The AKG K553 Pro is a revised version of the earlier K550. While it easily fixes the deficient high end of that older model, how does it sound compared to other headphones with a $199 price tag?
AKG K553 Pro Review
The K553 pro comes with 1/4” adapter plug. It’s built well, with a thick aluminum headband and large, completely circumaural earcups. There’s some liberal pleather padding on the headband and earcups, making these headphones both comfortable and isolating.
The thick, 10 ft (3 m) cable seems durable enough, even if it is not removable – engendering a certain level of confidence even if it is suited more for a studio environment than portable use.
Headphone type: over-ear, closed-back
Audio Frequency bandwidth: 12 to 28000 Hz
Sensitivity: 114 dB SPL/V
Max. Input Power: 200 mW
Audio bandwidth: 20 – 20,000 Hz (± 3 dB)
Rated Impedance: 32 Ohms
Ear pads: Leatherette with slow retention foam, replaceable
Connector: Screw-on Jack Combo (1/4″ and 1/8″), gold plated
These specs show a headphone with a fairly wide frequency range, good volume, and a low impedance for optimal use with a portable player or computer. While not mentioned in this list, the K553 also sports 50 mm drivers – enough to deliver some natural “oomph” to the bass.
The low end on the AKG K553 Pro is detailed and somewhat deep. Bass has some impact, but remains more relaxed despite the 50 mm drivers. Bass might sound more natural, then, and there’s some good control in the low end, minimizing bleed.
The midrange is accurate and well defined. The sound might seem a little squished, as these headphones suffer from slight compression in the mids, but this is pretty normal for a headphone at this price.
Strong with good detail, the high end on the K553 can be a little bright at times. It doesn’t get screeching or piercing, though, and strings and female vocals are crisp and articulate in spite of this.
There is depth and placement to instruments when listening to music with the K553 Pro. More than any other closed back headphone we’ve tried, this one sounds “open.” While we can’t quite explain why this headphone should sound that way, we have noted that other listeners can vouch for the sensation, as well.
The AKG K553 Pro headphone offers a surprising level of detail and clarity for the price. Add to this the rugged build quality, as well as the mesmerizing soundstage and “open” sound, and you’ve got one humdinger of a headphone. But because the neutral-to-bright sound will be of more benefit to those seeking clarity over bass and treble, this headphone won’t be for everyone.
If you’re a basshead, this headphone may not deliver the kind of sound you prefer. If bass is your bag, the similarly-priced Beyerdynamic DT770 may be a better option – with a little less detail and more noticeable bass. If the relaxed aura of the 553 is not to your liking, the Pioneer HRM-7 may deserve a look. However, for most classical fans, or instrumental fans, or listeners who want a detailed-yet-relaxed sound, this is the pony to bet on.