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AKG K 518 DJ
AKG makes some superb headphones for Audio pros, musicians etc. They've officially been in India for a while now, being pushed by Sahil International, the JBL guys. Also, internationally it is a part of the Harman International stable, an entity that has some of the best Audio brands under its wing. These AKG headphones that we have are different from the regular ones we review; these are (ideally) meant for DJs, but we all can be DJs if we want to. The pure love of music has drawn my attention to these neat cans, namely AKG K 518 DJ.
Design and Features
These are supra-aural with black being the dominant color in the aesthetic scheme. The headband, and ear cups have a matte black dense finish, with just a tri armed metallic strip fitted flush on the external part of the cans. The AKG branding is printed on this shiny surface, in white. Overall the headphone really looks good, when looked at in perspective. There are no extra unnecessary design elements, and rightfully so as these cans are mainly meant for small clubs and parties where light levels are less. The cord is thin and Y-style, that is each earpiece has a wire trailing out. I personally like the models with a single, thick cord coming out the left.
Now moving on to ergonomics and comfort, and unfortunately this piece is not the most comfortable. I extended the headband fully, but something about the flattened curve shape of the thing makes it lug downwards on my head, i guess big headed people will cringe. The earpads are fine, and sit on the ear just as any supra-aural unit, plus the cups can turn around fine, for DJs to cue their tracks. But again, after wearing it for just an hour, you do need to let your ears breathe, as these closed back models can weigh you down.
Moving on to specs, the efficiency is at 115 dB SPL/V, which is pretty high, so driving these to loud levels should not be hard. The rated response is 16 Hz - 24 kHz, while the impedance is at 32 ohms.
Before reviewing these headphones, I decided to run them through break in and test tones for a while, as I wanted the optimum out of these headphones. I connected them to an M-audio Fast Track Pro sound card and hooked it up with Ableton Live software. I mixed in tracks the best i could and found that the bass is huge. That was the first thing I noticed. The headphones are good for bass heads, and people who generally like hot leveled electronic music and modern commercial music.
Strictly speaking on an accuracy basis, i would have to say the bass overpowers the rest of the frequency range, though it does not sound all that bad. It's a fun, rhythmic experience, with a slightly masculine touch. I am not being gender biased. It's just that the guys will dig this sort of a response more. As I said, it's nice and heavy throughout, with beats and bass lines slamming the brainwaves. Mids and highs also came out well, they were of the forward sounding type. This is typical to DJ performance headphones - I had actually expected a sound like this.
Another thing is that the sound is loud. My master volume faders were only 3/4 th up. I personally could not take volumes more than that. Again, as a corollary to the loudness, and also the shape of the headphones, the external noise is nicely attenuated, no problem about that.
The K 518 DJ costs Rs. 4,900, thus putting it in the mid-level segment in the overall market. I am not too happy with the comfort level and ergonomics of the unit - there is room for improvement there. Some people will criticize the excess bass response, though i cannot say that it's a drawback or an outright con point. It's just the character of the sound, which is actually very good overall. Those listeners with a liking for the low end should definitely take a look at these headphones.