SHOOTOUT: AKG (Over-Ear | Closed-Back) - ENG

Aktualisiert: Nov 14

in german


Criteria: Over-Ear + Closed-Back - KXX Serie

Price range: 25 € - 50 €


Explanation: I keep my experience report as simple as possible during the shootout. For the most part, headphones in a similar price range and with comparable technical characteristics are compared. The price does not play a role in the evaluation. The rating is also dynamic, depending on the current listening experience. The weighting of sound and handling is 2:1.

K52 K72 K92

Sound 7.5 7.3 7.3

Bass 7.5 7.5 7.5

Mids 7.5 7 7

Trebles 7.5 7 7 Imaging 7.5 7.5 7.5

Stage 7.5 7.5 7.5


Handling 7.5 7.5 7.5

Processing 8 8 8

Comfort 7 7 7


Total 7.5 7.4 7.4

Price 28 € 37 € 43 €

Comparison:

Individual reviews below


AKG is expanding its budget range with the K52, K72 & K92. The jump in price from K52 to K72 is the biggest with almost 10 €, even if I wonder what the 10 € make up. In my opinion the K52 has the most to offer in terms of sound and only the "better" pads can't be the reason for the price difference. Well, of course there is a bit of marketing involved. On paper the K52 has a range of 18 - 20000 Hz, the K92 has a range of 16 - 22000 Hz (K72: 16 - 20000 Hz). Whoever hears it, will be blessed. The K92 is also attested a slightly better sensitivity (+ 3 dB).

Handling The three models are practically triplets, whereby one has enjoyed a somewhat different upbringing (K52). Externally they hardly differ, except that the K92 has golden headbows and an outer gold ring on the ear cups. Likewise, the K52 has no ribbing on the back.


They are all wired and there is no difference in accessories. The K72 & K92 get another 50cm more cable length, which brings them up to 3m.

Also the comfort is on the same good level. The pads of the K72 & K92 look a bit more valuable and therefore more durable, but this is not really noticeable when wearing them, because they are neither thicker, thinner, softer nor firmer.

There is no winner here and the look remains a matter of taste.

Sound

Soundwise there are no really big differences between the siblings. All of them have a V-signature, where the mids fall a bit behind and are absorbed by the emphasized but not unpleasant highs (at least on the K52). The bass is not the most solid, but it brings fun into the music. Because the bass of the K52 tends to drop towards the mids and the highs are earlier and more linear, the K52 sounds tidier and more balanced than the big ones.


The K72 & K92 actually only make the K52 worse, as they only amplify the obvious problems. They sound duller in the mids and are more accentuated in the lower range, which sounds unnatural, as well as a bit sharper in the treble, with earlier roll-off in the sub range (K72). The K92 is on the same level in the bass as the K52. These are all minimal differences, but they do not represent an added value. I am of course aware that AKG has enough other alternatives when it comes to natural timbre and neutrality. The three models are a welcome change, as AKG is going a different way, but not like this. At least not with the mentioned marketing, because without any analytical claim you can consume music very well with the K52. In the studio, the models have little to look for, only for short listening or recording. If someone does get lost, then the K52 is the one that sounds most "authentic". The differences between the individual models, however, remain more than manageable and are actually non-existent with the K72 & K92.

Conclusion The triplets are mainstream listeners, which can be fun to listen to and are also suitable for on the go (except for the cable lengths), but do not meet the professional demands of the marketing department. The winner is the cheapest model, but this is a close but unexpected choice. The K52 manages to sound most natural, as far as possible, and is somewhat more harmonious in its sound presentation than the more highly bred V-signatures of its big siblings. I like to listen to music with the K52 and it is a good alternative in this price segment for me, or rather can stand out positively here.


A remedy for the wearing comfort are ear warmers from China, which are good and cheap, have twice the thickness of the originals and due to the greater distance to the ear the headphones also improve/relax the sound a bit.


It remains questionable, however, why AKG was of the opinion to bring three models onto the market, which differ so slightly. But this is not really different with their K7 series. In any case, the K72 & K92 do not represent any added value for me compared to the K52.


EarPads - AliExpress

K52

40 mm driver, sensitivity: 110 dB, resistance: 32 Ohm, frequency response: 18 - 20000 Hz

The AKG 52 is already for favorable 28 € (Thomann.de - time of the review) to have. Thus it is probably the most favorable AKG at present on the market, but would like to be noticed according to marketing nevertheless as professional tool. Well, a fun factor when listening to music is not to be denied to the K52, due to the potent and generous bass, which allows the mids and highs still enough air to breathe. But for critical listening the K52 is less suitable. It may work as a monitor for monitoring and recording, but for other professional applications it is not neutral and accurate enough.

Handling

At the price called I find the workmanship and functionality very successful. The frame of the headband is made of metal, whereas the ear cups are completely made of plastic.

The headband is self-adjusting and therefore adapts to the shape of the head. Even large skulls should not be a problem for the AKG K52. The wearing comfort on the head is therefore good, even if the headband does not offer any significant additional padding.

With the ear cushions the comfort looks a little different. For the first moment, it's not bad at all, as they cover the whole ear and find a good mix of padding and stability. However, the pads are quite flat and therefore the ear bumps against the inside. This can cause unpleasant pressure in the long run.

The durability of the leatherette cover can also be questioned. Reminds me a bit of the SENNHEISER H201, which thinned out over time, but that is pure speculation.


The fixed cable (3.5mm) measures a good 2.5mm and an included adapter allows us to use a 6.3mm output. The cable looks robust and has a comfortable length, even if it is a bit too long for mobile use.

For a closed construction, it will leak quite a lot to the outside world, which is suboptimal. Sound AKG probably thought they needed a headphone that could also provide bass in generous quantities. The result is a lush V-signature, or rather U-signaur, where the bass is very dominant. The bass plays very deep and offers a good amount of punch. However, this is very dependent on the fit of the ear pads and thus the sealing. I deliberately like to distort the sound a little bit by the fit so that the bass is not too overloaded. Glasses can help here :)

I find the bass to be quite qualitative, even if it convinces me a bit more in the low frequencies than in the mid and upper bass, where it doesn't always have the desired firmness and sometimes sounds a bit hollow.


The bass influence is clearly audible in the mids. Apart from the fact that they are set back, they have a bulbous body and get a bit too much warmth. They are of the relaxed type without obtrusive peaks or shrillness in voices. They don't really sound authentic, because the bass and treble have too much of an upper hand. It lacks clarity and presence, even though I don't necessarily miss the AKG-typical emphasis of 2kHz, but that's too reserved and therefore flat or a bit monotonous. Here I wish for more clarity and assertiveness. Still not the worst mids out there.


The trebles then go full throttle and stay at a constant high level up to 7 kHz until they drop and thus avoid sibilants as far as possible. For the typical hifi peak around 12 kHz they don't really respond, which also means they lack some brilliance. But they are quite safe and stable even at high volumes. For everyday use I find the presentation and quality of the trebles absolutely sufficient and definitely above average considering the price. The trebles catch the emphasized bass, which subjectively balances the valley in the mids and gives the K52 the necessary openness.


The AKG 52 is closed-back, but can still present a really appealing stage, which may not have the largest dimensions, but produces a rather homogeneous image. Here, there are far worse things in the price range. The imaging suffers a bit from the average separation, but even here I find it absolutely acceptable for everyday consumption of music. Analytically I would not want to look at music with it.


https://www.thomann.de/de/akg_k_52.htm

K72

40 mm driver, sensitivity: 112 dB, resistance: 32 Ohm, frequency response: 16 - 20000 Hz

The K72 is a K52 in the end, except that the bass loses a minimal amount of level and the lower mids gain. In the high frequencies, a pinch around 6 kHz is added, which is supposed to simulate a higher resolution. Compared to the K52, this doesn't convince me and rather goes in a more negative direction. Handling

For the price called I find the workmanship and functionality successful. The frame of the headband is made of metal, whereas the ear cups are completely made of plastic.

The headband is self-adjusting and therefore adapts to the shape of the head. Even large skulls should not have any problems with the AKG K72. The wearing comfort on the head is therefore good, even if the headband does not offer any significant additional padding.

With the ear pads the comfort looks a little different. For the first moment it is not bad at all, because they cover the whole ear and find a good mixture of padding and stability. However, the pads are quite flat and therefore the ear bumps against the inside. This can cause unpleasant pressure in the long run.

Compared to the K52, a firmer imitation leather cover is used, which looks more robust, but doesn't add much in the way of comfort.


The fixed cable (3.5mm) measures a good 3m and an included adapter allows us to use a 6.3mm output. The cable looks robust, but is too long for mobile use.

The isolation is good due to the closed construction, but not optimal. Sound

With the K52, I've already said a lot because of the almost outrageous tonal similarities, so I'll be a bit shorter here.


The bass has a pleasant punch and depth, but is not the most solid and reduced compared to the K52. That's not wrong per se, but it doesn't drop off sufficiently towards the mids and colours them. It could also like to be a bit more organic and dynamic, as it sounds a bit dull to me despite the quantity. Basically, it doesn't really differ from the K52 in terms of quality, even though I notice a better sub-expansion on the K52. The bass is basically good and a different approach from AKG, but if it has to be a lot of bass, then please do it with a bit more taste.


The mids together with the highs are actually a worsening of the K52. The not fast enough bass dropping leads to an unnatural emphasis of the lower mids, but around 1-2 kHz they fall even lower than those of the little brother. This hollows them out even more and causes more obfuscation. What the sonic upgrade to the K52 should represent here is a mystery to me.


The highs climb their peak from 3 kHz on quite late and keep the level (like the K52) up to around 7 kHz, but with a more pronounced drop around 5 kHz, where the K52 is more linear. Especially the slightly increased energy around 6 kHz makes the K72 a bit more sharp than the K52, which seems more balanced in the high frequencies. This is supposed to simulate more details, but for me this is rather a disadvantage, because sibilants and sharpness come out more, even if only subtly. Again, I wonder what the intention of the "improvement" was.


Stage and imaging differed only slightly from the K52. Due to the slight increase in level in the high frequencies, the K72 is perhaps more discreetly airy and better positioned vertically, but that is more imagination than demonstrable. Basically, I find the imaging of the K52 rounder and more natural, whereas the K72 is slightly more artificial. But as I said, this is analysis on a very thin ice, without much substance.


https://www.thomann.de/de/akg_k_72.htm

K92

40 mm driver, sensitivity: 113 dB, resistance: 32 Ohm, frequency response: 16 - 22000 Hz

If there are still differences between the K52 and K72, the belief that I have a different product on my ears when I go from the K72 to the K92 leaves me. Here the differentiation is so marginal that I would certainly fail the blind test.

Therefore I find it difficult to understand the K92's raison d'être.


Handling For the price called I find the workmanship and functionality successful, even if it is more impressive with the K52 due to its much lower price. The frame of the headband is made of metal, whereas the ear cups are completely made of plastic.

The headband is self-adjusting and therefore adapts to the shape of the head. Even large skulls should not have any problems with the AKG K92. The wearing comfort on the head is therefore good and if the headband does not offer any significant additional padding.

With the ear cushions the comfort looks slightly different. For the first moment this is not bad at all, because they cover the whole ear and find a good mixture of padding and stability. However, the pads are quite flat and therefore the ear bumps against the inside. This can cause unpleasant pressure in the long run.

Compared to the K52, a firmer leatherette cover is used (like the K72), which seems more robust, but doesn't add much to the comfort.


The fixed cable (3.5mm) measures a good 3m and an included adapter allows us to use a 6.3mm output. The cable looks robust, but is too long for mobile use.

The isolation is good due to the closed construction, but not optimal. Sound

Here I like to refer to the analysis of the K72.


If I had to name differences, the K92 has more presence in the bass (on the same level as the K52), sounds slightly fuller/warmer and emphasizes the lower mids even more (500 Hz). In addition, the valley around 1 - 2 kHz is more pronounced, which pushes voices a bit further into the background. With the K92 the V is probably the most pronounced, as the treble remains at the same high level as with the K72. Nevertheless the differences are hardly noticeable.


I stick to it, here the K52 has the most to offer, since it sounds most harmonic, although not quite correct in terms of tone. But that is an even bigger problem with the K72 and K92.


https://www.thomann.de/de/akg_k_92.htm

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CHI-FIEAR © 2020 by David Hahn

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