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AKG K550 : is it a good choice and which sound card for it?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hi all!

 

I am completely new in the audio world, I have owned a senneizer hd 515 and was quite happy with it (using it with my onboard sound card and my ipod). But I needed a second headphones for some reasons and wanted to buy a better one. I have read plenty of review telling that the AKG K550 was quite a good all around headphones and decided to go for this model (bough it 200 euros on amazon.de). It was shipped by the website but I could not try it at the moment. So first I would like to know if you thing I make a good choice! I wanted headphones for movies/music/games... The kind of music I listen too most ofently is house/electro/rap/pop (a bit of everything in fact :)).  I wanted a headphones not too cold, I love when there are still bass, don't want exagerations, but I thing I won't like a headphone too axed on high frequencies sound :). So I hope you can confirm me that I made the right choice!

 

Then come my second question, I would like to know if it is worth buying a new sound card. I have an onboard one (ALC889 codec) with my Gigabyte Z68X-UD3P-B3 and don't know if I will really notice a difference in movies (don't download DIVX)/games/music (try to listen to flac/320kbs). If you thing I will really notice a difference could you please try to explain what will be the difference (soundstage? sound quality? sound noise? fidelity regarding souce? claritiy?). Then could you try to advice me a good sound card? I don't need any kind of mixing, I am not an audio expert, the only thing I want to is basically use my headphones with it and put maybe later a home cinema on it. What should I look at basically?

 

Final question, does the onbaord ALC889 delivers enough "power" for the AKG K550 (I know it is 32 oms but I read it needs more to deliver it's full potential).

 

Thanks a lot for reading !!!


Edited by Abbadon1988 - 9/16/12 at 2:21pm
post #2 of 9

For the genres you mentioned, I think a warmer, more "fun" pair would be better than the K550. The K550 sounds anemic and underwhelming at times, and there's a lack of sub-bass which makes house/rap lack that deep rumbling that you get from a bassier can. But it certainly doesn't sound bad on those genres, so just wait and see if you like it. I listen to a lot of vocal/instrumental/jazz that kind of stuff, so I loved the K550 when I had it.

 

As for the sound card, it's usually better to invest in an external DAC. But then I don't know much about building HTPC's so maybe there are other options as well.

 

And don't worry about having enough power to drive the K550- at 32ohm, you can run them out of your phone and they still sound great.

post #3 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abbadon1988 View Post

Hi all!

 

I am completely new in the audio world, I have owned a senneizer hd 515 and was quite happy with it (using it with my on-board sound card and my iPod). But I needed a second headphones for some reasons and wanted to buy a better one. I have read plenty of review telling that the AKG K550 was quite a good all around headphones and decided to go for this model (bough it 200 euros on amazon.de). It was shipped by the website but I could not try it at the moment. So first I would like to know if you thing I make a good choice! I wanted headphones for movies/music/games... The kind of music I listen too most ofently is house/electro/rap/pop (a bit of everything in fact :)).  I wanted a headphones not too cold, I love when there are still bass, don't want exagerations, but I thing I won't like a headphone too axed on high frequencies sound :). So I hope you can confirm me that I made the right choice!

 

Then come my second question, I would like to know if it is worth buying a new sound card. I have an onboard one (ALC889 codec) with my Gigabyte Z68X-UD3P-B3 and don't know if I will really notice a difference in movies (don't download DIVX)/games/music (try to listen to flac/320kbs). If you thing I will really notice a difference could you please try to explain what will be the difference (soundstage? sound quality? sound noise? fidelity regarding souce? claritiy?). Then could you try to advice me a good sound card? I don't need any kind of mixing, I am not an audio expert, the only thing I want to is basically use my headphones with it and put maybe later a home cinema on it. What should I look at basically?

 

Final question, does the onbaord ALC889 delivers enough "power" for the AKG K550 (I know it is 32 oms but I read it needs more to deliver it's full potential).

 

Thanks a lot for reading !!!

Did you have a budget for a sound card?

 

Sound cards 99% of the time come with a better DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) then what is built into a motherboard.

The Asus Xonar DG or DGX sound card should provide better audio quality (DAC) then your motherboard's built in audio.

A Fiio E11 portable headphone amplifier is better designed to work with 32-Ohm headphones then the Xonar DG's and your motherboard.

The E11 comes with a much lower impedance, which is better for low Ohm headphones.

So plug the E11 into the Xonar DG.

Get a spare battery (BL-5B) and simple battery wall charger,

Some places sell a package combo (E11, spare battery& charger).

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

What does qualify a "fun" headphone and what do you loose when using such of those? Do you have some example of "fun" headphones with the same level of quality as AKG K550?

 

I didn't have any budget, but I can afford one :). Why should I get a spare battery? Do you have a website in Europe selling the combo you are talking about? What should I consider except the DAC when comparing my mobo to external sound card? I have checked the sound to noise level and it looks the same as external sound card :), so where the difference come from? Where can I check the impedance delivered by a sound card? I couldn't see it! What do you use to link your Fiio E11 with your sound card? Which cable I mean :). Does the  Fiio E11 does some "conversion or is it only responsible of amplifying the signal to the right level?.

Thanks a lot both for your answers!

post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abbadon1988 View Post

What does qualify a "fun" headphone and what do you loose when using such of those? Do you have some example of "fun" headphones with the same level of quality as AKG K550?

 

I didn't have any budget, but I can afford one :). Why should I get a spare battery? Do you have a website in Europe selling the combo you are talking about? What should I consider except the DAC when comparing my mobo to external sound card? I have checked the sound to noise level and it looks the same as external sound card :), so where the difference come from? Where can I check the impedance delivered by a sound card? I couldn't see it! What do you use to link your Fiio E11 with your sound card? Which cable I mean :). Does the  Fiio E11 does some "conversion or is it only responsible of amplifying the signal to the right level?.

Thanks a lot both for your answers!

The Fiio E11 is a portable headphone amplifier that runs off a battery, the E11 will not function while the battery is being recharged.

So with the spare battery and separate recharger, you can be recharging one battery while using the other battery in the E11.

Have no idea where in Europe they sell the E11/battery combo, maybe Amazon Europe.

You would plug the E11 into the line-out on the sound card (3.5mm cable) and the headphones into the E11.

The E11 only amplifies the signal (volume).

post #6 of 9

Hi, the AKG K550 is not lacking in sub-bass at all. The sub bass is not emphasized as it is on the Denon D2000 for example, but it extends really low and sounds fantastic. Some people have been reporting seal/fit issues with these headphones and so this might explain the many testimonials that claim a lack of sub bass. Bad seal = less bass. 

 

As long as you can get a good seal with them, they will satisfy your bass needs for sure.

post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by jupitreas View Post

Hi, the AKG K550 is not lacking in sub-bass at all. The sub bass is not emphasized as it is on the Denon D2000 for example, but it extends really low and sounds fantastic. Some people have been reporting seal/fit issues with these headphones and so this might explain the many testimonials that claim a lack of sub bass. Bad seal = less bass. 

 

As long as you can get a good seal with them, they will satisfy your bass needs for sure.

 

Ah yes, I was referring directly to bassier cans. When I had the K550 I also had the D5K and the older ATH-M50s... both had emphasized sub-bass. Having been used to those I probably thought the K550 was bass-light when it really wasn't. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abbadon1988 View Post

What does qualify a "fun" headphone and what do you loose when using such of those? Do you have some example of "fun" headphones with the same level of quality as AKG K550?

 

 

 

The Denon D2000 is mentioned often against the K550. A review here: http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/luscious-denon-ah-d2000-ah-d50000-and-ah-d7000

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Okgay!!! Thanks all for the feedback :). And what does the external amp will provide me compared to a correct sound card as it is only 32 oms :)? For which card should I go if I want a good one but not specially the best one (except if difference is really noticeable!).

 

Last but not least, what's a good price according to you for those headphones? And is it interesting to return the AKG K550 I have ordered and wait for the AKG K551?

post #9 of 9

I prefer the cord on the k550, but I would save up and get a nice tube amp to go with the k550.

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