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The AKG K550 Impressions and Discussion Thread! - Page 100

post #1486 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by mannkind246 View Post

 

In term of sound stage, separation and detail, is there any different between Grado 325is and AKG K550 when you play the similar song with your Schitt gear ?

Sound stage: The Grado is much more open, since it's open-back, and the stage is much wider than the K550, but in terms of depth they are both lacking. 

 

Separation and detail: Grado is a clear winner. Everything is clear as day and well pronounced. The K550 is much warmer, though. The 325is can be pretty fatiguing at times, but I love it for aggressive metal. The K550 is much more laid back and with much fuller and extended bass. The Grado is bright, clear and punchy, but lacks that buttery kick drum kind of sound to it.

 

They both excel at different things and provide a different sort of utility and experience for me. I listen to the K550s when I'm on a long commute and need isolation at my desk. I use the Grado for more detailed listening in the office and while walking. I think the Grado is much more engaging and aggressive, while the K550 is a nice, relaxing experience. Both sound beautiful in their own ways. I'd say the K550 is much more comfortable and better for longer listening sessions, though.

post #1487 of 2455

Ok, just received these today. Please note in this review, the K550s are my first pair of hifi headphones, and I will be comparing them to much cheaper heapdhones.

 

First Looks

Holy crap these are light! They even feel lighter than my Vektrs which were all plastic. The wire feels very durable and high quality, really wish it was detachable though, but with AKG's great customer service, any problems there shouldn't be a problem. The all metal (or almost-all) construction screams value and they definitely look as awesome as they did in the pictures and video reviews. The jack is definitely made to last, very satisfied with it. The sound isolation is amazing on these. I turned them up all the way and my brother could not hear a thing coming out, sitting 6 feet away from me. The packaging they come in is really neat and has a high quality feel/look to it.

 

I put them on my head and I managed to achieve a good seal. Guess I have a big head, but the clamp truly is as weak as they say, but I think in exchange for the comfort these offer it is worth it. When I move my head around they really don't move much, like my Vektrs did. The difference is that since these are circumaural, I can feel them getting hot after only a little bit of time. I think I will get used to it, so probably won't be a big deal for me.

 

The Sound

Now, since I am a very, very new Head-Fier I am in no way an audiophile, so I won't be explaining how these sound in terms of 'highs, lows and mids', rather in terms of how individual instruments sound. 

 

The drums sound simply amazing, They so much more present than my previous Monsters. They come across as crisp, clear and not overpowering. I love drums on these. I listen to 'Ticks and Leeches' by Tool and the separation is phenomenal, I can hear so many things and they just sound so punchy. The cymbals are quite good as well. The only problem is that since these headphones are so sensitive, they go quite loud, and at loud volumes (I tried putting them to 100%), there is lots of sibilance. It hurts my ears really badly at high volumes - but only at volumes so loud nobody could handle for more than a few seconds.

 

The guitars. Clean guitars on these are ok. They are clear enough to sound as they were recorded, but don't overpower anything either. Clean guitars sound a little bit bright, but I am ok with that and that will likely be gone after the burn in period. Distorted guitars - this is something that is very important for me, being someone who listens to almost exclusively metal. The distortion on the K550s is mean, fierce, and empowering. A sweet riff will make an enormous impact. I listened to Bolt Thrower's "The Killchain" and it is in your face, distorted death metal. The palm muting sounds so good, it's just plain sexy. The guitars on "Master of Puppets" are so, so good as well. Then I switched to doom metal bands like Electric Wizard and Bongripper. The down-tuned, slow chugging guitars take over as they should in this genre. They reach deep, deep levels while still being amazingly clear.

 

The bass is similar to the guitars. They are crisp, clear and very versatile. You can hear every finger-pluck. On Metallica's "Anesthesia - Pulling Teeth" the K550s keep up with Cliff's fast playing and are not too laid back. The bass playing Tool's "The Pot" is smooth, punchy and sexy. I could listen to the 'bouncy' bass riff in this song all day long, where my Vektrs were too muddy and fatiguing. Like others have mentioned, however, the bass is not as present as I am used to, but I like it more this way. Everything about these headphones is extremely balanced.

 

The vocals really shine on these headphones. Whether its gutteral death metal vocals like Suffocation's "Infecting the Crypts", or clean vocals like The Beatles' "Daytripper", the vocals create a presence that is quite magical. I listened to Opeth's "Reverie/Harlequin Forest", and Micheal sounds like an angel. That's how I would describe the clarity and smoothness of the vocals on this headphone - it makes people sound like angels. It is just so awesome. It truly sounds like the vocalist is right there in the room and it gives me chills, every time.

 

Orchestral/other - To fit with the theme, all 'other' instruments are totally awesome on these. Very smooth and balanced. Septicflesh's "Persepolis" evil sounding cello and violin is captured beautifully. Bison B.C.'s "Wendigo, Pt. 1" opening sounds like there are people playing instruments right in front of you. The keyboards and Nocturnus' "Lake of Fire" sound really cool, but do sound a little weak. Not the K550s strongest point - they excel better at 'real' musical instruments.

 

Another point about the sound is the instrument separation. These are meant to be open backed-sounding closed back headphones, and they do a pretty good job with it. The only headphone I can compare these to in terms of an open-backed headphone are the HD558s I listened to at Future Shop one time. With those, when an acoustic guitar came on, I actually turn to my side and thought someone was playing beside me, it was really cool. That hasn't happened for me with these yet, but that doesn't mean the separation isn't good. You will hear things you have never heard before in the music you listen to. To me, the K550s make it sound you are listening to a band, not a recording.

 

Summary

PROS

-great instrument separation for a closed back

-extremely comfortable

-great build quality

-guitars, drums, bass, vocals, and other instruments are smooth, detailed and accurate

-very, very good sound isolation 

-overall detailed, smooth headphone that lets you hear what the recording is intended to sound like

-will let you hear things you have never heard before

-very sensitive, can get quite loud

 

CONS

-can be hard to get a good seal

-can get quite hot

-sibilance at really high volume levels

-definitely not portable, cable is long

-bass may not be as present as some would like, can seem weak

-can allow you to be able to tell the difference between good and bad recordings (con?)

 

Score

For me, these really get a 9.5/10. Little things like a detachable cable would be really awesome, but for home use these are perfect. I will try to update this as I burn them in for ~ 100 hours.

post #1488 of 2455

Glad you're liking them, man! Sounds like it was a big step up! They'll sound even smoother after they break in. Congrats on a great purchase!

post #1489 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by sludgeogre View Post
 

Glad you're liking them, man! Sounds like it was a big step up! They'll sound even smoother after they break in. Congrats on a great purchase!

Thank you kind sir!

post #1490 of 2455

Just ordered a pair of refurbished K550's from the harman audio store for $130 shipped.  My current headphones is a Sony mdr-v6. I finally decided it was time for an upgrade and was reading through these forums trying to figure out what to get.  Decided on the K550's.  I cannot wait to receive them.

post #1491 of 2455
Congrats! That should be a nice upgrade for you. As much as I enjoyed my V6s, the K550s are whole 'nuther league smily_headphones1.gif
post #1492 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by corrinthians View Post
 

Just ordered a pair of refurbished K550's from the harman audio store for $130 shipped.  My current headphones is a Sony mdr-v6. I finally decided it was time for an upgrade and was reading through these forums trying to figure out what to get.  Decided on the K550's.  I cannot wait to receive them.

I was on that same bandwagon, $129.99 refurbished from Harman Kardon. I had got a pair of Harman Kardon BT refurbished for $97, and from what I saw, they looked brand new, had everything except the retail box. So, I jump for the AKG K550-Z(z=refurbished)on their site. However, they made a mistake, and after about a week or two, they remedied the mistake by sending me a brand new pair of AKG K550 for $143.50.. 

 

The mistake they made was charging my card, without shipping, I could live with that, just ship the item. Come to find out, the item was never in stock. I hit the ceiling. An agent apologized for the mistake, and said he would send me a new pair for the same price. I agreed. However, a supervisor rescinded that offer, and told me $170 for the new ones. The $170 wasn't bad for the new ones, but all the mistakes were on HK's side not mine. Also, I didn't ask for new ones, an agent offered them to me. To take the offer back, was a triple whammy. I fired off a couple emails and phone calls. Got a call back from one of the higher ups, and telling him the whole story in my funny kind of way, we were laughing at all the mistakes that was made with my order. He sent me a code for 40% off anything new. That brought the price of $239.95 down to $143.50.

 

No, haven't open them yet, trying to wait to make my mind up on getting an open back to go along with my closed backed AKG K550s. Either the K702 Annv, or the K712. I was onto the Q701, but hearing good stuff on the latter too.  From what I have been reading, in the price class the AKG K550 are really smoking.. Will see. I am a 3 month old newbie, Just got a couple amp/dac so they all will be powered.

BTW, I got bad hearing too.  :gs1000smile:

 

post #1493 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by cehowardNote3 View Post
 

I was on that same bandwagon, $129.99 refurbished from Harman Kardon. I had got a pair of Harman Kardon BT refurbished for $97, and from what I saw, they looked brand new, had everything except the retail box. So, I jump for the AKG K550-Z(z=refurbished)on their site. However, they made a mistake, and after about a week or two, they remedied the mistake by sending me a brand new pair of AKG K550 for $143.50.. 

 

The mistake they made was charging my card, without shipping, I could live with that, just ship the item. Come to find out, the item was never in stock. I hit the ceiling. An agent apologized for the mistake, and said he would send me a new pair for the same price. I agreed. However, a supervisor rescinded that offer, and told me $170 for the new ones. The $170 wasn't bad for the new ones, but all the mistakes were on HK's side not mine. Also, I didn't ask for new ones, an agent offered them to me. To take the offer back, was a triple whammy. I fired off a couple emails and phone calls. Got a call back from one of the higher ups, and telling him the whole story in my funny kind of way, we were laughing at all the mistakes that was made with my order. He sent me a code for 40% off anything new. That brought the price of $239.95 down to $143.50.

 

No, haven't open them yet, trying to wait to make my mind up on getting an open back to go along with my closed backed AKG K550s. Either the K702 Annv, or the K712. I was onto the Q701, but hearing good stuff on the latter too.  From what I have been reading, in the price class the AKG K550 are really smoking.. Will see. I am a 3 month old newbie, Just got a couple amp/dac so they all will be powered.

BTW, I got bad hearing too.  :gs1000smile:

 

Sorry to hear you had to go through all of that.  At least they eventually gave you a great deal on a new pair.  I placed the order for mine on Tuesday and got the tracking number today so it seems my order went through ok.  What did you pick up for an amp/dac?  

post #1494 of 2455

If you're looking for a good deal on K550s, you can hawk the amazon used section where they post their warehouse deals.

 

Every few weeks they'll put up a few pairs from 125-140ish with prime shipping. :wink_face:

 

 

Finally got around to doing the removable cable mod on these. I went with an IRIS jack like they use on RSA/ALO amps and separated the grounds when wiring the connector so that it can be run balanced if I ever get a balanced amp (and make balanced cable). Cutting/soldering went fairly smooth but I got a little zealous with the glue when I was sealing so it looks pretty terrible until I get around to stripping it off with some paint thinner or something. 

 

But they still sound great! :dt880smile:

 

 


For anyone else looking to re-cable (or re-terminate) these here's an image of the left driver with some labels so you don't have to do any guess and check (didn't see one in the thread yet). Both drivers actually have three terminals, one used as a relay for the other side. Right driver doesn't have anything attached to its relay for obvious reasons. Not seen in the picture (but drawn in) are the very thin red and green wires that go to the right driver.

 

post #1495 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by corrinthians View Post
 

Sorry to hear you had to go through all of that.  At least they eventually gave you a great deal on a new pair.  I placed the order for mine on Tuesday and got the tracking number today so it seems my order went through ok.  What did you pick up for an amp/dac? 

If you got a tracking number you are good to go. Also, from what I have found out about ordering from Harman Kardon refurbished items, they all look brand spanking new, and Harman Kardon gives them the full 30 day return for refund, and full warranty.  I even exchanged a pair of HK BTs, because I thought the cord that connects the cans was too long, all exchanges are free shipping both ways..If you want a refund, you pay return shipping. So, even with my hicup with Harman Kardon, I will say that they return, refund, and warranty, along with super good prices on their refurbished items is top notch. I be willing to bet when you get your 550s, you wouldn't be able to tell them from a brand new pair..

 

On the amps, my main starting interest in headphones was for my mobile device..Therefore, everything was for on the go. Looked to get a small amp, was on to the E11, somebody mentioned the E17 was better, then I saw the E18 was made for android, so I went with that..The E18 is amp and dac. Then I started looking at the Q701.. However, I got advice that the E18, although pretty good, didn't pair up too good with the Q701..Reading on, one poster stated they had the ODAC+O2, and that worked well with the AKG 70X series. Knowing at one time, I will want a desktop amp/dac I ordered the O2/Dac..Haven't used it yet, but from reading here in head-fi, I should be okay with those two at noob level. When you get you 550s, let us know what you think. Will be doing mine this weekend...:beerchug:

post #1496 of 2455

hello guys. just picked up akg k550. some quick impressions:

 

almost zero burn in time.

 

no fit issues. 3 family members tried it as well.

 

clean and clear sounding. 

 

musical, atleast with my audinst hud mini. not lush or overly thick. just right imo.

 

no sibilance yet.

 

overall after some hours of listening, I do believe akg has succeeded in created a perfect balance between lush and analytical, bright and dark. 

 

its not dark but manages never to be sibilant. 

 

overall seems to be a masterful blend of just right sound in a lot of aspects.

 

comparisons:

 

I compared it with few headphones and these are my findings. keep in mind these are not accurate to the t, as I mostly listen to enjoy music. an inch wider soundstage or slight more separation is something I will miss for sure:

 

shure srh 840: it had more forward midrange than akg thus sounded richer. sound stage performance was similar, they both don't sound close back, almost. refinement levels were good on both and maybe they are at par. though shure's bass did not sounded as transparent. I preferred akg's bass, thus went with it.

 

Beyerdynamic dt770 80 ohm: the midrange did not sounded richer rather recessed. so instantly put it down. so could'nt compare anything else. refinemet levels were on par though and were very high. I can see some people prefering it for its signature.

 

also tested alo audio pan am with akg q 701. awesome, lush thick rich sound. it sounded almost opposite of what people complain about q/k 701. it even had enough bass to satisfy me.

post #1497 of 2455
good thing there are extra cables that came along with my k550.best amongst them is the thickest cable.i don't know the brand but it made the k550 smoother.no more harsh highs. smily_headphones1.gif
post #1498 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by fishda View Post

I don't know the brand but it made the k550 smoother.no more harsh highs. smily_headphones1.gif

 

   How can a cable make highs smoother, is it made of "-5dB on highs material"?

post #1499 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crzomgwtf View Post

   How can a cable make highs smoother, is it made of "-5dB on highs material"?

ROFL
post #1500 of 2455

I opened my AKG 550s today.. 

 

My impression. 

Nice build quality..

Since I had my Fiio E18 already hooked up to my Note 3, I plugged into the E18..Don't think I have the right settings or the E18 was telling on the bad source files.. No problem, I went straight into the Note 3, a lot better..about equal to Sony MK2s 

 

Then I listen to a flac file, very little bass in it, but lots of highs and mids.. everything was sweet.. I don't have golden ears, so my impressions will be general.  

 

Next, I took it out the Note 3, got the O2+ODAC, and wow, seems like marriage made heaven. Everything was clear, I could hear everything. At this point, I am fully satisfied. Going to get some more flac files with bass in them to see how it handles. They seemed to be on a par with my Sony MDR 1RBTMK2.. That's good in my book..The fit was nice, I did the gentle bend of the top piece, and I mean gentle too..they are comfortable, and I took a look in the mirror, nope, they are not too big for me (old fully gray hair) to wear on the go.:cool:

Will find out how to braid the cable, and now I have my closed back headphones to use on the go.. :beerchug: 

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