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AKG K60 Vintage Headphone Review

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 122 93.1%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 5 3.8%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 4 3.1%

  • Total voters
    131
HD414 from the same time period. These were quite comfortable though. (target = horizontal line)
Thanks! Is that recent or of the period? Spot on re comfort, and I loved the ‘hear through’ ability.

I confess that back in the day I was rarely persuaded by measured headphone responses because the results seemed very unpredictable, and ear coupling was so varied. I had the benefit (!) of selling Hifi (on Saturdays only) during the mid 1970s onwards and all the phones were completely different to each other. Customer decisions were widely varied, and much less consensus was evident than on speakers.
 
Considering how there was not much in terms of measurement equipment available during the development of this headphone, they're actually surprisingly close.

(They're not close *at all*, but imagine having to come up with a speaker design for headphones without being able to use an ear simulator during development..)
I dunno .... AKG stated they carefully measured the characteristics of human hearing when coupled to headphones:
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Judging from the results the measurements they did were either crap or this was the max. they could make at that time.
Of course the fixtures that exist these days weren't around back then. AKG did claim the K60 was based on science.
In those days it probably may have sounded just fine, certainly compared to some other models.
 
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Yes, they were awful, weren’t they? Headcrushers, I used to call them! I’d like to see the brilliant original Sennheiser HD414 alongside the AKG as I’m pretty sure I got mine in about 1971.
I have a set of original white-ish colour HD414 originals with recent new foam pads - 'NS10 balance for the ears' they are :D Wonderful for often muffled TV dialogue I find and I wouldn't part with them, but a bit hard and shrill for music these days.
 
Weren't the extremely heavy but popular Koss Pro 4AA 'phones from this period similar in mid to upper balance (maybe there was more low bass in this latter though)?
I have an old pair of those Koss, in a box somewhere. ((damaged cord and plug)):facepalm:

From my memory, they were very heavy, but sound wise, fairly decent and has some good deep bass. Not perfection but I "remember" them sounding fairly full range and not bad for sure...??
 
Hi everybody and thanks for the very interesting work that Amir and others are doing!

Are you sure these things aren't defective? Yes, it was the 70s, but I find it hard to believe that they released something *this* atrocious intentionally...

It would be interesting to find another pair, but it's possible they have aged in the same way...

Stephan
 
What's the chance that this 50+ year old example doesn't represent the performance of the model when relatively new?
Pretty high I suppose. Suspensions in loudspeaker drivers can harden or break ==> loss of functionality or no bass

There are probably a million other things that could go wrong as well. I would also guess they couldn't have been *this* bad. But who knows :)

EDIT: On second thoughts, though... I was about to mention the Beyerdynamic DT-48 that Tyll once reviewed and how it didn't measure this terribly (older design but younger specimen):

Innerfidelity DT-48 review

But then it dawned on me that Tyll's measurement has a much wider scale on the Y axis while Amir's is fairly "zoomed in". Maybe the AKG isn't *that* terrible for its time...
 
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Pretty high I suppose. Suspensions in loudspeaker drivers can harden or break ==> loss of functionality or no bass

There are probably a million other things that could go wrong as well. I would also guess they couldn't have been *this* bad. But who knows :)

EDIT: On second thoughts, though... I was about to mention the Beyerdynamic DT-48 that Tyll once reviewed and how it didn't measure this terribly (older design but younger specimen):

Innerfidelity DT-48 review

But then it dawned on me that Tyll's measurement has a much wider scale on the Y axis while Amir's is fairly "zoomed in". Maybe the AKG isn't *that* terrible for its time...


I wondered that also.
From my memory, as a kid/teen back in the 70s, just about all headphones I owned or at least tried, (( DECENT STUFF, not junk or cheap K-mart brands))all had relatively good bass. Not saying it applies to this specific model, as I never heard it, but from the measurements alone it seems most headphone of vintage era especially seem VERY bass light and very lacking in bass......

But back in the day, we all would remark about how amazing it was a small headphones (not cheap junk brands) could EASILY equal decent speakers bass wise???

I remember listening to "Speak to me" with that bass heartbeat sound on Dark side of the moon, and several headphones easily equaled normal speakers or bested them with that Deep bass sound....so not sure what is up ??
 
Thanks for the review, always interesting and informative. No point voting. Another addition to the body of actual evidence :)
 
Perhaps because these specimens were ~50 years old, even if new old stock, the drivers might not have been performing to spec. Just something to keep in mind.
 
In those years I had a pair of Koss K6LC, plasticky and heavy. The possibility to play a little louder without complaints from the neighbor on the floor below was welcome. And the headphones were in comparison to an old set of ADC speakers, 300 ohm flat antenna cable for the speaker’s wire (don’t ask) and a Dynaco PAS-3x/Stereo 35 pre and power amp. A good Empire 308/Shure V15 III was the source…we made much needed progress in the past 50 yrs! Thank you Amir for an excellent review.
 
Judging from the results the measurements they did were either crap or this was the max. they could make at that time.

If anyone has an AES membership, they can see if the paper shows the original factory measurements.

This was the first setup to use in-ear microphones to measure the output. Clearly, the limiting factor will be how neutral their microphones were.


Edit: Error.
They were also targeting the free field target not the empirical Harman target.
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Comparing @amirm 's photo with a casual image search shows the example under test is in extraordinarily good condition.

It looks really nice. If I were in charge of designing retro-looking phones for today's hipsters, I'd start with this look. A bit more color contrast might be nice and a light-weight coiled cable. And AKG did a swell job photographing it for those old ads.

Does anyone know how well it sold?
 
Does anyone know how well it sold?

This talks about the humanized headphone, which according to vintage ads and AES papers is this K60 (but they wrote D60!). I think it’s their marketing team’s error.

@oratory1990
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Maybe they were trying to reproduce this?
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