advertisement for a vintage loudspeaker: “An audiophile dream. Model XX, manufactured 2004, broken in with Mozart, Schubert, and acoustic jazz. Has never played anything more aggressive than the Beatles. Originally $1700/pair. Now at their performance peak—a steal at $3200!” 

Toole, Sound Reproduction, at 353

 

So yes, bottom line is that "break in" is just another one of those audiophool idiocies. All that breaks-in is the listener.

 

With one exception: the AlNiCo magnets used on antique speakers, and some modern fetish objects. (I suspect sooner or later someone's going to introduce a headphone with AlNiCo magnets "tuned by ear," make the cord out of some fetish-wire, and charge three grand for the resulting colored mess...) A large signal through the voicecoil will demagnetize an AlNiCo magnet permanently, resulting in lower efficiency and higher Qes, until/unless the magnet is professionally recharged. One may I suppose call that break-in, though I think breaking is more appropriate.


Edited by DS21 - 2/23/13 at 6:48pm
post #314 of 1758
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bagheera View Post

The reason for K550's "excellent" bass extension is because the sub-bass region is boosted. It differs from most headphones in this regard (having two peaks in the bass rather than one - most headphones just have one peak in the mid-bass).



Since human hearing has much weaker perception of sub-bass, boosting it was a very good decision by AKG in my opinion.  This is why K550's bass sounds "linear" (even though it technically isn't), because the mid-bass doesn't drown out the sub-bass like in most other headphones.

This is interesting. Makes me wonder if I don't like the K550's bass because my "scale" is calibrated to the Senn HD280Pro's I've had for years. Maybe the bass they provide is that "indecipherable" junk.

550's aside, I tired a pair of Denon 2000's and 5000's at a shop last year and walked away fairly happy about the 5000's bass but wanted a tad more. Need to go back and listen again IF they even have them now.
post #315 of 1758

I was adjusting my K550 headband by bending it and the worst thing that could happen did happen....it broke!!   I emailed AKG customer service with pictures of the damage to ask about parts/repair service. They told me to box up and send them my broken pair.   A week later I received a brand new pair in a factory sealed box.   What service!!!  I think they have a new customer for life.  

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