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The AKG K550 Impressions and Discussion Thread! - Page 104

post #1546 of 2455
Is the current of an iPad enough to damage the K545 at full volume?
post #1547 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukalop View Post

Is the current of an iPad enough to damage the K545 at full volume?

I seriously doubt that... besides, your ears will most likely take damage long before the headphones do.
Edited by ampair - 5/28/14 at 8:48am
post #1548 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by ampair View Post

I seriously doubt that... besides, your ears will most likely take damage long before the headphones do.

I just checked out your sig. A true AKG fan smily_headphones1.gif
post #1549 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by vaibhavp View Post
 

totally black backgrounds

very precise imaging. can't believe i payed only $200 for a headphone that images so well. beats most mid fi offerings in this including most prestigious ones.

For me that is another part where k550 fails. It does not have black background to my ears. Better than cheap headphones, but compared to high end k550 has no edge. Space between players is filled with that so called "grey matter", there is no air... Compared to low end sennheiser, sure... Compared to something more sophisticated not so much. Like I've said k550 is not a bad low end headphone, and all I wan't is that it should be treated as such. And for that it is still overpriced. When the price goes down to 70usd I have nothing but praises for akg :P

post #1550 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beocord View Post

For me that is another part where k550 fails. It does not have black background to my ears. Better than cheap headphones, but compared to high end k550 has no edge.

I note the SPL Phonitor in your sig. That's a powerful amp. Powerful amps tend to have relatively high noise floors and that does play well with efficient headphones like K55x that are designed to run from low power portable players.

K55x is an unforgiving family of headphones. If there is noise either in the original recording or unwanted distortion introduced in the playback path then they will present it to you whether you want it or not. So I figure that the noise -- the not black -- that you're hearing is noise from that SPL amp. As to why you don't get that with the other headphones in your list, both the JVC and Sony headphones you list are notably higher impedance headphones and as such they are above the noise floor of your amp, and Mikros 90 is either more forgiving than K55x or not nearly as good as you want to think it is.

Quote:
And for that it is still overpriced. When the price goes down to 70usd I have nothing but praises for akg :P

I have $70 headphones. I rather like several of them. K55x is well above them in terms of build quality and well above most of them in terms of sound quality.
post #1551 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by ratinox View Post

So I figure that the noise -- the not black -- that you're hearing is noise from that SPL amp.

Agreed. Headphones don't create an audible noise floor. That's caused by electronics.
post #1552 of 2455

So, update on my AKG K550. As some of you might have read earlier, I got a faulty pair with a quiet right speaker. I'm sending them back tomorrow (not going to get a replacement because I'm going to be out of the country for summer). My initial impressions were awful, I was very disappointed. However, over the next few days, I let them run to burn-in even though I don't really believe in the process of burning-in headphones. Couple days later, I began to really dig the sound. The AKG K550's are VERY clear, and have a very clean sounding signature. The bass is definitely there, even though it's a lot more recessed than some other consumer headphones. I think part of the reason I didn't like them initially was because I came from a set of Klipsch Image Ones, which are very bass heavy headphones. I also fiddled with the sound balance on my laptop to accommodate for the fault speaker, and once I got it balanced it had pretty good soundstage. I do believe I am going to miss the K550 when I send them back :/ So, despite my initial impressions, I think the K550's are pretty good headphones. I might have to audition a few other headphones because I think I actually kinda do enjoy a warmer sound signature. Definitely consider the K550's though! I can see some people loving them for their analytical clean sound signature, and I might repurchase them in the future.

 

Quick edit: I'm still kind of skeptical about burn-in, but I do believe that something changed over the course of a couple days, either my ears grew accustomed to the sound, or the speakers actually changed a bit. I think at first they kind of had a harsh upper range akin to a mild equivalent to nails on a chalkboard, but that disappeared over the next few days. Just saying, if you do decide to try them out, give them a couple days, you might grow to like them even if you didn't originally!


Edited by helpmebuystuffp - 5/28/14 at 2:57pm
post #1553 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


Agreed. Headphones don't create an audible noise floor. That's caused by electronics.


I'm not talking about noise floor. I'm talking about that black space, dark void, instruments appearing out of thin air. You know...When the first note hits it is a surprise. I don't know how to explain it properly. Lack of that is not a complain towards k550 actually, even if akg's were sold for full price I don't think I have heard a headphone that can achieve that sensation for 300usd.

 

I don't know what is the cause for that. Maybe it has something to due with the faster decay of notes (that would rule out dx1000 which even has reverbs) or something... Overall lack of transparency. So...just to clarify, it is not a hum, or hissing or anything like that. Just the lack of overall credibility that music is presented from somewhere out there.

 

EDIT: And like I said I did not espect such from K550 but that people seem to compliment it for such performances so I just offer different opinion. K550 is just a fine capable headphone, but IMO just a bit overpriced compared to what it offers.


Edited by Beocord - 5/28/14 at 3:02pm
post #1554 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beocord View Post

So...just to clarify, it is not a hum, or hissing or anything like that. Just the lack of overall credibility that music is presented from somewhere out there.

This is commonly referred to as "soundstage" or sometimes "headstage". One of K55x's characteristics is a large (for closed headphones) sounding stage. It's not a defect; it's a defining characteristic of the headphone.

I know a few people who don't like open-sounding headphones. They don't want to be second row at Carnegie Hall. They want to be on stage with the band in a club that seats 10 people. That's fine. And if you're among them then that's fine. That doesn't make K55x a low-end headphone or a bad headphone. It's just not your headphone

Note: "transparent" has a specific meaning which doesn't apply to what you're describing. It means a device has frequency response that is flat to within 0.1dB from 20Hz to 20kHz with less than 0.05% total harmonic distortion. I'm unaware of any headphone that meets these criteria and I'm sure that if one existed it would be the worst-sounding headphone ever made. smily_headphones1.gif
post #1555 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beocord View Post
but IMO just a bit overpriced compared to what it offers.

The Techstar headphone you mentioned earlier did significantly worse when reviewed compared to the 550... Yet from your comments it appears you think the Takstar is clearly a better headphone: "I think Takstar Pro80 is better headphone".  So, how do you account for having the Takstar scoring so much worse than the 550 in review?   Search for "takstar pro80 measurements" on google and the site is the 1st hit.  Then search for the AKG review on that site, and compare the ratings between the two.  The 550 is significantly more transparent, more dynamic, has a much more vivid resolution, etc.  clearly a better headphone, how do you explain your opinion being pretty much the polar opposite?

 

It's true that as mentioned amplification might just be the issue.  A few days ago I plugged the 550s directly in my laptop and the sound changed drastically, actually, quite a bit more in line with your descriptions...  Not that it was horrible, but the bass was lacking and the treble sounded quite a bit 'meh'.  So maybe amplification is the issue?  Otherwise, I can't reconcile your comments and your opinion to my experience with the 550s.  But I think it's clear that there is an issue with what you are hearing given your description of the bass "very little", the treble "horribly undetailed", and just the overall performance/quality of the 550s... 

 

Have you ever heard Etymotics HF5, Sony V6s, Grados SR80s, Beyerdynamics 990s and AKG Q701s?

 

Quote:
I name couple headphones for half the price of original retail price of k550. Now tell me, why k500 is better?

 

Dt770 (I like akg better, but it is half the price of original msrp)

Focal Professional

Ultimate Ears UE9000

 

And if you happen to be an american (USA) I urge you to try out Martin Logan Mikros 90

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post
I'm not sure I understand your point, at least relative to US MSRP for those headphones. The DT770 are $300 MSRP, K550 $350 MSRP, Focals $399 MSRP, and UE9000 are $399 MSRP as well. It would seem that these are all pretty similar in MSRP.
Quote:
 Ah... There are big differences between eu and us prices. Akg had been close to 300 euros(now about 120e), dt770 has been for 150 for years, and focals seem so sell between 160-250 euros.  Not sure about how ue9000's were originally priced, but those are cheaper than akg's with both having lowered prices...

 

I paid $180 for my 550s: 120 euros...   Haven't heard the ones you've mentioned, but I'd rate my 550s above my Beyer 990 600 ohm premiums which cost quite a big chunk more, and having the AKG Q701s, the 550s aren't that much worse, especially given they're CLOSED headphones.  They blow away my 100$ Grados SR80s and Sony V6s. Why?  Purely based on sound quality; resolution, soundstage, mid/bass/treble balance, etc., overall performance.

 

From the rank your headphones thread: http://www.head-fi.org/t/109756/rank-the-headphones-that-you-own

Quote:
Originally Posted by rptlead View Post
 

1 - Sennhesier HD800

2 - Shure 1540

3 - BW P7

4 - Sennhesier HD598

5 - AKG K550

6 - Hifiman RE-400

7 - UE Tf10i

8 - Sennhesier Momentum On ear

9 -  BW P5

10 - Parrot Zik

11 - Klipsch Reference S4i

12 - Klipsch Custom 3

Quote:
 Originally Posted by AmericasTeam View Post

1. Shure SRH940
2. AKG K550
3. Shure SRH840
4. UE 10 Triplefi Pros
5. Future Sonic Atrios

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kvtaco17 View Post
 

Updated

 

1 HD800

2 AD2000x

3 PS500

4 K550

5 SR225is

Quote:

Originally Posted by elvergun View Post

HD800

Beyerdynamic T1
AKG K702 (Annie pads)
AKG K550

Beyerdynamic DT1350

Sennheiser PX100
Martin Logan Mikros 90
Sony MDR-7550
Vsonic GR07 MKII
T-Peos H-100
Sennheiser PX100II
Sennheiser PX200
Sennheiser MX760

Quote:
Originally Posted by AsianBatman View Post
 

AD900x > AHD2000 > A900x > AKG 550 > DT770 > HE-300

 

Originally Posted by darkasblack View Post
 

Mine. I sort out by usage.

 

Cans:

1) K550

2) T50RP (Modded)

3) DT 770 Pro LE

4) MDR-7506

5) MDR-1R
6) PortaPro

 

IEMs:

1) EPH-100

2) XBA-H1

3) XBA-3

Quote:
 
  1. HD 650
  2. ATH-AD900
  3. Pro 750
  4. W4R
  5. Custom One Pro
  6. K 550
  7. Alessandro MS1
  8. M-80
  9. HD 239
  10. PS 210
  11. PX 100-II
  12. AH-C710
  13. M2
  14. MDR-XB90EX
  15. BA100
  16. E30
  17. Atrio X
Quote:
Originally Posted by inasafeplace View Post
 

In order of preference:

 

1) Beyerdynamic T1

2) Sennheiser Momentum

3) AKG K702/Anniversary

4) Sennheiser HD598

5) AKG K242HD

6) AKG K240s

7) JVC HA-S500-Z

8) AKG K550

9) Beyerdynamic DT880 (2003)

10) KOSS KSC-75

11) AKG K271MKii

12) AKG K450

Quote:
AKG K702 (with Anniversary pads) - Wished it had just a little more bass.  A little less bass and they would be gone.

Vsonic  GR07 -  Small, portable, sound great,  great sub-bass, good isolation.  What more does a growing boy need?

AKG K550 -  Comfy, incredible sub-bass, great isolation.

Beyerdynamic  DT1350 - I would rank these higher if not for the clamping force. 

Alessandro  MS-2 -  They sound great, but they are a pain in the ass to use.

Sennheiser Momentum - Fun and beautiful.  A little too much bass or they would rank higher.

Sony MDR-7550 -  An IEM with very little isolation.  They sound great, but if a mosquito flies by, you will hear it.

Sennheiser PX100 - Probably my favorite headphone.  I take them everywhere - they have been with me for ages and I will probably ask to be buried with them on when I kick the bucket.

T-Peos  H-100 -  Really good, but they acquired a bad rep on this site.

Sennheiser MX760 - One of the best earbuds I've heard. 

Apple EarPods - Not bad...not good.  They came with my iPhone 5, so I can't complain.
Sennheiser PX200 - I don't like them much...I gave them to my girlfriend. 

 

Quote:
1st (tie) - AKG 550 (great versatility)

1st (tie) - Denon D600 (makes up for AKG 550s lack of "fun" bass)
3rd - V-Sonic GR07 BE (for daily on-the-go)
4th - Ultrasone HFI 580 (first pair of $100+ hps, obviously not the last^)

*all used with an Aune T1 dac/amp
*reference monitors - Mackie MR5s

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackula View Post
 

It really depends what I use them for.

 

For music:

1. AKG K550

2. Sennheiser HD650

3. Beyerdynamic DT770Pro 32

4. Brainwavz HM5

5. Audio Technica M50

6. Audio Technica AD700

 

For gaming & movies:

1. Beyerdynamic DT770Pro 32
2. Sennheiser HD650
3. Brainwavz HM5
4. AKG K550
5. Audio Technica M50
6. Audio Technica AD700

 

That said, I only use my AKG K550 and Beyerdynamic DT770Pro 32 interchangebly. The rest I've either sold or given them away to friends and family.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HPManiac View Post
 

HiFiMan HE-5 (Originals) - not kidding! These are not the hiss-monsters they're made out to be. Maybe I got lucky on manufacturing variation....

Audeze LCD-2 Rev2

Beyerdynamic T5p

Sennheiser HD650

AKG K550

Audio Technica ESW10Jpn

Shure SE530

Beyerdynamic DT1350

AKG K702

Beyerdynamic DT880 250ohm

UE Triple Fi 10 Pro

Etymotic ER6i

Sennheiser HD280

Audio Technica ANC7B

 

I own all of these, only listen to the top 8 now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaoturbo View Post

1.Shure 940
2.Akg k550
3. Yuin pk2
4.Grado Ms1
5.ath- m50
6. Ath Cm700
Quote:
Originally Posted by viralcow View Post
 

1. AKG K550

2. Denon AHD5000

3. Grado SR325i

4. ATH M50

5. Philips O'Neill The Stretch

 

I know it's strange, but I think the K550s sound better than my D5000s. And while the Philips seems out of place, I got them for like $15 and I think for that price it makes a decent portable. I'm really paranoid about my headphones getting scratched and it's a huge relief to just pop them on and not give a crap about bashing them against the wall and so on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curly21029 View Post
 

UPDATED: After achieving a proper seal I've been extremely satisfied with the K550.

 

There's been more, but the following are the headphones that I feel I've had in-house for long enough and spent enough head time with to draw a conclusive assessment of their overall performance:

 

 

1.   Sennheiser HD600 w/Cardas cable -- There's simply nothing "wrong" that they do to my ears.

 
2.   Ultrasone Edition 8 -- Stunning from top to bottom with the right chain of components and after accruing some hours on the drivers.  Middling without the prerequisites met.
 

3.   Stock Sennheiser HD600 -- Still great with the stock cable and even a touch more airy than the Cardas, but tonal weight across the board is noticeably lacking in comparison.

 

4.   AKG K550 -- Addictive clarity combined with a great sense of space for a closed headphone.  A bit thin sounding unamped, but when paired with complimentary components that sufficiently stimulate the drivers they're analytically-inclined goodness.  Absolutely requires a good seal to perform to their potential.

 

5.   Grado HF-2 -- Beautifully done bass perfomance.  Not the most "accurate" sound, but thoroughly engaging and enjoyable.

 

6.   Terminator V4 -- A variation on the Darth concept, the midrange is moved forward (still a touch recessed, however) and the bass is reduced a few decibels.  It's still incredibly fun, however, and is the closest I've heard to a headphone sounding like a room of loudspeakers.

 

7.   Darth Beyer V3 -- Possibly the most "fun" headphone on this list, it's the undisputed king of bass.  Beautiful tonal enhancement with some records and a horrible match with others.

 

8.   Ultrasone HFI-580 -- Vastly underrated and often mis-labeled as a purely "basshead can" in my opinion, it has a very clean, detail-oriented sound that's a touch bright of neutral.  Prone to over-amplification but opens up nicely with the right amount.

 

9.   AIAIAI TMA-1 -- A functional fashion statement, they're definitely tuned for DJs with their forward mids and treble.  Add some EQ to the high frequencies and they come to life nicely.  A smooth sound from top to bottom that's still nicely detailed.

 

10.  Koss KSC75 -- Possibly the best "bang for the buck" on this list, they can be found for around $15!  Lacking in extension on both ends, but overall a nice tonal balance and acceptable clarity.  I've always liked clip-on headphones for the gym and these are by far the best I've owned. (although, I refuse to invest in something that'll definitely be getting banged around)  A perfect headphone for those of us who want good portable sound but see portable hi-fi as having a poor return on investment.

 

11.  AKG K271s -- The can that brought me to Head-Fi, they do well on the details and never sound like they "enhance" a particular frequency.  Bass presence is lacking and they can sound sterile, however.

 

12.  Ultimate Ears TripleFi 10 -- These could possibly be a few spots higher on my list, but I'm simply not a fan of IEMs due to comfort/fit.  Nice clarity overall but soundstaging was the smallest on this list and treble was too emphasized to my ears.

 

13.  Audio Technica ATH-M50 -- A bit of excitement in the bass, (NOT basshead material though, in my opinion) slightly recessed mids, and some grain in the high end.  Otherwise a great value.

 

14.  Grado RS-1 -- No disrespect to these much-lauded headphones, but they certainly weren't for me.  A small, congested sound with biting highs.  I went in optimistically expecting a more refined HF-2, but I just couldn't find much of anything to like beyond the aesthetics in all honesty.

 

15.  ALO-Modded Ultrasone HFI-780 (ALO-780J) -- Waaaaaay too forward and metallic treble for my liking, reaching a sufficient listening level was a chore.  I've never heard these stock, but if they're half as aggressive as these they'd likely end up in the same position.

 

16.  Ultrasone PRO-900 -- More comfortable than the HFI series offerings, but with serrated treble akin to the ALO-780J and some of the most problematic bass I've heard on a headphone.  Simplistic, non-trebly electronic music sounds fine, but deviating from that niche caused these to transform into an amalgamation of highly unnatural/painful treble, uncontrolled bass, thin mids and excess grain.

 

Anyway, there's quite a bit more there, but I'm getting bored.  But clearly, many do not seem to agree with your evaluation of the 550s... Compare the prices of the headphones above and below the 550s, you won't find many above it costing less, and you'll find many costing the same or more ranked below them...  Hell, you'll find many quite popular/well regarded headphones below. 


Edited by GirgleMirt - 5/28/14 at 5:28pm
post #1556 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by GirgleMirt View Post

It's true that as mentioned amplification might just be the issue.  A few days ago I plugged the 550s directly in my laptop and the sound changed drastically, actually, quite a bit more in line with your descriptions... 

This is almost certainly an impedance issue. The "headphone" jacks on most computer sound cards have very high output impedances, from 10 ohms to 10 kilohms and sometimes more. Rule of thumb: you want your headphone's nominal impedance to be at least 8 times the output impedance of the amplifier. 10 times 8 is 80 ohms. That's much higher than K55x's 32 ohms nominal impedance. That's going to cause severe bass roll-off.

If bad impedance matching is the cause of @Beocord's dislike rather than K55x being so open, well, that's not AKG's fault. FWIW, I double-checked the specs on the SPL Phonitor. The headphone out jack is 9 ohms according to SPL's data sheet. That's too high for K55x. Same problem as the computer sound card: severe bass roll-off.

A poor seal from the pads would exacerbate the problem and make for hollow-sounding music. I think this better explains @Beocord's experiences than simple dislike.
post #1557 of 2455

Re: The first post, and getting a good seal. After doing a bit of bending, and unsuccessfully trying dxanex's rubberbands-around-the-pads method on my K551, I noticed how little finger pressure was needed to press the cups inwards and make a good seal.

 

I tried wrapping a long rubber-band from on top of the headband, around the sides and under the cups, like this:

 

http://imgur.com/E4zVbnD

 

It works, I get a good seal (YMMV), and makes me really appreciate self-adjusting headbands. Most people won't need a lot of tension in the rubber band, and you can adjust the rubber band with a bit of coated steel wire, as seen in the picture.

post #1558 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beocord View Post


I'm not talking about noise floor. I'm talking about that black space, dark void, instruments appearing out of thin air. You know...When the first note hits it is a surprise. I don't know how to explain it properly. Lack of that is not a complain towards k550 actually, even if akg's were sold for full price I don't think I have heard a headphone that can achieve that sensation for 300usd.

I still don't know what you mean then. Sorry. Blackness to me is more an affect of completely silent electronics, even at a level I think that is below audible hiss, where you might not realize the noise is there except in comparison to better electronics.
Quote:
Maybe it has something to due with the faster decay of notes

I wouldn't think so. Decay is not really about how they appear, but how the notes disappear. Perhaps it's particular linear response through a certain part of the frequency range that gives you a precise of note rendering that has that effect?
post #1559 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by ratinox View Post


I note the SPL Phonitor in your sig. That's a powerful amp. Powerful amps tend to have relatively high noise floors and that does play well with efficient headphones like K55x that are designed to run from low power portable players.

K55x is an unforgiving family of headphones. If there is noise either in the original recording or unwanted distortion introduced in the playback path then they will present it to you whether you want it or not. So I figure that the noise -- the not black -- that you're hearing is noise from that SPL amp. As to why you don't get that with the other headphones in your list, both the JVC and Sony headphones you list are notably higher impedance headphones and as such they are above the noise floor of your amp, and Mikros 90 is either more forgiving than K55x or not nearly as good as you want to think it is.
I have $70 headphones. I rather like several of them. K55x is well above them in terms of build quality and well above most of them in terms of sound quality.

 

I said I was out of this thread, but it seems like "constructive criticism is allowed. I had brand new AKG K550s, and my Sony bluetooth headphones were much better sounding then the AKG k550,  Plus the Sony was on bluetooth, and the K550 was blowing thrown an amp.. Still the Sony prevail.. Well, the Sony has a price point higher the AKG K550.

I returned my brand new AKG K550, and I only paid $143 for them with a coupon code for 40%..

 

I reported this here, in a respectful manner, and was kindly asked to leave.

post #1560 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by cehowardNote3 View Post

and was kindly asked to leave.
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