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These Headphones are brilliant for the small price you would pay for them. The sound is as good as any more expensive branded headphone that I have used. They are also small enough to be able to carry on a journey or day trip with no hassle, and they sit on your head without any weight. I have had much use out of my own and have found them to be very durable, this is, apart from the detatchable lead, of which there are two in the set. This lead is not what you would expect from a respectable headphone company and in a short period of time, it becomes worn and there is a loss in quality of sound. For me, eventually the sound from both cables stopped completely. This is not aided by the small availiability of any replacement leads. Apart from this, these headphones are a must have for anyone on a small budget.
I got these as I am very particular about sound quality. The folks over at What Hi-fi? gave these such high praise, they were voted as "Product of the Year 2012". So, I decided that I must have some. When What Hi-fi? tested them, they were at a reasonably expensive £130, about on par with the RRP of the Bose in ear headphones I have been using for the past few months, but still cheaper than the frankly hideous Beats by Dre Solo HDs. However, they are currently available from Amazon for £60, which, while being the most I've ever paid for a pair of headphones (my Bose pairs were eBay bargains), is terrific value for money for something which has been labelled as "Product of the Year".
First off, let's look at the build quality. While the construction is mostly plastic, it's a premium plastic, and feels very durable. The ear pads are made of pleather, and do not feel like they're going to fall off a la Beats Solo HD. That said, I do believe that if they do, AKG do sell spares. The only thing that struck me as potentially being problematic was that the cable is quite thin. That said it is detachable, and barring any extreme use, it should fare reasonably well, time will tell. Again, if it does go wrong, you can get a replacement cable, so no need to throw the headphones in the drawer and forget about them if/when the cable dies, as I have done all too often in recent years. The in-line remote on the cable feels sturdy enough, and is made from high quality, premium plastic. Certainly feels a lot more substantial than the Bose mic/remote on my old in ears.
Now let's look at comfort. It did concern me that, under Amazon's reviews, there were a few that criticized the K451s for being too tight, with a 'clamping' effect. I have a larger than normal head, so this was a slight worry, but that said, the same was said in the reviews of my £30 JVC HA-M750s, and once I got them, they were actually a little too big. Back to the K451s, they are a perfect size for me, albeit with the headband extended as far as it will go. But there is no clamping effect at all. I can only assume that the complainants on Amazon have alien sized heads.
They are of an on ear design, similar to the Beats Solo HD, but they feel much more comfortable in comparison. The ear pads/cushions feel softer, but as I mentioned previously, more durable than the Solos. In general, the K451s are extremely light, to the point where you can forget you're wearing them.
Now, the biggest part; sound quality. Having spent 2012 in pursuit of a perfect sounding headphone, I can now say I am becoming an audiophile. Where previously my Bose in ears seemed to be as good as you could possibly get, now I see them as the overpriced, overhyped product they really are. A lot of the frequency range of most high end headphones is not available with the Bose headphones, and the range that is is exaggerated greatly. Not so much with the K451s. The frequency response is quite broad, although I can't remember it off the top of my head. The bass is very much present, and very clear, and yet unlike the Beats Solo HDs, it doesn't dominate or drown out the mids or trebles. The trebles are perfect; every crash of the hi-hats are clearly audible, and the mids are perfectly balanced.
I listen primarily to classic rock, and the K451s are perfect for the genre. The instrument separation is great, and overall it creates a fantastic sound stage, which doesn't feel sealed inside your head, like many headphones do, and the K451s pass my simple test of good headphones; the tambourine in Led Zep's Whole Lotta Love is clearly audible alongside that main riff, bass and drums. The "hissing" sound that poor quality headphones provide when a word with a letter S in it is sung, is not at all present here; even before the burn in phase began. I have also tried the K451s with a variety of other genres, and they excel everywhere. While overall, I thought Beats by Dre were awful for most applications, it must be said they did fit the hip-hop/r&b/rap genre quite well, as you'd expect. But the K451s have them seriously outgunned. The bass is plentiful, but yet doesn't distract from the overall listening experience as per Solo HD. Using my girlfriend as a guinea pig, I can say that sound leakage is minimal. I couldn't hear her Disney music at reasonably loud volume from a few feet away, and she couldn't hear me rocking out to Fleetwood Mac from even closer. So that makes these ideal for when I'm working in the University library.
My conclusion then? The What Hi-fi? folks were bang on; these really are worthy of Product of the Year. They offer clarity which nothing short of the Bowers & Wilkins P5, which cost 4 times as much, can rival, and even then the K451s run them close.
I have compared the K451s to Beats Solo HD quite a lot in this review, as they are both on ear, portable headphones aimed at the iGeneration. I cannot fault Beats marketing; thanks to the Dr Dre endorsement, they sell in the millions. However, all things considered, if you really care about sound quality, they just don't stack up. I'm not saying they're dreadful, even though I did return mine fairly swiftly. My opinion of Beats Solo HDs is they would be great if they cost <£80, but they are not worth the £180 asking price. The K451s are worth the asking price of Solo HDs, and yet they are far cheaper. What Hi-Fi? tested them at £130, and they would have been a bargain at the price. But I paid less than half that; just £60. And all things considered, that makes them the ultimate headphones.
Update: Oh dear, it's all gone wrong with the K451. It all started sometime in April, when I was in the gym. I removed the headphones to talk to a friend while on the exercise bike. I managed to get the cable tangled in with the pedals, and it shredded it. My own fault, and I was using the regular cable, so I still had the remote and mic cable. They worked for around a month until, in mid June, the right earcup just stopped working altogether; only giving me sound from the left. The headphones were not subjected to too heavy a life, apart from the above issue in the gym they were always put in their carry case after use, and treated very carefully.
I thought, on previous experience with other headphones, that it was simply the cable giving up. So, I looked around online and found nobody who sold genuine AKG spare cables (even their own website!). All I could find were the 50p knockoffs from China.
I then had the chance to borrow a friend's cables, as he had bought the K451s on my recommendation (and an hour listening to Pink Floyd on them!). And even with his cables, which worked perfectly on his pair, didn't solve the issue I had; I could still only get sound out of the left side. Now was the time to contact customer services, and here's where the trouble started.
Amazon were apologetic, but as it was outside the 30 day return period, were unable to help me, and pointed me in the direction of AKG themselves. Indeed, the literature in the box suggests AKG give you a 2 year warranty. But they claimed it was Amazon's problem, and were rather rude about it in the process. I told them under no uncertain terms that I was not happy about this, as I effectively now have a £60 paperweight, and I will be seeking further advice as clearly the warranty isn't even worth the paper its written on.
A sad end then, to what were a fantastic pair of headphones. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh on AKG themselves, it could have been that the person who replied to my email was going on holiday the next day, or leaving the company and not caring any more. But this experience has put me off going with AKG again; I was going to buy the K619s, but instead saved up and got some Bose noise cancelling headphones instead. I've therefore knocked off 2 stars from the K451s; one for the build quality, and one for the bad customer service. A real shame.
With these headphones you get what you expect. At the price I payed (£45) they are a fantastic pair of headphones. Fully equiped with a carry case, various cables and 3/4 jack they are definite value for money.
The sound is a good quality, is clear and crisp. You get what you expect really. On 'indie' songs the headphones are good, however on songs with strong bass, well, this is their downfall. These headphones definitely lack bass, this could be good or bad but I personally thing it is the latter. Another problem is the headphone 'band' itself. This appears to be made from not the strongest of materials, and could quite easily snap. You must definitely take care with these headphones.
The accessories that you receive with the headphones are very useful, especially the carry case. A unique, brilliant featur of these headphones is that they fold and the ear cups spin so that the headphones will fit in a carry case to be easily transported.
Also the packaging of the headphones is very nice, as you would expect from AKG? They come in a nice box with useful information on it with a general slick look.
Back to the headphons themselves, with a nice sound, although lacking bass they are great value for money. Bands such as The Kooks sound fabulous, however R & B is not so good. However I would recommend them for taking on holiday etc as if lost then you have not payed lots and also they have a old sound, blocking out background noise reasonably well.
That brings me on to another point, the ear cups are small, sitting on the ear, something I personally did not like and reduced the effectiveness of notice cancelling.
Overall great headphones for the price, but I would not pay the £150 they were when first released. If you have the money buy something else, if you want a cheap pair then here you are, go ahead.
AKG are a branch of the well known Harman Kardon. These headphones keep up the strong reputation that the company has with people in the Music Industry and public consumers. AKG products are used in some of the biggest recording studios around the world as well as creating superb sounding products for home and travel. These particular headphones are one of the most highly regarded "budget" designs for some time. Originally priced at £150 they quickly came down to £100 and that is the price at which they won a "What Hifi" Product of the Year Award in this years awards. They have now been seen as low as around £35 and can be bought for less than £50 in many places which is remarkable considering the quality. I needed a new pair of headphones as my excellent Sennheiser HD485 headphones are suffering from a rather decrepit wire. I recently had my Birthday and asked my Dad for a new pair of headphones and choose these AKG Headphones which I had heard so much about.
These headphones are extremely portable thanks to the folding arms and twisting cups which are similar to previous Sennheiser headphones I have owned, The PX100s to be exact. Add to that an excellent case which comes in the box and these are headband headphones which are extremely portable compared to the bigger ones of this type you can find like my old Sennheiser HD485s which are rather large. If you have a smartphone you can get an additional bit of kit which enables you to use these headphones as a handsfree, you can find this for around £20 online in the same stores where you would find the pair of headphones. As mentioned earlier you can find these headphones for between £5 and £50 quite easily. So that's that sorted but what do these headphones sound like?.
This is where they truly impress, I have always thought that you get much more from the music you are listening to if you play it on something that is of high quality sound and these headphones certainly deliver exceptional sound quality. Give them a day or two of running in and they will delight even more with a punchy bass sound which blends wonderfully with the midrange to give you the whole soundstage as it should be. I listen to a lot of wide ranging music and these headphones certainly cope admirably with just about any style you throw at them. The difference between these headphones and the in the box ones you get with MP3 players and phones is night and day. Give these headphones a great recording and sit back and revel in the sound they give you. Awesome clarity, punch and range are some of the exceptional qualities of this pair of headphones.
These are really exceptional headphones, I read rave reviews a few months ago and when I heard they'd won the What Hifi Product of the Year in the Headphones category I knew they must be good. To be honest with you these produce a sound that would be reasonable at £100 but given you can find these headphones for an astonishingly low price online and in stores you must give these an audition if you are looking for a new pair of headphones that you need to be portable and with excellent sound quality. They come complete with all the wires you'd need and a headphone jack for larger headphone sockets and are An excellent pair of headphones that really need to be heard.
a very average set of earphones in every way. i purchased these to use when im sat at my laptop. now for the price i wasnt expecting massive amounts of quality,but i was expecting far better than what i got. the weakest element to these headphones or earphones if you like is the bass response, its far from standard and the interferance is very heavy.
Although not the best sound wise these are certainly a very comfotable set of headphones. The soft cushions dont hurt or squash your ears at all which is a rarity for me personally. These are very poor set of headphones and i wouldnt reccommend them to my worst enemy. The cable on these earphones is also far too short even thought i only use them on my laptop i would have preffered a much longer lead that way i could be more mobile whilst wearing them.