AKG k550 alternate ear pads?

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  1. 147JK
    See my post above - the XL's have the same outside dimentions as the originals, just a little thicker and are flat (like the originals). I wanted to try them but am waiting for a sale - the retail price is a rip-off.
  2. bishop_rather
    Yes, sorry, I did read that. I suppose I was wondering if anyone had experience with them to say how they sounded. I'm OK with some differentiation from the stock pads, just don't want them to be terrible for some unforeseen reason!
  3. hanouk
    Same for me
    I browsed a lot of threads / websites and I've never seen any comment of someone who has tried these XL Brainwavz on the AKG line.
    I will probably order either of the version (sheepskin / pleather) soon but living in Europe it might take some time to arrive here. The XL pads are still not available among EU retailers
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2017
  4. 147JK
  5. hanouk
  6. episiarch Contributor
    I don't have experience with the XL pads, but I tried the oval flat pads and did not like the sound at all - very emphasized treble, mids somewhat hollow, bass very poor. With the angled pads that wasn't a problem. I felt it was too big a difference to attribute to driver angle alone, and the other difference between the pads is that the flat pads are thick all around and simply contain more air in the space they enclose. So my personal conjecture is that the K550 drivers simply aren't good at moving much more air than is contained in the stock or angled pads.

    If I'm right, then the XL pads will sound very treble-focused, with deemphasized mids and bass. But I haven't heard them, and my conjecture could be completely wrong. Nonetheless, if I were to recommend a set of Brainwavz pads for the K550 from my own experience, they would be the oval angled pads, in either pleather or lambskin (I have both).
  7. hanouk
    I've ordered both pleather angled HM5 and pleather XL pads.
    I'll try the XL first and see if the sound is that bad, actually I dont need it to be too close to the stock pad sound since I will mostly use it for movies/gaming.

    Otherwise i'll put the angled ones (i've ordered two sets because I also need to replace my old HFI-780 earpads)
  8. SomeTechNoob
    Ordered some brown angled pleather pads for $15 on amazon since they're on sale today.

    Will report back! Hopefully they are better than the regular HM5s because those sounded horrid.
  9. SomeTechNoob
    Angled arrived today. Wish me luck with the stretching.



    Side by side with regular HM5 Pleathers and stock pads

    edit: huge improvement when compared to regular HM5s. Significant changed depending on head positioning. Position your ears toward the back and the sound gets increasingly tinny. Sounds best closer to the front where the padding is thinnest. Can't easily A/B but it feels like there's still some accentuated treble with these pads. But I'm able to enjoy the majority of my music, unlike how it was with the regular pleather. I think if these HM5s were shallower, they would be better soundwise.

    Can't wait to hear from yall about how the XL round pads work.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017
    episiarch likes this.
  10. SomeTechNoob
    Looks like brainwavz xl pads are on amazon now. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B076SGPZ2D/

    Shuffling through reviews shows 2 people using these with the K55x lineup. Not much detail about how sound is changed, but looks like they're happy with it.
    episiarch likes this.
  11. C-Bass
    First post here at head fi. Most definitely not an audiophile. Very new to this hobby but I did get the XL pads for the 553. Pretty much what episiarch stated happened. They sounded like tin cans to me. The comfort was amazing and the seal was awesome. My whole ear was consumed by the pads. Was really excited until I turned on the music. I was like what is wrong with my music. Treble emphasis for me and the glorious midrange disappeared. I think the pads are just too thick. Needless to say they are going back. Feel free to try them and tell me I’m wrong maybe I know nothing.

    I’ll have to give the angled ones a try sometime. Fortunately my stock pads are still in good condition I was just looking for something to take the comfort to another level.
  12. episiarch Contributor
    I'm sorry to hear they didn't work out for you. :triportsad:

    FWIW for me the oval angled pads are not just sonically good but also very comfortable:
    • The stock pads made my ears feel too warm after a while, and the angled ovals resolve that problem. (This was the main reason I went searching for other pads in the first place.)
    • A bit more space around my ears makes them somewhat more comfortable in general.
    • The padding is nice and squishy (highly technical term).
    Other things about the angled ovals that might or might not be pluses:
    • If the K550 didn't clamp tightly enough or didn't seal well, the extra thickness of these pads will probably help you with that. But on a largeish head they might clamp excessively tightly.
    • I think they have greater sonic isolation than the stock pads.
    • They make the whole headphone visually a lot larger on your head, and pretty strange-looking. People may avoid you if you wear these in public. Or at work. Or possibly even at home if we're being honest.
  13. SomeTechNoob
    Just thought I'd update y'all with the Branwavz Angled pads. They are by far the best replacement I've found so far. Although they still alter the sound, they are the best compromise between comfort and sound so far. I have tried the regular Brainwavz pleather pads as well the cheap chinese replacement you can find on ebay for $7 or so. The regular pleather makes the K553 sound like actual tin cans. The cheap chinese replacements have a stiff foam which is both uncomfortable and will never get you a proper seal on your head. They are also thinner than the stock pads, which were already borderline too thin for my ears. Brainwavz angled puts plenty of space between the edge of my ear and the driver, seals well against my head, and doesn't completely remove bass response. If the angled pads were another 5mm shorter and 110mm circles, I think they would have been perfect replacements. A satisfactory substitute, especially at $15 when they go on sale from time to time (compared to AKG's stock pad replacement pricing: ~$55 for a pair + shipping?!!).

    I will reiterate that you will still lose bass and gain treble, but after a few days it was something I could get used to unlike my other pads. In fact, these are absolutely incredible for FPS gaming. With the increase in treble, imaging is crazy noticeable making footsteps very easy to detect. The brown color goes very well with the K553 - much better than the gray one.


    These cans have ridiculously large cups in the first place, so definitely don't take these outside unless you have a YUUUUUUUUUGE head.

    There have been rumors from Dekoni about K553 pads as well, so keep an eye out on massdrop! I might have to buy yet another pair of pads if they do turn out to be legit.
    episiarch likes this.
  14. hanouk
    I agree with most people here who tried angled Brainwavz and XL ones. I received both today.

    With the XL ones, the comfort is improved A LOT, but the soundstage is reduced by some margin and they sound extremely thin, the highs are a bit shoutier but i find the bass to be still well present. The midrange is less lively.

    With the angled ones, the soundstage is not a lot sacrified and its less V-shaped than with the XL ones. Definitely close to the stock pads. Comfort is better than stock pad (since my ears touch the driver on the stock ones), but a bit less than the XL.

    XL pads :


    XL, stock and angled :


    The XL pads are giants.
  15. bishop_rather
    Thanks all. Based on folks' comments here I ordered the angled pleather pads, which are fantastic. Excellent office headphone paired with my Fiio E17. Now to just figure out how to clean the matte plastic of the K550s, which has gone oddly sticky...
    episiarch likes this.
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