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The AKG K550 Impressions and Discussion Thread! - Page 2

post #16 of 2467
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by madelvice View Post

Just got my pair yesterday.  Mostly happy.  The bass sounds good but it feels just out of reach.  Also, finding a good fit has been (unsurprisingly) difficult.  I'm thinking about buying this but I'm worried it's too long:http://www.amazon.com/Replacement-Leatherette-function-Sennheiser-Beyerdynamic/dp/B00862522A



Anyone have thoughts/tried something else?


Ha!  I made mention of using a Beyer headband pad in the old thread.  Honestly, after tweaking the fit I have little to complain about concerning comfort and have no need to purchase one.


Regarding bass performance, when running these unamped I find both quantity and quality to be sufficient.  Ran through my Icon HD, however, the low-end rumble is on a different level.  They thankfully don't turn into a bloated mess, but instead bass-heavy content gives my ear canals that exciting tickle/massage without giving up any articulation.  As a revision to the statement in my original post, after more extensive listening I've concluded that these are actually giving me MORE bass quantity than my HD600.  The Senn is the more "musical" of the two to my ears thanks to its smooth presentation, but the K550 is the more articulate and better nuanced headphone with greater detail and more precise placement within the soundstage.


As an aside, I must state that I couldn't be happier with my decision to give up a pursuit of perfection and "downgrade."  While there are better performing high-end/priced options, finding great kit at reasonable prices has helped to remind me how quickly the law of diminishing returns kicks in with personal audio... and also how under-performing some headphones are at any price point. o2smile.gif

post #17 of 2467

Great start to an appreciation thread, Curly.

Edited by Katun - 6/20/12 at 3:19pm
post #18 of 2467

Also, I've found that by tilting the headband a little forward I get a better fit.  I think it's because the front of my head is a little smaller and flatter.  Anyway, something to try out.

post #19 of 2467

Edit: Removed incorrect shiny-new-toy impression.


Verdict: These headphones are by no means worth $300. Maybe $150-ish... and that's assuming they fix the painful treble resonance/spike issues. Another way to put it: At $300, I would not be particularly proud to show these off to a friend as an alternate to some headphones that will go un-named (yeah, those), because even these are overpriced (albeit not as much obviously). 


I liked them at first while I was under shiny-new-toy syndrome, but even then I realized the treble resonance issues. I bought these because I WANTED them to sound good; they have the perfect form factor I wanted, they isolate reasonably well, they're fairly light, run without amping, look beautiful, etc. They had everything I wanted for a portable headphone except one major flaw:


They don't sound that great. To be fair I really like the sound signature, minus the treble peaks. However I have to say I much prefer the Shure SRH940. Although the SRH940 is more colored IMO, its treble is much superior, and the rest of the spectrum is the same or better overall. The problem with the SRH940 is just that it's unbalanced/colored and lacks bass -- but these K550s aren't exactly bass monsters either.


Honestly I'd love to just keep my SRH940s as portables, if it wasn't for the fact that they don't fit on my head. Well, I'll be returning these, and continuing my search for decent portable headphones.

Edited by ac500 - 7/6/12 at 10:16pm
post #20 of 2467

LOL, this is supposed to be an appreciation thread.


BTW, the K550s are not portable headphones by any means.


Perhaps you can end your search with the Senheiser Amperiors.  Don't sound as good as the AKG K550s...but by far the best portable headphones i've ever owned.

post #21 of 2467
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by danielbarakat View Post

LOL, this is supposed to be an appreciation thread.


True, but everyone is still entitled to their opinion. (even if it does solely consist of the verbatim sentiments perpetuated by hype-meisters...)


As an update to my original post, I've since removed the cotton from the earpads.  After some time, I found that the extra stuffing added too much rigidity causing mild discomfort to my jawline.  I'd still recommend bending the headband, but YMMV with pad-tweaking.


In addition, some recordings containing high frequencies have proven troublesome for my ears when listening through the K550.  Mind you, I'm not sensationalizing my experiences as "treble spikes of death," but rather as isolated issues I've had with some solo violin and crash cymbal recordings.  The thinnest of high-pitched frequencies are simply put too far forward for my liking relative to the rest of the tonal spectrum.  I've done a bit of playing with damping (not that I in any way claim to be mod-savvy) and was able to soften this effect somewhat with some (completely reversible) felt behind the driver.


Entirely personal preference, but I've also yearned for a more immediately engaging experience.  The K550's presentation is unique to most sealed headphones in that it puts a good distance between you and the music.  I'd rate it an excellent fit for critical listening, but when one wishes to simply shut out the world and get lost in an album's tenor it falls a few steps behind the smooth, enveloping presentation of the HD600. (for example)


Framed by the above, I'm currently searching for an alternative.  However, I'm still listening to my K550 and enjoying (nearly) every minute of it.  I still consider it to be a great headphone and, at street price, an excellent value for what it does well.  For those who appreciate having the ability to peer into the content and dissect the individual components of a piece it comes recommended.


...and it does look damn sexy.

post #22 of 2467

I haven't had to make any modifications since I have a big head.  Yeah yeah, that's what she said.  i know.


But I wanted to bump this thread in hopes that many more have now had a chance to try these out.


I personally love my AKG K550s.  They require significant burn-in at very high volumes, so please be patient.  And as many others have said before me, they are big, and fit big.  So if you are cranially challenged, stay away from these.  That being said...


Soundstage is the best I've heard out of any closed-back cans.

Sound signature is very balanced...after a few minor tweaks to the equalizer.

They isolate about as good as any pair of headphones I've ever tried.

The quality is top notch.  Band is a thick medal.  The design is gorgeous.


Initially, I had issues with a mid-high freq grinding.  This has gone away over time.  Still some heavy metal songs still brings out the unwanted grinding noise, but the effect and # of occurences has all but gone away.


The other issue i had was a weird pain when songs hit a certain note.  It's almost like the pain I feel when I hear a dog whistle.  This effect THANK GOD has also gone away with burn in.  In fact, it has completely gone away.


These are now my traveling cans.  With the UDG case I got for them, they stow in a backpack/carry-on pretty well.  But they are not portable in the sense of a set of amperiors/25-1s, or say a beyer dt1350.


These take nurturing(aka burn-in) to achieve greatness, but with patience and care, they will deliver a very balanced satisfying experience. 

Edited by Eargasmo - 9/7/12 at 3:20am
post #23 of 2467

I got the AKG K550 about two weeks ago and been using them since that time. Gotta say that I love them. I personally did not experience any seal issues at all with them, so I guess I must be in the lucky group of people with an AKG-approved head size. 


I've been using them at work in the studio, at home and also as portables during my commute. They excel at every single of these applications. They might not be the tiniest of headphones but they don't actually look too bulky on my head and I personally find them to be great as portables. The great reference-level sound is worth it.

post #24 of 2467

Interesting about the above I gave my K550s a good burn in and after 2 weeks they sound more better,  but I listened to some high volumes

and they seem even better.... so perhaps a good burn in with high volumes may bring them out even more :)


I still find the soundstage on my Audio Technica A900s larger,  could be the drivers 53mm? or angeled driver maybe responsible,  but my

K550s are still alot more accurate and cleaner sounds and isolation is night and day compared to the AT A900s.

post #25 of 2467

Hello!  I'm back after a few years away living happily with Beyer DT250's.  Those phones now reside in a dorm room with my older son, who grew to appreciate their high quality... he was very appreciative when I told him he could take them to college.


So that meant I needed new cans, and your honest comments on the K550's made me want to take a closer listen.  I'm now the proud owner of a pair, currently "burning in" in the sound booth here at work.  They're a bit rough out of the box, but with some break-in I'm confident they'll be just what I was looking for.  And I have a big melon, so a good seal around the ears has not been a problem!


So thanks for the honest opinions, you've made a new K550 lover!

post #26 of 2467

Please see below post by CantSeeMe. I find this very interesting. Can anyone comment on this?





"Out of all of these headphones, the k550 is very unique in one aspect. The clamp is adjustable. Yes, I'll say that again. Without any mods at all, the completely new out of the box akg k550 allows, by design, for us to adjust the clamping force the headphone exerts on our heads.


How and why?

This is simple. You see the actual earcups can be moved in both the up/down and right/left directions (read below) BUT each 'change' you make to the inclination of the pads require application of actual force- using your hands. This is especially true for the up/down movement. Unlike other headphones where the cups are attached to a loose swivel hinges, these won't change shape once on your head as the force required to make this change, to make the earcups move, is far greater than the outward (normal) force that your head can provide- so there is no movement.

All this is largely independant of how you use the headphones left and right size meter (how big your head is!). 3 clicks on either side or 5, you can still change the clamp of the headphone by moving the earcups."

post #27 of 2467

I find the rotation of the ear cups stiff, but I would not describe them this way.... the cups still swivel to conform the the shape of my head.  That said, I must have a big head because I've had no problem with a bad seal/poor bass.  Pressing the cups to my head makes no difference to me;  It may emphasize the midrange a bit because the drivers are running out of space in front of my ears.

post #28 of 2467
Originally Posted by RP2X View Post

Interesting about the above I gave my K550s a good burn in and after 2 weeks they sound more better,  but I listened to some high volumes

and they seem even better.... so perhaps a good burn in with high volumes may bring them out even more :)


I still find the soundstage on my Audio Technica A900s larger,  could be the drivers 53mm? or angeled driver maybe responsible,  but my

K550s are still alot more accurate and cleaner sounds and isolation is night and day compared to the AT A900s.

Aye, I've never owned a pair of headphones that reacted so drastically to burn-in.  And for those no-believers, trust me!!! it wasn't me getting used to the sound.

post #29 of 2467

I've had my K550s since April or May (can't really remember) and I always use it anywhere even outside. It's my main portable headphone because I really like the fairly good isolation and surprisingly wide soundstage for a closed headphone and the nicely done and fairly tight bottom end. Main criticism for me is the highly harsh treble, thin vocals with lots of siblance and sensitive fitment but other than those problems, it's quite a nice headphone that goes really well with electronic music.

One thing that I found out about the K550 is that it scales well to amps and to my ears the K550 straight through an iPod jack doesn't give it's true potential. It pairs very well with my HP-P1 but I do think that it fits best with desktop amps. I tried it once through a Schiit Asgard amp (via line out from HP-P1) and my god did it change everything. It sounded a lot more dynamic, a lot more fun, more textured and detailed and best of all, the annoying treble went from harsh to tolerable.

post #30 of 2467

I have been quite unsure about the k550 due to some people calling them bass-weak, especially as someone coming from a pair of bass modded HD448s.

But as soon as I put them on and started listening I completely fell in love with them. I never thought I would hear that much more out of my music! Every song just sounds so much more detailed with the k550's, and because they are so well-balanced, they work well with pretty much all genres. For me as a listener of more modern music, I fully approve these cans. The bass is definitely there, not in the foreground, but existent in large amounts of detail. And this is what makes a reference level Headphone. Not leaning towards bright/muddy, but bringing up the whole sound to the next level of detail and fullness.
Just adding my 2 cents to this.



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