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Good value, well-built, but too much fake bass
on 26 May 2014
AKG k 452
I spent a fair while looking for a decent pair of headphones for the daily commute - really hankered after some Bose noise isolators to hush my journey but couldn't justify the £300+ price tag.
The previous AKG model got a LOT of good reviews on here, the AKG K 452 seem identical apart from the inclusion of an inline microphone for mobile calls.
It's something I've rarely used but it does work very well, as the headphones do offer a decent amount of noise isolation when worn - you don't get anywhere near Bose levels, but you need to take them off to hear clearly, even if the music has stopped. So, if annoying people on the train by making loud and lengthy phone calls is your style - this makes it even easier and totally hands-free.
Sonically they do take a while to run in, mine have quite definitely opened up over three months - becoming clearer across the mid and top end. They were disappointingly muddy when first used - which was heightened by a very heavy bass response - which is still present but lessened by the top end becoming more prominent.
Should volume be required, the AKG has stacks of it - I've yet to use it all. The spill seems very small, I don't want fellow passengers to critique my eclectic musical taste and they are effective at preventing that.
I find the sound coloured and way too bassy, if you listen to a lot of electronic music for example, you may like that aspect but across a range of music they are simply too bass heavy for my taste, almost as if there is a 'bass boost' button switched on.
With the volume cranked up further the sound becomes much more balanced, and though as a musician, I'm used to high volumes, I find that to achieve a more balanced sound mix, the levels quickly become too loud for comfort.
They're comfortable to wear, with incredibly soft pads, although because they are not fitting over your ear, rather resting on the more sensitive, middle section of your ear, they do make their presence known after an hour or so.
The headphones collapse on themselves and fit into a smallish, smart little zipped case, which fits into a bag or large pocket of a coat and offers decent protection.
I'm pleased with them but would prefer over-ear noise isolators when I can afford them.
All headphones have 'their own' sound but these are distinctively artificial in the bass department. They've not had hours and hours of use as yet, so they may open up more but my advice is, if you have the opportunity, listen to a pair first, if you are at all fussy about sound balance.
Pros: great build quality, little spill, plenty of volume
Cons: artificially heavy on the bass, small ear pads do eventually become uncomfortable to wear