New Release - AKG K181 DJ Ultimate Edition, launching on Massdrop
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HideousPride

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Hey Everyone,
 
In the past 6 months or so, Massdrop has been able to offer some really cool AKG products. The K7XX was an ground breaking open-back collaboration between AKG, Massdrop, and our community. The K553 was a neat closed-back can that did a lot right at the price. With these two products, I feel we’ve covered a lot of ground regarding home/stationary use headphones.
 
I’m excited to announce that later on this week (of May 19th), we’ll be launching the AKG K181 DJ Ultimate Edition headphone, a portable on-ear that’s got a few interesting tricks up its sleeve. Its predecessor, the AKG K181 DJ, did a lot right but mostly flew under the radar (I’d never heard of the product before AKG brought it to our attention). 
 


Some of the notable features of the Ultimate Edition include:
 
  1. New all-black color scheme
  2. Lightweight, durable build
  3. 11 notches of adjustability on either side gives you plenty of headroom
  4. Reasonable clamping force, one of the better on-ears I’ve tried
  5. Mono-Stereo switch
  6. Bass boost switch
  7. Detachable 3-pin coiled cable (40” at rest, 16.4’ uncoiled), fully compatible with other AKG headphones like the K7XX
 


(This picture shows the AKG K181 DJ UE and the K7XX after having swapped cables)
 
Given the existence of a bass boost, I was quite leery that these would be tuned to cater to the average consumer. Much to AKG’s credit, the K181 DJ UE doesn’t disappoint.
 
Without the bass boost, they provide an intimate and somewhat dark coloring to your music. Nothing jumps out as overly offensive, and a lot of the more modern music I played sounds quite nice. The bass boost is thumpily fun and is an enjoyable experience, especially if you’re listening in noisy surroundings. I don’t hear it bleeding much into the mids, and it isn’t a boring one-tone bass boost either.
 
Probably the most exciting thing about the AKG K181 DJ Ultimate Edition is the pricing we’re going to be able to offer our members. The headphone hits a neat price to performance point that makes it quite the compelling product if you’re in the market for an on-ear headphone.
 
We’re looking forward to hearing what everyone thinks! I'm happy to answer any questions people may have about the product.
 

 
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squee116

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As good as NAD viso, at ~1/4 the price? can that be confirmed?
 
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James Shoegazer

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PROS:
With bass boost on, bass is weighty and impactful. Extends deep. 
Versatile with many genres. 
Non-fatiguing treble. 
 
CONS:
Slightly veiled treble.
Crash cymbals sound tizzy.
Mids sound dry. 
Grainy. Can't handle busy tracks well. 
Bass lacks refinement and can be messy. 
Tight clamp, very painful. Needs break in.
Defective stereo/mono switch, had to slightly adjust the switch to get the right sound. 
 
*Reviewed w/o amp*
 
IMO, 
I would not describe it as a dark sounding headphone. It is warm, balanced, lean towards a fun and pronounced bass without overemphasis.   
Overall presentation is good, laid back but with fair amount of speed. 
Soundstage is okay. Isolation is decent. 
Fun sounding, however lacking a bit of depth in the mids
and slightly sibilant treble; especially in hard and fast rock. 
Improvement in sound out of my vintage Yamaha A-17, which I quite enjoyed. Removes grain to a certain extent and sounds more fluid. 
 
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Synaptic Flow

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I'm very tired of looking for my first pair of quality DJ headphones on a budget.  I have considered the Sennheiser HD7 because I can still find them, but the fact that they are discontinued gives me pause to worry.  Plus I have never liked anything I have heard by Sennheiser except for the HD-580 and the PX-100.

I've seen these AKGs on Massdrop before but I was still considering other options.

So would this be a good first pair?
Does anyone have comments on how durable they might be?  That swivel point looks very scary to me.  Seems like that's just asking to break.
Are there any velour earpads with a wider opening that might be a good fit on these?
 
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brucewein

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Hi guys,
I can see that on the UE edition the SPL has been lowered from 120db to 114db and the impedance went up to 42 OHM.
Isn't the change a massive one that would lower their maximum volume significantly ?
I really can't decide between the regular and this UE version. I will be connecting it directly to my iPhone 7 plus without amp so I need as much power as it gets.
Can anyone help ?
 
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trellus

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These seem to get a lot more love outside of the United States than in the United States.   I'm still strongly considering joining this latest drop on these... 

 
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