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10 Earphones Under $100

AKG K27i: Bass And Class

This is a handsome set whose colors harmonize well with a player like the iPod - white and a very attractive light gray. The K27i also has a clever folding system so that it takes up limited space. It comes with a carry bag, making it a highly portable model. It's a classic set for its category, but with larger-than-average earpieces. It's a closed-style earphone, which is not all that common. Due to this operating principle, it provides a certain level of sound isolation, but largely in the upper part of the spectrum; so don't expect it to greatly reduce the noise of trains, subways, or airliners. Its cable includes a small sliding potentiometer for volume adjustment, which is convenient if you like to keep your player stowed out of sight.

Technical Characteristics

  • Type: closed supra-aural with headband
  • Frequency response: 11 Hz - 28.5 kHz
  • Nominal impedance: 32 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 126 dB/V
  • Cable length: 1.5 m (5 ft.)
  • Plug type: 1/4 in. phone (6.35 mm) + 3.5 mm adapter
  • Weight: 73 g (2.57 oz)

Strong And Clear

The K27i showed very wide response, but with a bass level that was significantly higher than the rest of the spectrum. Also, the bass response extended well down without attenuation.

Very broad response, both in the bass and in the treble, but with a clearly predominant lower end.

The efficiency of this model is very high, meaning that it can deliver high sound levels from a small player - sometimes with a little distortion, however. You can't expect miracles from that kind of combination.

Efficiency: approximately 110 dB/V

Listening Test

The AKG K27i is a small set of closed earphones with careful, successful esthetic design, handsome to look at and fairly practical to carry around thanks to the foldable headband and carry bag. Listening was characterized by bass that was well forward, which isn't surprising given the response curve and the closed design. It's a good achievement for a set this size. The rest of the audio spectrum was present over the entire range. The only criticism I might make is that with certain tracks that are very sensitive to overall balance, the result was a little hollow-sounding. But the K27i will obviously be welcomed by anyone who likes muscular bass. Especially since it can pump out the volume, provided the source can handle it (which is not true of all players). Some may find that it's a little too heavy on the bass. At least you can make your choice with your eyes open.

Conclusions

The Good

  • "big" bass
  • volume adjustment

The Not So Good

  • too much bass?
  • Uncomfortable? These are the most comfortable headphones I ever used (among Koss, AKG, Beyer and other Senn models).
    Reply
  • JT Kahle
    ive had a pair last 6 years, falling asleep with them on almost every night.
    Reply