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Debating a switch from AKG K550

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

hi,

 

I currently own a pair of AKG K550s.  Well, actually, I just received a new pair from the manufacturer due to a material defect (the headphones were fine).  Before I sent them back, I logged in a fair amount of time with them and I think they're good, but not amazing.  I am on the fence between giving them another try or upgrading to another headphone and this is where I need your help head-fi!

 

My listening preferences/stats:

 

-Must be closed-back since I work in an office and I can't have my music leaking out.  I love the fit of the K550, but sound wise, it seems to be a little thin.

-I listen to everything but I mostly listen to classic and soft rock/acoustic/a cappella/classical/some pop and some jazz.  I don't really consider myself a basshead though.  I want it to be present, but I would rather have mids that would wow me.

-Most of my music is in FLAC and am in the process of converting my entire library to FLAC

-Currently using Samsung GSII E4GT and work/home PC for my listening, and don't have an amp at the moment, but am not opposed to getting one.

-If I do upgrade, my budget would be around 300ish, more if I sell my K550s (that's without an amp)

-I previously owned AT M50s, but I didn't think they were that great; I have largish ears as well so the M50 became painful after 30min.

 

That's all I can think of, please ask questions so I can make a decision!

post #2 of 17

Beyerdynamic DT770 ($200) springs to mind which probably needs an amp.

Also Sony MDR-R1 ($300) which doesn't necessarily need an amp.

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GREQ View Post

Beyerdynamic DT770 ($200) springs to mind which probably needs an amp.

Also Sony MDR-R1 ($300) which doesn't necessarily need an amp.

 

Thanks for the quick reply!  I've been reading about these two and the DT770 to have more bass than what I want.  The MDR-R1 seems promising though.  Do you have either of these and the K550?  How do they compare?


Edited by battousai - 1/14/13 at 9:01am
post #4 of 17

I did a lot of comparisons in-shop between the k550, MDR-R1 and Senn.Momentum. In the end I bought the Momentum, but it was a very close call between that and the Sony and took me quite a few weeks of going back and forth before choosing. At one point I did very seriously consider the K550.

I found that the K550 sounded a little 'closed' and VERY relaxed whereas the other two sounded more open and exciting.. but they are both quite a lot more money. 
I forgot to ask, did you try the K550 with an amplifier, because that makes a BIG difference. It does have less bass than the others in question, but has a fuller sound when amped. I did all my comparisons on my ipod classic + PA2V2 amp (Electronic Avenues).

 

I tried out the DT770 once for a couple of minutes in a shop and thought it was brilliant, especially for low-listening volumes. I thought it sounded somewhat similar to my vintage DT990 in over-all timbre and signature but with quite a lot more treble sparkle (overall more balanced) which is good because my DT990 is quite a dark sound. I know that's not a very long time for listening, but it was enough to impress me, which is actually quite difficult. 

 

I didn't recommend the Momentum as it can give comfort problems to those with larger ears, but that has IMO one of the most balanced, smooth sounds around. A real all-rounder. 

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GREQ View Post

I forgot to ask, did you try the K550 with an amplifier, because that makes a BIG difference. It does have less bass than the others in question, but has a fuller sound when amped. I did all my comparisons on my ipod classic + PA2V2 amp (Electronic Avenues).

 

 

Hi,

 

I auditioned my K550 with an Audioengine D1 at a local store for about 15 minutes and I didn't really notice a dramatic difference.  Should I try a different amp/dac combo?  What would you recommend?

post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by battousai View Post

 

Hi,

 

I auditioned my K550 with an Audioengine D1 at a local store for about 15 minutes and I didn't really notice a dramatic difference.  Should I try a different amp/dac combo?  What would you recommend?

Well if that didn't do the trick, you won't notice a big difference with anything else. 
To me it sounds like you just don't like the sound signature/flavour/timbre of the headphone, Which is probably more to do with taste than quality. On that note, I would avoid AKG on the whole, as the K550 has most of the 'house sound' a lot of others have, just in a more 'closed' experience which creates most of it's natural drawbacks. AKGs tend to be 'polite' and analytical in sound. Not very forward. 

 

For more present mids and full sound presentation, the Momentums could be good, but you'd have to see if they fit well first. 

I wouldn't suggest Ultrasones as they tend to have a prominent bass presentation. Not always heavy, just authoritative. I've only heard 3 of their mid-high end models, so I can't fully comment.

 

I'm surprised nobody else has chimed in yet with another opinion. I just havn't heard everything out there, but usually some closed models by Shure and others from Beyerdyamic are suggested. 

post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GREQ View Post

Well if that didn't do the trick, you won't notice a big difference with anything else. 
To me it sounds like you just don't like the sound signature/flavour/timbre of the headphone, Which is probably more to do with taste than quality. On that note, I would avoid AKG on the whole, as the K550 has most of the 'house sound' a lot of others have, just in a more 'closed' experience which creates most of it's natural drawbacks. AKGs tend to be 'polite' and analytical in sound. Not very forward. 

 

For more present mids and full sound presentation, the Momentums could be good, but you'd have to see if they fit well first. 

I wouldn't suggest Ultrasones as they tend to have a prominent bass presentation. Not always heavy, just authoritative. I've only heard 3 of their mid-high end models, so I can't fully comment.

 

I'm surprised nobody else has chimed in yet with another opinion. I just havn't heard everything out there, but usually some closed models by Shure and others from Beyerdyamic are suggested. 

 

 

The funny thing is I really did like the AKG house sound when I auditioned the k240 and the k271 (I liked one more than the other, but I can't remember which one).  The problem was I needed a closed headphone so I went to try the K550 and it wasn't quite what I heard in the other two.

 

I was browsing the AKG website and found that there's a K551 now.  Is that just a K550 in white with an iPhone cable?

post #8 of 17

I havn't heard one, but early reports/reviews say the K550 sounds better.

 

I pretty sure the K271 was closed back? 

post #9 of 17
I find the K550 pairs best with a warm sounding amp. In my case I am using a cheapy Indeed tube amp and find it warms up the mids of the K550 and adds a bit more bass as compared to my SS amp.

the MDR1R is a solid headphone choice as well. It has similar levels of bass, a warmer midrange, and more gentle rolled off treble but is not quite as detailed in my opinion. It is very portable while being extremely comfortable.
post #10 of 17

momentum would be an "on-ear" for those with bigears


jecklinsmile.gif

post #11 of 17
As someone who listens to similar music via headphones I would recommend that you try the Shure 840s. I own both the K550s and the Shures. K550s have a little more detail but the Shures are a bit warmer and mid-centric (they remind me of my Axiom speakers). Amping isn't necessary with either headphone but a portable amp like the Centrance Dacport really opens the sound up with a deeper and fuller presentation on both.
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GREQ View Post

I havn't heard one, but early reports/reviews say the K550 sounds better.

 

I pretty sure the K271 was closed back? 

 

You are correct, I don't know which other AKG I auditioned then

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dweaver View Post

I find the K550 pairs best with a warm sounding amp. In my case I am using a cheapy Indeed tube amp and find it warms up the mids of the K550 and adds a bit more bass as compared to my SS amp.

the MDR1R is a solid headphone choice as well. It has similar levels of bass, a warmer midrange, and more gentle rolled off treble but is not quite as detailed in my opinion. It is very portable while being extremely comfortable.

 

I am considering the MDR-1R, but it's had mixed reviews so I'm waiting for a place to have it to try.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorspeaker View Post

momentum would be an "on-ear" for those with bigears


jecklinsmile.gif

 

Yeah, I have largish ears, so that may be out of the question.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mbritt View Post

As someone who listens to similar music via headphones I would recommend that you try the Shure 840s. I own both the K550s and the Shures. K550s have a little more detail but the Shures are a bit warmer and mid-centric (they remind me of my Axiom speakers). Amping isn't necessary with either headphone but a portable amp like the Centrance Dacport really opens the sound up with a deeper and fuller presentation on both.

 

The Shures have been on my radar for a while, but there's nowhere around here I've found to audition them.


Edited by battousai - 1/15/13 at 8:44am
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 

bump!

 

Can anyone else chime in?

 

Right now I'm looking at:

 

MDR-1R

Shure 840

KRK KNS 8400

Should I wait for the AKG K267?  The bass adjust is definitely interesting

post #14 of 17

8400 is thinner sounding than the 840...

less bass quantity too, the frame is smaller, lighter, the memoryfoam is comfy...

i find the 840 heavier n hot on the head.

 

u can keep the 550 n buy a tube amp too..;p

post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorspeaker View Post

momentum would be an "on-ear" for those with bigears


jecklinsmile.gif

I think it's more on-ear for most people.

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