AKG K361-BT Review: What is it?
Along with Beyerdynamic and Sennheiser, AKG completes the triumvirate of top-line professional headphone brands that have been ubiquitous in the studio for decades. The K361-BT model is AKG’s standard cable-connected K361 closed-back Bluetooth-equipped version. Studio headphones.. The package also includes the shape of two removable cables, but does the K361-BT have the best of both worlds because it can be used in a cable or wireless guise?
The lightweight, discreet design and squeeze ear pads make it ideal for long listening sessions. All in matt black with a slight light gray accent on the AKG logo on the side. The headband has a large embossed company logo to help turn it around, and the earcups look a bit thicker than the standard version. Probably to accommodate the battery and additional Bluetooth gavin.
The earcups rotate vertically into the headband gap for travel. This makes it a relatively portable option that fits comfortably in your laptop bag, making it even easier to carry around without the need for cables. As a bonus, the rotation mechanism can also easily slide one can for DJ headphone missions if it’s yours.
Straight 1.2m and 3m interchangeable cables connect to the underside of the left earcup with a secure twist lock fitting. Inside the box is a USB charging cable, a screw-in 6.3mm-3.5mm stereo adapter, and a high-quality blue-gray material drawstring pouch engraved with the black AKG logo.
AKG K361-BT Review: Performance and Verdict
(Blue) Speak Tooth
The K361-BT is easy to set up and use, and works right out of the box. The on / off switch was easy to find, Bluetooth pairing with a test computer was intuitive and easy to achieve, and in seconds I was listening to some songs in favor of Apple Music. I liked it being fully charged from the beginning, so I didn’t have to spend time charging it before trying it out. In fact, the battery has been charged for several hours. Subsequent testing.
The transmission range seems decent-while listening, we left the computer playing, passing through the next room into the hallway and climbing stairs with no dropouts or degradation. A convenient touch control is built into the side of the left ear cup. Double-tap to start and stop playing what you’re listening to, swipe up or down to adjust the volume, and swipe back or forth to skip between tracks. These work very well if you remember which action performs which function.There is also a built-in microphone For the benefit of Zoom callers and online gamers.
If you haven’t tried Bluetooth headphones before, you can’t deny its convenience. It’s not cabled, so it’s easy to get up and pull something out across the room without having to take your hands off the can first. However, the trade-off with this is that there is a noticeable difference in sound quality compared to using it with a wired connection, so why is this necessary?
To send audio data over radio waves, the data must be compressed using a codec. The codec determines how Bluetooth sends audio from the source device to the headphones. There are several standards for codec knockout, all with different bitrates, but codecs with higher bitrates generally improve sound quality. If you have a can and use wireless routes, it makes sense to invest in headphones that support high bitrate codecs such as AAC, Sony’s LDAC, and Qualcomm’s aptX.
The K361-BT only supports two Bluetooth codecs, AAC and SBC. AAC is a license-free standard for YouTube and Apple devices, but it doesn’t work particularly well on Android devices and isn’t supported at all on Windows. This leaves SBC (the lowest common denominator codec used as the baseline standard for all Bluetooth devices) as the only option for Windows users. It seems strange to us why the more universally supported, higher quality aptX codec is not included as an option.
In our tests, the 2019 Apple MacBook Pro communicated well with the K361-BT via AAC, but the quality is significantly lower than the sound obtained when used with one of the included cables. I found out. In wireless mode, the sound had a one-dimensional feel to our ears, but not the sound in front, especially the frequency response was seemingly very flat with a few bumps in the center. The first impression was a good stereo image, but the high end details weren’t too much and the bottom end was decent and not overkill. These impedances are only 38 ohms, which is unusual for low impedance designs and seems to improve responsiveness when driven very strongly.
The Achilles tendon of Bluetooth headphones is latency. The delay that occurs when the codec converts the audio into a transmittable format and broadcasts it to the can in the air. This usually makes Bluetooth cans unsuitable for monitoring when programming and recording in real time. DAWAnd our tests proved that the K361-BT is no exception, but there was a significant delay while playing notes on our (wired). MIDI keyboard And the sound that appears in the can.
However, plugging one of the included lock cables into the socket on the underside of the left earpiece not only eliminates delay issues, but also significantly improves sound quality. Eliminating the need for Bluetooth codec compression, the bass is warmer and punchier, generally giving a much more forward sound and improving high-end clarity. However, in cable mode, the Bluetooth feature is effectively disabled, so you lose the touch transport control on the side of your left ear.
When cabled, the K361’s overall sound signature adjusts to the Harman curve. This is theoretically the most pleasing response for the majority of listeners. This is because AKG is owned by Harman Audio. This still sometimes sounds a bit jarring to the ears, and there appear to be noticeable bumps around the 1-2kHz range, and listening at moderate volume for long periods of time was very tiring.
AKG K361-BT Review: Verdict
At this price point, the K361-BT becomes an attractive wireless headphone, perfect for listening to audiobooks while playing wireless games or cleaning the house, but like most Bluetooth, it’s the first to consume or produce music. It is not an option. If you’re ready to overlook the compromise of sound quality, the appeal of wireless listening is a big plus. Therefore, if you are not overly concerned about the quality of non-audio fans of supported Bluetooth codecs and are concerned about convenience, we recommend you to buy these. However, if you’re looking for a pair of cans for sound or music production, you might want to consider a regular cable pair. If you’re a big fan of AKG sound, you might consider a non-Bluetooth version, the K361.
AKG K361-BT Review: Specifications
- Operating principle: Closed dynamic transducer
- Frequency response: 5Hz ~ 28kHz
- Impedance: 32Ω
- weight: 215g (without cable)
- cable: Straight 3m, straight 1.2m removable
- Ear pads: Black vinyl
- contact: AKG (Opens in a new tab)