Designing a single pair of headphones to meet everyone’s needs is just impossible. That’s why some of the best companies in the world have a whole lineup of different models of headphones and several flagship models priced well over $1,000 targeting different crowds with different preferences. Even if you are looking for a specific type of headphones like over-ear headphones, you will find that there are some pairs with a closed back and others with an open back. Picking the ones with a closed back is good if you want some noise isolation but you sacrifice the spacious sound that you can only get in an open back design. AKG wants to combine the best of both worlds with the AKG K553 Pro.
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About the AKG K553 Pro
The AKG K553 Pro is a variant of the highly popular AKG K550 although the K550 had a couple of flaws which the K553 addresses. AKG advertises this product as something to use for monitoring or doing music production at home. Although labeled as a “Pro” version, don’t expect it to perform as well as the headphones priced at over $500 because this particular model belongs in the lower-midrange tier. That being said, $199 is still a sizable chunk of money and you can still expect far better audio quality than any kind of pair of headphones that cost half the price or less. The AKG K553 comes with a 1/4-inch screw on adapter.
For a $200 pair of headphones, the build quality is pretty good thanks to its metal construction. On the downside, the AKG K553 Pro might weigh you down a bit and the thin earpads and headband padding doesn’t help too much. It could be possible for your ears to get a bit sore after an hour of listening.
With no carrying case included and the cable not detachable, the AKG K553 Pro isn’t really ideal for traveling either and it shouldn’t be much of a surprise since this is for monitoring. Naturally, you will be using this pair at home.
Despite the flaws, the AKG K553 Pro delivers well beyond its value and noticeably better than the variants that came before it. As expected from a pair of monitoring headphones, the sound is mostly neutral so you won’t feel that over-emphasized bass with accurate treble and mids. Think of it as a budget version of clean sound leaning a bit towards the brighter end. You are only going to notice the lack of richness in certain tracks if you listened to those tracks with a far more expensive pair of headphones.
Thanks to AKG’s special advanced closed-back technology, the soundstage of live recordings is much better than expected. Even though it has good noise isolation, live recordings sound very lively and are a joy to listen to.
AKG is very close to making one of the best $200 headphones ever. Sound-wise, the AKG K553 Pro nails it. Fix the minor comfort and portability issues and the AKG K553 Pro can be a tempting proposition even when pitted against $300 rivals.