Published on December 15th, 2010 | by Greg0
AKG Makes Music a Melodious Memory
From a audio perspective, open-backed headphones can get away with a lot as they have their surroundings out in the open, while closed sets have nowhere to send the sound but in your ear, for better or for worse. Thanks to the Harman AKG K271MKII Closed Back Circumaural Headphones we were in for a lesson in clarity and attention to detail.
These headphones are not for the conventional listener accustomed to listening just for fun as much as for quality; they are aimed more at the audiophile- with carefully-engineered sound delivered precisely by Varimotion XXL drivers. Essentially, this system showcases a thin foil diaphragm that works like an engine of a car; the center moves like a piston, while the rim of the diaphragm vibrates.
Aptly enough, the automatic mute switch is built into the headband and silences the audio when the monitors are taken off so no signal bleed seeps into live microphones or feedback. This set is also built for comfort and we had no problem wearing these for long periods of time. Though these lack the style and trendiness of, say, the iFrogz EarPollution Nerve Pipes headphones and certainly aren’t meant to replace an average pair of earbuds for portability, we could nonetheless travel with them fairly easily.
The headband design is less rigid than most and the ear-cups were able to fit comfortably on either side of our head without the usual fuss; the gimbal-suspended ear cups ostensibly took the weight off of our ears (and relieved pressure as well). The automatic size adjustment is a welcome relief as there is no need to slide the ear cups to adjust to our head.
Our only complaint is the spring wires above the headband can be awfully noisy if you tap them so keep your hands off. We also wish they had incorporated real leather instead of the fake stuff (leatherette)- it may be more animal-friendly, but it feels a bit stiffer.
The sound did not come out distorted at high volumes and as a sound isolator, these work wonders and no complaints here. These shine in classical and jazz ranges- precision sounds, layered, warm- rather than bass-heavy tracks or low-quality MP3 files. An included 3 m and 5 m cable can help with reach issues and the gold-plated mini-jack is the normal solution for listening from your laptop or mp3 player.
For around $182 on Amazon these are well worth the green- solid and comfortable, rich sounding, without too many unnecessary bells and whistles. These might not be a great gift for the kids, but anyone with an appreciation for old-school audio quality (think analog, not digital) will certainly be more than pleased.