Knowing the exact type of headphones you want is so much better than simply searching for the best reviewed headphones in a certain price range. If you are looking for something beyond general purpose listening, you will find that many of the available headphones each have their pros and cons. The challenge of each headphones manufacturer involves coming up with a great overall package where the advantages significantly outweigh the disadvantages. For instance, if you are looking for an immersive experience with studio-grade audio quality, you might encounter the AKG K551. The K551 is one of those headphones that made a reasonable sacrifice in order to create something truly remarkable.
The K551 is one of the older products in AKG’s portfolio as it was launched back in November 2012. Despite that, AKG proudly shows the AKG K551 off at their official site suggesting that people still buy it and for good reason too. There are folks out there that need a pair of studio-grade over-ear headphones and the AKG K551 perfectly fits the bill.
The K551 is also a direct successor to the highly acclaimed AKG K550 offering a minor but welcome improvement. The cable was also shortened and slimmed down while adding physical controls. The control unit has a built-in microphone and the controls themselves support iOS. Everything else was kept the same which means that this might not be a pair of headphones you’ll want to take with you wherever you go. It is also a bit unfortunate that the cable is still permanently wired to the headphones.
Fortunately, just about everything else about this pair of headphones screams premium. The ear cups are noticeably big and the overall finish looks like something that serious DJs would wear. Other than the typical black model, the K551 also comes in white.
While the ear cups are huge, they feel very comfortable when worn. They are large enough for your ears to stay comfortably inside knowing that there won’t be any sound leaking out. You can immediately expect something immersive the moment you put them on. The top of the headband is nicely padded too and you should be able to get a comfortable fit without the need for bending.
It is impossible to walk around crowded streets while wearing the AKG K551 without getting noticed. If you don’t want that kind of attention, you better bring a bag because the K551 doesn’t come with any pouch or case. These headphones do not collapse into a more compact form either. The least you can do is use the “2D Foldable Design” which works by swiveling each ear cup so the headphones appears flatter. While the massive size of the AKG K551 is far from travel-friendly, it should be fine to throw it in a bag and not worry about a thing. The build quality is that good and it should be for a pair of headphones that was originally priced at $379.
True to the studio-grade characteristic, the K551 focuses on balanced sound and it does a fantastic job after listening to all sorts of genres from acoustic to rock. Neutral sound might not be the thing that all hip hop and electro music fans will look for especially considering all the $200 to $300 headphones that have enhanced bass. The AKG K551 doesn’t offer those enhancements resulting to a less-emphasized but still deep bass. In fact, some of the tracks had the treble overtaking the bass. But that doesn’t bypass the fact that these headphones sound really good. The soundstage is very nice and wide thanks to AKG’s Real Image Engineering technology. These headphones come equipped with a 2-inch drivers so you can easily see how the K551 chews up smaller headphones.
This closed-back design also makes the AKG K551 a pretty good choice if you are after passive noise reduction. If you take the time to adjust the headphones for the right fit, you should be able to enjoy the deep immersion and possibly even appreciate the bass a bit more.
• Very immerse audio experience with wide soundstage.
• Effectively reduces ambient noise while preventing sound leakage.
• Studio-grade audio quality.
• Top-notch build quality.
• More affordable than 3 years ago.
• Lack of bass enhancements.
• Not exactly travel-friendly.
• No carrying case included.
• Cable is hardwired to the headphones.
The target market for the AKG K551 is very easy to identify. If you don’t care about portability and prefer natural, unaltered sound, the AKG K551 is right up your alley and it should be priced in the $200 to $250 range already. Other pairs of headphones in that price range may offer similar studio-grade audio quality but the K551 takes it to a more immersive level all because the headphones is so massive in size.