AKG K280 initial impressions, and questions
Apr 24, 2009 at 4:18 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 29

cinoyter

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Hi all. New poster, longtime lurker.

So a friend has offered me a low price on a pair of AKG K280s. They're about five years old, he says, but barely broken in. I've brought them home with me for the weekend, and I'm trying them out. Now, my equipment is hardly top-notch and my ears aren't as finely tuned as many people on this forum, so I usually wouldn't say anything. But since there is very little talk about these on the forum, here are some first impressions...

- BASS. It's practically viscous. I ended up eq'ing down the bass to get comfortable listening from these, and on some songs I upped the treble. I imagine lots of people love chunky bass, but I found it kind of uncomfortable, particularly on a lot of rock.
- High end and middle seems pretty precise. IMO these are pretty good for jazz: piano and most percussion sound great.
- It's hard to explain, but I have this odd impression that these phones are both precise and fuzzy. You can make out detail really well, but it still sounds like singers are singing through a veil...

I'm wondering whether there's anyone else here who might have used these phones, and what they thought themselves. I had been considering the AKG K240 - any idea how the two models stack up? Has anyone been using the K280 long enough to know if the bass might mellow out a bit if I break these in?
 
Apr 24, 2009 at 5:03 AM Post #2 of 29

rhythmdevils

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I pretty much agree with what you have said. I loved many things about the K280, I really wanted it to be the perfect headphone, and in many ways it is great. It's soundstage, and particularly, seperation is great. and it really hits certain instruments with great tone. But it seems like AKG tested this phone without vocal music, because the midrange is just yucky, IMO. well, that is coming from the sextett which has one of the best midranges ever, so take that wiht a grain of salt.

If you like their warm signature, but want better vocals, I would try a K240 sextett, there are a couple pairs FS right now I believe... but they have about the same amount of bass, so if you want more treble, less bass, I would go for something like a K701 or better yet a K501.
 
Apr 25, 2009 at 2:53 AM Post #3 of 29

cinoyter

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Interesting to know I'm not totally off the mark. After another day, they're growing on me a bit. I'm going to check out the other AKGs you mention. There are also a few AudioTechnicas that sounded interesting.

In the meantime though, I guess the next logical question is whether there's an obvious amp to get for the 280s that would suit them well? I have to feel like an amp to boost midrange wouldn't be great for very many other pairs of headphones.
 
Apr 25, 2009 at 3:28 AM Post #4 of 29

XXII

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Another possibility would be to try out a akg k270 playback which sounds pretty close to a closed sextett.
 
Apr 25, 2009 at 4:17 AM Post #5 of 29

rhythmdevils

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yeah, but good luck finding a K270 playback. I'd like one of those too
tongue.gif


So, using your K280 as a reference, and if you want to stay with AKG (which at this point i see no reason not to)

if you like the way the K280 gives weight and body to the sound, with the rich lower end, and nice, rich horns, trumpets, guitars, etc, but want slightly less bass, much better vocals, cleaner highs, (but way smaller soundtage, and not as rich sounding) try the K240 sextett

If you don't like that heavy, rich sound the K280 has (I personally like that about the K280 quite a bit), and want a much aireir sound, with similar soundstage (though not as 3D as the K280) less bass, and much more high end, the K501/K601/K701 etc would be good choices
 
Jul 15, 2010 at 6:49 AM Post #8 of 29

Prog Rock Man

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Picked up the K280 Parabolic off ebay for £23. It will take a while to get posted as the seller is on holiday, but looking forward to getting them.
 
 
Jul 21, 2010 at 10:35 AM Post #11 of 29

Prog Rock Man

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Here they are. Firstly, imaging is amazing, bass is light, but clear, like the K702s I have. Treble is excellent, but back to that imaging and the strereo effects are fast and wide. Very clever.
 
        
 
        
 
                   
       
 
Jul 21, 2010 at 3:29 PM Post #12 of 29

JeckyllAndHyde

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nice pick - I've yet to try K270, K280 & K290. do someone know how K290 sounds, btw?
 
P.S. I'm so happy that there's always a vintage AKG to try :)
 
Jul 21, 2010 at 8:18 PM Post #13 of 29

jellojoe

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My impression of K290 is that it is a more refined version of the K270 playback and less dark than the K280 parabolic. The K280 sounds muffled in comparison. There are also two kinds of K290. The K290 surround and K290 studio. The major difference is that the K290 surround comes with box to hook up to your multichannel receiver so that the two drivers on each side can receive a different signal. I don't have a multichannel receiver or multichannel media except for movies so I've never tried it. I'm also not sure if the drivers are any different between the studio and surround versions.
 
Jul 21, 2010 at 8:39 PM Post #14 of 29

rhythmdevils

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I didn't notice much difference between the K290 and K280, and my K290 were recabled by Fitz so they even had the advantage there.  Still sounded pretty similar, though a bit better. 
 
Intersting impressions Prog Rock, very different from mine.  Maybe there's variation or different versions out there, sounds like you got a good one.
 
Jul 22, 2010 at 9:29 AM Post #15 of 29

Prog Rock Man

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I am delighted with them, though some minor issues.
 
The cables is made from a strange stiff rubberised ribbed material. It had been tightly coiled and then tied by the previous owner, so it is full of tangles. I have started to hang them in a cupboard when not in use to try and get the kinks out odf the cable.
 
The small cables at the end of the headband have lost their stiffness. But, they fit perfectly on my head, so it is not a problem.
 
What was annoying, but now cured, is my ears would touch part of the raised hard plastic parts around the drivers. I had a pair of Grado ring pads (I prefer the full flat pads), so I trimmed them and put them under the pads to raise them up slightly. Works fine now.
 
I do not find the same level of bass as you appear to rhythmdevils. Certainly compared to (few) headphones which I have listened to that emphasize the bass, these are not as extreme IMO. Or maybe it is because AKG have kept the detail and not turned bass in BASS and a muddy oomph.
 
 

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