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AKG K550 MKIII Closed-Back Reference Over-Ear Headphones - Black
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- Reference AKG sound The K550MKIII headphones bring you the award-winning AKG reference sound that's deep in bass and rich in mid-range.
- Closed-back design for a fully personal listening experience The closed ear cups ensure an immersive yet open sound performance, with very low sound leakage levels.
- The K550MKIII's lightweight design and super-soft ear pads mean you can listen to your heart's content without any decrease in listening pleasure.
- Flat foldable for easy storage The 2D Axis folding mechanism allows the AKG K550MKIII to be easily stored and carried along
- Detachable cable for ultimate convenience The 3m long detachable cable adds convenience and ease-of-use.
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Open sound has never been such a private experience. With the K550s, AKG engineers have struck a masterful balance between the noise-isolating qualities of closed back headphones and the spacious, dimensional sound of an open-back design – creating reference class headphones ideal for private listening both at home and on the go. 50mm drivers, the largest in our product line, deliver great AKG sound from your hi-fi system or virtually any portable device. The large ear cups and new headband design ensure an amazingly comfortable fit, and the 2D-Axis mechanism folds flat to stow or go.
K550 MKIII , 3m Detachable cable
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This fact alone makes these headphones stand out against competitors – the separation between instruments and vocals is tremendous, and you can easily hear each component part of the band, whilst at the same time hearing them all blend together to form a sum of their parts, which is a real joy to hear and makes you appreciate the music so much more. This is particularly noticeable on a song or tune that you are very familiar with and have heard many times – it’s like hearing the tune properly for the first time, and you will hear every little nuance that is otherwise lost with less well designed or inferior headphones. Think of it a bit like "hearing" a tune in HD, and then "hearing" it again in 4K HDR
The K550’s are relatively large, and are designed for home use rather than the daily commute. With this in mind, the headphone cable is 3m long (around 9 feet) making it easy to attach to your stereo without having to move your favourite chair! They could be used outdoors or on the train, but that is not their primary function and there are other headphones better suited for travelling purposes.
I have had them for about 2 months now, and deliberately held off on writing a review so as to give some details after a longer period of use. I have to say, that each time I use them – which is practically daily, they sound better and better each time, but they sound great even on the first listen. I have also listened to various different styles of music to see what they are best suited to. Having done so, I can say with confidence that they will carry pretty much any style, but for me where they really shine is with acoustic guitars. Although they will handle most any style, I think that their capability and subtlety would be a bit lost on some harder House music, or thrash metal at the other end of the scale, but for anything in between, they sound fantastic.
The Mk III’s are the latest in the range, having been preceded by the Mk II’s. The main difference between the two is that the Mk III’s have a detachable cable, and the Mk II’s don’t. There are also some slight tweaks to the headband on the Mk III’s that have improved comfort. Otherwise – and crucially from an audio perspective, they are identical to the Mk II’s. They are really comfy to wear for long periods of time and despite their relatively large size, do not feel heavy or cumbersome. On the contrary, the foam pads cover your ears nicely without squashing them, and by angling the axis of each side you can achieve maximum comfort and sound quality very easily.
The K550’s were awarded the What Hi-Fi? Award in 2017 for best home over-ear headphones £100-£200, and for good reason. The sound quality cannot be over stated, it is excellent and really does breathe new life into your favourite songs and albums, and brings a grin to your face when you hear parts of songs you’ve never heard before despite knowing the song like the back of your hand – a real joy.
Exceptional sound quality
Crisp, clear and defined separation of instruments and vocals
Comfy to wear and relatively lightweight for their size
Excellent build quality and finish
This is an honest consumer review based upon my own purchased set of K550 Mk III headphones. There are many independent reviews online for the same headphones which also routinely give them a massive thumbs up, which I can wholeheartedly say is well deserved – excellent headphones, which I am so glad I purchased. If you are researching new headphones for your home stereo, these should definitely be on your short list!
Happy to answer any questions you may have
There's not a great deal more I can add that Ralcon hasn't already said in their review, but I will just add that my main musical preferences lean towards that of the hard rock/metal spectrum and I can confirm the audio output from these headphones is absolutely fantastic when listening to bands from these genres (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax, Iron Maiden, Linkin Park, Slipknot, Korn - to name just a few of the bands I've listened to so far). There are albums I have listened to loads of times in the past which were instantly shown in a whole new light. Despite all the reviews saying the quality was fantastic, I was not quite expecting THIS level of quality and clarity in my music.
Another thing I will add (from a comfort perspective) is that as a glasses wearer, some headphones can be uncomfortable to wear. I have not had a problem with these so far and have experienced no discomfort at all. Outside of the glasses, these fit perfectly over my ears and don't leak music out during listening (or at least my wife hasn't said anything about them leaking sound out yet!).
As a "disclaimer", I will just say that all music listened through these headphones so far have been 16bit FLAC CD rips and 24bit FLAC files, so I can't guarantee you will get the same experience with MP3s (or other low quality file types).
One thing that would be nice is if they included a shorter length cable for use outside of the home, as the 3m cable is a bit overkill when you're out and about, but seeing as the cable is detachable, you can easily replace this with a shorter one. Note, this has a mini-XLR connector and not a 3.5m connector on the headphones themselves, so you would need to purchase a special cable for this. They are out there, just not as easy to come by as a standard 3.5mm to 3.5mm connector.
TL;DR - If your budget for headphones is £200 or less, don't hesitate, just buy them! You won't regret it!