Showing 1 of 1415 conversations about:
GUTB
227
May 4, 2016
bookmark_border
Can't recommend these. If you are looking for lo-fi headphones, these could be classified as upper range of the lo-fi range. They suffer from an annoying metallic, empty character, and I could never settle on a EQ setting that was beneficial for all music. Compared with sub-$100 headphones, these are clearly superior in terms of resolution and dynamics -- and in fact, I still use them sometimes if I'm lying in bed, out in public, etc, as they are pretty compact for full size headphones, and run a good volume off of just about anything. They don't remotely compare to my TH-900 ($1,200) or HE-6 ($1,000), and were a step down from the HD600 ($330) and HE-400S ($300). They are a step above the HD668B ($40).
As lo-fi headphones, sound stage is basically non-existent (and along with it, so is imaging). Dynamics and speed are average. Resolution is upper lo-fi, and just a step below mid-fi headphones like the HD600. Micro-details are absent. Treble extension is decent. Bass is...hold on. I just got this Ragnarok, let me check what a 400VA 100,000 uF amp can do with the K553....okay, definitely better in terms of bass production than I remember them out of my other amps, but a 36 lbs amp can't transform these headphones. Bass is fairly articulate and tight, and puts out good energy, but it just won't extend that low -- and I'm talking about them plugged into a giant amplifier being fed by 4.6v balanced outputs from a large dual power-supply DAC. Your phone will drive these, but it WILL sound anemic in comparison -- please have expectations set correctly. I will say, one of my reference tracks (A Shanty in Old Shanty Town - Cephas and Wiggins) it does a good job with the kick-drum (deep, dark thumps) that is basically indistinguishable from my TH-900. Like ALL headphones, they benefit from a dedicated amp and high quality DAC -- if you are stuck with a certain budget, and need to make room for a good amp and DAC, I will admit that these aren't that bad, especially if you consider their portability.
May 4, 2016
mattris
848
May 4, 2016
bookmark_border
The K553's are not even remotely "lo-fi" headphones. While they lack mid-range presence and center imaging, their clarity is unmatched by ANY sub-$200 closed-back headphone.
Compared to headphones designed for pure musically enjoyment, they may sound a bit lean, but applying EQ will do wonders to improve their enjoyment factor.
May 4, 2016
GUTB
227
May 4, 2016
bookmark_border
The K553 are very much lo-fi headphones. It doesn't really serve anyone to pretend that they are something more than what they are. I own both lo-fi and hi-fi headphones and can compare them directly. Hi-fi headphones generally start at around $1,000, and mid-fi can be had starting at around $300. These are $160, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that they are in that class of performance.
May 4, 2016
Theerealist
28
May 4, 2016
bookmark_border
What are the top 3 closed headphones under $400?
May 4, 2016
KennethAndrews
87
May 4, 2016
bookmark_border
Beats in 3 different colors. ;)
May 4, 2016
GUTB
227
May 4, 2016
bookmark_border
I don't know of any mid-fi closed headphones in that price range. The cheapest I think is the TH-X00 (at $400). Possibly a B&W P5 or P7. There are a number of lo-fi headphones such as the K550/553. Why is it so hard to admit that inexpensive headphones are, in fact, low-end?
May 4, 2016
Theerealist
28
May 4, 2016
bookmark_border
My point is if you want decent closed headphones there are not many option unless you spend 3 times+ the price of these. That is not a small difference. I wish there was not such a large gap between something like these and a next level. Fostex th-600s I'm sure are great but go for $600+. Alpha dogs as well. Quality closed headphones are hard to come by making these a GREAT value. Not end all by any means but unless your budget reaches much much higher you aren't left with many options. $120 to $400 or $600...
May 4, 2016
mattris
848
May 4, 2016
bookmark_border
Your classifications of "lo-fi", "mid-fi", and "hi-fi" headphones based on cost doesn't tell the whole story. The TH-X00 is "mid-fi" because of its cost? Please...
I stand by my observation that the K553's clarity is unmatched by any sub-$200 closed-back headphone. Its extra-wide sound-stage and sense of space (for a closed-back), allow it to punch above its weight. I did admit that they lack mid-range presence and center imaging, but EQ-ing can help remedy this.
The K553's may be relatively inexpensive for headphone enthusiasts (or audiophiles), but their cost does not automatically make them "low-end". I've heard low-end headphones, and the K553's are in another league.
May 4, 2016
GUTB
227
May 4, 2016
bookmark_border
There is an unfortunate belief system online that lo-fi headphones refer to $20 Wal-Mart junk and ear buds included with phones, etc. Well, the term does apply to those, but it also applies to low-end headphones like K553 and HE-300. My K553 is a clear step above the $40 HD668B (a so-called giant killer hyped endlessly online); most notably in resolution and extension. The HD668B is a great value in that it is a $40 product that competes somewhat with a $100 product. But both headphones are still in the low-end of the headphone audio spectrum. Neither compared to the HD600, which is a mid-fi headphone, and the HD600 doesn't hold a candle to my TH900, which is a hi-fi headphone. Sonic performance is what determines this, not price; its just that the price to get hi-fi performance tends to be very high.
In terms of clarity, they are decently transparent, but that virtue is ruined by the metallic, empty tonality. EQ is a requirement, but I couldn't find one setting I could live with. I have a hard time characterizing the sound stage as wide -- you must be relying heavily on tube amping.
May 4, 2016
mattris
848
May 4, 2016
bookmark_border
The K553's are not "low fidelity" - period. They are hi-fi... but of a lower grade than the TH-X00's or TH-600's - which are 3-5 times the cost of the K553's.
For full disclosure, I'm don't own a pair of K553's now, but I have heard them. I currently own the K551's, which are largely the same headphone - just with a different cable and differently-tuned driver.
May 4, 2016
Theerealist
28
May 4, 2016
bookmark_border
Yep. To get closed cans that are a legitimate step up from these, not just a tonality difference, you're looking at cans 3.5-5x the price. Calling these low-fi is a stretchhhh.
May 4, 2016
impassion
63
May 4, 2016
bookmark_border
A couple of points I wanted to mention that, while they may seem inconsequential, are important to a positive experience with the K553.
It is very important that attention is paid to the position of the seal relative to the cups. The K553 has full swivel cups which can be maneuvered/tilted full circle relative to one's head. Frequencies are enhanced/diminished based on their positioning, so experiment.
In addition, it is important to pull down and in before positioning the cups (think up a notch or two (smaller) on the headband from what is initially comfortable). This not only serves to create a better seal with the K553's highly pliable foam, but reduces distraction by the minimalist headband. Hope this helps.
May 4, 2016
trp11
5
May 4, 2016
bookmark_border
Reading your assessment makes me want to drop kick a baby. We get it, you're rich. Comparing "low-end" gear to stuff that will break our banks is stupid, completely unnecessary, redundant, and did I mention stupid? If you were to compare your bloody th900, compare it with something in its price range. It's like you're trying to compare my Corolla to a Ferrari. How insulting.
May 4, 2016
aptr91
48
May 4, 2016
bookmark_border
What else is insulting is that you'd feel the urge to drop kick a baby! You're a terrible person!
May 4, 2016
BigCabDaddy
5
May 5, 2016
bookmark_border
Hifi, lofi, whatever. I couldn't care less. As far as I'm concerned, closed headphones start at a disadvantage anyhow. What I want is something rugged, that folds nicely for travel, that are cheap enough that I'm not heartbroken if they are lost or stolen, AND SOUND AS GOOD IF NOT BETTER THAN MY BELOVED SONY MD6. The Sony's were not hifi either but are good enough that the still get used to record, master, and reference today.
May 5, 2016
GUTB
227
May 5, 2016
bookmark_border
The only negative thing about the K553's portability is the size of the cable. But since you don't care that much about audio quality, these might be a great fit for you. If high end audio doesn't matter that much to you, why spend big money on it?
I suppose I'm only talking to those who haven't heard high end audio before but who desire better sound; the K553 is as far away from high end (hi-fi) as that Corolla is from the Ferrari in the arena of sports cars.
May 5, 2016
6EQUJ5
444
May 5, 2016
bookmark_border
I would have to agree with pretty much all of what GutB said, after owning the K553 Pro for about 8 plus months I now understand why some companies choose open back vs semi open/closed and closed. I now listen to my SHP-9500 more than my K553 Pro because it just sounds that much better when equipped with the proper amp and op amp. My first adventure into the audiophile world was the Grado SR60, after reading about Grado's history 8 years ago and why they choose to use open back I finally believe that open backs are pretty awesome. My SHP-9500 cost me $45, my K553 Pro cost me $120; the SHP-9500 is a better overall value if you want to base it on sonic quality.
In my opinion the K553 Pro is pretty neutral with okay bass but it can't touch the open back sound of the SHP-9500. Now I know why Z on Youtube raves about the SHP-9500. The sound reproduction of open back headphones can't be touched by the K553 Pro. The sound on the K553 Pro just doesn't sound convincing especially with guitar picking. The open back headphones just do such a good job on replicating believable sound such as guitar picking. The K553 Pro makes the guitar picking sounds much flatter and less lively. Open backs will always have superior sonic quality over closed backs. I own both 681 EVO and HD668B, while they are good value for the money the SHP-9500 just blows them out of the water and I would agree the K553 Pro is a step above the touted Superlux headphones. The THX-00 purplehearts have a while to go and I can't wait to hear them so I ended up buying the T50RP MK3 over the HE-350 drop. They arrive Friday and I can't wait to hear them.
If I had to do it again I don't think I would buy the K553 Pro if I desired better sound. I would put that $120 into something better like the T50RP MK3 (even though I haven't heard it yet, pretty sure Z is onto something). I miss my Grado SR60 after one ear cup fell off the headband. Grado is onto something with open back headphones, if anyone hasn't heard a Grado yet I'd recommend picking one up. RIP SR60.
If anyone is wondering what guitar picking I'm talking about in a song:
The SHP-9500 is just way better than the K553 Pro. The guitar picking is just so damn good sounding on the SHP-9500 that I can't stop listening to the track. The K553 Pro is just so flat and less live than the SHP-9500. Even the vocals are better sounding on the SHP-9500. I'm sure some people will complain about the bitrate etc... it's recorded in but it still sounds way better on the SHP-9500 regardless of that. I use the K553 Pro every once in a while when I game but that's about it. For music I use SHP-9500 mostly for now.
May 5, 2016
BigCabDaddy
5
May 5, 2016
bookmark_border
No, there isn't that huge of a gap. It's there but the 80/20 rule is in full force. T1 or LCD2 would be my "dream" headphones. But they would stay in the house. Of course, they're probably not hifi by your definition either.
May 5, 2016
GUTB
227
May 5, 2016
bookmark_border
I'm not sure about the T1, but I believe it is widely considered to be hi-fi, as if the LCD-2. The concept of diminishing returns going from mid-fi to hi-fi is true, but it's not correct assign an arbitrary percentage value to the improvement. Once you hit mid-fi, all of the basics -- resolution, dynamics and frequency response curve -- are taken care of. Hi-fi products improve on the basics, but it's true that those improvements aren't huge. Hi-fi products introduce the hard-to-achieve areas such as micro-detail, high speed, flat resistance curves, low distortion, imaging and sound stage. Also, hi-fi headphones are usually flagship low production (my TH900 has a 3-number serial number) and contain the very best technology the manufacturers have and a much higher attention to detail that can't be mass-produced. They represent the very best the manufacturer can create, and therefore represents their brand.
Unfortunately, hi-fi headphone listening is just expensive because you need the amp and DAC to support them. So a LCD-2 system that I would call truly hi-fi might cost $2,000 in total, and that's pretty cheap. My system is currently up to around 4k and climbing.
May 5, 2016
SomeTechNoob
463
May 6, 2016
bookmark_border
Yep. I now have two sets of the Philips SHP9500. They've replaced my AKG K553s as my daily drivers. Percussions and string instruments are really crisp, and bass seems punchier on the SHP9500. Treble is also a bit brighter on the SHP9500, but I'm totally fine with that as it makes female vocalists sound amazing. The only thing they really lack is the rumbling sub-bass.
But if open cans won't fly for you, these AKG K553s are an okay pick at this price. They seal out noise pretty well and have a decent soundstage for closed cans.
May 6, 2016
Sopeanuts
1
May 6, 2016
bookmark_border
I own a pair of 9500 and was wondering if the K553 would be a good choice for games. I'm basically looking for a closed headphones for games and I use my 9500 for music.
May 6, 2016
SomeTechNoob
463
May 6, 2016
bookmark_border
It's alright. SHP9500 is still better imo - the AKG K553 has a decent soundstage for closed cans but it's a bit harder to pinpoint exactly where a person is in games like cs:go and whatnot.
May 6, 2016
Theerealist
28
May 6, 2016
bookmark_border
I cannot open headphone game. My computer is not loud but I can hear fans with open phones and cannot with these. I can also hear every other noise my wife and/or cats are making. Gaming with open cans is far to much of a distraction while closed I can zone in without cranking the volume. Sure position, space and clarity may better on a q701 but I would have to kill my family or destroy my ears to be able to tell.
May 6, 2016
View Full Discussion