AKG K553 Pro vs Audio Technica M50X vs Philips Fidelio L1
May 3, 2015 at 1:15 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13

riffrafi

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Hey everyone, I just noticed that Massdrop has the AKG K553s for an incredible cheap price (in AUD it's about $185 including the freight forwarding cost). The Philips Fidelio L1 is about the same price ($150 AUD) Now I'm tossing up between these and the Audio Technica M50X which seems to be a classic set of headphones, which is $199 AUD off headphones.com.au
 
The Massdrop deal ends soon so I'm getting stressed about whether I want to purchase the K553s, especially because they **** in early June so it's a big wait so big expectations!
 
I want a pair of headphones for home listening. Like some bass but not a basshead. Listen to a diverse range of pop genres, from rock to indie to hip hop
 
Thanks for any help!
 
EDIT: my other option is to pay for a repair to my ATH-ES7s which will be about $80 (not willing to do my own repair)
 
May 3, 2015 at 1:19 PM Post #2 of 13

cel4145

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I have the K550s and M50s. I think the K550 is a better overall headphone than the M50, although the M50 has more bass emphasis and the K550 bass is more neutral. However, the K550s have an amazing soundstage, better than most headphones. The M50 soundstage is very meh.

Based on what I've read about the K553s and M50x, I'd go for the K553s myself.

Another headphone you might consider which I find same in class as K550 is Soundmagic HP150 (perhaps an international vendor has one?). It has better bass emphasis. I prefer the HP150 over the K550, but not by a huge margin.
 
May 3, 2015 at 1:25 PM Post #3 of 13

riffrafi

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The Soundmagic looks quite nice, but the only website I can find that ships in Australia has it for $320. Do you think it'd be worth the massive price bump?
 
PS new to this forum – I'm guessing a lot of Aussies complain about our awful isolation from vendors?
 
May 3, 2015 at 1:32 PM Post #4 of 13

cel4145

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I would not spend substantially more money for the HP150 over the K553. I seem them as equivalent in price/performance class. So it's a bit like Mustang vs. Camaro. Unless you drive them, you won't know which you like better :)

You can also look for the HP100s. Some people believe that the HP150s sound different from the HP100s, some say the same.
 
May 3, 2015 at 1:35 PM Post #5 of 13

riffrafi

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Do you think the lack of a detachable cable is a deal breaker for K553s?
 
re: the sound stage, I was thinking about getting some Alessandro MS-1s which have quite a trebly sound stage from what I know. wondering if that'll make the K553s redundant
 
May 3, 2015 at 1:45 PM Post #6 of 13

cel4145

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Do you think the lack of a detachable cable is a deal breaker for K553s?

re: the sound stage, I was thinking about getting some Alessandro MS-1s which have quite a trebly sound stage from what I know. wondering if that'll make the K553s redundant


Both of these depend on you. If you want the headphones for a lot of portable use, the long cable on the K553 will get annoying unless you braid it.

I have not heard the MS-1s. But I have at home the SR80i and used to own the SR225i. The K550 sound is a good bit different. Not nearly as aggressive to me as the Grados.

However, I would recommend ordering one, and only one headphone to start, instead of the MS-1s and a closed headphone. Whichever headphone you get will give you the basiss for then fine tuning recommendations for you based upon what you like (or not) about that headphone.
 
May 10, 2015 at 11:20 PM Post #8 of 13

knorris908

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  That is a very good point :) Thanks for your help. It's unfortunate that I'll have to wait for more than a month for the K553s!
 
EDIT: Got the K553s, hopefully it's good!


I got my K550 (Home) & K545 (Portable) last week.  Still burning them in.  What do you think of your K553 so far?
 
May 24, 2015 at 11:08 PM Post #9 of 13

nicdub

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I've got both the L1 and the K553 , and while I think the K553 has the bigger soundstage and may be a bit more "reference", I'm not sure it's as musical as the L1. I enjoy the L1 a little more than the K553.
 
May 29, 2015 at 10:46 PM Post #10 of 13

knorris908

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Solely because of "musicality", or are there other reasons?  I'm loving my K545 for "fun", and my K550 when I want to listen actively.  But agree with what was said earlier about it not being as aggressive as the GRADO SR225 (I had the "e" version) sounded.  TONS of detail, but far too harsh in the highs for my taste.  Not to mention the discomfort.  I don't think that I ever wore them for more than 30 minutes at a shot because they never felt good to me.  The K550 & K545 are comfy.  Not as comfy as my HD-650s, but better than most others I've tried.
 
I was tempted to the K553s, but between the sound of the K550 & K545, I'm finding that I'm not missing the bass punch on the K550s as much as I thought I would.  It's nice that the K545s have more low-end punch, but it's not as essential a thing as I thought it would be.  I mean, if I wanted THUMP, I'd pull out my HA-M55x for fun or HA-SZ2000 if I wanted to go BASSHEAD.  But for general listening, I'm pretty happy with the K550.  Thus my question:  Is there something that you perceive to be lacking in the K553?  Aside from BASS quantity and less "muscality" than the L1?
 
I ask you because your comments seem to line-up with my findings of the 5xx series of AKGs so far.
 
Thanks!
 
Ken N.
 
May 30, 2015 at 7:53 AM Post #11 of 13

nicdub

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  Solely because of "musicality", or are there other reasons?  I'm loving my K545 for "fun", and my K550 when I want to listen actively.  But agree with what was said earlier about it not being as aggressive as the GRADO SR225 (I had the "e" version) sounded.  TONS of detail, but far too harsh in the highs for my taste.  Not to mention the discomfort.  I don't think that I ever wore them for more than 30 minutes at a shot because they never felt good to me.  The K550 & K545 are comfy.  Not as comfy as my HD-650s, but better than most others I've tried.
 
I was tempted to the K553s, but between the sound of the K550 & K545, I'm finding that I'm not missing the bass punch on the K550s as much as I thought I would.  It's nice that the K545s have more low-end punch, but it's not as essential a thing as I thought it would be.  I mean, if I wanted THUMP, I'd pull out my HA-M55x for fun or HA-SZ2000 if I wanted to go BASSHEAD.  But for general listening, I'm pretty happy with the K550.  Thus my question:  Is there something that you perceive to be lacking in the K553?  Aside from BASS quantity and less "muscality" than the L1?
 
I ask you because your comments seem to line-up with my findings of the 5xx series of AKGs so far.
 
Thanks!
 
Ken N.

I'm not sure I find much lacking in the K553, even in the bass department.  The highs aren't harsh, the bass is present but not overwhelming, and separation between instruments is great.  It really has a nice open sound to it.  I think the sound can be a bit dry, lacking some of the bloom that draws me into the music.  That is what the L1 does better I think.  It's just a bit more engaging.  The bass can be boomy, and the highs are a bit rolled off, but the overall presentation is very engaging.  
 
If I was wanting to see how well something was recorded, I would always go for the K553.  The L1 just isn't as revealing in that sense.  But what it lacks in that department it makes up for in others.   
 
Jun 4, 2015 at 11:51 AM Post #12 of 13

riffrafi

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I haven't received my 553s yet, they ship in a few days I believe, and then it will be weeks before I get them (living in Australia sucks for these kinds of things). Funnily, I made an impulse purchase from Massdrop a week or so after I bought the 553s which have arrived now – Philips SHP9500. First open headphones I've owned. So far quite enjoying them
 

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