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AKG K550 or Shure SHR-840?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hi everybody,

 

It has been a few weeks now that I have been looking for new headphones.

I am hesitating between the AKG K550 and the Shure SHR-840. I am not an audiophile at all and that is the reason why I hope you guys can help me choosing the ones that fit better to me.

 

I mostly listen to rock music (especially/only progressive rock), but also to piano, jazz and classical (but it is more uncommon). I am also attached to electronic music (artists like Air, Tycho, Boards of Canada) and electronica/trance (this genre is not really my first priority). At least, a very few pop music.

 

About headphones themselves. I am expecting to use them during long time periods (basically hours), that is why the more comfortable they are, the better it is! Tired of breaking my old in-ear headphones, I am also looking for a detachable (good point for the Shure) or at least a strong cable (hope the AKG have one, could you confirm that?). A high depth sensation would definitively be a plus. There has to be at least a little isolation (not necessarily an incredible one though). I am not attached to mobility (just want a strong product that works for 3 to 5 years at least).

 

A few questions about these

- (again), what about the AGK's cable solidity?

- do they need an amp? If so, could you indicate me some (it also has to be a DAC, it is important!), whether portable or desktop ones for less than $150/200?

 

Obviously, I may have missed other interesting headphones and if it is the case, please let me know your opinion (I also have been hesitating between Focal Spirit One, Audio Technica ATH-M50, AGK 271 MKII...)

 

Thanks in advance and sorry for my English, hope you well understood overall.

 

(I have read another topic where almost the same question was asked. But the poster did care about bass, which I don't especially)


Edited by Weirstrass - 6/18/12 at 11:59am
post #2 of 9

Beware the AKG 550s have fit and sealing issues, you pretty much need a big head or they dont seal well and fit very losely, but on the other side of the coin they sound fantastic.  Im sure others will chime in on your other picks.

post #3 of 9

You'll want to amp both of them.  I have had very good luck with the little HiFiMan EF2A hybrid desktop top--$169 shipped at Amazon (US).

 

The AKG is about 2x the price of the Shure here.  It is clearly the better value.  For sound purposes, you might be best served by the Shure SRH 940, which can also be had here for significantly less than the well regarded AKG.  However, the build quality of the 940 is suspect.

post #4 of 9

During recent NYC meet heard K550 with Burson 160D and Cowon A3 player and they lacking deep bass you need for classical or jazz

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hello, thank you for your suggestions!

 

- I compared the AKG K550s, Shure SRH-840s and 940s based on a frequency response graph. I don't know if it is a real-value indicator but, on the graph, the Shure 940s and the AKGs were pretty at the same low frequency level. However, the 840s were clearly "louder" in this area. My question would be : is the AKGs' bass that low? Can it be fixed using an amp?

- Also, there is another point to consider. I have just take a look at the prices in the US. As you said, the AKGs are almost twice more expansive than the Shure 840s. Nevertheless, here in Europe, we have an online retailer which proposes the AKG K550s at a very attractive price! (~$30 more expansive than the Shure 840s). For instance, the Shure 940s are even more expansive than the AKGs... Considering that, do you stick to the 940s even if theoretically, the question of bass is quite the same with the AKGs? 

post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Weirstrass View Post

Hello, thank you for your suggestions!

 

- I compared the AKG K550s, Shure SRH-840s and 940s based on a frequency response graph. I don't know if it is a real-value indicator but, on the graph, the Shure 940s and the AKGs were pretty at the same low frequency level. However, the 840s were clearly "louder" in this area. My question would be : is the AKGs' bass that low? Can it be fixed using an amp?

- Also, there is another point to consider. I have just take a look at the prices in the US. As you said, the AKGs are almost twice more expansive than the Shure 840s. Nevertheless, here in Europe, we have an online retailer which proposes the AKG K550s at a very attractive price! (~$30 more expansive than the Shure 840s). For instance, the Shure 940s are even more expansive than the AKGs... Considering that, do you stick to the 940s even if theoretically, the question of bass is quite the same with the AKGs? 

 

I really can't use the AKG's because I have a beard and they don't seal well if you do.  [I very much like the semi open Q 701 though.] Assuming that you don't have a similar problem, they might be the best choice for you in the context of your local pricing structure.  Hopefully you can listen to at least a couple of them before deciding.

post #7 of 9

I have a small head and have sort of a beard and sometimes have sealing issues. But after adjusting the headphones, they work fine. The K550s are much more comfortable than the Shures and they work great for bed time listening. With the K550s i can sleep on either sides, something which i have not been able to do with any other full size headphone (including the Senn D800). I have also used them on airplanes and they work great with very good isolation. If you are looking for comfort and long time listening then the K550 is much better solution.

post #8 of 9

I've heard the Shure 940s/840s and own the K550s. Personally I find the K550s to be versatile, but it probably doesn't do much justice to rock if you like an upfront forward presentation. The AKGs sound very relaxed - but that doesn't mean they can't do rock. Seals wise I find them quite easy to seal: you get the hang of it (since the earcups are huge). If you're looking for the 840s I suggest look at the SRH940 instead, they're worth the extra money, and are better than the 840s in anyway. The choice between K550 and the SRH940 boils down to a matter of choice: whether you prefer to be up in front with the performance or just sitting back and relaxing with the music (:

post #9 of 9

Honestly, I own both, and I feel the differences between the two headphones in terms of sound quality are pretty subtle.  The Shure 840s are probably better for portable use with their shorter cord, and are certainly better if you have a smaller head.  If you have a large head like me and can get a good seal with the K550s (hint, you might have to press the earcups against your ears a bit to get them to seal properly), then the K550s have a slightly tighter bass response and a bit more clear presentation in the treble.

 

Ultimately, I think that without mods, the Shure 840s are probably the (slightly) more versatile all-arounder, and I would recommend those.  However, if you can get the K550s re-cabled (or do it yourself), then I personally feel that they would be on of the better portable sealed headphones.  Both the Shures and the K550s can be used without an amp.  However, the K550 is (slightly) more amp dependent in my opinion than the SRH 840, so if you want to use them without an amp of any kind, that may be a consideration as well.


Edited by Mishalex - 8/12/12 at 6:40pm
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