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AKG K512 MK2 any thoughts on sound

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I have just got a set of these headphones and I'm very pleased with them I like all sorts of music and they seem really good with Jazz has anybody else got them
post #2 of 10

I would like to know more about your thoughts on how these sound.  I have been eyeing these up for a while but they are not yet available in America.  Do tell!

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
The AKG K 512mk2 for my listening are just about right treble is clear and the bass is not boomy but there when needed mids are not overpowered by the bass over all I'm really pleased with them for the amount I paid £29 I find them comfortable and seem to suit most kinds of music
post #4 of 10

Bought a pair of these about two weeks ago and I am really blown away by how good they are, especially for the price.  Aside from some brightness and upper treble, which can be EQd, they are pretty neutral.  Bass is realistic but unobtrusive.  Great mids which is the key.  I picked up a pair of Audio Technica WS55 a couple months ago and those sound downright muddy in comparison to the K512MK2.  These leak a bit of sound but not much when they are on your head and do isolate well.  I've been looking for a quality on the go phone for some time and I think I've gotten there (The Senn HD202 is also good for this purpose and cheap, but has an annoying cord and can heat your ears).  For reference I have these hooked up to my Rockboxed Sansa Clip+ and Digizoid ZO2.   

post #5 of 10

@McPatD, Hey, could you speak a little more regarding the sound leak? Read some review that made it sound like they leak quite a bit of sound, but you make it seem less of an issue. Could I use these in an office environment at modest volume and not bother my neighbours? I'm a bit of a fan of AKG...like that most have a single sided cable. The other consideration, like you, is the Sennheiser 202, but again, no single cable, and they look a bit bland in my opinion. Interested in hearing your thoughts.


Cheers, Matt

post #6 of 10

Just grabbed them and breaking them in. I'm usually an on-ear sorta guy but these seemed pretty nice for the price. Gasman's right about it working really well with Jazz. McPatD Wasn't kidding about the treble though - stuff can be piercing. Pairing it with an E6, E11, or E17 seems to offset this since they are a little on the darker/warmer side. Probably won't replace my DJ100s as a desk listening pair but it's certainly better for kicking back on the couch and reading. When I get the chance I'll give it a go when I'm out and about.

post #7 of 10

Harman/AKG K512 Mk 2 Headphones   

It seems we are seeing a bunch of headphones being made now by Harman/AKG. Even a place like Head-Fi fails to get a grip on the literal storm of AKG headphone models?:eek:






There is very little interest in the plethora of low-budget AKG headphones here at Head-Fi. I did not find a review for the AKG K512 Mk2 headphones here so I thought I'd write one. I ascertain the low interest level results from the value to price relationship with headphones like the $34.56 Monoprice MHP-839 taking the limelight. The AKG K512 MK2s come with a retail of $70.00 but have been found on sale for as little as $30.00. Even on sale at $30.00 they come with a two year warranty.



There is something easy going and fun about low cost headphones. You can leave them in your car when it is hot. You can leave them at a drawer at work. Even the purchase process is easy and non-emotional due to the low cost. You can use them anywhere without worry.The only downside is you get what you pay for. None of these $40 or so headphones are going to be an end-all love affair for most headphone enthusiasts. The key though is finding something that you can live with and use on a day to day basis.We are really looking for something fun and clear sounding in this price range. As we know the world is full of thousands of cheap headphone choices. Because everyone has a different taste in music and a different sound signature preference, it ends up being a fairly confusing subject for many.




The good news here is these have less mud than many in their price range and above. Part of my personal interest in this subject comes from wondering why a manufacture couldn't make a great sounding pair that due to a economy of scale production level, end up making their money back plus. They could be both low cost and popular.




I also use headphones outside (like dog walks) and and up damaging a pair once in a while.




Over the years I have had my share of low cost headphones. One of my best experiences was taking a pair of $28.00 Sony MDR V250 on-ear headphones on vacation a couple of years ago. I spent 14 days listening to these basically flat response (to my ears) bottom of the line Sony on-ear headphones. Listening to the smooth mid-range of Heavy Metal guitar straight out of my I-Pod on a pair of $28.00 headphones was a wonderful experience and went to show me that money is not completely critical to enjoying headphone music. There was nothing drastically wrong with what the Sony's did. They just humbly performed not doing anything great or bad except for having some nice mids. After about two days my hearing adjusted to the sound and I really got into the detail of the smooth mid-range guitar sound. These AKGs are much larger than the Sony headphones and have a larger head-stage. Still I have always had my interest into finding another pair of low-cost headphones with a nice mid, replicating that vacation experience. I was also looking to find something cheap with nice head-stage.


I was looking for something like the Sony on-ear V250s (or the V150 model with no volume control to break first), and came up with these. I wish I could say that these are destined to become a value priced legend like the HiFiMan RE-0 in-ear monitors, but alas they are maybe a little to quirky and are not your value all around performers to ever become so popular.

Holding these for the first time they look like the cheapest looking full size headphones made. They really look like something that was at a $30.00 cost, maybe less.Thankfully they really sound better than they look!" src="http://files.head-fi.org/images/smilies/wink.gif" />






First off I would like to state I'm no expert in headphones and don't listen to 50 different headphones a year like some members. I am fully familiar with the AKG k701 headphones and in some ways the k701s have helped me understand the sound signature advantages and signature drawbacks of these.

AKG k701s have ended being either loved or hated by the community and for good reason. I even have a love/ hate relationship with them. I guess I keep em around because they do vocal music and classical and jazz really well. The wow factor is still there as they have an amazing way of almost sounding like speakers at times.


The AKG K512 Mk2s have much of the same love/hate character flaws. In some ways AKG gets accolades for getting head-stage and an interesting presentation for music. Same with these $40 headphones, if you can even imagine I'm using the term sound-stage/head-stage to describe their quality.
And just like the AKG k701 sound-stage, the best part of these K512s is the perceived head-stage. So for these budget headphones there really is a nice presentation of crash cymbal splashes at a distance. There is a nice coherence of all the instruments in the right places. There is even that funny echo of drums presentation that the k701s do so very well.  The downside is we still have that musical sterility which seems to effect the lower mid-range just like the k701s. Don't get me wrong here, I actually own two pairs of k701s. I have a pair with an early serial number and a pair with a late serial number.
I have spent an ample amount of listening time and feel that the K512s just like the k701s have their place in the headphone world, but they can become finicky as to which genre they can perform in. I have not tried them with a large difference of amplification as they are used mainly in conjunction with Apple I-Pods and I-Phones alone.

Really the all out question is if this is the $40 headphone you can live with day in and day out? Does it work well directly out of an I-Phone and does it excel at all genres of music? Because in a wonderful way the $28.00 Sony V250s/V150s actually do do it. These AKG K512s do not do all music as well and could not be looked at as polite all-rounders even compared to headphones like what the new Apple Earspods can do for $29.00 from the Applestore.




Like their big brother
The fact is though that just like your k701s you can get great exciting results by choosing your music carefully. With careful musical choices these headphones can become amazing. the challenge is to also maybe find portable amplification which can help overcome the inherent downsides this model has? This is a perfect case of the issues being well beyond what simple EQ can do for a headphone. There is no EQ in the world which can fix these headphones.



Now the bad part..lol

The treble. Straight out of an I-Phone there is a ton sibilance. For my tastes anyway I had to change my EQ settings in the I-Phone 4 to either the Bass Booster setting or Rock or Hip Hop as the treble is a serious issue with these from an I-Phone or I-Pod. Still though if you end up comparing the AKG K512s to Beats or Bose On-Ears they actually almost have an audiophile quality due to the complete clearness, speed and pace, if you can believe that? They actually sounded fairly nice coming out of the Woo 3 Tube amp(No tone control) but still even then have some response issues which don't make them good all around headphones. They seem to also have a lack of response going straight out of an I-phone. It is an efficiency issue or the fact that there is just some lower mid-tones that they just don't reproduce or struggle with? They end up being just barely there in response to amp power from an I-device and fail to reproduce the lower mids even though there is some sub-bass.


It is the fact that these headphones have the same "cupped-hand-echo" sound that folks use to describe the sound signature of the AKG k701s with. For me it was actually quite entertaining to find these became the little brothers to the k701s in both good and bad attributes, with sound-stage/head-stage being the best attribute here.

AKG markets them for home use and they would look silly just like k701s on your head out of the house. I will be going mobile with them though.:cool:


Still though with all their issues the AKG K512s may be pure joy for someone only listening to vocal music, classical and jazz?




Build quality and construction design
Pads are a strange almost bean-bag nylon material (detail in Photo) but end up being easy on the ears. Just like the k701s the light gray color is going to change tone over time. They can become a yellow off-tone with time.
The headband and entire headphone encasement is plastic but at only 7.0 oz they end up being strangely nice to wear. The real delicate part seems to be the headband which is almost paper thin and connected internally by a nylon ribbon which has an elastic quality giving the fit in much the same way the k701s fit. The headband spring-loads to lower the headphones onto your head.


Still upon holding these for the first time, they look like the cheapest full-size headphones ever made. The appear to be something with an actual cost of $30.00, maybe less. Though the construction 100% plastic, they seem like they will last. The cord tip has a very strong construction. The entire rest of the headphone is only 7.0 oz but ends up being made out of a sonically inert material.

They have a very pleasant grip and stay on but don't put a lot of pressure on your ears. The fit ends up being great and I tried moving them around to see if any change in sound took place by a loss of seal or driver placement. They seem to slide on in the perfect fit every time. I would have to say with the fit and lightness qualities these excel past many different headphones and are able to be worn for hours with or with out glasses on. They stay on your head too, maybe because of the lightness.
So the comfort level ends up being amazing. It makes you wonder if manufactures ever could make super-light flagship headphones which would emulate these in ergonomics someday?


Just remember that there is no perfect pair of headphones and at low cost they will tend to be even less perfect. Still there is always a chance that a pair can be good sounding and fun for low cost.



The bottom line

They are musically finicky and can sound sterile at times. They are a nice value. They actually respond better to a higher quality music file. They can sound better out of better equipment. Their head-stage and speed can make up for the many drawbacks to the point of making them a keeper.

They lack low-end frequency response but can be an enjoyable listen when given the proper mental burn-in. They also sounded better after 48 hours of burn-in. They make some music sound wonderful. Some songs just end up not being as musical as you would want.


For many the treble spike straight out of the box can be a deal killer.
They are detailed but lack adding any romance or musicality to the performance at times. They give the listener the feeling that they are missing a full scale frequency response at times. What do you want for $39.00?



Are there better values out there? Yes.

Do I still enjoy these for what they are and what they are not? Yes.

Would I buy them again? Yes.

Would I suggest someone buy these to replace a set of Apple Earpods? No.


There are a bunch of headphones out there in this sale price to purchase which don't end up being so quirky in the end.
I would still buy a pair for $49.00 if anything just because they are interesting.



They actually photograph better than they look in real life.

They actually sound better than they look in real life. LOL






Black with silver elements
Frequency range:
16Hz – 20kHz
109dB SPL/V
Input impedance:
32 ohms
Maximum input power:
Net weight (without cable):
200g (7.0 oz)
99.99% oxygen-free cable, 2.5m (8' 3")
Main connection:
3.5mm (1/8") stereo mini-jack plug
Equipment used:
Woo Audio 3
Rega Planet CD Player RCA Cables
Equipment For Primary Use
I Phone 4 with Apple Loss-less Files Straight to Headphones
Musical Preference
Dance Music
Extreme Metal
Classic Rock





My disclaimer :

I have heard a number of headphones, but many I have not. This is my own opinion from what I have learned, your millage may vary.:tongue: 

Edited by Redcarmoose - 3/2/14 at 4:18pm
post #8 of 10

Great coverage and images Redcarmoose. Appreciate it! 


I just picked up a pair of these today spur of the moment, as I have always wanted a set of AKG headphones, and could never find anyone who sold them. Seems Canadian prices are wayyyy higher than what I am seeing noted above.


They are pretty nice out of the box, and given my limited listening time and lack of 'burn in' (one run through of BTs If the Stars are Eternal, Then So are You and I, FLAC format + Aesop Rock's Skelethon, 320 kbps, through a Creative Recon3D external sound card, and the Plantronics RIG amp). Listening to a variety of tunes as I write this, (hip hip, EDM, ambient noise, etc.)...


Comfort is great, build quality...meh. They definitely feel inexpensive, but solid. Bass is better then what I was expecting and treble not nearly as piercing. Mind you, I listen to a lot of JVC IEMs which tend to be pretty sharp. Voices definitely come out with exceptional detail, and are front and centre.


I'm liking them more than my UE 6000 (been saying this a lot lately.....), and feel they compliment the RIG amp extremely well. They sound good through the Recon3D, but I found myself putting it in 'Scout Mode' to compensate for occasional treble spikes. 'THX mode' sounded hilariously bad (hollow, and lots of static....weird).


(Side note: Evil Nine's You Can Be Special Too sounds great out of these! If you like Breakbeat with a bit of Rap tossed in, check it out).

post #9 of 10
Yes, you will notice a change after burn in. I thought they smoothed out a little. I liked them more after I became used to them. Still at some point I think anyone should try a back to back listening session with the k 701s too. That way you get to hear some of the detail the K 512 MK 2s leave out.

It has been awhile and I still really like them. Probably the comfort is one main reason. They are so nice to wear.

Still the sound is a little qwerky. That said I think they have their own personality which makes them unique. biggrin.gif

I'm not sure if the AKG house sound is for everyone. Still they are nice for a range of music styles. In the end I think I'm a midrange listener so the 512s midrange has me hooked. It's just fast and detailed. The bass can be low at times but I still think the headphones are keeping a handful of bass tones unheard. Lol

You actually see them for sale for $70 around. I don't know if they compete with all the 70 dollar phones out there. If you get into their particular sound then they become a special value. I kind of look at them like k701s because they are both finicky as to the music you play and interesting at the same time.
Edited by Redcarmoose - 4/15/14 at 8:16am
post #10 of 10

$29 to $38 on sale.
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