A lot of things go through my mind when I put on a pair of review headphones for the first time. “Oooh, nice bass.” Or perhaps “Wow, these are loud!”
But when I put on a pair of AKG’s K550 Reference Class headphones, the first thing that came to mind was a pair of luxury leather shoes, because that’s exactly what they smelled like. And smelled VERY strongly, I might add – so much so that I could still pick up the residual scent on my face an hour or two after removing them.
Now I’m not sure if the luxurious, plush ear pads on these headphones are actually made from leather or (more likely) made from a faux leather treated with an overabundance of shoe fragrance, but they definitely felt great on my head. In fact, the entire unit, despite being surprisingly heavy in the hand, was comfortable enough to wear for an hour or so of sitting in front of my computer without fatigue.
And make no mistake, you will probably wind up spending most of your quality K550 time in front of your computer or in an easy chair or sofa, because these babies lend themselves more to seated, contemplative listening sessions rather than portable on-the-go tuneage. For one thing, there’s the aforementioned weight. For another, unlike other headphones, they don’t really “fold up” for portability – instead, the massive earpieces swivel outwards on beefy metal mounts and you can lay the headphone flat on a table, and that’s about it, really. It’s still a lot of headphone to stuff into a laptop bag or backpack.
In a word, great. They sounded as good as they smelled … which is not a sentence I have ever used in a gadget review before and am likely to never use again.The overall sound signature is full and rich without being overpowering. The bass is powerful without being indistinct. Vocals and soundstage are well placed (though maybe not as expansive as some other open-backed models I’ve tried) and even after long listening sessions, the K550s were not fatiguing at all.
My personal pair of headphones right now is a Sennheiser HD 600, and while I haven’t spent enough time with the AKG review unit to say with certainty that I prefer the sound of one over the other, they’re definitely comparable. I like these AKGs a lot.
I get to play with a lot of neat stuff as a Technoodling reviewer. The K550 earns a spot on the list of review items that I wish I didn’t have to send back. It’s well built, it’s classy, it’s good looking, and most importantly it sounds great. Yes there are other headphones out there cheaper than the K550 – but you won’t regret buying one.
Philippine SRP: P14,995
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