Long time, no post... but there hasn’t been much for me to talk about headphone-wise. I’ve been happy with my main rig for the past couple of years, and happy with the occasional pair that I bought every now and then. Everyone knows (or should) about the Beyer Dt250s and Yuin PK1, the Manufacture Beyer DT990 (600ohm), the old skool Sensaphonics 2x-s. I’m not here to talk about any of those. I’m here because I went on a little bit of birthday shopping spree today. I migrated to the headphone section... as you do, and saw a new kid on the block. Luckily there was an open pair ready for testing, and I’d brought my iPod Touch with me. I plugged in this new unheard-of headphone and found all the goodness I look for in portable cans. This new kid has a name, and it is the AKG 420. What I look for in a portable headphone: Fun Sound: Check Ergonomics that make them comfy and easy to take out: Check Pouch that you probably won’t use, but is nice to have anyway: Check Fold flat for easy storage without squishing one of the earpads: Check Durability: Check Easy to put on quickly and not fiddly about positioning: Check A profile slim enough so that the cool kids don’t laugh at you: Check A cord that isn’t 5 miles too long: Check Easily drivable sans amp: Check The general feeling that it wasn’t a huge sacrifice choosing these over larger cans: Check What do I mean by fun sound? I mean a sound that makes you want to get down with your bad self. Usually that means a midbass hump, and enough detail and clarity to know what you’re listening to. We all know that Portapro kind of sound. the 420s are that on steroids. I’ll say right now that I like them better than K81s, and I liked the K81s. The K81s were too boomy (price of being closed), and the cord was 5 miles too long. Yes, there are mods, but I’m comparing stock to stock. What I get from the sound is that fun midbass minus the sonic boom, and with an added top end for clarity. I listen to acoustic, metal, hip hop, and everything in between and there was nothing they sounded bad with. The worst I can say is that the top end is a little bit harsh. Not headache-inducing or anything, but it’s the same kind of hardness I get from unburned-in stuff. These impressions are the sound right out of the box. I can’t comment much on the soundstage yet, other than to say... hey, there’s a since of stage and space here. They are very easy to drive. I don’t have a portable amp right now, and these don’t need one. I have a Euro iPod Touch jailbroken to remove the volume limiter, and these are earbleeding at halfway. The 420s are semiclosed, which I take to mean mostly open. That’s where the good sound comes from, so that’s the tradeoff. It’s still tough to find closed headphones at that price point which don’t suck. I’m spoiled from the combo of Sensas and dt250s there. I’m happy to take the tradeoff. Overall, if you’re looking for something better than the K81, something more portable and reasonable, but something really fun - check out the AKG K420. I found them good enough to come back and actually make a post about headphones.