The AKG K 420 are collapsible mini headphones which are supposed to be used for people on the go. They are semi open, which means that sound can leak in and out, but the are not full opened headphones. The AKG K 420 is supra aural, which means that it lies on the ears and does not surround them. Included with it is a pouch for safe keeping. I first came upon these cans when there was a pair to test with the Apple iPod Touch.
First of all, they are very comfortable. Sort of like the px100 from Sennheiser, but heavier. They feel somewhat sturdier with a nice clamping force on the head. When wearing it, it does have the tendency to pull hairs from my head but that isn’t much of an issue. The pads which are on my ears, fit perfectly, partly because it can swivel 90 degrees (3D axis folding mechanism) and also enables it to be stored flat. They also fold inside which minimizes the space it uses. Due to the nature of the headphones and it also is categorized in AKG’s website as an “on the go” headphone. They feel like they are made for outdoor use and even for sports activities. Using them as a personal audio headphone for home and computer use is also fine.
The cord is of a good length and isn’t too long nor too short, perfect especially if the source happens to be a portable device such as an ipod. There is a sort of cloth covering the outside of the cans, which gives it its semi open nature. Overall, the K 420 looks like a sturdy and stylish headphone to be wearing.
Driving these headphones is no problem at all. They were meant to be used with portable devices anyway and do not need an amp.
In terms of sound, these headphones are lively. They are not very bassy headphones so bass lovers will feel slightly disappointed but they really are good when it comes to mids. They offer great detail especially if you are listening to music with lots of treble. Vocals are also nice and crisp. The clarity of these headphones is very good for portable headphones. Akg’s are known for their clarity and this headphone is a perfect example of that AKG sound. If I were to have some qualm about these headphones, it would be that they are sometimes a bit too clear and bright especially when listening to highs. In some songs with a lot of treble, the highs can really overwhelm the bass, it sounds very good initially as one can hear a lot of detail, but it can become fatiguing after some time. Another thing I would say about the sound is that it is very “in your face” and not laid back. When listening to beast and the harlot by avenged sevenfold, it felt like I was hearing it very near the treble instruments and the bass was pushed to the back of the stage. Not to say that it lacks bass but the treble and clear detail really stands out with these headphones.
The soundstage of these headphones is decent. One can easily tell apart the instruments played with these headphones. There is a good deal of depth too. One thing that I find really makes these headphones shine is that they are semiclosed, and that is where the good sound is from. They do not sound airy or hollow at all and instead have a nice warm sound.
These headphones work well with all genres of music. I tried them with acoustic, classical, jazz, rock and electronica and they had no problems with them at all. If there was a type of music that would really bring out the best in the K420s, it would be rock and detail oriented music. If you feel that it is lacking bass, The AKG K450 is another option as it is like the K420 with a big nice bass along with it with a small sacrifice on detail.
Overall, a nice portable headphone that is perfect for people who love mids, detail and clarity.
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