on 13 January 2013
After wearing my last pair of ill fitting (and expensive) in ear headphones (used in ear for many years) spent ages looking around for a decent pair of over ear headphones that would not make a man of 50+ look like some rather decrepid DJ. After trying many in store and looking at the net I found a review for these on 'What Hi-fi' which gave them their Product of the Year. At around the £75 mark I decided, after looking at pairs over £300, they were probably worth a shot without finding a pair to try on cost alone and hoped they would be half decent.
Plugged then in Xmas day, chose a suitably testing track and I was hooked. The frequency range of the headphones is what I find amazing - everything is there and with plenty of umph too. Suddenly, new aspects of music become audible for the first time and the songs can be rediscovered in all of their glory.
The headphones are very confortale even after a good few hours of listening, ideal for my smartphone, come with detachable headphone only lead and seperate headphone / phone lead with mic and a great hard case which the headphone fold rather nattily into. 6.3mm adapter included.
Don't usually write reviews but decided I should as I always find they help me in my decision making. I am sure there would be those that prefer other makes and models: all I know is that these are the best headphones I have ever possessed and for a fraction of what I was going to pay!
on 10 January 2013
These headphone are incredible.
The build of these headphones is very good considering the price. Previously I have had many headphones from Sennheiser and I would say these are comparable to the mid-premium ranges in terms of quality. The fit is comfortable for up to an hour or so of listening to music. The case is well made and feels like it's going to protect these for years to come.
The sound quality is fantastic for on-ear headphones. It is un-coloured and clear. Considering these are not in-ear or over ear, the base is measured and sounds strong but natural. The frequency range is distinct with highs and lows discernible and crackle free. One small criticism would be noise isolation and also wind noise. When on loud public transport these headphones can get slightly drowned out by the background. Also, in strong wind, the headphones have a tenancy to whistle - amplifying the wind noise. If you're going to come up against gale force winds regularly, pick yourself some over the ear headphones instead.
For anyone using an Android phone, I can confirm that on my phone (Samsung Galaxy Nexus), the microphone for hands-free calls works. Also, the play/pause button on the remote works when the phone is unlocked. Volume controls don't work, I think these are just for iOSO devices. Call quality is very good and I found that the recipient can hear you very clearly - apart from in windy conditions.
For the money, these are a bargain. I've had worse headphones costing twice as much.
on 6 November 2012
I thought that I would add my tuppenny worth seeing as there are so few reviews for this product. I was a bit hesitant about buying these because of the lack of reviews but as they seem to be a newer version of the K450's which are very highly rated, I took the plunge.
I specified Superfi as the supplier because the default supplier when you click BUY on Amazon (caraudiosecurityuk) seems to have supplied some fake K450's according to some Amazon reviews.
My review is very subjective because I have not compared them to anything except freebies and the original Sennheiser PX200's which I was never happy with after buying them based on a What HI-FI review about 7 years ago... Golden Rule No. 1 - if you are serious about it, always, always, always listen to audio equipment before you buy! However, that is not practical where I live so I took a chance. Over the years I have spent a lot of money on hi-fi so consider myself a bit of an audiophile but these have been bought for travel/portability so I won't judge them based on home use.
They look good and build quality seems fine while they come with a substantial (if rather large) traveling case. Using the alternative iPhone cord with my HTC smart phone, the mic works and I can pause/play but not change the volume remotely. They seem slightly heavy for their size which adds to the quality feel.
I have had a quick listen with different types of music including classical and soundwise, plugged into my portable devices at home, they are much better than my PX200's. There is definitely too much bass lift but this will probably be beneficial on the plane and can be taken out with an equaliser. Otherwise, the sound without equalisation is fairly smooth. I would say the sound is good, rather than excellent. I am not, "..hearing instruments that I never heard before." but would expect to be spending £100-£150 on some bigger phones to be happy at home. The sound may improve after a few hours burn-in so I will try to remember to report back. Also, as they sit on your ear, positioning is important for sound quality and comfort. The most comfortable position may not be the best for sound. There is quite a lot of pressure from the headband to keep them in place which is less comfortable for me on one ear.
Summing up: Look good, nice build quality, no good for jogging, they press quite hard on the ears, not 'flat' sounding but for on the move and with personal equalisation, should do a good job.
Headphones are a very personal choice but I would recommend these.
UPDATE *** UPDATE *** UPDATE
Ok, it's now 2 weeks after I received these and my first reiew. I have a lot more things to add...
My first review was written within minutes of opening the box and I hadn't given these a sufficient audition and... I nearly sent them back! I should say that I am a critical listener, my current hi-fi having set me back about 10 grand. I like realism and a natural sound. I want to close my eyes and be in the studio with the musicians. I know that you cannot achieve anything close to audiophile performance for under £100 but as What Hifi's headphones of the year, they should be fairly good. I bought these as a 'cheap' travel pair although I still have not tried them on the move, resulting in a more critical evaluation at home.
I set the equalisation to flat on my high-end laptop and flicked thru a bunch of mp3s (ripped at 192 VBR using Exact Audio Copy)) on iTunes - mostly rock, blues and accoustic. The sound was extremely bass heavy and muddy in the higher ranges. So for 2 weeks I have been burning them in for 10 hrs a day with a variety of music plus the jslabaudio.com/burn utility (white/pink noise plus frequency sweeps) and I am relieved to say that they have now redeemed themselves. I guess that I am out of touch with 'consumer' headphones which seemed to be aimed at sounding good for non-critical listeners rather than audiophiles. Bass extension seems to be all that matters.
Rummaging through my drawers I discovered that I had more portable earphones than I thought... 12 year old Koss PortaPros (one earpiece detached but still functioning), Sennheiser PX200's , the original Bose In-Ears, Sennheiser in-ears (not sure which). To summarise in ascending order of sound merit:
PX200 - Just awful. These had a What Hifi award too and I have hardly used them
Bose In-Ear - just ok, but not really hi-fi
Sennheiser in ear - better but not outstanding
Koss PortaPro - Great value for money with a better, more refined and open sound but with an extended bass which doesn't go as low as the AKGs due to open-back design
AKG501 - best of the bunch but only after 2 weeks burn in...
To begin with, the AKGs were extremely bass heavy with muddy mids/highs. Two weeks burn-in seems to have improved everything. Now I would say slightly muddy mids and highs with an over-pronounced, but tight, deep bass resulting in a laid back and entertaining (rather than audiophile) sound if you can throttle back the bass. The damage seems to be at 125Hz. Cutting this by 3 small notches and increasing the 62 Hz by 1 small notch on my laptop equalizer seems to balance this out considerably.
I have also listened with similar results on my Creative Zen, iPod 3G, Sony CD Discman and driving through the headphone socket on a Harman Kardon hi-fi amp using the laptop/Sony Discman as source. With mp3s, a big amp didn't make much much difference so I don't think these a need a portable headphone amp. They seem easy to drive with most devices. I could hear the improvement over mp3 with the CD sources but it wasn't significant enough at this level of headphone.
I would give the AKGs 5 stars at the Amazon price if the sound was anything close to a flat bass response. Not that I use it now, but my Sony CD Discman only has a 3 position bass booster so it would be impossible to use it with these headphones.
If you are a bass-head who doesn't care about getting close to the original sound then these will be a high quality solution. For anyone else, make sure that your device has equalisation facilities.
On the subject of sound leakage. There is not much at normal listening levels although it gets worse if you crank them up. I would wear them on a plane but not sitting next to somebody in a quiet library.
I think that, soundwise, the Koss PortaPros are far, far better value for money at £21 (if they are not the fakes) and it seems that the only difference between the AKG451 and AKG450 (at £41) is an extra cable with contol and mic for an iPhone.
***** FINAL UPDATE *****
What a relief! After 3 weeks of overnight burn-in, the sound has got better and better. It is more integrated and balanced and with less bass exaggeration. I can now listen to some music with the equalisation flat. I have pushed up my rating to 5 stars and my only reservations are that they get a little warm on the ears which is to be expected with this type and the flimsy cables, which have not let me down as yet and can also be replaced. You just wonder how many times you can accidentally jerk or catch it on something which is pretty much unavoidable in normal use.
**** ADDENDUM *****
8-9 months into ownership and with very light use, the pin that connects the left earpiece to the headband broke. It was returned to the supplier, Superfi, who were very quick to send a brand new replacement after assessing the breakage. A big thumbs up to Superfi.
Although it is very subjective, the new phones without burn-in sound as good to me as the pair I sent back. I am wondering if any of the components have changed...
on 17 October 2015
Nice headphone...have 2 lines, one for iphone and one for other phones and laptops....very useful...
on 6 September 2013
First of all I have to say that these headphones sound really amazing for their price. They are light and comfortable, but can get a bit warm after longer listening sessions. The carrying case is excellent if you, like me, likes to listen to music on commutes to work/studies and want to be able to throw your headphones in your bag without worrying about them breaking.
It is worth to mention that I listen to all my music with no EQ, which allows me to give a more objective opinion when reviewing headphones.
To be perfectly honest though, they didn't make a good first impression. At the very first listen they sounded quite "canny", with prominent, almost harsh midrange. Treble was slightly rolled off. The bass response was solid but not as good as I expected. I might have had too high expectations on the headphones after reading so many good reviews.
However, after a short burn-in period (apr. 5 hrs) they have mellowed out into a very pleasant and balanced sounding pair of headphones. The midrange has settled in the balance, giving guitars a very warm texture, while snare drums really cut through the mix. Treble pops out more, giving cymbals life and clarity. Most of all, though, the bass has improved immensely. The bass response is perfectly balanced for my listening preferences. Bass guitar sounds focused and punchy, really letting great bass lines shine. I would describe the bass as warm but focused.
Overall I am very happy with these headphones - but they (like all good headphones) require some breaking in before the sound goes from good to great. I have tried headphones at more than twice the cost that didn't sound as good as these do. After 10+ hours of listening they already sound great - I can't wait to hear how they sound after 100+ hrs!
on 24 November 2012
Recommended as a best buy in HiFi mag. I fully agree. There may be better for a lot more money, but no need to spend more. I already have Bose and Sennheiser headphones but the AKGs are the best. Clear quality audio, no boom & tizz. Lovely. PB.
on 6 December 2014
**For those that don't want to read the waffle, I've made a list of pros and cons at the bottom.**
First off, the main selling point for me with these headphones was the detachable cable as breaking the cable is the way every single pair of headphones I have ever owned have broken. I have to say the detachable cable is very useful as it makes it much easier to fold up the headphones. Was also pleasantly surprised to see that it came with two cables. A quick warning: ONLY THE PLAY/PAUSE BUTTON WORKS WITH ANDROID. Was disappointed that the first cable broke after only a few weeks.
The second thing to take into account is the size. These headphones are quite small, with the pads only just covering my ears but the major advantage of this is that when folded up I can actually fit them in my coat pocket. However, I don't have a larger than average head but found that fully extended they only just fit on my head. The build quality is nice, with a good plastic used throughout the set, will stay nice and looking brand new for a long time, especially if you keep them in the supplied carry case.
I'm no audiophile but the audio quality of these headphones is very good for my use. It seems very balanced with a lot less bass amplification than a pair of Beats so they sound good with a much larger variety of music. I'm also glad to say that there is little to no noise leakage to the surrounding world. They aren't noise cancelling so I wasn't expecting much but they can isolate out a bit of outside noise, leaving enough so you know what's going on around you.
Overall: A great buy ESPECIALLY if you commute a lot, the compact size and lack of noise leakage are brilliant. Only thing is that they don't extend very far so if you have a big head (ahem, sorry) then maybe they are something to steer clear of.
-Compact & small
-Good build quality
-Not over the top on bass
-Little/no noise leakage
-In-line mic works with Android
-Play/pause/pick up call button works with Android
-Headband doesn't extend very far
-In-line controls do not fully function with Android
-Not especially good at muffling outside noise
on 29 August 2015
I had owned a pair of AKG IP2 earphones before and loved them. Unfortunately, my kittens got hold of them and chewed through the cable! Even worse I was unable to find another pair. I bought a pair of Senheiser ones , but they were not as good. Trawling through Amazon, I found these. I was very happy to discover the excellent price reduction.
I love them. Once they had bedded in (after c5 hrs) they were brilliant. The sound quality is rich and clear. They are balanced. It's like listening to a live concert inside your head. One point. They come with 2 cables. One has in line vol controls. There is nothing that says these are only for use with certain devices. I have an mp 3 so just use the plain cable. You can also upgrade the cable for better performance. As the cable can be detached from the phones I won't have to replace the whole set should my pesky kittens chew them.
I was a bit worried how I would adapt to using over the head phones again. Or whether I would look/feel silly wearing them (I am 51). But they are not big. You can still hear some ambient noise on buses. But they are great. I recommend them. They also come with handy carrying pouch
on 7 April 2016
I've had these headphones for just over 2 months now, and am used to having most headphones typically die on me in as much time because of the strain I put them through, especially around the connector jack, because I'm a very heavy user. But these AKGs have proven that they can definitely take a beating. There's been plenty of times where the cable has snagged against something and practically ripped out of my headphones, but with no real damage. I even once dropped my headphones down an entire flight of stairs and they continued to work without hassle. Audio reproduction is balanced and clear, and the included spare cable is a definite bonus for me.
Best pair of headphones that I have ever bought at this price - and I've bought a LOT. Do yourself a favour and buy them.
on 3 April 2016
I own a pair of sennheiser HD 25-1 ii headphones that cost me £150 quite a few years ago and are now priced at £160, I use them primarily for djing and music production. They are my pride and joy, amazing headphones that I keep in the original box when not in use for safe keeping. Basically, I wouldn't wear them for casual use out in public so I needed to get something for my mp3 player as my last pair of cheapy in ear headphones broke recently. I wanted some comfy looking over ear headphones and spotted the AKG K451's on sale for £40, reduced from £130. Maybe it's a gimmick to get a sale, I don't know if they are usually set at that price but if that's the case, it's fair enough to put them to the test against the sennheisers HD's
First off, the AKG's are noticeably smaller, which I'm happy about as that's what I want for casual use. They are about 3/4 the size overall and the ear cups are 3/4 the size. The AKG's look beautiful, but not over flashy. They definitely have a bit more style than the HD's. The smaller ear cups don't fit over your ears as well as the HD's, they trap the inner area rather than the whole ear. I can't mark it down as a negative necessarily as I wanted subtler headphones for out and about, but for some people this maybe an issue. They are very comfortable to wear and don't slip off easily.
The AKG's are a decent solid build and I was surprised that they are a touch heavier than the HD's, but they definitely feel a touch more delicate. I feel like on a physical stress test, the HD's would come out on top.
The major plus of the AKG's is their foldable design. This is for the custom hard case with moulded inner to keep the headphones secure. The case is about 6x4 inches, so very portable, is a nice design, with inner net pockets. The case is a touch squidgy so wont offer full impact protection but certainly beats the cardboard box the HD's came in.
I like that the AKG's have a seperate phono to phono cable that you plug in and that they come with a spare, but the cable is a lot more delicate than the sturdy steel ones of the HD's. But it's a major plus that if you break the cable on the AKG's. you can plug in the replacement, that definitely makes up for the fact the cable is a bit delicate. The phono input is gold plated which will give best sound quality. A gold plated 6.3mm extension is also included.
So, for the most important test, sound quality. It's important to note that Sennheisers are considered one of the industries pro standard for perfect balance of sound with top volume. I tested with 3 types of music so I could get a feel for the quality of bass, mids and treble. All I can say is I'm blown away by the AKG's. It's this area I thought they would pale in comparison to the HD's and I can't notice any difference between the 2. I'm sold that these AKG's are usually priced at £130 now, the sound quality definitely proves that these are top headphones. The only things the HD's are better at is trapping the sound and protecting from outer noise, so the HD's are definitely better for djing, but for casual use the AKG's are much better and convenient than the HD's. As a backup spare for djing, the AKG's will do nicely if needed.
At £40, these headphones are an absolute steal, I can't get over them being this cheap when they're that good. These headphones were voted What Hi Fi's product of the year 2012, I can't recommend them enough