Review by Sunetra Chakravati,7/10/2016 11:02:11 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
Fab sound quality | relatively inexpensive | kerb appeal
Paint job can chip easily |
AKG’s near 70-year history of producing crystal clear microphones and headphones may not be visible from the brushed midnight blue band, but it’s definitely audible in these Bluetooth mid-rangers.
Costing around £125 and styled with a youthful minimalism, the most obvious comparison is the Beats by Dre Solo2 headphones. Both are on-ear models designed to fold out at a moments notice and look the part in a casual setting, however, once you get past the basics they’re worlds apart.
A surprisingly responsive and coherent sound gives the Y50BT model a reliable quality no matter what genre is put through it though, handling the deep boom of bass laden dub tracks as deftly as the reaching rasps of brass instruments.
Where it really excels is in grandiose arrangements of writhing, turning tracks which layer take over take to create pieces with depth and breadth. Hip-Hop producers embracing climactic ensembles, rock and metal albums with rich instrumentals at the forefront, EDM bangers with a pulse that feels more innate and driving than your own.
The only criticism to be found is slight but can be found in the more hushed or avant-garde moments where the listener should be able to pluck an individual instrument out of the air or where atmospheric 360 sound is essential in the composition. Here there isn’t quite as much distinction as there is in the more expensive Sennheiser and AKG models, but it feels unfair to even highlight this, so marginal is the difference.
A fairly standard hinged design with a narrow headband, the cups show a little flair through their super compact, super circular shape and aluminium accenting which actually works well in complementing the base colours available. It’s a shame this unpainted aluminium accenting isn’t carried through the design a little more though as the plastic size adjusters on the band betray the sleekness of the rest of the design.
Extended use is always a weakness for on-ear headphones and while the AKG Y50BTs are as comfortable as the category can be, you’re still going to feel it the symptomatic pressure ache after a couple of hours. For on-the-go use however, they are ideal.
Light desk use during the review has also caused some of the blue paint to chip off the sides, which doesn’t bode well for what would happen if you were to use them in the portable manner they are designed for. It also appears that AKG cheaped out on the cable, which admittedly is supposed to be a Bluetooth fall back but with pretty much no insulation or wear protection on the jacks, it isn’t going to survive for any great deal of time.
These offer unbeatable sound quality for the price category and they look neither dull nor gaudy – a fine line to walk for on-ear headphones. However the real conundrum for those interested will be whether its worth paying an extra £75 over the non-bluetooth variety which are otherwise identical.