The terms “studio-grade” and “studio-quality” are tossed around with reckless abandon by scores of headphone makers these days. Unfortunately, based on our experience, those terms rarely apply to the products upon which they are stamped. But if there is one company that has earned the rights to the studio moniker, it would be AKG. The company’s K240 open-backed headphones are a staple monitor in recording studios everywhere (A/V Editor Caleb Denison won’t darken a studio’s door without a set) but now AKG is rolling out a more consumer-oriented headphone that should play nicely outside the studio.
Check out the AKG K551, a closed-back (read: not going to annoy those around you) headphone that the company says brings that classic, balanced AKG signature and super-wide to the masses. Let’s take a look at some specs.
The K551 house a 50mm (that’s, like…really big) driver for each ear. Frequency response exceeds the limits of human hearing at a rated 12 Hz – 28 kHz. Maximum input power is listed at 200mW, but AKG doesn’t mention the headphones’ impedance — an interesting omisson, since many of its headphones like to gobble up power and aren’t necessarily the best choice for portable media players
The phones come with an in-line mic and remote, carrying pouch and an ultra-collapsable design which AKG calls a 2D-axis fold-flat mechanism. These aren’t really novel features, but with the K551’s reported horsepower, there’s no need for unnecessary gimmickry.
The AKG K551 studio headphones are available for pre-order now at the company’s website (though there’s no indication of a planned shipping date) and currently retail for $330. In our experience, that’s not too pricey for a great pair of studio headphones – but they had better be a great pair of studio headphones. We’ve requested a set for review and will update you when we’ve had a chance to listen for ourselves, but if AKG stays true to its roots, you can bet these cans will sound pretty fantastic.