AKG K550 Review

by admin
Summary
While the well-built AKG 550s provide listeners with a tremendous amount of details thanks to its wide soundstage and frequency with a slight bass and treble bump, I find myself struggling to recommend these headphones to people because they are not engaging and unrealistically detailed. Despite being a pair of technically capable headphones, most people who prefer brighter headphones will be better off with Beyer headphones, including amateur music producers.

 

Quality and comfort

Weighing in at 305 grams, the K550s are relatively light headphones that are pretty comfortable. They have large cups, which are comfortable and should accommodate most ear sizes, and I absolutely love the construction and look of these headphones. It’s evident that every line and design is well thought out, and everything feels sturdy and solid.

Unfortunately, the top of my head started to feel a lot of pressure from the headband, and it’s difficult to get a tight fit with these headphones. I constantly catch myself adjusting the headphones since they shift around quite a bit. I also wish the cables were detachable, but that’s a minor complaint compared to other things.

 

Sound

K550s have a very interesting sound signature. On one hand, it’s very detailed thanks to its impressively wide soundstage and bumped up treble, but it’s very unrealistic and flat because it lacks depth. While they’re marketing the headphones towards reference use, I can’t help but think that I’d be spending a lot of time compensating for its unrealistic sound.

Bass is fairly balanced, but it’s lacking depth, giving it a very flat and not engaging sound. I like treble happy headphones such as a lot of the Beyers I’ve listened too, but the K550 treble can get fatiguing over time, and the mids are recessed as expected. Overall, the sound goes back to detailed and wide, and the subjective interpretation of whether it’s engaging or not depends on the listener. I’m a fan of detailed cans, but I personally think the AKGs took it too far such that I don’t find these headphones enjoyable at all after 3 years of ownership, but I’m sure there is a subset of people that will find this exciting.

I find it hard to recommend these headphones to people as it’s not often I run into people who find this quality particular exciting, so I personally will stick with recommending the Sennheiser and Beyer series for most people getting into this hobby or are relatively new to the hobby.

 

Music section
Giorgio by Moroder – Daft Punk
  • 00:00 – 00:36 – The soundstage feels surprisingly wide for closed headphones, and the separation is impressive; however, there’s not a lot of depth if you listen for resonance in each note
  • 00:36 – 1:08 – Bass is pretty balanced, highs stand out, and separation is very impressive. The drums and bass hits are nice and tight
  • 6:58 – 7:30 – Highs stand out, but it could be a tiny bit cleaner and tighter. The lack of depth in soundstage is very apparent, and the bass guitar is tight and clean too.
Tom Sawyer – Rush
  • 00:00 – 00:50 Again, soundstage is very wide, there’s clear separation between all the instruments, and vocals feel like they’ve taken a slight back seat behind other instruments
Come Away with Me – Norah Jones
  • 00:00 -1:00 Interestingly, the hissing in this recording is more noticeable here than any other headphones. The piano feels balanced, but her voice is extremely thin compared to other headphones and other instruments coming in take my attention away from the vocals.
Four seasons L’estate III Presto – Vivaldi (Pavel)
  • 00:00 – 00:44 Violin attacks are nice and sharp, but there’s just not enough depth in the bass and lower string instruments
  • 00:45 -1:04 Pavel’s aggressiveness feels emphasized with the bumped treble, and the accompanying violins feel like they’re way too loud than they really are
  • 1:05 – 1:20 – Every part can be heard clearly, but there’s no depth in the sound, and the sound doesn’t feel very cohesive.
Count Bubba – Gordon Goodwin
  • 00:00 – 00:41 Balance and separation between all instruments are great, but the sound feels very flat and dead, especially in saxophone section
  • 1:10 – 1:39 Bari sax entrance is not very strong, and this section feels very balanced but bland
 Closing thoughts
  • If you’re doing a lot of mixing / mastering or want a set up of closed phones to practice digital piano on, these might work
  • If you also heard a lot of the Beyer headphones and want more details, it might be worthwhile checking these out too
  • I don’t really find these enjoyable for gaming or movies either since the sound is not engaging
  • These look really big on people’s heads, if you care about how headphones look on your head…

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