Tag Archives: Hifi

My Review: AKG K451 headphones

Introduction

Hello there and welcome to another tech review. This time I’ve got the AKG k451 on the go headphones. I picked these up for just under £40, and I’m really excited to try them out.

Background

I had been interested in buying a new set of headphones for a while. I’ve got an in ear pair that I like, and a pair of Sennheiser PX 200-II’s which are really good for travelling with but I’ve gotten a bit bored with how they sound.
I first came across these headphones while browsing WhatHifi as I like to do. I read their review and was quite impressed that they hadn’t actually been able to fault anything. I thought “surely these things are going to cost quite a bit!” But was pleasantly surprised when I clicked on the Superfi link in the “Where to buy” section and saw £38.99. I proceeded to purchase them with free delivery (always nice) and it is now Wednesday (2 days on), and I’m expecting them to be delivered well, about now. Side note: I like delivery companies that let you know exactly what’s going on with your parcel and text you with the delivery window. According to the tracking info, I’m stop 62 and am next on the driver’s journey. Massive shout to UK Mail for providing such a brilliant service. In fact, there goes the door bell now. I should probably go and get that. Ok, got them, let’s get these bad boys out of the box.

What’s in the box

So, once I’d gotten in to the box, we have a nice hard carrying case which includes all the paper work that you get with the headphones which is well, I have no idea. I’ll get someone sited to tell me and update this post accordingly. Update: It’s your warranty card and a peace of paper that tells you what the remote’s functions are on the cable. Also in the case you get a cable without the remote and mic should you want to use that. Ok, so under that we have the headphones themselves which have been very cleverly cable tied in to the packaging. As has the cable with the remote and mic. Several cable ties later, I have the headphones and cables out and assembled. The headphones themselves look very nice, but we’ll get in to my full review later on. Also in the box you get an adapter to convert the normal 3.5MM plug to a 6.3MM jack should you want to use that. One thing I will note which I think is a nice touch though is just above the ear cups themselves there is braille (A L and a R) to indicate left and right, obviously. The cable looks to be a really nice quality and is 1.2M in length. Each end has a 3.5M connecter, something that I like an I wished my Sennheiser’s had.

First impressions

My god!!!!!! I just happened to be sitting on the sofa with my mac writing this post when the headphones arrived so I unboxed them and plugged them straight in. I had iTunes playing in the background but the song that was playing had just ended so I was waiting for it to transition. My playlist was on shuffle so i had no idea what would come up. It turns out it was Marvins Room by Drake.

The pounding baseline soon braced my ears and I was blown away. The headphones fit really comfortably and are very well padded. I wrote the unboxing section listing to voiceover and my iTunes in the background and I am very impressed. For their size, you wouldn’t really be expecting them to sound as well as they do, but they do. Alex and voiceover’s sounds don’t sound half bad with them either which is always a plus. They go bloody loud. However they do block out background noise very well; I have my music at a moderate volume, and I can barely hear myself tapping away on the keyboard. Like WhatHifi, I haven’t found anything to fault them on yet but I’ve only had them about half an hour. I’ll use them for the next day or 2 and then get back to you with a more in-depth review.

My full review

Ok so I’ve been using these headphones for a bit now and have decided. I really like them. Even as I sit here in the same situation I was originally; iTunes in the background, on the sofa, I’m still impressed by the quality of sound these headphones produce. However I will say they do leek a little bit, especially at the high volumes, but that’s kind of to be expected with headphones this size and this design. My Sennheiser’s don’t leek noise as much but personally I don’t think they go as loud.
They fit really comfortably; the headband allowing for plenty of adjustment. The headband itself is nicely padded, giving the AKG’s extra comfort. They also just feel sturdy on your head; they’re not going to fall off in a hurry. I do like a pair of headphones that can fold, I just think it looks neat when the headphones aren’t in use and the AKG’s manage to tick that box rather finely, however I still haven’t really figured out if I’m putting them in the case the right way yet. Update: I think I’ve figured out how to get them in the case. They do fit in there but it’s a bit awkward to get them in. When the cups are folded, there are spaces for them
to go face down and the case just zips shut.
I’m still impressed with the level of comfort they have to offer and the way they fit snuggly over your head and don’t grip. They aren’t like other headphones I’ve tried that hurt your ears when you wear them for a considerable length of time either. Honestly, they are that comfortable that when I plugged them in to my DAB radio to listen too while I was in bed last night, I ended up falling asleep wearing them. For a good few hours. I suppose I just got lost in the sound.
I’ve been listening to a varied range of genres over the last day or so with them and I have to say, they do perform exceptionally well with a wide range of music styles. I played probably one of my favourite albums to come out in a good while (X By Ed Sheeran); just on iTunes, and that’s when i truly noticed how well these headphones performed with acoustic music. Bass is well presented and the headphones do a good job of separating different instruments in the mix. You can also appreciate effects like reverb more.
After that I thought I’d try them with a very different genre of music. So I put on Royal Blood by Royal Blood and I found out it’s not just acoustic music these headphones do well. The pounding drums and guitar lines are very well presented however they leave plenty of space for the vocals to come through.
I have yet to play anything other than iTunes 256 KBPS AAC and Spotify’s “extreme” quality (equivalent to 320 KBPS) however, and I really need to get my FLAC collection out to really make the most of how they sound. That’ll be next week though so I’ll stick a bit at the bottom of the post when i do dive in. Even now just listening to iTunes again, I’m noticing how well Daft Punk’s ‘get lucky is presented. A very good buy I think.

Conclusion

Am I telling you to buy these headphones? Should you run out and snap some up for yourself? That’s not for me to decide. I’m just putting forward my review and experience of them. If you want to purchase a pair on my judgement then go right ahead. All I’m saying is if you’re looking for a pair of foldable affordable headphones that sound great then go right ahead.
I’m really happy with my purchase and hope if you go ahead with it you will be too.
I know I don’t post here very often but that’s because I run out of things to say quite quickly which is why I like my twitter more because it forces me to get to the point.
If you enjoy my blog posts however, and want to see more of them, give me a subject to talk about. Either tweet me, or contact me through the contact page.
Thank you very much for reading, and see you next time.

Update

Ok, it’s been a few weeks now (sorry), (well I did go on holiday; and yes, I did take the headphones), and I’ve been listening to them pretty much exclusively. In fact, I’m listening to them now and I’m still as impressed as I was when I first received them. I did say I would update once I’d listened to some high resolution audio with them, I don’t really know what I thought I was going to tell you, “It sounds, … the same as the difference between if you listen to a 320K MP3 and flac file on any good hardware” (it does sound bloody good). In fact, I’m sitting at my actual desk on my windows PC listening to foobar shuffling my flac library at the present time of writing this. (Which is a Saturday at 22:06, cause you know, all the 18 year old kids sit updating their blogs on a Saturday) … I digress. In case you care, I’ve got the headphones plugged into my Behringer UCA222, using the cable without the inline remote. If you didn’t care, too bad, you can’t unread it. I did have one problem though; when I was using these with my nexus7, I noticed the volume controls on the remote weren’t working but when I complained on twitter, a very kind person informed me that that’s an android problem so it’s nothing to do with the headphones. I have listened to a few more albums with these though and I’m still in love with them. I’ve also been listening to a few audio books and movies and it’s not just music they perform well with. As I mentioned before, TTS doesn’t sound bad through them either, especially on iOS, which is my preferred book reading medium these days. Anyway, that’ll do for now, so I hope you’ve enjoyed this little update, and see you all in the next one.