A500 VS K271
Apr 17, 2006 at 6:05 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 27

kin

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Ok, I have come down to a conclusion of headphones I am going to buy. I have read about both of these, and have been interested in primarilly the soundstage and richness they both seem to produce. However, I feel like I need a last opinion on which one would beat out the other. Basically, this is what I look for.

Clarity - I like to hear everything in the song: even if its the production studio ambience, or anything.

Good bass - Detailed bass. Boomyness is not a bad thing for me however.

Comfort - After borrowing a pair of Koss Pro/4AA Titanium Edition headphones, I really think I need an upgrade in comfort.

Richness - I do really enjoy the music to be "alive" sounding, especially when I listen to goa-psy, psytrance, or something along the lines of Aphex Twin.

Lastly, if it helps, this is my main listening plate:
1. Joy division, Cure, Smiths
2. Cocteu Twins
3. Razor, Repulsion, Crematory, Vio-lence
4. Aphex Twin
5. Some sort of electronica.

THANK YOU for any advice you can give. Also, I don't want to put a trainwreck into this thread, but if the K240's would be the good choice in this, please mention them. Thanks again.
 
Apr 17, 2006 at 6:20 AM Post #2 of 27

aznsensazian

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Having owned the A500 and currently having the k270S(pretty close to the k271s), i personally would go for the A500 for your choice of music. I absolutely loved them for trance and electronic types of music. Female vocal trance was out of this world on them and plus they do not require a beefy amp drive them. The A500 are very efficient and comfy. They feel like having two pillows strapped to your head. I often fell asleep having them on. The only thing that might distract you is their sheer size. The side cups are about the size of a cd and definately much larger than a k271s. Also, i think the bass goes down much deeper and has more quantity than a k271s. At least that is what ive found listening to my k270s, although some may say they have a different sound, i think its still your classic akg sound signature. The only thing you might not like is that the A500's low point is its vocals. The vocals may seem alittle nasally sounding, probably due to the filling used inside the headphone. I didnt find this a problem and they still sounded great to me. Also compare to other phones, the A500 may sound a little slow, but nevertheless the qualities outweigh the bad and i would still recommend the A500. The best thing about the A500 imo is the impact. I liked how they portrayed trance music and i would always be jamming to the music. Anyways, definately a vote for the A500 from me
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Apr 17, 2006 at 6:38 AM Post #3 of 27

Veniogenesis

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I've owned both as well. The A500 fits your bill perfectly. The treble is nice and clear. The A500's bass is much better than the K271S's bass. The K271S nees an amplifier to sound rich. Though I must say that the K271S sounds richer and much smoother when properly amped than an A500 can be. But for your type of music, the A500 basically trounces the K271S in my opinion.
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If you like vocals though, the K271S trounces the A500 in the same respect.
 
Apr 17, 2006 at 6:41 AM Post #4 of 27

Asr

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I think you should go for the A500 as well. The K271S is rolled off at both ends of the audio spectrum (!) and definitely suffers for it. Bass does not extend low, but it does give every bass note solid definition. Highs are its weaker point, they just don't extend, so you'll hear cymbal impacts only partially for example, and up-there details don't come through either (especially evident in densely-layered electronica). Because of this, electronica especially is not an ideal genre for them.

The K271S works best on rock, alternative, and some trip-hop due to the boost in the mids. And female voices sound especially "sweet" on them too. They're just not transparent at all, and there's still a slight impression of a "veil" over the sound even after over 500 hours of burn-in.
 
Apr 17, 2006 at 6:51 AM Post #5 of 27

kin

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Thank you all much for the input. However, I would like to say that music wise, I've been on a Cure binge. Trance I put on once in a while, but don't do it much.

The thing is, however, the best headphones I owned were AudioTechnica F55's. I loved them - the sound and everything. The only thing I didn't like about them was the discomfort and sweatyness they would produce.

Why did I put that in? Well, I just kind of wanted to show what I thought sounded really good. Vocals, however, are definetly important to me in certain music - I would just prefer a clean, straight delivery. So far, however, the A500's sound like a much more ideal choice, especially since I will be using the headphones on my iPod on a computer.

A question that I just thought of however : do the A500's sound a bit muffled? Basically, however, the main point of this reply was to further the description of my hearing standards, and to fine point what I would want in headphones. Thanks much again for the advice you all have given me so far: as it is definetly appreciated.
 
Apr 17, 2006 at 7:05 AM Post #6 of 27

penguindude

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Quote:

Originally Posted by kin
The thing is, however, the best headphones I owned were AudioTechnica F55's. I loved them - the sound and everything. The only thing I didn't like about them was the discomfort and sweatyness they would produce.


The A500 is very comfortable to wear, but they do produce a lot of sweatyness. So be prepared.
 
Apr 17, 2006 at 7:27 AM Post #7 of 27

ilovesocks

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Asr
I think you should go for the A500 as well. The K271S is rolled off at both ends of the audio spectrum (!) and definitely suffers for it. Bass does not extend low, but it does give every bass note solid definition. Highs are its weaker point, they just don't extend, so you'll hear cymbal impacts only partially for example, and up-there details don't come through either (especially evident in densely-layered electronica). Because of this, electronica especially is not an ideal genre for them.

The K271S works best on rock, alternative, and some trip-hop due to the boost in the mids. And female voices sound especially "sweet" on them too. They're just not transparent at all, and there's still a slight impression of a "veil" over the sound even after over 500 hours of burn-in.



Well-said; my experience exactly. Definitely not euphoric, which is what I think you'd want with electronica.
 
Apr 17, 2006 at 7:41 PM Post #8 of 27

Andrew_WOT

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I must disagree on K271S "veil" assessment. They do need a decent amplification to show the full potential. And once you get one there is no any hint of veil. The highs are just fine; they are not ear piercing bright, that's for sure but very natural and detailed.
ATH A900 sound like more fun in comparison at a first glance, but give it a longer listening session and you'll discover that K271 are much more musical, detailed and easier to listen, that even makes A900 sound a bit like a cheap show off, with emphasized bright highs and humpy but fuzzy bass.
They cannot compete with the spacious soundstage of A900 though.

A900/A500 is a ticket if you need something that sound decent from unamped source and K271 need some serious work to sing but in the end it pays off.
 
Apr 17, 2006 at 10:33 PM Post #9 of 27

vo328

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I agree with Andrew_WOT. The 271S cans are fantastic. They are definitely my favorite cans. I agree that they are detailed and definitely benefit from being properly amplified. I'm not a fan of the pads though, and do plan to upgrade to velour, either the ones from AKG or the Beyer DT770 pads.
 
Apr 18, 2006 at 2:11 AM Post #10 of 27

ilovesocks

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Ah, the above posts are true - I never had an amp with which to power the k271S's.

Definitely wasn't trying to bag on them. They're very good cans; great sound, considering they're closed and can be had for ~$150.
 
Apr 18, 2006 at 5:01 AM Post #12 of 27

Asr

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Andrew_WOT
I must disagree on K271S "veil" assessment. They do need a decent amplification to show the full potential. And once you get one there is no any hint of veil. The highs are just fine; they are not ear piercing bright, that's for sure but very natural and detailed.
ATH A900 sound like more fun in comparison at a first glance, but give it a longer listening session and you'll discover that K271 are much more musical, detailed and easier to listen, that even makes A900 sound a bit like a cheap show off, with emphasized bright highs and humpy but fuzzy bass.
They cannot compete with the spacious soundstage of A900 though.

A900/A500 is a ticket if you need something that sound decent from unamped source and K271 need some serious work to sing but in the end it pays off.



Well I'm not saying the K271S is a bad headphone, far from it in fact. Really, really great sound for what they do put out. But to my ears, even amped they don't sound entirely "clear" as if they're a completely see-through window into the music. More like a tiny bit translucent, just a tiny bit though. And comparing them head to head with my K701 confirms it, as the K701 gives a much "clearer" presentation of the music. But it probably isn't fair to compare a high-end open can with a mid-range closed can, even when they're both made by the same vendor.
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I agree with you there Andrew, they're very musical and detailed, and the highs are natural and detailed...but not as detailed (or extended) as they could be, that's all I'm saying. Again, not really fair to fault them for that though, as that's how they're designed. To the OP, I should probably reiterate that the K271S has a GREAT sound that's just a pleasure to listen to. It will make you groove to any music that's remotely groovy itself.
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Apr 18, 2006 at 5:08 AM Post #13 of 27

Construct

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For what it's worth, I sold my A900s after I bought my K271S. I never used the K271S without a headphone amplifier, though, so keep that in mind. The K271 isolate better than the Audio Technicas for me. I was able to listen to the K271 without any fatigue at all, whereas the A900s fatigued my ears after an hour or so. From what I've heard, the A500s are pretty similar to the A900s.
 
Apr 18, 2006 at 5:22 AM Post #14 of 27

Andrew_WOT

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Yes, they may not be absolutely perfect. But if you can recommend or name any better closed headphones in $350 range I'll jump for it.
Of course open headphones sound much better, Zu cabled HD-650 beats K271 both hands down. But sometimes, for me most of the times, some isolation is required.

Forgot to mention that Zu cable does a great job on clearing up details and improving bass response.
 
Apr 18, 2006 at 5:43 AM Post #15 of 27

kin

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Alright chaps. Thank you for the information.

However, after reading this, I have gotten this info out of it :

1. They both have great sound, but :

1. The AKG's need an amplifier to the greatest.
2. The AKG's have a "/\" type of EQ.
3. The AKG's are more detailed and clear.
---------------------------------------------
1. The A500's are great with bass and boomyness
2. The A500's have recessed mids.
3. The A500's can make music sound a bit "exaggerated" and "fake".
4. The A500's make vocals sound nasally.

Ok, first, I'd want to place the emphasis of musical choice a bit more on post punk and metal than trace, even though I WILL listen to trance and other electronica. However, I deeply appreciate clarity and detail in sound, and also for the sound to sound "real".

I have no idea about a soundstage however.

Basically, If I wanted the headphones that could run off a computer and iPod and could still reproduce the music realistically with a good sound (I considered the AudioTechnica F55's to have great sound, even though I could do well with more mids), and comfortably, thats where I would be aiming for.
Thanks all again for your input.
 

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