AKG K1000 Headphones

AKG K1000 HeadphonesA key ring earbud case.

Possibly the best headphones ever made, offering stunning clarity and openness that few high-end loudspeakers can even match. Very well made and a brilliant design. Rare.

Very expensive and require a powerful high-end power amplifier to be driven properly. Need a top-notch system to back them up, or they will sound quite ordinary. Not very comfortable to wear. No longer being made.

Hard to find at this point, but a classic headphone that offers electrostatic-like clarity and incredible amounts of detail. Better than most high-end loudspeakers. Not the most comfortable headphone to wear, but worth the pain if you can find them.

AKG K1000 Headphones: Elusive but Superb…If You Find Them

A world-class headphone that is not the easiest to source, but worth the effort when everything in the chain is on the same level.

“For nearly 60 years, AKG has been building an international reputation as one of the world’s most elite suppliers of microphones, headphones and wireless systems. AKG, with headquarters in the city of music, Vienna, has amassed incredible engineering know-how and an intellectual base of more than 1,500 worldwide patents. These patents are the foundation of AKG products’ unique sound. That signature sound is the basis of the incredible reputation and popularity of AKG products.

AKG products are the synthesis of premium European design and impeccable workmanship infused with an intimate understanding of what truly sounds right. AKG engineers work in one of the largest and most advanced acoustics laboratories in Europe equipped with state-of-the-art technologies that enable them to fine-tune products to the highest degree.

The acceptance and use of AKG products by leading engineers and musicians for demanding recording, broadcast and live sound applications and by architects and consultants for installed sound projects testifies to their outstanding sound, reliability and quality. You can use AKG products confident that your equipment meets the highest standards.”

In their own way, the AKG K1000s represent the pinnacle of dynamic heaphone development. AKG, is one of a small number of audio brand names such as Sennheiser, Stax, Grado, Beyerdynamic that are well-known for quality. Headphones such as the Sennheiser HD 600 (650) are used among many pro audio recording engineers worldwide, unless of course they cross paths with the K 1000's yet.

As in the world of dynamic speakers, headphone manufacturers are also constantly developing more accurate, more musical sounding headphones. While headphones receive wide use as precise-measure instruments, they also find their way into many more home systems than they did, say forty years ago.

Modern life leads many to treasure the secluded atmosphere of home for listening to music, usually in the nightly hours. Music is also something we want to enjoy in its most interactive way; that is, in the sense that we want to get every last piece of information from the source. We want to be a part of that live experience or get the best idea of what the artist tries to tell us through his or her music.

The AKG K1000 radiates a special retro feeling of quality and precise crafting from the first moment. AKG packs them in a massive wooden box and seals them in gentle black protective foam. The box is also used as a safe resting place while they are not in use.

Interconnect cable is approximately 3 metres (10 feet) long, fine for normal usage. Normally, headphones connect to the amplifier via standard jack connector. However, the K1000 phones plug into the speaker terminals. After your initial surprise, you realize that AKG calls them ear speakers for good reason.

Headphones generally fall into one of three categories: open, closed or sealed, and in-ear headphones.

They also, like speakers, are either dynamic or electrostatic. Japanese manufacturer STAX has long been famous for their electrostatic headsets. AKG, Sennheiser and Grado are among the best known dynamic headphone manufacturers.

Let us take a closer look at the AKG K1000. With their 74 db sound pressure at 1 watt, they are not really dynamic monsters. For normal listening, you would need an amplifier with 60 to 70 watts of power… and yes, remember to forget about the headphone jack most amplifiers have.

What I first noticed with K1000 was their transparency. With normal headphones you rarely talk about sound stage in its usual meaning or as you would refer to it while listening to speakers. But the K1000 offers a unique listening experience. You can easily adjust left and right ear speaker for almost 70 degrees. With this you can widen the sound stage and adjust the dynamic impact. I ended up with approximately 15 degrees on both sides. This seems to offer an optimum balance between the dynamic and sound stage.

While testing these headphones, as with other audio gear, I draw on a broad spectrum of music, from techno to classical to get more objective results.

AKGs scored their best marks with acoustically recorded music — blues, jazz and classical orchestral ensembles. I would go on record and say that AKGs are simply made for great acoustical recordings. In fact, they are often used in many recording studios as a reference headphone monitor.

They also shone in vocal reproduction, from the thunder of a man such as Muddy Waters to the gentle sibilants of Eva Cassidy. The correct sound of electrical jazz and blues guitar also impressed me greatly.

But be careful with demanding recordings. Complex classical music require all the power your amplifier can deliver. I suggest you take the AKGs for a ride with your amplifier before purchasing them. Dynamic transitions, crescendos, the bass drum, timpani or other strong transients will show up insufficient power in an amplifier.

AKG K1000's are clearly not a match for loudspeakers. To be fair, they shouldn't be expected to be. They are ear speakers with a tiny membrane. Keeping that in mind, plug them into a good amplifier and hear how they bring out the atmosphere of a 15 thousand dollar home stereo setup.

Technical Info

Driver Type: Dynamic
Coupler Size: Large
Acoustic Seal: Open
Detachable Cable: No
Connector Type: Other
Weight: 10.2
Ear Coupler Type: Full-Size
Cord Length: 6 ft.
Cord Type: Straight Y
Price: $999.99

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