AKG K271S Headphone Reviews

Manufacturer AKG Model K271S
Headphone Type Closed Circumaural Headband Type Double
Weight (g) 240 Driver Type Dynamic
Enclosure Material Plastic Isolation (dB) 14
Impedance (ohms) 55 Cable Length (cm) 300
Frequency Response (Hz) 16 - 28000  
Connector 3.5mm with 6.5mm adaptor Street Price US$166
Buy from Amazon.com  
Average reviewer scores
Bass Extension 6.4 Bass Impact 5.4
Bass Quality 6.4 Mids Quality 6.9
Highs Quality 6.6 Soundstage 5.6
Detail 6.7 Portability 3.9
Isolation 6.4 Comfort 7.3
Durability 6.3 Improvement With Amplification 7.1
Value for Money 6.9    
Overall Score 6.6 Total Reviews 7

Please log in to add your review

 

Reviews by our members

Review by Lead Reviewer commando on 15 Dec 04  23:49
Individual review
Bass Extension7
Bass Impact7
Bass Quality7
Mids Quality6
Highs Quality6
Detail5
Comfort6
Durability5
Value6

I owned these for 6 months or so, in conjunction with a Pimeta and also a PPA headphone amp. They're pretty comfortable, have good mids, good clarity, and reasonable bass. To my ears they're good for everything, but not great at any one thing. They benefit from a headphone amplifier.

In the end I sold them after I got Audio-Technica A900s, which i'm much happer with in every way. Between these two it's a matter of preference, rather than which is better.

Review by Senior Member edzhy on 31 Dec 07  12:04
Individual review
Bass Extension7
Bass Impact5
Bass Quality6
Mids Quality7
Highs Quality7
Detail8
Comfort8
Durability6
Value6

Very nice headphones, but not for bass-freaks. Previuosly i had Senn HD595, enjoyed them also, but open style wasn't for me, so i decided to buy some closed studio monitors and K271S was best choice for me, becouse i got them for $160 (in our country these cans cost about $210).

Like i said, these headphones are not for those who want "boom" (impact) effect. Overall lows quality is very good and balanced.

Mids are absolutely beautiful, yuo can feel all the harmony.

Highs on these cans are amazing! Clear ant detailed like your girls whisper :)

I must say, you need an amp for the best experience, it changes a lot! K271S are perfect for monitoring, gaming, mixing, vocal recording and everything that you are listening to.

Review by Senior Member Iron_Dreamer on 01 Jul 07  12:03
Individual review
Bass Extension7
Bass Impact5
Bass Quality7
Mids Quality6
Highs Quality7
Detail6
Comfort7
Durability7
Value7

The K271S are the best closed headphone substitute for the Sennheiser HD580/600/650 series that I have found. Their overall sound signature is quite similar, with less midbass, and a bit more treble. The soundstage and extension are obviously not quite as good, but the general sound is close enough to be a good substitute for those needing isolation.

These are also the best closed headphones I've heard with the laid-back sound signature. They're quite detailed and have a pretty balanced presentation, though the bass is a bit sterile and not that slamminí from time to time (though the Zu Mobius cable upgrade helps a bit there). Also the soudstage is a bit more closed in sounding than come competing closed headphones. The Equinox cable only marginally improved the sound by comparison to the Zu, so don't waste your time or money with it.

They are pretty well built, though would not stand up to the kind of abuse the Beyer DT770's could. Also though they are a bit large for portable use, the one-sided cable, good grip, and light weight make them useable on the road.....

...if you can find something to power them with. The low efficiency of the cans means that they demand to be amped to sound good (or even loud enough sometimes), and though a portable amp can do they job, they really want a powerful home amp to do their best.

So, the K271S is definitely worth a look, if you are after good closed cans, and don't mind using an amp. They will probably be the pick for you if you like a laid-back, smooth sound that is pretty detailed. Bassheads should likely look elsewhere.

My ratings:
Bass Extension: 7
Bass Impact: 5
Bass Quality: 7
Mids Quality: 6
Highs Quality: 7
Soundstage: 4
Detail: 6
Portability: 3
Isolation: 6
Comfort: 7
Durability: 7
Improvement with Amplification: 9
Value for the Money: 7

Review by Senior Member Aman on 14 Mar 05  18:19
Individual review
Bass Extension4
Bass Impact6
Bass Quality5
Mids Quality8
Highs Quality6
Detail8
Comfort7
Durability6
Value5

Bass-wise, the AKGs do not fair too well. They have a nice impact, but as far as exension goes it is a little anemic. The quality and dynamic of the bass is nice, which saves the headphone a little.

Midrange is incredible, and is very sweet. I really have not heard a better closed headphone with this kind of midrange, even the Sony CD3Ks wich are more than twice the price of this headphone.

Highs are pretty good, but sometimes can be a little dulled and rolled off. Very detailed all around, however.

The soundstage is nice, it is like sitting in a small room with the band there, it is not as if you are sitting in the balcony of a concert hall, but it isn't like Grados were you feel like you are sitting next to the instruments.

Details are fantastic, being mainly due to the fact that the headphones are closed. Most people may think that these headphones are detailed because the highs are over exagerated, but it isn't. It is just how the drivers are designed and angled, and it is one of the best reasons for owning these headphones besides the sweet, sweet midrange.

They are not incredibly good portable headphones because of their large size, but they are incredibly good at blocking out external noise, so if you arent affraid of embarassing yourself these headphones are fine.

As just mentioned, isolation is great. I cannot hear anything when the headphones are on. When no music is playing, I can hear a few things but only if they are decently loud and close to me.

The headphones are pretty durable and comfortable. I felt much safer wearing these than wearing my HD595s, but they still have room for improvemnent. I am sure they cannot take the abuse the Beyer DT770 Pros can. They are comfortable but after about two or three hours these cans start to hurt a little just because the ear cups arent incredibly large. They are not small, they just are not big.

These headphones DO work without an amp, but benefit greatly with one. I would suggest that if you want more than 50% out of these headphones you should get an amp. Either get a tube amp or a considerably warm solid state one like the Perreaux.

These headphones have their ups and downs, but IMO justify their purchase quite well, and I could see them having their prices bumped about fifty dollars and have them still be reasonable - but that is about it. They are a step up FOR ME from Grado headphnes, which cost about the same price -- but that is a completely opinion-based factor.

Overall, unless you want to listen to heavy metal music, these headphones are great and I would easily recommend them.

Review by Senior Member timonyc on 07 Feb 05  06:18
Individual review
Bass Extension5
Bass Impact4
Bass Quality6
Mids Quality5
Highs Quality7
Detail6
Comfort8
Durability6
Value8

I compared these headphones with two other closed circumaural choices: the HFI-700s and the Bose Quiet Comfort 2s, testing with a variety of rock and pop selections. Files from a G5 are fed via toslink to a Bel Canto DAC2 and onto a Meier Corda Prehead.

The AKG Acoustics K271S is a solid choice. It is well regarded here for good reason, especially with regard to its comfort and value. In my personal closed headphone shoot out it is the winner, but it is also not without flaws -- its bass is a bit anemic and the soundstage unremarkable. On the plus side the K271S is a fairly neutral choice, with good detail. While bass impact is low, but the quality is there. Mids are unremarkable but highs are fairly clear, and the detail is good.

For the money is a solid choice and probably better than the HFI-700, though the latter is not categorically that different from the K271S.

Review by Senior Member episiarch on 16 Dec 04  10:34
Individual review
Bass Extension7
Bass Impact6
Bass Quality6
Mids Quality7
Highs Quality6
Detail6
Comfort6
Durability6
Value7

I go through phases with these. A couple times I've been very close to selling them...then I'm pulled back and decide no, I really need to keep them. For me they have the odd quality of conveying a tremendous amount of sonic information while somehow conveying less musical enjoyment. Lots of data, but not quite as much grin-inducing musicality. Weird; go figure.

Despite that I like them enough to listen to them a fair amount, and haven't yet tried anything in the same category that I prefer to them. I'll also say that if you are a film student I think these studio monitors are excellent ones to consider: I'm able to pick up much more of the 'room tone' and incidental soundwork in a movie scene with these than I notice with other cans.

Review by Senior Member philodox on 16 Dec 04  08:37
Individual review
Bass Extension8
Bass Impact5
Bass Quality8
Mids Quality9
Highs Quality7
Detail8
Comfort9
Durability8
Value9

I have owned a pair of AKG K271 Studio's for a little over a year now and I have yet to find another headphone that I prefer to it overall. Other headphones often have one area where I can see them edging out the K271S, but there is always something that they are missing.

The biggest thing that pulls me back is their incredible midrange. Even the K240S, which are very similar to the K271S in this regard, cannot hold up a candle to the K271S' lush mids. Vocals sound so full and present and it does wonders for acoustic music.

They do not have a large quantity of bass, but the quality of the bass that is there is unequaled in dynamic headphones with the exception of the high end offerings from Sennheiser. If you are looking for lots of punchy bass that will make poor music more involving look elsewhere. If you want smooth and articulate bass that will allow you to enjoy well recorded detailed music these are the headphones for you.

The treble may be slightly recessed, but in my opinion this is much preferable to the shreaking highs that many other headphones exhibit.

These are very detailed headphones. Similar to the type of detail that you experience with Stax electrostatics. That is to say it is _actual_ detail and not just the over emphasized treble that you hear in some of the audio technica and grado headphones. The increased resolution is across the entire frequency range.

The soundstage presented by the K271S is very intimate. I have heard friends describe it as being in a small room with the band. If you listen to a binaural recording and shut your eyes it is almost frightening how realistic it can sound. The left and right crossover is very good and you there is no problems with rear or frontal imaging. When listening to pieces with many instruments you can easily pick them out. I know some people say that imaging is artificial as it is not there when you see music live, but that doesnt stop me from loving the effect. :)

The isolation is quite good. I can sit on the bus or subway and hear very minimal outside noise [including when the subway screeches]. I have asked others on the bus with me to see if my music was bothering them and they said they couldnt hear a thing. If someone is sitting right next to me they know I am listening to music, but it is not intrusive.

They love good amplification and improve remarkably when driven from a powerfull amp. That said, I am able to amplify them adequately from my Archos AV320 mp3 player. I use them as my portable headphone, but I would not suggest that for most as they are quite large. Depending on the size of your head the fit may vary. They have always been incredibly comfortable for me and I have no problems wearing them on the go, but others have commented that they are a little loose fitting. I think that to some extent size of head factors into getting a proper seal with these headphones as well.

At the price of ~$150 USD new you cannot go wrong with these headphones. As with any headphone, I suggest that you audition them first if at all possible.

AKG K271S
AKG K271S