The Sound of AKG: AKG Acoustics K514 & K701 Review
Classic Yet Elegant…
First and foremost, the K514 is a pair of semi-open, circumaural headphones, with tobacco colored cans that shouts out antique to anyone placing a glance at it. Also, this pair of headphones comes with a self-adjusting headband as well as leatherette ear pads that sit nicely around the ears, minimizing any discomfort.
A single-sided cord design minimizes the need for wire management.
The K514 sports semi-open drivers, allowing better soundstage.
Clear left and right indications, which are printed in braille as well for the visually-handicapped.
Circumaural leatherette ear pads provide a comfortable fit, allowing long wearing periods without experiencing fatigue.
Time To Listen…
Checking the K514 out before we let it burn in with a variety of songs, we came briefly to a common understanding that the K514 sounded rather boomy in its interpretation of the lows, and often the mids and lows were muddled together. On the vocal front, the K514 sounded as if there was a drape of veil over it.
Post burn in, we actually enjoyed the headphone slightly more with its now more distinct highs, mids and lows.
Testing on a track off Jane Monheit’s – Come Dream With Me album, Over the Rainbow, the vocal still sounded as if a drape of veil was placed over it, but this time with a hint of airiness that made some separation from the piano accompaniment behind. Following on to the next track, Hit The Road to Dreamland, the double bass had a tonal touch with the much needed thump, making us feel as if the double bass was right in front of us. The snare drum sounded bouncy and the occasional hi-hat sounded crispy but with little separation, giving a compressed feeling.
Next, we opted to listen to a more sensual voice. We ended up choosing an album by Cai Qin, and auditioned with the track ‘Express Love’ – loosely translated. Her vocal sounded full but suffers from a lack of dynamism, resulting in the whole track sounding dull and boring.
Yearning for some hip-hop, we thew in Black Eye Peas’ Monkey Business album, jumping straight into their famous Don’t Phunk With My Heart track. It started off alright, but once the clash cymbal came in, everything sounded mashy with hardly any distinction between the mids and lows. Not admitting defeat, we picked another track, Pump It. Once again, the bass and drums were literally drumming us out instead, with the lows edging on being overwhelming.
Throwing in some classical music, we have Amsterdam Baroque Orcherstra live recording of Mozart’s Concertos, playing the Flute, Harp K299 – Allegro track. We were welcomed by some lovely and aggressive strings, but the flute sounded rather recessed and the harp sounded bloated, lacking the crystal feel that it should posess.
This does not mean the K514 fairs poorly overall. The K514 can still be considered as good for its class, which is the budget range of headphones, and it would be warmly welcomed by the general consumer, who aren’t as picky as us when it comes to the search for great audio.