AKG K 512 MKII Multi-Purpose Stereo Headphones (Black)

General Information

Design and build quality
The AKG K512 look pretty decent and they're made primarily of plastic. The structure of the headband and the frame is slightly different from other headphones, though. For example, the flat headband on the top slides out, so it fits your head properly. Most other headphones use a rigid design, but this one moves independent of the two plastic covered bands that hold the two cans of the headphones in place. All of this is perfectly set up. Overall, the headphones feel light but a little flimsy. The compartments that hold the drivers are also made of plastic - the AKG K512 are closed headphones with no openings on the rear. The earpads are made of a synthentic material, so they don't feel very comfortable. In humid places, you're likely to get sweaty ears after using it for an hour or two.

Latest reviews


New Head-Fier
Pros: price
Cons: brightish mids
Last edited:
I may have been overly enthusiastic on my value comparison at the time? LOL
You wrote the only review for these extraordinary hps, so noone is gonna flame you for that. I really enjoyed reading, thank you!


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Cool Value, They Scale Better Than Any $33.00 Headphone On Earth
Cons: Musically Finicky, They Leak Sound Out Like Openback Headphones, They Require A Great Upstream Feed

An encapsulated review:

This is placed here so you don't have to read the whole thing, and can move on to other pages. The AKG k512 MK 2 is an entry level headphone that has been missed here in popularity. I found it by accident, worked with it to find it's true character and sound quality potential. Still not free of audio qwerkyness and faults, the device exudes a sound signature much like an electrostatic speaker with low distortion, a one of a kind treble detail due to shelved treble EQ, and a soundstage on a world class level. The mids and treble are smooth and resolving of source and pace. The units are some of the most low weight and easy to wear of any headphones known. The unknown qualities occur with burn-in including a a nice front end. This headphone actually has some character improvements and overcomes many of the k701s pitfalls.

AKG k512 MK 2

Basic Specifications Described By AKG



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

If you have started to hang out with Head-Fi members for a while you know that they have certain personality traits. Hand them a pair of cheap looking $33 headphones out of the blue and watch the facial expressions. This is a 100% of the time, group reaction where their lower mouth will actually start to droop and frown.

Yep, there can be a very pronounced pre-judgment around here. Still that's an expected thing, right? We are spending money to try and achieve an improvement in personal sound quality. Members spend hours in research and testing, looking for this audio nirvana. So when a fellow member hands them a pair of headphones like these your going to witness a judgment. Before the very first listen, ideas have been made and decisions have occurred on a couple levels.

It is like they came over for a nice dinner and found out you newly ran out of wine. You go to the kitchen and come back with your cooking wine. There is a laugh and a sigh, well we already know what this is from experience. They are a far more worldly and sophisticated gent, yet because of their politeness and form they give it a short try. Even during the try-out the expectations and judgment form a smeared opinion. This is truly the Head-Fi world we swim in. Stuff is based on price. Even once in a while a product comes along like the Piston 3 IEMs which sound ten times better than they cost. Still such queerness is not the norm and is about as rare as our guest falling in love with the cooking wine.

So let's try and review the AKG 512 MK2s. Even with my best effort I'm sorry to say I will not be able to describe the sound to you. My 4928 X 3264 pixel photographs here are going to be a much clearer idea of what these headphones are and what they are not.

Perception is a funny thing, so much so that the first 30 minutes alone with these entry level AKGs will not allow you to audibly get a grip on what they are. Go to the mall and play them on a mystery system where the cable runs into below to a little hole in the table and plays a never ending run of song loops. You will walk on by, as expected.

These are looked over. They are never talked about or purchased. Even Amazon.com goes on to call them multi-purpose headphones. The generic antithesis of an audiophile term here. So what happened to me? Why did I even buy them and what has my experience been? I will say this, if I tried them somewhere, my first instinct would be to leave them alone. These first reactions are just due to the look and first perceptions of sound quality. They sound thin with no bass and have that same mid-treble spike that the k701s are notorious for. They can sound a little plasticity and fake too, just like their older brother the k701s.

Ok, so why did I write a review with such high marks? Let us start with burn-in. Even if you don't believe in it, humor me, OK. They need 700 hours of burn in. Don't laugh, they do. Even with a pair of $33 headphones we are looking for audio subtleties which take place in small microscopic levels of audio perception. They also require power in the amp department. So already we are way behind the eight-ball. No one with an interest in $33 headphones is going to burn them in for 700 hours or get an audiophile headphone amp for them. The final deadly blow is they also respond to a better quality source.

Oh, gosh! I can't begin to go through with this. A cheap headphone, a $300 amp, expensive cables and a $500 DAC all to make these AKG k512 MK2s sound good? And I will not even begin to notice the correct sound quality till after a 1/2 hour of concentrated listening alone in a special environment?

You may have already begun to realize that we are all crazy here. You can join the club or move along, your choice.

Hardware Used For Review:

Schiit Asgard One Solid State Amplifier
Cambridge Audio DAC Magic Plus In Optical 48kHz incoming sample rate mode. Minimum filter mode. Operating In Line Out Mode.
Pioneer DVD Player DV-220KV with original printed 44.1 kHz and 16 bit source CDs. HDMI converted to optical to DAC.

Software Used For Review-CDs:

Debussy-Snowflakes Are Dancing:
BMG Music High Performance 1999
Performed by Isao Tomita

Suites For Orchestra:
BMG High Performance 1999
Performed by Chicago Symphony

See You On The Other Side
Virgin Records

Duran Duran:
Greatest Hits
Capitol Records


So let's talk about build and comfort, then we will move onto the final writings on sound quality. These headphones are really made well. They are what they are as far as looks go. I wear them out of the house but really they are used in my home system most of the time. The first thing that will give you trouble is the headband. They have an elastic tape which allows them to be spring loaded-lowered onto your head. The thin paper like head pad will most likely come off and you will be left with the thin cloth tape only being the headband. After one year I forgot they even had their original headband as the remaining system works perfect for me. These headphones don't scratch or scuff as the cups and wire supports are covered with bulletproof plastic. They clean-up with soap and water and except for the missing head-band piece look like the day they were taken out of their box. The cable end where they go into the left ear-cup is joined with super thick rubber as a stress relief and the opposite end with the mini-Jack is rock solid. The build Is 9.9 on a 1 to 10 scale in my book. Just like the sound these build qualities maybe are not going to be noticed upon first meeting, the moment you take them out of the box and begin use?

The cloth ear-cup pad covers are cleanable and strong. The cloth covers are made from a very breathable nylon bean-bag style material which is toned light gray and will discolor slightly with repeated and heavy use. There are no materials to fray or start falling apart. The headphones can be mistreated and they don't bend or break apart. There is no movement or folding going on here. StIl I would trust them to be placed in the bottom of a backpack fully open and carry them somewhere with no headphone case in use. They are just that tough. The cable does not change it's plastic rubber feel over time and become hard or brittle. The straight cable is a dream in use. The cable is not too thick or thin, not too heavy or low weight and seems a perfect length for my uses.

The feel. Well I have ears on the smaller side of normal and a mid-size head shape. The redeeming factor here is these headphone feel like air on your head. None of that weight or heat like a pair of ATH M-50s. No clamping force or ear pressure at all. The comfort is supreme so much so it's that relaxing pair of headphones you go to even with less than perfect sound quality. If comfort and ease of use are your number one consideration, your home free. The strange thing is they actually cause you to reexamine all other headphone designs. How could such a simple and stationary design allow such comfort and ease of movement? Key word here DESIGN. There is a slight forward and back movement in where the outer-hoop-rings enter the ear cups which can be viewed very clear in the pictures here. Combine that specific movement with the slight parallel movement of the outer wire hoops and we are there in flying colors. The headphones feel like air. For the first 30 minutes you can feel the cup pressure as they get an ear placement, but after they disappear into the air around you. You can fall asleep with these and not worry about future consequences. You can use them in place of more expensive headphones and not take an unenjoyable loss in SQ. My most comfortable headphones.

Oh? Yes? Sound Quality. Let's not forget about that!
They are thin sounding. There I said it. This is not one of those delusional reviews where the reviewer is going to somehow talk you and himself into a farce either for free headphones, writing stature or money. The headphones take a while to get used to. These are the baby k701s so they have a learning curve where you need to mentally get used to the sound. The sound is not for everybody or every genre of music. That's not to say you can't enjoy a rock album. One of my review albums listed here is "See You On The Other Side" 2005 by the Nu-metal band Korn. The AKGs are not going to overwhelm you with clunky bass. What they do, do is offer you an amazing spacial bass placement where the bass can be heard and noted in a 3D space. Many reviews of the k701s say the bass is just barely there but there. This works for this description also. Perception is a funny thing. Don't eat salt for a week, then put a bunch on your food. Sound perception can be like taste perception. We seem to get used to stuff when the environment is right. We can adapt to our audio situation but the mind takes it's time on it's own schedule and terms which we have no control of.

The mids.
Well I would not even be writing this review unless there was a sonic redeeming factor in conjunction with the wearability, right? The detail in the mid-range far surpasses the asking price. Still again it's not going to show until you feed it with a quality upstream signal with better gear than most interested in a $33 headphone. Hence the riddle solved on why you will not see a thread here or anywhere on these lovely entry intros to the audiophile land of happiness. There is an open airy placement of details. The mids are fast and in placement, no color or confusion as the response is ruler flat except for that one curve spike. It's the airy spacial placement of cymbals and effects that becomes endearment here.

The treble.
We all know that when you go out slumming and go crazy on a cheapo pair of cans your asking for grating sibilance and butt hurt. We have all done it. You know, rebellion against all good advice you have been told by friends and family. You tell yourself that you will get used to it that it will somehow disappear with time and mental burn-in. Maybe I can EQ my way to a daily livability in the future? Well let me enlighten you. My reference system borders on treble-hot. Not strident or even close to sibilance. New listeners would call my system lean and thin. When in reality it is just super clear and ruler flat. No color, no euphonies or warmth but reality. Hard reality. I can say in textbook writing that adding a mid-treble-centric set of cans like the AKG k512s could be asking for trouble. That would be true with many headphones out there. I'm not listing the models or brands because you most likely know what they are if your even reading this far. No treble ear fatigue even with slightly bright systems at normal listening volume levels.
I like this treble better than the $170 ATH M-50s being it's more open, is in a better soundstage and is much more detailed. The M-50s are always going to have much more dramatic bass. So we tend to question if we are hearing such detail in the highs and mids due to the missing lower mids and bass? Good question.

The headphones simply respond with what they are given upstream. Hence my wording of scaleability. Some headphones are musical, some don't like volume because the musicality and distortions walk through the park hand and hand. Not here. You can power these up into an ear breaking volume level and some slight distortions can be noted but nothing to ruin a daily listening practice. They are not vocal centric, and I'm not saying they don't do enjoyable vocals. What I'm saying is the vocals are where they originally are in the mix. It's not a pair of headphones that rely on cheap sonic tricks to get your love, only to express how they are not true down the line and really just cheap audio sluts.

The mids.
Did I already talk about the mids? Well let's just say that is what these are about. Still I'm not saying the love cherub of audio will strike you at that special aha moment?

You may like them, or you may not? Audio is very personal and these headphones are strange.

They excel in the mids with detail, complexity and form way, way above their price bracket. Still a word of warning. If you think your going to get into this sonic club plugging into an iPod or something like that, think again. This headphone is a little snobby and does not get along with it's other entry level siblings. It yearns for quality and pampering in signal but will reveal to you a world unknown for it's price and join the more expensive headphones in your stable much like a sleeping beauty.

⏫ A rugged well made low-cost headphone for music and movies.
⏫ Has extra use on the go, but fussy about source equipment.
⏫ Needs an insanely long burn-in before revealing it's true nature.
⏫ Maybe one of the most comfortable headphones ever made by man?
⏬ Has special sonic characteristics though natural, take long listening time to understand well.
⏬ Has a silly thin paper like headband part which will remove itself in a weeks time.
⏫ Strangely generic design and construction elements.
⏬ Leaks sound out like openback headphones do.
⏫ Comes with 2 Year AKG warranty care.

Final notes
We live in a world where cool audio bargain headphones are nice to get ahold of. These purchases can be important if we are lacking good quality sound equipment or just an added gift to help us experience our music and our upstream gear in a new and entertaining way. As I use these I still wonder where they fit into the headphone architecture here? How great of a value are they? Math is at times a good way to express value ideas and help us quantify realities here. For $20 USD folks could say that the Piston 3 IEMs are equal to IEMs costing upwards of $150 USD. That is only if you gel with the sound signature?

If I was to use the Piston 3s as a sonic baseline for quantification of sound quality value, I would determine the AKG k512 MK 2s to be 10 times better in over all sound quality. The reality is they only cost $13 more. Are we looking at $500.00 headphones here? Amazingly, I feel we are.
  • Like
Reactions: mindblownDt48



New Head-Fier
I haven used mine for 2 months now and ive been using them for 3 years, with my phone and pc, without amp and dac... i gotta say, i felt at one point like upgrading, perhaps because i was having them on my head for 8h a day :D And note ive NEVER tried them trough amp of any kind... I crank a little bit preamp in my vlc software for android, and i noticed improvement over phone when plugged in pc. Im gonna fix the 3,5mm jack soon and get tce konnekt 6, so i look forward to test them with lossless music trough that. :L3000:
Oh yes, i compared them to m50x and i was like "yeeeah, ath is bs, this is not worth 200€" But, i never realised just because these are 32ohm and m50 is 38, that doesnt mean they sing finest with crappy integrated sound card... Your review really made me anticipate more their comeback :dt880smile: