the Akg k553 MKii closed-back studio Headphones

My Experience with the Akg k553 MKii closed-back studio Headphones

As an audiophile always on the lookout for great-sounding headphones that won’t break the bank, I was eager to try out the AKG K553 closed-back studio headphones when they were released a few years ago.

With AKG’s reputation for quality audio products within my preferred price range, my expectations were high for these over-ear cans like the AKG K553 and like the k553 mkii, geared towards professional monitoring as well as casual listening.

Over the recent weeks, I’ve been able to comprehensively evaluate the audio performance of the AKG K553 closed back headphones, testing them with my amplifier across a variety of applications like music, films, gameplay, and more.

Here is my detailed review of the good headphone ‘ design, comfort, sound quality, sound stage, and overall performance.


Overall Rating: 4/5

For studio professionals or audiophiles seeking accuracy over style on a reasonable budget, the AKG K553 closed-back headphones deliver tremendous value.

Their balanced, articulate sound grants a neutral listening perspective,
perfect for audio engineering work where pinpoint imaging and transient response help reveal mix imperfections.

Casual listeners may be better served by consumer and gaming brands offering more sculpted bass and lush mids at the cost of detail. But for fantastic fidelity that outperforms $300 models,

the K553s are my highest recommendation to experience music with scientific clarity free of coloration or hype. AKG hits a home run here; aspiring producers should demo a pair to hear what neutral reference sound truly achieves at this wonderful price point.


Transducer principle: Closed-back dynamic
Drivers: 50mm
Frequency response: 15Hz – 28kHz
Sensitivity: 114dB SPL/V
Impedance: 32 ohms
Rated input power: 200mW
Distortion: <0.5% (1kHz, 100dB SPL)
Earpad material: Leatherette
Color: Matte black & silver
Cable length: 1.2m straight cable, 3m coiled cable (detachable)
Gold-plated 3.5mm plug + screw-on 6.3mm adapter

akg k553 pro : Design and Build Quality

Sleek and Minimalist Aesthetic

As soon as I unboxed, the streamlined, minimalist design of the AKG K553 headphones immediately caught my attention. The stealthy matte black color scheme of the K553 model gives it a modern feel, with the silver AKG logo adding some subdued elegance.

The K553 MKII’s headband and ear cups, made of resilient plastic, may not exude the hardness and luxury of top-tier metal headphones in an elevated price range but are commendably robust.

However, the plastic build does help keep the weight of the K553 down to a manageable 8.3 oz in comparison to other models in its price range.

I find the detachable cabling through a standard 3.5mm jack on the AKG K553 MKII quite advantageous, offering an effortless way to change or replace damaged cables as compared to fixed connections.

The included 1.2-meter straight cable of the AKG K553 MKII is of decent quality, with a microphone and remote control built-in for phone calls and playback control, something I find extremely important in headphones within this price range. Comfort and Wearability

Regarding comfortability, both the K553s and K550 models deserve commendation for their self-regulating headband system that balances weight and gently clamps to your head, avoiding causing discomfort.

The ample memory foam earpads of both the K553s and the K550 model are softer than average and fit snugly around the ears to form a decent passive seal for improved noise isolation and robust bass response. Rating: 4/5

I managed to comfortably use the K553s for 1-2 hours straight, without the aid of an external DAC. Those with larger heads may experience more clamping force, though.

Overall, the AKG K553 headphones achieve a striking balance of maintaining lightness without compromising on secure fit on the head.

Sound Performance

This describes quite the sound stage. Having a relatively flat frequency response, the K553s or K553 mkii, being closed-back studio monitoring headphones, are more inclined towards audio accuracy rather than excessive bass or intensified trebles,

the feature more accentuated when connected to a high-grade external DAC and amplifier. The 50mm drivers of both the K553s and K550 models produce a very balanced,

neutral sound signature that won’t be to everyone’s liking but will appeal strongly to audiophiles, especially when paired with an amplifier and EQ settings. Treble and High Frequencies

The trebles (or the highs) projected by the K553s and the K550 model have a bright touch, yet they prevent from crossing into the territory of sharp or sibilant sounds often found in budget headphones within their price range.

Treble on both the K553s and K550 models is well-extended, airy, and packs great detail retrieval to pick out subtle textures and harmonics in acoustic tracks or complex instrumental passages when the EQ is set just right.

Cymbals, violins, and female vocals have plenty of sparkle and liveliness. There is a slight metallic tinge to guitars that can become fatiguing over very long listening sessions for treble-sensitive folks. Overall, the excellent clarity and articulation impress. Rating: 4.5/5Mids

Vocals and instruments in the midrange sound extremely accurate and true-to-life, without extra warmth or recess. There is zero muddiness, just outstanding transparency to analyze every transient, breath, or resonance.

The great tonal balance makes the K553 sounds wonderful for monitoring mixes to ensure instruments are cleanly separated and centered. Male vocals and guitars sound fabulous, if missing some body or richness for a lusher sound. Still, the transparency is remarkable at this price point. Rating: 5/5Bass

Don’t expect booming, basshead-pleasing low-end from the K 553s , which prioritize accuracy over impact. That said, bass extension and definition are fantastic for a closed-back headphone thanks to the excellent acoustic isolation,

allowing you to hear nuances like plucks and slides on standup bass and fast transient pops on kicks and snares that typical consumers can gloss over with mid-bass bloat.

The neutrality means electronic tracks and hip-hop won’t hit nearly as hard as on sets with elevated sub-bass. But for rock, jazz, classical and really analyzing bass texture and depth, the bass on the K553 are brilliant at a steal of a price. Rating: 4/5

Additional Performance Factors


The K553s have better stereo imaging than most closed-back models, with a spacious headstage granting each element its own space rather than sounding congested. Instruments seem to come at you from multiple distinct angles,

which really immerses you into albums. The expansion helps make up for the lack of open-back airiness or width. better experience for a studio feel. overall sound Rating: 4/5Noise Isolation

With a tight clamp and quality earpad seal, the K553s block out a decent amount of ambient noise, whether it’s chatter on the bus or airplane engine rumble. They cut down volume by around 25 dB, letting you better focus on your music.

Leakage is also minimal so you can crank volumes without disturbing nearby people as much. Great for portability. Rating: 4/5Imaging

The pinpoint imaging precision of the K553s transforms busy tracks into an immersive 360-degree landscape, allowing you to zero in on the placement and movement of individual instruments. The superior separation and imaging make these headphones an engineer’s dream. Rating: 5/5Dynamics

While the K553s lack the wiggle room for deep bass impact, their 40mm drivers handle dynamic contrasts with aplomb. The headphones transition effortlessly from quiet to loud passages thanks to their excellent transient response.

You can clearly hear the leading edge of notes before the fuller body kicks in. From intricate fingerpicked arpeggios to crashing cymbals, the dynamic nuance impresses. Rating: 4.5/5

Ideal Use Cases

With their reference-grade tuning and performance chops, the AKG K553s truly excel for sound professionals rather than casual listeners seeking sonic excitement. Studio Monitoring

Mixing and mastering engineers will adore the neutrality, imaging, and transient response that allow them to scrutinize mixes to perfection. The semi-open design provides a decent middle ground between open and closed-back. Audio Analysis

The accuracy and separation reveal the most subtle textures otherwise hidden on mainstream-tuned headphones. Everything from chord progression to venue reverb becomes analyzable. Audiophile Listening

For devoted music junkies without the budget for ultra-premium cans, the K553s provide stellar fidelity that outperforms models costing twice as much. The lack of coloration provides a pure sound for rediscovering favorites. Travel

Solid noise isolation, a secure fit, detachable cables, and a rugged build make the K553s wonderful travel companions, whether commuting or jetsetting. The resolving ability also lets you hear flaws in low-bit-rate audio.


For all their strengths as studio monitors, the K553s come with a few caveats: Lack of Smartphone Control

Frustratingly, the inline remote lacks volume control functionality beyond pausing music and skipping tracks. So controlling music on the go from the headset is limited compared to models with full-featured remotes. Rating: 2/5Not for Bass Lovers

Bassheads beware: clinical bass reproduction lacks thump and impact. Electronic genres end up sounding thin and anemic through the K553s compared to consumer/gaming cans with boosted low-end. Rating: 3/5Tight Clamp

The snug headband design that allows great noise isolation does result in noticeable clamping pressure over time that causes hotspots or discomfort on larger noses. Those with wide frames may wish for more. Rating: 3/5

Comparison to Other Studio Headphones

How do the AKG K553s stack up against other popular closed-back studio monitor headphones from leaders like Audio Technica, Beyerdynamic, and Sony? Here’s a brief comparison:

AKG k553 vs AKG k550

Compared to its predecessor the AKG K550, the K553 headphones feature several upgrades including detachable cables, improved earpads for comfort, and slightly boosted bass response for a more versatile sound signature suited for casual listening. They retain the K550’s stellar midrange and treble definition that punches above their modest price point.

AKG k553 vs Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

The M50x headphones ($150) have a punchier, more V-shaped sound but lack the midrange clarity and imaging precision of the K553s.

Bass and treble are emphasized over mids, with slightly boomier lows and exaggerated treble sizzle. The soundstage feels smaller and more congested as well on the M50x. However, comfort and accessories are superior.

AKG k553 vs beyerdynamic DT770 Pro

The venerable DT770s ($170) offer warmer, fuller mids and more present bass than the K553s, with a sparkly yet smoother treble. Their build feels tank-like compared to the plastic AKGs.
However, the sound comes across as more colored and they leak in far more outside noise. Still, the exciting, lively sound may appeal more to casual listeners than the clinical K553s.

AKG k553 vs Sony MDR-7506

Sony’s legendary MDR-7506 ($100) shares a similar flat/neutral sound but lacks the refinement, detail, and comfort of the newer K553s.

The highs sound somewhat muffled in comparison and the smaller soundstage feels more congested. However, at under $100, the 7506 provides tremendous value for the money.

The more revealing mids and high-end extension give the AKG K553s the edge for studio work, while music lovers will still appreciate the honesty if it lacks bass or treble spice. Considering their very fair pricing, the K553s stand tall as my go-to recommendation for studio monitoring headphones under $200.

AKG k553 vs Sennheiser 

The AKG K553s match the renowned midrange clarity of Sennheiser’s legendary HD600 open-backs but in a closed-back design with improved bass definition and smoother treble. They lack the spacious soundstage of audiophile Sennheisers yet provide superior noise isolation at a fraction of the price.


How do the Akg K553 MKii headphones compare to the original K553 model?

The MKii version has larger 50mm drivers compared to the 45mm drivers in the original K553 headphones. This gives the MKii better bass extension and transient response. The MKii also has improved earpads and headband padding for more comfort.

What kind of sound signature do the Akg K553 MKii headphones have?

The K553 MKii headphones have a relatively flat, neutral sound signature that is well-suited for studio mixing and critical listening applications. They provide good detail and clarity across the frequency spectrum without significant coloration.

Do the Akg K553 MKii headphones require an amplifier to sound their best?

While the K553 MKii headphones can reach adequate listening volumes when plugged directly into phones, computers etc.,

they will sound more dynamic and better controlled when paired with a headphone amplifier. A basic external amp helps the headphones reach their full sonic potential.

What cables and connections come with the Akg K553 MKii?

The K553 MKii comes with both a coiled 3m cable that terminates in a 3.5mm plug and a straight 1.2m cable with a 3.5mm plug, allowing flexibility for different applications. It does not come with a 1/4 inch adapter.

Are the Akg K553 MKii good for mixing and mastering?

 Yes, the neutral sound and good isolation make the K553 MKii a very capable closed-back studio headphone choice for mixing, mastering, editing, programming and general studio applications. Their comfortable fit also allows them to be worn for long sessions.

How long is the battery life on the AKG K553 MKII headphones?

The AKG K553 MKII headphones do not contain a built-in battery and therefore do not require battery power. They are a passive,

wired set of headphones that simply require an audio source device, such as a phone, computer, mixer, etc. to provide amplification in order to drive the headphones.

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