Gadgetslab: AKG K512 Mini



Music is serious business. It takes thousands of dollars of equipment, hundreds of man-hours and otherworldly musical talent to create even the simplest of songs that you listen to. Why then would you listen to music on stock headphones? It’s a terrible waste. If you take listening to music seriously, one of the best investments you can make is to cash out for a pair of decent headphones.

The AKG 1<512 MKII is another headset from the Austrian brand. It’s the second incarnation of the 1<512, in case the “MKII” designation didn’t give it away, and manages to do a lot right. While this isn’t the most hardcore of headphones, that’s just fine; it’s not supposed to be. Instead, the manufacturer has taken the best part of more expensive headphones from their lineup, stripped the things that drive the price up, to give you a pair of cans that sound great but won’t cause you to sell off the rest of your audio equipment.

The package is pretty impressive. It comes in packaging that is similar to that found in their higher-tier products. This doesn’t really have any bearing on the product in question, but I do like feeling like I’m getting a real treat. The headphones themselves are pretty plain and understated; just the way I like it. A simple frame plus an elastic headband so the whole setup sits snug on your head. The frame isn’t overly stiff and lets the cans sit on your hears without really pinching. The separate stretchy headband is also very comfortable and can barely be felt. The cups are quite large, completely covering your ears. The foam padding is quite thick, and rather firm. This doesn’t cause any discomfort, though, given the springiness of the headband. Oddly enough, I found this pair remarkably more comfortable than other headphones with much cushier ear pads. After wearing one for the majority of the workday, I actually fell asleep wearing them. Any accessory you can fall asleep in wins in my book.

Style-wise, the K512s aren’t going to win any awards. Though they are far from it, they do look like a pair of headphones from a lower price tier. Still, the lack of any metal or particularly dense materials means that the weight of these cans is kept at a very low 200 grams. To be honest, it feels even lighter than that. I suspect this is partly because of the wide headband and how broadly it distributes the weight of the muffs. The loose fit of the cans on your ear does cause quite a bit ofsoundleakage,butnotenough to bother my seatmate in our quiet office given reasonable (and safe) listening volumes. There is a little loss of isolation, but again, even at safe levels of volume, it’s not really a problem unless maybe you are out on the street.

Sound quality on the 1<512 MKIIs is very impressive. Though the lows aren’t quite as punchy as I am used to, they are present. The sound is a little flat, with just a little emphasis on the mids, which brings out the vocals beautifully. The highs are just right, though I did notice the hard “S” sounds a little more than on my default earbuds. It is a very pleasant, tame, neutral pair of cans with a range of 16Hz to 20KHz; more or less par for the course. You are given about 8.2 feet of cable; more than long enough for most uses, and though it isn’t tanglefree, it’s covered in a springy sort of rubbery plastic that is easy to undo.

On the whole I am quite pleased with this pair. It’s really comfy, isn’t too bass-y, clear and not warm on the ears. I see it being used as a daily pair of cans that you wouldn’t really mind putting through some hard use. It’s a great pair from a great brand that has consistently delivered great products. I have little doubt you could go wrong with the AKG K512 MKII.


Drivers:40mm Range:16Hz to 20kHz Cable:8.2 ft.
Plug:standard 3.5mm,with 6.3mm
adapter Impedance:32 Ohm Sensitivity:109dbN
Mac input power:200mW
• Great sound
• Light
• Plain design
• Occasional sibilance issues

Looking for a good pair of daily carry, over-ear headphones? These’ll do ya.

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