Recently we reviewed a nice pair of earphones by Sony, a good replacement for bundled earphones with PMPs( personal media players). Now going a bit higher end, we turn the spotlight to a reputed and respected brand that makes pro audio gear as well as very good consumer level earphones. I'm talking about AKG, and today we have the AKG 324 P, a popular and promising looking piece, so let's see how different these earphones can sound.
Design and features
The earphones come bundled in a nice flat black box, along with 3 sleeves of different sizes, a warranty card and a small black cylindrical case made of plastic. This case is neat, is only meant for the ear buds and has two holes on each cross section end to let the wires stick out. This is meant for storage, and helps in longevity of the rubber sleeves, as these tend to get damaged over time. This model is christened 'Chrome', and rightfully so. These are simple looking, minimalist style in-ear canalphones, with the only design aspect being a shiny chrome finish, for the outside enclosure of the earbuds. The AKG logo is neatly and accurately depicted on the perfect center of this tiny hemispherical surface. There is also a white version available. The earbuds are made of rubber. This piece has no foam material sleeves and I can do without them for now.
The cable length is 1.0 m which is just sufficient for usage with pocket players, while AKG states that the unit has 'hard gold-plated jack plug and contacts'. The impedance is 16 ohms, and the sensitivity is 121 dBSPL/mW. This earphone is perfectly suited for portable players and laptops too will be fine. The high sensitivity rating assures us a louder volume at regular volume settings on portable players and the rated output frequency bandwidth is 12 Hz - 23.5 kHz.
I plugged these into a 4th gen iPod first, and then a Cowon O2 so that I could listen to flacs and other uncompressed music. Also, we connected to our HTPC soundcard's output. Once on, I was positively taken aback by the sheer control this earphone has, even at high volume settings. The output is extremely loud, but not for once does it distort or lose control. I was listening to Jaco Pastorius CD and some tracks by The Police on flac, which is when I heard the superiority of the bass response. It was low and tight enough to impress. Acoustically the earphones block out ambient noise, and along with the well toned bass response one can be assured of being immersed in the music.
On the other end of the spectrum, there was such a nice sheen in the high frequencies(treble), nothing like recent earphones I have reviewed. The highs and mids were in control but slightly forward, giving a sense of crispness and clarity in the sound. I liked the response. It was not too neutral, but perfect for most kinds of music, especially the lovely bass response. No part of the frequency was jarring or hurtfully protruding - it was quite accurate. The low bass was not boomy, and some pure bass heads might want to even notch it up a dB or two from their EQ, though I prefer the bass in such good control. The only problem I will have to state is a more generic one - those who only listen to MP3s might not really make out the difference as the format itself sucks in terms of details and high frequency brilliance. This earphone is for the uncompressed audio enthusiasts, who regard and need higher quality in sound output.
At Rs. 4900 these earphones definitely are a bit pricey for our Indian markets, though performance and looks wise they do not disappoint in any domain. The AKG 324P is for audio enthusiasts and entry level audiophiles who are looking for serious sound quality on the move. It is not just an iPod earphone replacement. These earphones will make you replace your iPod itself, and get into a higher end player with more accurate audio output, as this earphone is meant for the finer aspects of music recordings.
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