Looking for a nice upgrade from the AKG K26P
Mar 5, 2008 at 3:25 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11

Shirakawa

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Hello everybody.
Please, forgive in advance my poor english

Since the earpads of my AKG K26P headphones are falling apart after one and half a year of intensive use (I wear them for 3-4 hours a day on average) I've decided that it's time to upgrade to something better and hopefully more durable.

- My budget is maximum 100 euro.
- I need my new phones to be very much isolating. I often wear my K26Ps just to reduce ambient noise. This is top priority, even if it means that they will not be very comfortable (but I can't think of anything less comfortable than the AKGs I have)
- Easy to drive since I do not have a headphone amp and I may use them on portable devices
- They must sound better than the K26P and have a more balanced sound response, especially at mid-highs and highs
- If the budget allows it, they have to be full size / circumaural
- They have to be durable! Even though I do care of my headphones the earpads of my AKG K26P do not have a tight fit anymore (they detach from the cups very easily) and their pleather layer is starting to deteriorate very badly.
- They must be easily available in Europe

What's your suggestion?
 
Mar 5, 2008 at 7:06 AM Post #2 of 11

nkoulban

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I can suggest the CrossRoads X3i IEMs, major SQ upgrade to the 26p and very cheap to buy (and in build quality unfourtunately). If you want to stick to closed portable cans, try the next can up in the AKG range (K181DJ) or the Audio Technica ATH-ES7. Another more expensive option is the Sennheiser HD25, recabled these cans are very good.

smily_headphones1.gif
 
Mar 5, 2008 at 11:52 AM Post #3 of 11

Shirakawa

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Of course, I forgot to add that I'd like to stick with closed headphones.
The CrossRoads you mention are open headphones that don't seem to available where I live.

Regarding the K181DJ I haven't read good things about them, both in the forums here and at HeadRoom (HeadRoom - Right Between Your Ears), especially about sound quality and balance. They're pricey and with 130 euro over my budget by 30%. Also they're not really full-size (circum-aural) even though the earcups are bigger than average.
The Sennheiser HD25 are very expensive (120+ euro) for a small supra-aural headphone and their specifications (a 30-16000 Hz Frequency response seems so... average) and they are not very efficient (80 ohm).
The Audio Technica ATH-ES7 headphones seem to be good and reasonably priced (starting from 105 euro, but most shops are selling them for more than 130 euro) but I don't know about their isolation and real frequency response/sound quality and balance.
 
Mar 5, 2008 at 12:12 PM Post #4 of 11

nkoulban

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The CrossRoads are IEMs, so they are closed. For about $65 USD the SQ from these is nothing short of stunning.
 
Mar 5, 2008 at 12:23 PM Post #5 of 11

Shirakawa

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I guess I should have payed more attention while reading and looking in google images (I didn't catch the "IEM" part)
biggrin.gif

Anyway, I have never used IEMs before, and I don't think I would get some for general-purpose (and casual or sometimes very short) uses. I would prefer standard headphones.
 
Mar 5, 2008 at 3:41 PM Post #6 of 11

marvelusjd

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I had a pair of K26P headphones and went for the K81DJs. It's a HUGE step up in every way. Good isolation, killer sound (remove the foam pads in the ear cups) and very portable. Some people have had issues with the comfort, but bend the headband and you should be good to go. Or for a little more, the Sony MDR-V6 or Senn HD-280 would be some other good options.
 
Mar 5, 2008 at 4:18 PM Post #7 of 11

Shirakawa

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I was considering the K81DJs too (now they're called K518DJ) but since they look very similar to the K26Ps I'm afraid that after a year of use the pads could deteriorate like the ones I have. I've also read they're not as much isolating as K26Ps. But at a price of 55 euro they seem to be a much better bargain than the Sony MDR-V6 or the Sennheiser HD-280 Pro.

It's not the case of the K81DJs, but I'm wondering that since I wear glasses, full-sized circumaural closed phones could not be a good choice for me. What do you think?
 
Mar 5, 2008 at 6:29 PM Post #8 of 11

Kataklystik

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About the K518: I think that for the price, these headphones are actually sound quite good but I can't agree with marvelusjd about the isolation.
For example IEMs or other closed phones (in my case it's the K171) have better isolation because the K518 actually has some pretty thin earpads that don't isolate that well (I don't think they're comfortable either if you want to use them for extended listening sessions).

I was in a similar situation, I wanted to get some portable closed headphones and I thought about the K518 but then I tried it out ( a friend has one) and then decided to buy the K171 because I liked the sound better and they were more comfortable. They have much thicker pads (=more comfort), a detachable cable and seem very durable (built for studios). They're less portable than the K518 though but that's not a problem for me.
They cost me 100€ and I think they're worth it.
Maybe you could try them out in a shop and see if you like them (I don't know if the sound signature is for everyone but I like it
biggrin.gif
).

Quote:

I'm wondering that since I wear glasses, full-sized circumaural closed phones could not be a good choice for me. What do you think?


I have glasses too (but I use contact lenses most of the time) and with my K701 I get some kind of noise due to the earpiece of my glasses rubbing against the earpads and this annoys me. With closed phones that put more pressure on the pads maybe it even hurts but I haven't tried it. I think it depends on the headphones though, maybe you should just try out if it bothers you.
 
Mar 5, 2008 at 10:57 PM Post #9 of 11

Shirakawa

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The K171 are less efficient than the K518 - They're rated 55 Ohm but seeing the charts from headphone.com their real impedance varies between 55 and 100 Omhs, which I think could be a problem with some devices without using and amp. I don't care if the headphones are not small and portable, but I'd like to use them without an amp. Most online shops around here sell the K171 for around 100 euro, and at the same price the K240, which seem to have much better bass but provide much less sound isolation ad mids.

Here are the charts: Products - HeadRoom - Right Between Your Ears

Quote:

I have glasses too (but I use contact lenses most of the time) and with my K701 I get some kind of noise due to the earpiece of my glasses rubbing against the earpads and this annoys me. With closed phones that put more pressure on the pads maybe it even hurts but I haven't tried it. I think it depends on the headphones though, maybe you should just try out if it bothers you.


I was not thinking about comfort, but seal. If closed headphones do not make a perfect seal around the ear as intended, they sound different and isolate less from external noise. I don't use contacts and I prefer a higher clamping force than a loose one.
 
Mar 6, 2008 at 5:41 PM Post #10 of 11

Kataklystik

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You're right the K171 aren't really efficient but I don't think that there is such a thing as "real impedance", they have 55 Ω (like all the other studio AKGs too) and that's it.
The K240 are open and if I'm right you're looking for closed cans so maybe the K271, the closed version of that headphone might be more suitable for you. They are even a bit less efficient than a K171 and I suggest you better try them out and see if you have a problem driving them without an amp.
They are circumaural and closed and their pads are quite soft so maybe you won't have that much of a problem wearing these headphones with glasses.
 
Mar 6, 2008 at 5:49 PM Post #11 of 11

Jaska

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Kataklystik /img/forum/go_quote.gif
maybe the K271


Excellent recommendation. If you shop around quite a bit, you may be able to find a new pair for not much over the budget of €100. I would not recommend buying any sub-€100 closed headphones at all, as I haven't heard any that are good. On a positive note, I have not ever heard a headphone worse than the K26P (I used to own these and gave them away), so whatever you end up with might very well be an improvement.

I consider the K271S to be a headphone that benefits from amplification, but which can still be driven decently with moderate sources. The headphone output of my Power Mac G4 actually did more than "okay" with them.
 

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