AKG K 450 mini-headphones

Headphones are always a bone of contention, as our music tastes are not only based on what we like but what we can hear. So are the AKG K 450's the ones for you? We get listening to find out.

Mini-headphones rather than earphones, the design is classic, subtle and pretty stylish.

The headband itself is of a plastic and metal construction, which can expand further to allow for your big head or big hair. The cans themselves are designed to maximise base performance, come with a closed-back design and soft padded cups for better comfort.

The left can offers a detachable cable and there are a further two cables in the box of varying lengths to suit your music listening requirements.

As you would expect, the cans fold flat and in on themselves to create a smaller package for travelling. To protect them further there is a padded, rather large case in the box. It's robust and durable, but if you are packing light it will be a pain to fit in your bag. Think small Filofax and you're on the right lines.

From a design point of view both are well made, and both exude the £100 price tag, and live up to the claim of the K 450 being a "Premium foldable mini headphones", on the surface.

But do they sound as good as they look? Unfortunately no. While the bass performed well with our "bass test" single that pushes the low bass levels to the limit in an attempt to choke any woofer capabilities, the K 450 struggles on the mid-range and trebles leaving you with a rather flat sound that is not only over bassy, but like listening to your neighbours loud music from next door.

Don't get us wrong we like bass, however we like it when it gives it a mellow mature feeling to our music, not just drowning everything else out.

Worried that it might be the track and the iPod touch we were testing it on, we went a bit over the top and tested the K 450 mini headphones on an iPod shuffle, iPhone, iPod touch, Creative Zen MP3 player, BlackBerry Bold and using the 2.5mm/6.3mm jack adapter a Denon Home Cinema Amp.

The songs we chose were from a range of artists and a range of genres: Dave Matthews Band, The Prodigy, The Presets, Norah Jones and Holst: The Planets, with some Coltrane thrown in for good measure - smooth.

In all cases the mini headphones, for our ears, lacked punch and excitement. Oh and they leak sound like its going out of fashion, and not at loud levels either.

Verdict

On the surface the AKG K 450 headphones look like the bees knees with a stylish and comfortable design that packs fairly tightly into a robust case. For that they get thumbs up.

However when it comes to listening to them, it's a very different story with an over bearing bass that spoils the rest of the show. While you can get away with that on some recordings - we are thinking Norah Jones here - for something like The Prodigy the experience becomes muddled and just not enjoyable.

Definitely not one to be a firestarter with.


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