AKG K550 Headphone Review | BEST CLOSED BACK REFERENCE?
Hi friend and welcome!
Today I’ll be flying towards you like Superman with my AKG K550 headphone review. Some call these the best closed back reference can, and the best alternative to the open back Sennheiser HD 600. Check out my Sennheiser HD 600 Review!
To start off, these are gorgeous. They are actually made mostly of metal, with some plastic. They absolutely exude beauty in my opinion. Everything from the headband, ear-cups, and overall feel is just solid. They are very comfortable, but the ear-cups could have been wider in diameter. Just be aware that some people do complain of a loose fit, and it entirely depends on the size of your melon. The right amount of snugness really determines whether or not the bass will sound too flat or just right. The ear pads are very soft, which can present problems with the fit. You may have to tinker quite a bit with them. Once you do find that perfect fit, they are extremely comfy, and you won’t have to really adjust them at all.
The other big thing of note is isolation. While they do isolate pretty well, they don’t completely block out sound. This makes them pretty exceptional for office situations, but their biggest claim to fame is mostly definitely closed back reference. In terms of that, they allow you to really get a feel for how the music actually sounds. A lot of people may put these on and say that they lack bass. No, that just means that you may have grown a little too accustomed to poor consumer grade models. And that is understandable. What these give you is a very flat, accurate, and well extended bass response. There are no glaring speed problems. They are very unforgiving though, so make sure your source is good. Mp3’s probably won’t sound all that stellar. Haha.
One last notable aspect is that there are a couple different versions of this headphone floating around. I wouldn’t buy a pair on eBay because you may get one that sounds very different from the original 550. Also if you can, demo this before you buy it due to the strange fit.
Folds up flat for easy transport.
Build quality is fantastic. Mostly metal, with a great headband adjustment.
Very comfortable once you get a good fit.
Flat and neutral bass that extends quite deep. Very analytical.
Best closed back reference headphone. Great alternative to the open back HD 600.
Relatively fast and detailed.
Almost perfect treble range. There is a bit of a boost around 10khz, and some may find this artificially detailed.
Nice color matching 1/4″ adapter. Very solid.
Great for office. Works for every genre, and isolates sound just enough.
No carrying case
Cloth that covers the driver may hit your ear(s).
Sound-stage is decent. There is some width, but the imaging isn’t particularly great or anything. It is there and that’s about it.
Non-removable cable. Depends on your preference really.
Cable is very long for portable use. Around 9-10 ft. Could have benefited from a choice of coiled or straight.
Strange fit, and the ear-cups could have been larger in diameter.
May sound artificial in the mid-range. Very uncolored, but: There is a forwardness at about 1.5khz, a ringing at 4 or 5k, and spike at 6khz. Metal or electric guitar in that region may become problematic. Some detail is slightly blurred.
Check out the Video Review!
These don’t need an amp at 32 Ohm. They do just fine with portable devices, and come with a 1/4″ adapter for use with interfaces and mixers.
Not the most laid back or easy to listen to with every genre, and don’t expect a boomy bass or anything. As mentioned in the summary, these are highly accurate, but don’t have that impact. They are a reference headphone period, and the best closed back one at that. There may be a problem with distinction in instruments however in the mid-range.
If you strictly listen to good sources, these can sound great with a lot of genres. Just know that above all, they benefit producers needing a good mix-down.
Just about the best closed back reference can, from a purely analytical standpoint. Be cognizant of the strange fit, and if you can, demo them beforehand. They are supremely built, and the aesthetic is that of pure beauty. Bass is accurate and detailed, with good extension. Mid-range is a bit of a mixed bag, but the treble is almost perfect. Sound isolation is good enough, but the overall sound-stage is a bit on the underwhelming side. Still, being a closed back headphone, you get some characteristics of an open back design.The best of both worlds perhaps?
If you’re looking for the best closed back reference can, these will most certainly do the job. They have a great analytical sound, and come across very flat and neutral. Just don’t expect to be particularly amazed by the low end. They do their job quite wonderfully though.
Well that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed my AKG K550 headphone review! Do you have questions? Don’t agree? Feel as though I left something out? Please don’t hesitate to reach out below, or Contact me!
Do you think that the K550’s are the best closed back reference headphone? Let me know as well!
Stu is determined to provide the truth about all things audio, and strives to deliver excellent content to you the reader! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, attend church, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His attention to detail and perfectionist attitude are what allow him to excel, but it can be both a blessing and a hindrance at times.