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New Earpads for AKG k551 vs Upgrading to Different Pair

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

Hey all,

 

So this is my second thread on here. The first one was me asking if there are any similarly priced, similarly featured headphones to the AKG k551 (k550) because mine were uncomfortable even after short periods of time. I got a few responses, one of which suggested I get a replacement set of earpads, specifically velour. After looking for such a thing and not finding any made specifically for the AKG k551/550, I also posted in the AKG k550 Appreciation thread. Someone there said that the Alpha Pads (https://mrspeakers.com/product/alpha-pads-genuine-lamb-leather/) fit well and do improve comfort significantly. I'm quite willing to do that, because otherwise the headphones fit my needs quite well, but the $60 price tag is a bit daunting.

 

So now I am just wondering if it would be a better idea to simply return these (for $200) and then spend a bit more on a higher quality pair? If there is one that is similar to the k551; closed back, specifically. Although I suppose that if it really comes down to a massive increase in quality, I'm okay with getting open back. I just don't want the sound leak to be too bad; I have a roommate and I'd like to be able to take these cans places without disturbing too many people. Also I suppose that I'd prefer surrounding environmental noise to be too intrusive, as well.

 

My initial thought was to post this in the AKG k550 Appreciation Thread but then I realized that was quite against the point of the thread. Thanks for the help. 

post #2 of 29
The alpha pads are smaller than the name would imply, and they're going to be warm too. I recommend against getting them.

Given your concerns about leakage and isolation, replace it with another closed model. I'll try to think of something.
Edited by Claritas - 3/22/14 at 8:41pm
post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 

Alright, thanks. I just did one of the most unusual things I've ever done in my life and actually measured my ear, which is a very numerically convenient length of 7 centimeters; this is from the top down to the earlobe, at the natural angle (as in, not straight up and down).  hope that might help in some way regarding what may or may not fit. Otherwise I just tackled a long-time insecurity regarding my ear's size in a highly bizarre manner for no reason whatsoever.

 

I suppose it might be more helpful to reiterate what I'm intending to get out of these headphones. My uses would primarily include music and gaming, especially first person shooters, so being able to identify where a sound is coming from would be useful. The music I listen to spans pretty significantly, and I still haven't really been able to identify what range I like emphasized. I like metal and rock, so bass is always enjoyable, but I like enjoying the intricacies of the music too. I like to think that at least my favorite bands have a great deal of intelligent subtlety, so I want to be able to appreciate that. Here's a sample of a few of my favorite songs, in spoilers to avoid clutter:

Song 1 (Click to show)

This song is pretty bass focused, but I still think there is enough mid-range to avoid an extremely bassy sound.
Song 2 (Click to show)

Warning: About 10 seconds of screaming in the bridge.
This song has much less focus on bass than the previous one, and there's a lot of terrific ear-candy in it as well that I'd like to be able to pick up. The first chorus has so many dimensions to it that I'd love to be able to fully comprehend.
Song 3 (Click to show)

This is much lighter song and has a very gentle sound.
Song 4 (Click to show)

Hard to classify this song. But needless to say, emphasis on higher notes.

Sorry for all the videos. If the mods need, feel free to delete them or replace them with links. I'm just trying to show some of my musical tastes so you get an idea on what sort of sound is appropriate. Because it's hard for me to say, haha.

 

 

Again, if it comes down to it, I will take a open or "semi-open" (though I don't fully understand what that means) pair if they are significantly better. I would be okay keeping these as an entirely "at-home" pair of headphones. As long as I won't disturb my roommate through a door/ wall. Thanks again.

post #4 of 29
The Soundmagic HP100 has been compared favorably with the K550. You might look into them.
post #5 of 29
One more thing: what kind of dac/amp, sound card, or media player do you plan to use these with?
post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 

Actually, I haven't gotten any of those yet. I plan on it, but I'm somewhat lost when it comes to DAC/amps and sound cards. I don't want to spend too much on an accessory as well, but of course I do want to be able to harness the full ability of whatever headphones I decide to settle on. Currently I just listen to my music on my desktop, with my headphones plugged into the audio jack at the back of the computer (the front ones are broken/ don't function properly).

post #7 of 29
Headphone choice is hard when buying based on Internet advice. It's like trying to choose a painting that one has never seen based upon how other people describe it. LOL

DACs/amps are more straight forward because the decision factors are based more on practical concerns, so don't sweat it. When you are ready to buy, then just start a new thread and describe your needs, such as what kinds of devices does it need to hook up to, what kind of headphones you have, and whether or not you will use it for gaming. Once you give a budget, it's pretty easy for people to recommend the best values to you. smily_headphones1.gif
post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 
Bumping this for more opinions. I've fallen victim to that thing people do where they over research and then become a mess of conflicting feelings. The more I look around, the more I feel like for my needs the AKG 551/550 is pretty much perfect. It's just a pity because, as I said, my ears are fairly large and stick out enough to touch the drivers.

Any help appreciated. Again, as I said earlier in this thread, given that all the "portable" full-sized headphones end up being not really portable anyway, I'm okay with open-back as long as they won't disturb people in another room. Plus, I prefer privacy when it comes to what I watch and listen to.
post #9 of 29
How do the pads a attach? Is it the usual AKG quarter turn and lift? If so, you can find measurements for AKG velours and determine if they'll fit.
post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 
Apparently they are the kind that wrap around the earpad, so to remove them you have to kind of push them out from the inside of the ear pad. The OP of the AKG K550 thread shows what I mean:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/613707/the-akg-k550-appreciation-discussion-thread
post #11 of 29
Thread Starter 
So I'm bumping this again; I was reading some more, and according to this comment, the LCD-2 or LCD-3 ear pads fit the k550/551 perfectly. However, once again, with the $80 price tag I have to wonder if I would be better off returning my pair for $200 and getting something better for about $280. Of course, it could be less than that, all I'm looking for is an improvement.

EDIT: It seems that the link I provided doesn't actually go to the comment. So either you can scroll down to the reply section and see the full chain, or I'll just quote the post here:
Quote:
The only issue I had with these headphones was that for such a large ear pad, the ear cavity was relatively small. The driver housing at 110 mm diameter was larger than the usual and more common 100 mm headphones so alternative ear pads were rare. Eventually I found that the LCD2/LCD3 ear pads were a perfect fit so the AKG K550 stays in my collection.

Edited by CyDe29 - 3/31/14 at 1:35pm
post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 
Bumping once again. The last date I can return these is April 10th, so I'm getting a bit anxious on what to do.
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by CyDe29 View Post

Bumping this for more opinions. I've fallen victim to that thing people do where they over research and then become a mess of conflicting feelings. The more I look around, the more I feel like for my needs the AKG 551/550 is pretty much perfect. It's just a pity because, as I said, my ears are fairly large and stick out enough to touch the drivers.

Any help appreciated. Again, as I said earlier in this thread, given that all the "portable" full-sized headphones end up being not really portable anyway, I'm okay with open-back as long as they won't disturb people in another room. Plus, I prefer privacy when it comes to what I watch and listen to.

 

These are actually just as important as sound quality. I've made a similar compromise with my portable set-up by going with the Aurisonics ASG-1. They sound similar to the HD600, which is my reference system at home, but only until 10khz after which the response begins to drop off. It then sharply drops after 12khz, and then it's practically non-existent past 16khz since it's only audible at max volume at that point (I used a sine sweep for this). However, the comfort as well as the balance of efficiency, impedance and control as my smartphone can get them loud easily, but even past my listening volume the bass doesn't distort, nor is it inaudible at well below that, are perfect for how I intend to use them (treble response and bass control are even better with my iPad or players with discrete components, like the Fiio X3).

 

Given it's a portable and not necessarily a reference system, I wouldn't be too averse to using an EQ for the AKG K550. Granted, I'm one who already likes them as they are as I was planning on getting these before I auditioned the ASG-1, but I can understand how others might find the bass lacking compared to the Q701. If you're using these with a computer, you can get a media player with an EQ that can boost its response anywhere between 50hz and 150hz. If it ends up distorting, there are two possibilities - either you simply boosted too much (usually over +6db), or whatever amp you're using especially if it's the motherboard and it isn't exactly anything like the MSI Gaming motherboards with a discrete op-amp just can't provide the current and damping factor to control the drivers now that the drivers need more excursion to produce the boosted frequencies. 

 

So basically try the EQ program first. If it works then that's it; if you get distortion, then you might want consider getting an amp or better yet just get one with a DAC in the same box,

post #14 of 29
Thread Starter 
Wait, I'm not talking about the sound of the AKG k551; I'm quite happy with their quality. The fit and comfort is what I'm concerned about.
post #15 of 29

Im not very experienced with headphones in general. But if your having issues with the headphones with stock parts, i dont think you should rely on trying to find the right parts to make them perfect for you. You could get stuck with headphones with bad comfort. I think there are some fairly good headphones in that price range. At least the reviews are good.

NAD VISO HP50 and not sure about the price of the Focal Spirit Classic and Focal Spirit Professional.

 

But if you realy feel like the sound quality and sound signature is perfect for you. You should think if the bad comfort is worth the sound.

After that you could always try to find a way to make them better in terms of comfort.

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