Sound quality difference between AKG K551 and AKG K545?
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Atriya

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I'm not totally new to headphones - I own a HE-400, which I use with Schiit Modi + Vali.
 
I'm looking to buy my second headphone, and it will be an AKG - I'm considering the K551 and K545. I'm aware that the K545 is more portable than the K551. I would prefer a portable headphone, but only if portability does not come at the expense of sound quality. I'm very confused about whether the K551 sound better than the K545, and searching seems to show up conflicting views.
 
1. AKG says the K545 is the 'next-generation' 'upgraded' version of the K550 (and by extension the K551 which is apparently sound-wise the same as the K550). However, they still price the K551 more than the K545, which seems to be contradictory.
2. It's very confusing that the K551 mentions features like 'real image engineering' but the K545 page does NOT, yet AKG calls it an upgraded version. Is it actually missing features, or did AKG just not mention them for the K545?
2. Some people say the K545 is sounds better than the K551, some people say it's worse.
 
Importantly, when I look at the specs, the frequency range is similar, but
 
1. There is a huge difference in 'maximum input power'. The K545 has 50mW whereas the K551 has 200mW! There has to be some practical implication of this. What does it mean? Note that I do have a headphone amp available (Schiit Vali).
2. There is some difference in 'sensitivity' - 545 has 97dB SPL whereas the 551 has 114dB. Again, what practical difference does this make?
 
For the record, I'll be listening to mostly classical (some orchestral, lots of solo piano and chamber) on these headphones.
 
Any help / clarifications would be greatly appreciated! Thanks! 
 
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cel4145

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This may help: http://www.head-fi.org/t/688329/akg-k545-review-k550-s-little-brother-isn-t-so-little
 
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Atriya

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Thanks a lot.
 
That doesn't talk about the maximum input power difference or sensitivity though.
 
Overall, I gather that the K545 has both advantages (bass) and disadvantages (soundstage) over the K551, which makes my decision even more difficult.
 
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cel4145

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Higher sensitivity can mean that you get more volume with the same amount of amplifier power. However, manufacturer specs are not always accurate. For instance, the K545 were tested and were found to have 106.4db, much higher than specified. So I don't know that there is much sense in trying to compare AKG's numbers for the sensitivity or maximum input power.

However, if you are concerned, I would imagine the guy that did the comparison would know if the K545s are significantly more difficult to drive. You could ask in that thread.
 
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Atriya

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After a bit of research I went ahead and ordered the K545 - thanks!
 
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ianeith

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Hows the k545 treating you, after spending some quality time with it?
 
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Atriya

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I didn't like it, and got the K551 instead, which I absolutely love!
 
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SAMplify101

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could you elaborate on what exactly you didn't like about the 545? wondering if I should pull the trigger on these.
 
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SAMplify101

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90, but I was unlucky enough to get the left driver defect. Going to order another one and will report back
 
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ianeith

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90, but I was unlucky enough to get the left driver defect. Going to order another one and will report back



90 is a great price for the 545s. They sound great and have a good design and durability, when it works.
 
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