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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

EAN Headphone Review!
Price-Busting AKG K182 Nets
Great Sound For Multiple Uses

©Everything Audio Network

Brevis...
Price: $174 retail ($99 street)
Likes: spacious soundstage, price
Dislikes: where is noise-cancel version?
Wow Factor: serious HPs for under $100

by John Gatski
  I am am a big fan of AKG headphones. I use the K702 and the L812 as reference hi-fi and home recording studio headphones — always impressed with the spacious imaging and detail transient and a tighter bass. A few months ago, I discovered these low as $99 street price AKG K182 HPs a few months ago. Designed for a variety of uses and (musicians, home recording and portable hi-res monitoring, I have found the K182, a kind of mini low cost version K812.
  It features the 3D Axis folding mechanism for easy, reduced-size storage, is quite comfortable and best of all, its audio performance will impress your ears, especially for $120. It has quite a bit of the K812’s impressive imaging and the sound is accurate enough to real hi-res listening.

  In the home recording rig, the K182s worked well for tracking and editing. I did several DSD acoustic guitar recording projects and loved the spatial cues of the K182. And they are really comfortable.

 The headphones sport a detachable cable, replaceable ear pads. Rated frequency response is 10 Hz to 28 kHz. (Expect tight tolerance response from about 60 Hz to 20 kHz). Max input power is 500 mW and. Impedance is 32 ohms, which makes it fairly easy to drive. It comes standard with 1/8th-inch termination and a screw on 1/4-inch adapter. Cable is a generous 8.9 inches long.
  One of the coolest K182 features is a simple, embossed-onto-each-earpad grill “R” and L” designations. So you know immediately which cup goes where. I have sampled many a headphone that the designated R/L sides are ill-marked. It is really a problem on HPs with dual wires. On the K182, however, the big ole’ “L or R” cannot be missed.

The test drive
  I plugged the AKG 182s into my iBasso DX-80 hi-res player, TASCAM DR-100 Mk-II hi-res recorder player and the Myth Digital Brooklyn DAC to see how it handled hi-res audio. What I heard was not cheap dumbed down sound. Fantastic imaging, tight bass and a sizzle-less top-end.

3D foldback means less storage space needed

  I found the AKG HPs a perfect travel mate for my iBasso DX-80’s premium DSD and PCM playback on the go. The headphones were easy to stow in my computer bang and the relative sound isolation of the close-back design allowed me to hear good music at noisy airport lounges. As with most non-noise canceling phones, it could not handle the high SPL of the 23rd row window seat on American Airlines. But accurate HP listening on a plane is damn near impossible.
  In the home recording rig, the K182s worked well for tracking and editing. I did several DSD acoustic guitar recording projects and loved the spatial cues of the K182. And they are really comfortable. They are not as accurate as my $1,200 K702 Anniversary HPs, but they offer a lot of the essential soundstage and clean bass/solid midrange. I like em better than the old Sony MDR-7506/MDR-7509 HPs that are so popular.

The verdict
  As my carry around, do-it-all, low-cost serious headphones, the AKG K182 is a penny pinching-alternative to carrying my bulkier AKG or professional Shures around my expensive ‘phones. In fact, I like them so much that I am giving them a 2016 EAN Product of The Year Award in the Budget Audio category. Come to think of it, I have a a slew of new hi-res portables coming; Hmm, I need another pair of K182s...

 John Gatski has been evaluating consumer, audiophile, home cinema and professional audio gear since 1988. In 1995, he created Pro Audio Review, and he has written for Audio, LaserviewsEnjoy The MusicThe Audiophile Voice, High Performance ReviewRadio World and TV TechnologyEverything Audio Network is based in Kensington, Md. Articles on this site are the copyright of the ©Everything Audio Network. Any unauthorized use, via print or Internet, without written permission is prohibited. John Gatski can be reached via everything.audio@verizon.net

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