114 of 121 people found the following review helpful
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This review is from: AKG K550 High-Performance Closed-Back Reference Class Headphones - Black (Electronics)
I think AKG are onto a winner with these headphones. The sound quality is excellent and the isolation is first class. I use public transport a lot as I don't have a car and for this the K550s are very well suited. I listen to classical music, often quite quiet music and so the isolation is very important.
I have two other pairs of AKG headphones, my much loved AKG K702s and my K271 MkIIs. I use the K271s mostly for monitoring sound when I am recording video. I used to use them on public transport as they are closed back. The K550s are the preferred choice for this now.
The K550s do not sound like my other AKG headphones. They have a forward and full midband and the treble is softer. The treble is not as detailed as my K702s. I think that the K550s will have a wider appeal that the K702s because they will, probably, sound better with pop/rock. However they do sound excellent with classical. I've been listening a lot to Debussy: Preludes (2CD), Claude Debussy, Alexei Lubimov. I bought this at Amazon actually. The piano sounds really beautiful with the K550s, the notes are full and with lots of expression.
Although these are closed back headphones it is remarkable how open sounding they are. They will present orchestral works with a surprisingly large soundstage.
I do use them with a small portable amplifier plugged into my iPod Touch. However they will play absolutely fine plugged straight into the iPod Touch. These are very sensitive headphones. I use my small amp because it produces a better sound quality than the amp in the iPod Touch. I think that for quality purposes it is a good idea to get a good portable amplifier to add to your portable source. The downside is that the more you have the less portable it is :)
I have one criticism of the K550s which is that the cable is not detachable. I would really like to be able to use a shorter cable when I am using the headphones on public transport. The cable with them is far too long for this and it is a nuisance. I do like the longer cable when I am listening at home, so for me the ideal is to have a detachable cable so I can attach a shorter cable or a longer one depending on situation. This is what I do with my K702s and my K271s.
I will add that there is no sonic disadvantage imho to the captive cable. I do not recommend people spending money on the absurd after-market cables for headphones. The advocates of these claim all kinds of benefits but when they demonstrate this in blind listening tests it will be of interest.
The K550s have an entirely new headband design. Unlike my K702s and my K271s this one does not self-adjust for different head sizes. You have to adjust it yourself. Fortunately this is very simple and the advantage with this headband is that it is much neater and closer to the head all round, so you look less like a cyberman. Another advantage with the K550 design is that the headphones will fold flat-ish. This is very useful for putting them in a briefcase (which is what I do), along with your laptop or what-have-you. However these are pretty large headphones so even flat they are quite a big object, but much easier to deal with in their flattened state.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 1 Aug 2012 22:18:33 BDT
Great review, very helpful I must say. If you don't mind, would you please tell which portable amp are you using? Many thanks.
Posted on 1 Aug 2012 22:21:05 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 1 Aug 2012 22:21:28 BDT]
Posted on 4 Jan 2013 02:20:55 GMT
Mr. T. Y. W. Kent says:
Excellent review. For your cable problem why not simply use a cable tidy, normal price for a decent one is c £2-3. It saves playing around with more than one cable and is pretty quick to get exactly the right length. I use a Sennheiser one which has a handy belt clip on the back for outdoor use. I too listen to classical. Thank you again. Tom K.
Posted on 2 Mar 2013 01:51:52 GMT
D. Lovatt says:
I have these K550 headphones but incase you read this and since you own both, do you think the 702 is a good addition to the 550, as I would like another set for home use and leave the 550s at work to save the back and forth every day with them?
I wanted the 701 or 702 but bought the 550 for work also as ear defenders, at which they excel.
Good, concise review btw.
I don't do concise as I have a brain like a sponge!
Posted on 25 Mar 2014 21:30:59 GMT
You might find my March 2014 review of my AKG K702/65's interesting as I also own K550's. I really enjoyed the 550's but found the upper treble lift a bit much with some music so was looking for a perfect 550. I have found it in the K702/65's which provide me with the kind of sound I want in conjunction with my Colorfly C4 Pro audiophile DAP. When listening to the well reviewed B & W P7 headphones at my local Apple store using my Colorfly C4 Pro (thank goodness I did this, saved me £329), the combo didn't work for me with too much bass which was often overwhelming. My main hi fi system has very controlled bass so unsurprisingly I don't enjoy anything else. Funny when years ago my amplifier had a loudness button which I always had on and today I have a preamp with no tone controls.
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