AKG is go­ing for gold with its bud­get on-ears

FOR Smooth sound; plenty of de­tail; build; com­fort; value AGAINST Noth­ing of note at this price

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With plenty of Award-win­ning head­phones in the bag, AKG is on a roll – so it shouldn’t be a sur­prise to learn that its new line of af­ford­able over-ear cans is pretty darn good.

But, thank­fully, AKG still has the ca­pac­ity to sur­prise us. Some con­text: the baby of the three-strong line up, the K52s per­formed ad­mirably for us, and sell for only £30. We might have been tempted to call them the best-value head­phones we’ve heard this year – but that was be­fore we lis­tened to the K92s.

Sit­ting at the top of the range, the AKG K92s cost £50 – still af­ford­able, but the jump up in sound qual­ity is more than enough to jus­tify spending the ex­tra few quid.

Go­ing for gold

At first, the differences seem su­per­fi­cial. Un­like the all-black fin­ish of the K52s and the mid­dle-ground K72s, the K92s have gold ac­cents that give them a pop of colour and dis­tin­guish them­selves as the lead­ers of the line-up. It’s not a blingy gold, but a sub­tle, al­most cham­pagne-like hue. Very taste­ful.

Apart from that dif­fer­ence in fin­ish, the K92s look pretty much the same as the K52s. The head­phones are built well, and the frame feels sturdy and durable.

The self-ad­just­ing band is springy and set­tles around your head com­fort­ably. Some might want man­ual ad­just­ment, but our test team find the K92s have the right fit and clamp down just enough around our heads to stay firmly in place. The large over-ear cups are airy and com­fort­able, too. The leatherette pad­ding keeps our ears cush­ioned with­out get­ting hot over long hours of lis­ten­ing.

Adapt­able cable

The 3m-long cable is thick enough to re­sist tan­gles. It has a 3.5mm plug, but also comes with a 6.3mm adapter so you can lis­ten to your hi-fi sys­tem in peace. There are no

“The dips and soars are han­dled el­e­gantly by the AKGS. The strings have ten­sion and de­tail, the horns don’t sound harsh or bright, and the drums don’t boom. It's a smooth, en­joy­able sound”

in-line con­trols or fea­tures such as you’ll find on the portable Y50s but, as the K92s are de­signed for home use, there’s no need for a re­mote to con­trol mu­sic play­back.

Slip them on in the com­fort of your home and you’ll be swept away by just how big and open these £50 cans sound.

We lis­ten to Dave Grohl’s Sound City al­bum of fa­mous mu­si­cians sing­ing to­gether, and the record­ing has am­ple space to breathe. Whether you’re lis­ten­ing to Ste­vie Nicks, Paul Mccart­ney or Trent Reznor, the K92s are de­tailed and clear enough to show off the dif­fer­ing styles of each artist.

The slow build up in From Can To Can’t is tense and brood­ing, with the K92s show­ing off a com­posed and ma­ture sense of tim­ing. The drums hit with good snap, and you can hear the lay­ers of dis­tor­tion on the gui­tars. The K92s have a great han­dle on rhythm, with all in­stru­ments work­ing co­he­sively with each other. Voices are solid and nu­anced. Corey Tay­lor’s earnest sing­ing, in par­tic­u­lar, comes through clearly. You can hear that he’s hold­ing back from his sig­na­ture Slip­knot roar at the be­gin­ning of the track, and then un­leashes as the song car­ries on and hits the sec­ond cho­rus. The cans are sur­pris­ingly re­veal­ing and dy­nam­i­cally fluid for their price. The peer­less John Wil­liams proves he still has his magic touch with Rey’s Theme from Star Wars: The Force Awak­ens – a del­i­cate, gen­tle melody that’s full of en­thu­si­asm and prom­ise for the young hero­ine. The dips and soars are han­dled el­e­gantly by the AKGS. The strings have ten­sion and de­tail, the horns don’t sound harsh or bright, and the drums don’t boom. It’s a smooth, en­joy­able sound.

A step up

The K92s are a clear step above the K52s: they’re more re­veal­ing and ar­tic­u­late, and give you no­tably bet­ter dy­nam­ics and rhyth­mic ac­cu­racy for just £20 more. If you’re think­ing of spending £50 on a de­cent pair of head­phones, you might al­ready be look­ing at the AKG Y50s – they’re portable, fold­able and you can pause and skip tracks with them. But if you’re mostly go­ing to be lis­ten­ing to your mu­sic at home, and just want a great-sound­ing, com­fort­able pair of cans to hook up to your lap­top or hi-fi, then the K92s will suit you per­fectly.

Big cups, big sound: these AKG'S fol­low the fam­ily look and pro­duce a full, open sound

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