AKG Y45 BT full review
The AKG Y45 BT headphones are portable and wireless, and so make great headphones for commuters or others who wish to listen to music on the move.
These on-ear Bluetooth headphones are priced at £109.99, but can be found cheaper online. See the bottom of this review for the latest, best prices.
They remind us a lot of our current favourite portable Bluetooth headphones, the Sennheiser MM 400-X, which retail for £180.
And so this review can also be taken as a shoot-out between these two portable Bluetooth headphones. Which comes out as the best portable Bluetooth headphones?
(We also reviewed a fine set of in-ear Bluetooth headphones, the Mpow Petrel Headset, and you can read our Best Headphones round-up too.)
Best portable Bluetooth headphones
First, let’s examine portability.
Both the AKG Y45 and Sennheiser MM 400-X fold down pretty small. The AKG fold up marginally less wide but a little taller, so there’s really not much in it.
Both come with a protective carry case; the AKG case is round and lacks the Sennheiser case’s compartment that will fit a cable (in case the batteries run out) and even an iPod. That said you can stuff the cable in the AKG pouch alongside the headphones.
The 105g Sennheiser headphones are 45g lighter than these AKGs (150g), but again there’s not a huge amount in it.
Both come with a separate, detachable cable for non-Bluetooth listening – if the batteries fade out on you, and also for optimum audio quality when you don’t need to be cable free. Battery life is a little longer on the Sennheiser headphones: 10 compared to 8 hours.
The AKG Y45, just like the Sennheiser, features ear-cup-mounted controls. The right earcup holds Play/Pause/Call Answer/Call End, Volume Up, Volume Down, and Power/Pairing buttons. Plus both boast an integrated microphone so you can switch to answering phone calls without taking the headphones off.
I found the controls to be a bit fiddly and close together at first, and preferred the easier, bigger controls on the Sennheisers. Turning the AKGs off also took some getting used to.
You charge the headphones with the supplied Micro USB cable.
AKG Y45 BT headphones: audio quality
To my ear the audio quality on both the AKG and the more expensive Sennheisers sounded remarkably similar, offering a great sound. If I had to choose one it would be the Sennheisers but it’s a very close call; and you should consider that the AKGs are nearly half the price!
But I also defer to my audio buff colleague Andrew Harrison for his expertly trained ears.
First Andrew tested the AKG Y45 BT with its cable. He found they have a warm balance, and slightly rolled-off upper treble. The mildly muffled effect nonetheless helps soften the grit of MP3 and AAC recordings, in his opinion.
The headphones have a mildly thumping upper bass, boosted to follow the fashion of other street headphones – and so they are not entirely unlike the Beats sound, although not as obvious as with the comparable Philips Fidelio M2BT headphones.
They feature a strong midrange for voices, but not especially ‘open’ in character.
There is limited stereo width even with binaural material. And the bass-forward voicing can colour the sound, making it a little opaque and jumbled in Andrew’s considered judgement.
Overall Andrew thinks that the AKG Y45 favour rock and urban music, but are not so satisfying for classical and jazz.
Tested with Bluetooth there is noticeably increased white-noise hiss, especially when not covered up by any music. Busier music passages can sound dynamically compressed.
To my untrained ear the audio quality was more than acceptable at this price, and give the more expensive Sennheiser headphones a good run for the money.
AKG Y45 BT headphones: design
The headphones are comfortable and stylish, being available in both black and white models. The white model features tan leather earpads and trim.
AKG Y45 BT: Specs
- 17Hz to 20KHz frequency response
- 100mW max input power
- 120dB sensitivity
- Bluetooth 3.0
- smartphone control
- 1.2m cable
- 3.5mm plug
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