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AKG K99 Headphones

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Technical Details from AKG:

Type: semi-open, dynamic headphones

Sensitivity: 112 dB/V

Frequency range: 18 to 22,000 Hz

Rated impedance: 32 ohms

Max. input power: 200 mW

Cable: 3 m single-sided (99,9% oxygen-free)

Connector: stereo mini plug

Adapter: convertible jack plug (1/8" to 1/4")

Net weight (without cable): 210 g (7.4 oz.)

 Shipping weight: 400 g (14.1 oz.)

 Price: 80-90$ (64$ on Amazon)

 I've owned a pair of these for about 3 months now.

At first, I was kind of disappointed with them, the sound was kind of boxy and extremely muffled. The bass was there (mostly), they had detail (heard things I've never noticed before in some songs, and no, I was not developing schizophrenia) but the high end frequencies were really dim.

Reading some stuff about burn-in I've decided to let them "sing" many hours everyday for like 4 days. The sound got a bit better, but still wasn't satisfying, so what could I've done, I just used them normally.

In time, the sound got better and better (or I've started getting used to them). When I compared them directly with the earbuds I've been using, I was blown away. I've always thought those earbuds have deep bass and clear highs, but they sounded like mosquitoes compared to the AKGs.

How I'd define them now? (after 3 months of use)

Smooth, with deep bass that's sometimes a bit too much (mixing bass solely by these, you could always end up with not enough bass), clear midrange, clear and defined high end frequencies, yet a bit less than they should have IMO. The overall sound is, no doubt, BIG and pleasing. Comfort-wise, I'd say they're OK, they used to press on my right ear sometimes, that causing the ear lobe to swell, thus more pressing, but they don't do that anymore. Wearing them for a long time will definitely make your ears hotter than my music (and trust me, that's hot), so you should take a break from time to time. I DON'T MEAN THEY AREN'T COMFORTABLE, I'm just pointing the flaws so to say, though I think these occur to most circumaural headphones.

I use them for almost anything now (since I can't afford a better alternative), so I'll give you these tips: If you're trying to mix in them, consider the bass around 2-3 dB louder and the high frequencies around 2-3 dB quieter in these headphones (so you should make your bass a bit louder than perfect on these 'phones, and the high frequencies a bit quieter than the 'sweet spot' on these). I might be wrong with the values here, but the point is right.

I know, mixing in headphones is "wrong", but if you haven't got any better alternative, you can use these, then take the mix and play it through different systems then adjust it accordingly.

Oh, and keep in mind these are semi-open 'phones so they leak sound. The leakage is not extreme, but it could disturb someone in a quiet room and it could be picked up by a condenser mic that's sensitive enough (if you turn them up relatively loud). Also, the 3 m cable is a hate or love thing, in a studio, it could be a good feature, portability-wise, not really.

In conclusion, I'd definitely recommend these for anyone who's on a tight budget and looking for good headphones for tracking and a bit of mixing, great for just listening too.

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Copyright 2011, Nelson Fernandez Jr.
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