AKG K550 [Price $160 Used]
Source Win 7[Foobar2000 WASAPI] -> oDac -> MonoPrice Premium Coaxial Cables -> Matrix M Stage [0 [w1000x Akg K550/+18 db Gain Lme 49990 OpAmp]
Will be compared again'st my w1000x and my Beyer Dt 990, since I intend to use this headphone as a portable, with all genres. I want to see how it does against my two "specialists" Specifically, the Dt 990 will be compared only with Classical and EDM [I got lazy and only did classical and Dub Step] genres. Songs 2 and 7.
As always gain and volume are adjusted for each headphone. [To ensure each has equal volume levels, despite gain.]
7/9 Songs are without EQ, Benga-Invasion and Kidnap Kid-Animaux do feature an EQ added by me. This should demonstrate the ability of a headphone to handle EQ.
In addition, from this review and out, italic text will contain comparisons against my reference headphones. In addition, comparative points of interest will be included in Head Fi review posts, with all Blog Posts reaming more simple and to the point!
I recently sold my old Beyerdynamic Dt 880 Pro 250 ohms, and since then I've been in search of something that captured it's sound! I think I may have found just such a can.
I am impressed, the headband is metal with a nice extension feature. Nice physical feel in the hands, not as tough as the Dt 990, but not nearly as fragile as the w1000x. A solid build! Still these are composed of more plastic than metal. Yet the plastic has a nice look and finish to it!
Closed Back Dynamic Operating Principle
32 Ohm Impedance
114 db Sensitivity
Ease of Use [Comfort/Fit/Isolation] [4/5]
People complain about the fit, and the lack of clamp force and sadly I did not experience any of this, I put them to 4 on each side slapped em on, pressed them in ever so slightly and enjoyed. I will mention that they sound DRASTICALLY changes depending on how far from the front of the pads the front of your ears are. Essentially for me, the closer the back of my ears are to the back of the pad the Thicker the lower mids are, the closer the front of my ears are to the front of the pads, the thinner the entire can sounds!
In addition, these cans actually isolate very well! Much more so than the w1000.
But still these are STILL easier to put on my head and adjust than the w1000x, yet a little more fickle than the Beyer Dt 990!
Sound Signature and Character
Sound Stage: A very wide sound stage, good instrument seperation.
The Akg K550 is fickle with it's sound stage, with vocals it really shines and widens. Not as initimate with vocals as the w1000x, yet with pianos and wood instruments it's not quiet as wide as the w1000x or the Beyer Dt 990, how ever my w1000x is Modded so it's... well much tighter than stock.
Sound Signature- Easily the most neutral balanced headphone I have heard to date. The bass is tastefully tight and deep, the mids are warm and delicate, with good punch. The treble as well is smooth and very refined! Although it still retains some of the Closed Back sound.
Treble [3.8/5]- Very neutral, which isn't always my cup of tea. I miss the energy of slightly brighter cans. Not to mention the lack of air.
Mids [4.2/5]- A beautiful tone to mids, with the right mix of body and a touch of weight to be enjoyed with all kinds of music.
Bass [5/5] - Excellent bass all the time.
Conclusion- $170 used, a great closed can for at home or portable! Much more practical than the w1000x and half the price, not to mention the difference in sound between the two is almost negligible [seeing as I had to Modify my w1000x to be better than the k550 stock]