Pros: These are good entry level headphones for a home studio.
AKG K44 MKII HEADPHONES
There is certainly no shortage of inexpensive stereo headphones on the market today. However, finding a pair of inexpensive headphones that also sounds good and is solidly built is a whole different story. Today I shall be reviewing the AKG K44 MKII Headphones. These headphones have a list price of $44.60, but they can easily be found selling at a discount for as little as $39.00, and I recently saw them on a special sale from one of the larger Internet retailers for as little as $20.00. As such, it clearly pays to spend a bi of time comparison shopping before making a purchase. Read on and see if you feel that these headphones may be something that you would like to audition the next time you are visiting your local electronics or musical instrument store.
Because the AKG K44 MKII Headphones are frequently sold in musical instrument stores, and are labeled as being "studio headphones," and because they are also entry level or inexpensively priced headphones, it is likely that many of the readers of this review are going to be novice headphone buyers, who may be considering using these headphones for their home studio. Bearing this in mind, whenever I use a technical term or descriptor in discussing the features of these headphones, I shall endeavor to explain what these terms mean in plain, simple, and easy to understand language. A point I should also mention to the novice home studio owner is that it is always important to keep in mind that just because a product is advertized or carries a label that has the terms "professional" or "studio" associated with it, this does not automatically mean that the product is truly professional quality or studio grade.
AKG is clearly a very prominent and respected name that is well known in the world of electronics, and it is a premium manufacturer of electrical products such as professional grade headphones and microphones. AKG headphones and microphones can be found in some of the best recording studios in the world. Of course, AKG also makes some microphones and headphones that are suitable for entry level users, and as such, although the carry the AKG brand name, some of these entry level headphones and microphones are clearly not of the same performance grade and quality as their more expensive professional grade cousins. On the other hand, both entry level as well as profession grade AKG Headphones are designed by the same professional group of engineers in Vienna, Austria, and that alone is an important consideration. I own several AKG products, and I am impressed with the quality and craftsmanship of AKG products in general, as well as the remarkable value for one gets for the money.
Allow me to elaborate on some of the pros, cons, strengths and weaknesses of the AKG K44 MKII Studio Headphones. The AKG K44 MKII Headphones are "circumaural closed back headphones." Headphones that have a circumaural design have ear pads that surround the listener's ears on all sides. This design tends to be very comfortable to wear. Headphones that are closed or sealed have ear cups that are sealed, as compared to open-backed, and they form a seal around the ears. Closed headphones are the most isolating type of headphones, and they let very little sound from the outside environment in, as well as preventing the sound that you are listening to from escaping. This type if headphone is good in a studio environment, as one does not want to have the track that one is listening to in the headphones leak out and into an open microphone as one is in the process of recording or overdubbing another track. Headphones that have a circumaural closed back design are ideally suited for analytical listening to a musical recording, and as such this makes them desirable for studio applications On the other hand, if you are walking down a busy city street and wearing these headphones and listening to music, you are not going to be able to hear what is going on around you, and as any big city dweller can attest to, that could be a dangerous thing.
The frequency range of the AKG K44 MKII Headphones is between 18 Hz. and 20,000 Hz. This is a little bit wider on the low end for the hearing range for a healthy young adult, which is typically from 20 Hz. to 20,000 Hz. That is quite a big frequency range, and it is certainly beyond the reproductive capacity of many inexpensive portable listening devices, such as some MP3 Players and audio tape players. A Frequency Response of 18 Hz. to 20,000 Hz. indicates the frequency range of sounds that can be reproduced by a set of headphones without distorting. This is a very good thing, as having a set of headphones with a wide frequency response means that the sounds the listener is being exposed to, should not be generating any distortion, due to the fact that the sounds are well within the range that the headphones can handle. This is a feature that can be of paramount importance when it comes to monitoring or mixing music in a studio environment or similar setting. Of course, any set of headphones can distort when they are subjected to very high power or volume. As such, this wide frequency range should not pose any problem to your listening enjoyment on either a portable listening device, home stereo system, or home studio. However, these headphones are a bit large and bulky, and as such they may pose a problem for those who like to walk around town as they are listening to a portable listening device. Bearing this in mind, the AKG K44 MKII Headphones might be best delegated for used in the home or home studio.
The AKG K44 MKII Studio Professional Headphones have a Sensitivity of 96 dB/mW. In general, Headphone sensitivity is measured by applying one milliwatt of power, which is 1/1000 of a Watt of power (1mW), and then measuring the sound pressure level (SPL) in dB at the earpiece of the headphones. The AKG K44 MKII Headphones have an average degree or level of sensitivity for headphones in this category.
The AKG K44 MKII Studio Professional Headphones have an Impedance of 32 Ohms. This means that they would be considered to be low impedance headphones. There are both positives and negatives to having low impedance headphones. The positives are that, if all things are kept equal, low impedance headphones will sound louder than high impedance headphones. That is because low impedance headphones are in general more efficient at converting electrical energy into sound. Thus, they may use less energy when plugged into a portable listening device, which can potentially mean longer battery life. On the other hand, low impedance headphones are more susceptible to damage and to burning out because their voice coils have a lower level of resistance. In most cases however, this does not really present much of an issue for the average user. People who may be considering using the AKG K44 MKII Headphones with an MP3 Player or other portable listening device may be upset that the volume is not as loud in these headphones as in some of the less expensive headphones that they may be used to using for such listening purposes. The reason for this is that many inexpensive headphones that are designed to be used with portable listening devices have an impedance rating of 16 Ohms, and in some cases less, and as such they will appear to be louder. Personally, I have always been more interested in the quality of the sound that I am hearing as compared to the volume, but this may be an issue for some potential buyers, and as such I am including it here as an issue for consideration.
Another nice feature of the AKG K44 MKII Headphone's is that they have an adjustable headband, and it very easily adjusts to the shape of one's head. with minimal effort. The adjustable headband on AKG headphones has always been one of the best features when it comes to the comfort of the listener. The AKG K44 MKII Headphones also feature was is known as Gimbal suspension. The Gimbal suspension system serves to automatically adjust the optimum position of the ear pad of the headphones against the opening of the listener's ears. While we are on the subject of the ear pads, they have a leatherette design, which makes them easy to clean, as well as being comfortable to wear. Speaking of comfort, the AKG K44 MKII Headphones weigh in at just 6.7 ounces, which means they are very light in weight, and that also adds to their comfort factor of the listener. With the ear cups being so comfortable, and the adjustable headband and Gimbal suspension, these headphones really feel comfortable to wear.
The AKG K44 MKII Headphones come with an 8 foot cable with a mini-stereo plug and a stereo phone plug adapter. This makes the AKG K44 MKII capable of being suitable to plugging into your home stereo or studio mixing or monitoring device, as well as being suitable for use with a portable listening device.
O.K, so who are the AKG K44 MKII Headphones best suited for? These headphones are best suited to a person who is starting out in a home studio, and is on a very tight budget. These are headphones that will give a full frequency response, which is needed in a set of headphones that will be used for studio listening purposes. The bass response is adequately good, without being accentuated, and the highs and mids also sound realistic and not overly abrasive or harsh. These headphones would also be suitable for someone who wants to upgrade their listening experience when using simple portable audio devices such as a CD Player, MP3 Player, DVD Player, or IPOD, or for gaming on a home computer. As such, if you are a person who has an inexpensive set of phones that you are using with your portable CD or MP3 Player or the like, and you want to upgrade your listening experience, then the AKG K44 MKII Headphones may be what you are looking for. Although these headphones represent an excellent value for the money, and do sound relatively quite good, I would not recommend them to a serious audiophile for serious music listening on a good home stereo. These headphones are good for what they were designed to do, namely to be used by a person who is starting out in a home studio, and who is on a very tight budget, or for a person who wants to do some casual music listening. If on the other hand you are a serious audiophile and are looking for a set of headphones that will deliver a real professional sound, you must look elsewhere. I would also say to look elsewhere to someone who is looking for a set of headphones that is suitable to use for reference mixing in their home studio. Headphones that would be suitable for such purposes and which could be used to create an adequate mix in a studio situation will tend to cost quite a bit more.
Well I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my review, but now if you will excuse me, I must get back to practicing my guitar.