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The AKG K550 Impressions and Discussion Thread! - Page 107

post #1591 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by ratinox View Post


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

 Sorry it took me a while to reply. I'm not talking about soundstage. I'm not talking about in your face or out there presentation. I don't know how to explain it. I know what soundstage is and I prefer large soundstage. I'm not in your face front row kind of person at all. I love huge soundstage. It is one of the most important aspects in a headphone for me. That is one of the reasons k550 was disappointing. To my years more distant presentation with huge soundstage gives more speaker like presentation. And when people talk that k550 has a big soundstage it makes me disagree.

 

To my ears Takstar Pro80 has a a larger soundstage for a closed can, significantly more expensive dx1000 has even larger. T1 has a nice soundstage for a semi open. So does dt880. Sa5000 has a small soundstage atleast for a semi open, but it has so much credibility and pinpoint accuracy that k550 lacks imo.

 

I'm not saying that k550 is a bad headphone. But I don't think it is that good either. Pro80 has more bass and bigger soundstage. Pro80 has over boosted highs, k550 has other problems with the highs. I'd say these two are quite evenly matched (allthough I personally prefer funner sound of pro80) but considering pro80 is half the price there is no contest.

 

I'll try to explain the "blackness" I mentioned before. Imagine a performance with cellist on the right doing his thing. Suddenly there is viola on the left and when the viola player started you can immediately tell the empty space and distance between the cellist and the viola player. All the sudden there is a third guy with a violin at the center and you can easily tell he is way deeper on the stage and you can tell he is 2 meter away from the viola player and 3 meters from the cellist. Then you hear a triangle on way way back and all of a sudden whole orchestra joins in somewhere between the triangle player and the violinist. All those players and sounds came out of nothingness, music appearing out of thin air. You can sense the space between each player. You can hear it so clearly that you can easily visualize it all in you'r mind. For me K550 doesn't do it. Not that any affordable headphone does.

 

Those kind of things are something that most people don't even pay attention. And you don't know of that stuff unles you have heard a system that is capable of doing that. You don't miss something that you have not heard. For the price K550 sells it is not even supposed to be capable of that. Not even for it's original price. That lack of "blackness" and realism was something I thouhgt should be brough into this convertisation. K550 gets so much praise that I thought it was about time this was discussed. It is a nice headphone. Decent at it's price range. But to achieve more it is not going to happen with k550.

 

It is likely that I would be more mercifull to k550 if it did not have such rave review. I expected alot only to find it to be on level of pro80, hm5 and other well known cheaper closed backs.

 

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

 

I have not heard Etymotics or V6. I did audition sr80, I liked it but though it was not worth the price. To my ears Takstar HI2050 sounded clearly better for third of the price. I did have sr125 which was on par with hi2050 but especially for more realistic soundstage I would go for HI2050.  I did own some old DT990. It was nice but I sold it after a week. Compared to DT880 premium 600ohm it was disappointing. I've never heard Q701 but I did own K701.  I greatly preferred hd600 to akg's.

 

Quote:
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

First time I've heard that defination. For me transparency means the ability to hear/see into the music. The way you forget your gear and only music is left.

post #1592 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beocord View Post

All those players and sounds came out of nothingness, music appearing out of thin air. You can sense the space between each player. You can hear it so clearly that you can easily visualize it all in you'r mind. For me K550 doesn't do it. Not that any affordable headphone does.

This is not "black". Black when describing sound means silence, as in no amplifier or other equipment noise. When the music stops and you hear nothing? That's black. What you've described is something else. It's called sound localization.

It's all in your head. Literally. I can do that with any stereo headphone. It's easier with a crossfeed circuit or filter, easier still with binaural recordings (duh), and it's easier with some headphones than others, but as long as it's not a mono signal being played I usually can locate sound sources pretty accurately. That's just how my brain works.

Quote:
First time I've heard that defination. For me transparency means the ability to hear/see into the music. The way you forget your gear and only music is left.

See, when you use words that have well-defined meanings in ways that have nothing to do with those meanings and you don't tell us what you're talking about then we can't help but not understand what you're on about.
post #1593 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beocord View Post
 

I did audition sr80, I liked it but though it was not worth the price. I did have sr125 which was on par with hi2050 but especially for more realistic soundstage.

 

Explains a lot for me and no longer care about your opinion on the K550.

post #1594 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by ratinox View Post


Actually, audio isn't subjective at all. It's a well defined, well understood science. Much of the problem lies in the ambiguity and hyperbole of audiophile jargon. I've had people here on head-fi insist that a firmware change on iBasso DX50 sounded "completely different" from the prior version. I didn't measure it but I figured it was a half dB increase from around 100Hz to around 1kHz. But a half dB change is "completely different". Nonsense. But that's how some audiophiles are: any perceptible change no matter how small is "like night and day" or "completely different".

 

Nonsense.  We don't understand our how our ears and brain decipher sound yet, not completely.  It's not a well defined understanding.  We also know hearing like sight is highly influenced by outside factors.  So again, nonsense.  Your brain is not an objective testing equipment, it can easily be influenced to hear what's not there.  And to deny that is to deny being human.

post #1595 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beocord View Post
 

 

I'll try to explain the "blackness" I mentioned before. Imagine a performance with cellist on the right doing his thing. Suddenly there is viola on the left and when the viola player started you can immediately tell the empty space and distance between the cellist and the viola player. All the sudden there is a third guy with a violin at the center and you can easily tell he is way deeper on the stage and you can tell he is 2 meter away from the viola player and 3 meters from the cellist. Then you hear a triangle on way way back and all of a sudden whole orchestra joins in somewhere between the triangle player and the violinist. All those players and sounds came out of nothingness, music appearing out of thin air. You can sense the space between each player. You can hear it so clearly that you can easily visualize it all in you'r mind. For me K550 doesn't do it. Not that any affordable headphone does.


which headphone are you talking about?

 

I don't expect anything less than $1000 with proper setup, easily exceeding total cost $2000.

 

people use fiio e10 with k550 totaling like $300.

 

cant understand what you are trying to say.

post #1596 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSandDigital View Post
 

 

Explains a lot for me and no longer care about your opinion on the K550.


Ha, Grado bashing for no reason!

post #1597 of 2455

Oh and I'll just leave this here...

 

http://www.head-fi.org/a/describing-sound-a-glossary

post #1598 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGiantHogweed View Post
 

It seems to me that quite a lot of people think that the K550s aren't very good value for money. I live in the UK and I paid £129.99 and I think that they are good value. Yes, my open backed Audio Technica ATH-AD700s cost me £87 and they do sound better but they aren't built as well.

If you use the K550s as portable headphones like I do, can you really get much better sound for the price they are available for in some places? I understand that it is the seal on these headphones that lets the sound down for many people on these headphones. It works no problem for me. I don't really notice the bass increase when I push against the ear cups. I do agree that the bass is a bit on the light weight side but not very because if I compare them to my AD700s, it is them that really are bass light. I use my Fiio E10 at my desk and use the bass boost if I am wanting more weight or power to the bass. It does a good job at that. I also find that what you plug these headphones into really makes a difference. If I have them directly into the front of my PC, they do sound quite flat but on the E10 even without the bass boost on, the sound has been improved a huge amount. Must be a very good DAC. When I travel, I use the Fiio X3 and this is when I boost the bass a lot because I notice the bass being drowned out by background noise so I have the bass between 6 and 10 on the X3 depending on the type of music.

 

What makes these headphones much better for me than my AD700s is that they don't leak sound and they are much more portable and its not like the sound quality of the K550s is a huge amount worse than my others.

 

The only thing that actually went wrong with my K550s was a faulty left driver. It just started to distort and rattle every time there was any heavy bass. I sent them back to the store I got them from and they got send back to AKG and got back to the store in just over a week. Very good service.

 

I must have just been a bit unlucky because they have lasted much longer ever since the driver got replaced. 

 

 

 

For me, as I said, I think they are decent value for money.

 

Well I do agree with you. The AKG K550 headphones give you terrific sound quality and isolation. There are better sounding headphones of course, but it is hard to find headphones that offer this combination of sound quality and isolation. I have never found the K550s to be bass light, however I will say that I don't listen to music with really heavy bass. Amongst my own collection of headphones the K550s are the ones I turn to if I want bass with some weight to it ☺

 

I have found AKG in the UK to be good with replacing anything that is broken. They are fast and efficient.

post #1599 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beocord View Post

For me K550 doesn't do it. Not that any affordable headphone does.

. . . .

That lack of "blackness" and realism was something I thouhgt should be brough into this convertisation. K550 gets so much praise that I thought it was about time this was discussed.

Why? If no headphone in even close to its price can do this, what's the point of discussing it???? This is like saying that there needs to be discussion about how USDA Choice Sirloin doesn't taste like Kobi beef Sirloin. Seems a given and a waste of time. LOL
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beocord View Post

To my ears Takstar Pro80 has a a larger soundstage for a closed can, significantly more expensive dx1000 has even larger. T1 has a nice soundstage for a semi open. So does dt880. Sa5000 has a small soundstage atleast for a semi open, but it has so much credibility and pinpoint accuracy that k550 lacks imo.

I'm not saying that k550 is a bad headphone. But I don't think it is that good either. Pro80 has more bass and bigger soundstage. Pro80 has over boosted highs, k550 has other problems with the highs. I'd say these two are quite evenly matched (allthough I personally prefer funner sound of pro80) but considering pro80 is half the price there is no contest.

....

I have not heard Etymotics or V6. I did audition sr80, I liked it but though it was not worth the price. To my ears Takstar HI2050 sounded clearly better for third of the price. I did have sr125 which was on par with hi2050 but especially for more realistic soundstage I would go for HI2050. 

It seems that your opinions are based on the fact that you like the Takstars for their price/performance value, and that other headphones that are twice or three times as much just don't measure up to that price/performance value (I think you have even pointed this out before). Nothing wrong with that, but there are many, many people on Head-Fi who are willing to spend more money for decreasing rates of returns on price/performance value. I just don't get the point of critiquing a headphone when one has that sort of perspective. For instance, I don't care for Apple products. They are not for me. And it just doesn't make sense for me to hang out in any Apple appreciation/discussion threads as it's me that's the problem, not the product. Same for some headphones. Really dark headphones with that bass that bleeds into the lower mids are not for me. So my evaluations are not helpful to others.

So dude, I think it's you, not the K550s. Why aren't you posting in the Takstar thread instead smily_headphones1.gif
post #1600 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSandDigital View Post

Nonsense.  We don't understand our how our ears and brain decipher sound yet, not completely.  It's not a well defined understanding.  We also know hearing like sight is highly influenced by outside factors.  So again, nonsense.

We don't fully understand why the human brain works the way it does but that's something different from how sound works which is quite well understood. We've understood it for going on 80 years. I point at the work the many engineers at Bell Labs in the 1930s. For example, Messrs. Fletcher and Munson, famous for the Fletcher-Munson equal loudness curves. Good headphones sound good because of their work. Another example, Messrs. Nyquist and Shannon, famous for the Nyquist-Shannon sampling theorem that makes digital audio encoding and decoding possible.

I stand by my statement: audio is a well defined, well understood science.

Quote:
Your brain is not an objective testing equipment, it can easily be influenced to hear what's not there. And to deny that is to deny being human.

This is a well-understood phenomenon. Performers, tricksters, charlatans, politicians, dictators and the PMRC have been using it and taking advantage of it for millennia (the PMRC not so long). The Audio Myths Workshop video on Youtube some good sound-oriented examples. I highly recommend watching it.
post #1601 of 2455

We're on the same page then.  Since this is a headphone forum and not just sound reproduction forum, sound being a well defined science doesn't have the impact that it should.  Since we are discussing headphones, our perception of sound through the K550.  Blanket statements from some in this thread about K550 can't be trusted, which just falls back to, listen and buy what you like.  Someone who enjoys the Grado sound clearly has a very different way of enjoying sound and music than I do.  And don't even bother with the big name sound magazines, clearly the advertising revenue is having more impact on their hearing than the equipment they are reviewing.

 

If you don't like the sound of a headphone, you're right, you're probably not going to hear all the nuances and details of the music as you would with a headphone that you do enjoy the sound.  You're probably not going to think that headphone is that great.  Congratulations with that observation.  Pat yourself on the back, K550 whiners, job well done!


Edited by SSandDigital - 6/15/14 at 4:39pm
post #1602 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSandDigital View Post

We're on the same page then.  Since this is a headphone forum and not just sound reproduction forum, sound being a well defined science doesn't have the impact that it should.  Since we are discussing headphones, our perception of sound through the K550.  Blanket statements from some in this thread about K550 can't be trusted, which just falls back to, listen and buy what you like. Someone who enjoys the Grado sound clearly has a very different way of enjoying sound and music than I do.

One of the reasons why K550 -- or any headphone -- sounds the way it does is because of the work of Fletcher and Munson. The frequency response curve of any decent headphone isn't a straight, flat line because we know that human beings perceive certain frequencies as being louder than others even though they are equally loud (equal energy). A "perfect" headphone would have a curve that when adjusted for equal loudness would produce sounds that are perceived to be as flat as a good loudspeaker. You can't simply ignore this. Well, you can, but should you? I don't think so.

I put perfect in quotes because a perfect headphone doesn't exist. No two people hear the same thing precisely the same, and that's not counting things like conditioning and illusions. It's all good enough, for whatever value of "enough" you want to spend your money on. smily_headphones1.gif

Quote:
And don't even bother with the big name sound magazines, clearly the advertising revenue is having more impact on their hearing than the equipment they are reviewing.

But is Head-Fi all that different (points at the sponsors link at the top). Bets as to how soon that quip gets me banned? redface.gif
post #1603 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by ratinox View Post


One of the reasons why K550 -- or any headphone -- sounds the way it does is because of the work of Fletcher and Munson. The frequency response curve of any decent headphone isn't a straight, flat line because we know that human beings perceive certain frequencies as being louder than others even though they are equally loud (equal energy). A "perfect" headphone would have a curve that when adjusted for equal loudness would produce sounds that are perceived to be as flat as a good loudspeaker. You can't simply ignore this. Well, you can, but should you? I don't think so.

I put perfect in quotes because a perfect headphone doesn't exist. No two people hear the same thing precisely the same, and that's not counting things like conditioning and illusions. It's all good enough, for whatever value of "enough" you want to spend your money on. smily_headphones1.gif
But is Head-Fi all that different (points at the sponsors link at the top). Bets as to how soon that quip gets me banned? redface.gif


What you said interested me. Do my years perceive some frequencies better? Don't know, since most of the phones I owned were fairly neutral.

post #1604 of 2455

So, can only say the stock cable on the K551 is astonishingly bad.  Here it is recabled.  They sound much better, but I'm thinking it's because I have a lot more confidence and enjoyment using them with cables that I don't think will tear apart.

 

FYI:  Wires courtesy of DoubleHelixCables.  Plug is a Switchcraft.

 

post #1605 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by KlarkKentThe3rd View Post
 


What you said interested me. Do my years perceive some frequencies better? Don't know, since most of the phones I owned were fairly neutral.

 

I definitely would think the sound signature of your equipment would influence how you hear.  You'll be a lot more sensitive to pronounced frequencies or recessed.  And of course your senses can be trained to be more aware of different things that maybe others wouldn't even be aware of, sensitive to or looking for.  I certainly don't have trained ears to do professional work!

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