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- Excellent sound
- Tight and accurate bass
- Cable is a bit too short
- A bit bright in the highs
- Does not support iPhone phone features (lack of mic or remote)
The Bottom Line
Apple made its users stick out with white ear buds and AKG wants you now to stand out from the Apple crowd with its Wasp. The black and gold (Pittsburgh Steelers terms here) does make the statement that these earbuds are different and once in your ear, you too will hear that difference. While somewhat of an investment for “mere earbuds”, it’s an AKG investment that will not disappoint once shoved into your ears.
For our second review of AKG product, we chose the Wasp version of the K 330s to take for a spin on our iPhone and Mac Pro. AKG is a name well known for its grand sound and work with professional artists so it would be interesting to see what it could do for a challenging format such as in-ear headphones for under $100. At first, I was really surprised by what I heard. Were my ears deceiving me?
What I didn’t realize is that the K 330s are much like a Porsche 911 GT2. It’s hot looking, sleek, has defined lines, likes to be pushed to the max, manufactured where Brötchen is had for breakfast, and it must be burned in before you really get to take her out. At first, the K 330s didn’t sound any better than the standard iPhone ear buds. In fact, I think they were worse. I was told to warm them up with some long play time and after eight hours of that, I gave them another go. Wow, what a difference! THIS is what I expected from AKG.
AKG impressed to me that it is proud of how it pulls off bass in these little itty-bitty earbuds. Bass is tight and rich but not the boom-boom you’d expect from Snoop to produce. AKG took the smart path with a bass that is not trying to give that 808 kick into your ear with dinky drivers as this would just ruin the listening experience. While you won’t get the full effect of Snoop’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot” you will be able to get “Into the Groove” with Madonna without any doubt. Fading into “Celebration” by queen of pop and it really exposes the strengths of the K 330s with excellent highs, maybe a bit too bright, dynamic mids – not at all muddy, and just really tight bass. Sure, you really want to pump the bass up more. The spoiled bass brat in you pushes your sense to want it, but if you resist that brat, you’ll enjoy the music instead of dreading the sloppiness of other ear buds that try to satisfy that never thankful brat.
Listening to a more rounded artist, such as Nathan Clark George, exposes the professional ties of AKG. Again, you’re not going to be floored by the bass, but you will be floored by the overall sound. It is just so rich and flavorful. It’s like a cup of hot coco with marshmallows lying under a bed of fresh whip cream being enjoyed in front of a cozy fire. That’s the K 330s while listening to “Whatever it Takes” by George.
Moving into the realm of R.E.M. brings out those bright highs. You’ll find yourself making adjustments to get it just right. The album “Eponymous” was mastered with a lot of highs making it a bit difficult to find that sweet spot as I never really could with “The One I Love”. “Finest Worksong”, however, worked just, um, fine. In fact, the closing bass line is AMAZING! It’s as if you’re sitting right next to Mike Mills. Again, tight, rich, accurate bass and “Finest Worksong” is an excellent example of how AKG knows its roots.
Aside from the highs being a bit too bright, the only other issue I have with the K 330s is it’s the display of “iPhone compatible”. While it is in fact compatible with the iPhone, true to text, it does give the sense that you can do iPhone functions such as talk on the phone and navigate your iPod tunes with a remote like the ear buds that come with the iPhone. No, that’s not the case here and in AKGs defense, that’s not what its stating. The compatible stamp just brings out the iPhone brat in me wanting that extra bit of support. Really, AKG, where is it?
Platform: Any audio equipment with mini audio jack
Website: Product Webpage