Review: AKG K167 Tiesto DJ Headphones
The bigger brother to the K67s that we reviewed a short while back, the AKG K167 Tiesto DJ headphones sit in the middle of the Tiesto AKG range, with the K267s the most expensive option above them. They’re basically an over-ear rather than an on-ear version of the K67s. But how does this lightweight, plastic-led design work in an over-ear headphone? Let’s find out…
They look good (understated design, with only the subtle Tiesto logo giving the endorsement away), and due to a predominantly plastic build, are also lightweight, although the rather heavy coiled cable does add to the overall weight. The earcups are rimmed in silver, metal-effect plastic which along with some quite nice printing on the sides of the headband mean the K167s manage to avoid looking cheap.
They copy the overall styling of the K67s, also featuring the quite striking single-point-of-contact headband-to-earcup design, but unlike the K67s, these have large, over-ear ear cups, which contain 40mm drivers. In the box are the headphones themselves, plus an adaptor for 1/4″ to 1/8″ jack switching, but there’s no carrying bag at all – not that the little drawstring slip bags typically provided with headphones at this priced point are really worth having anyway. The K167s fold nice and small into the headband with the earcups sitting one on top of the other.
The padding over the earcups is rather soft and thin, so much so that my ears actually touched the internal material. It’s not uncomfortable, but some may want thicker, more substantial padding. The budget build shows in a couple of other areas: the padding is not leather anywhere on these phones, and the coiled cable is fixed.
Firstly, they feel nice and comfortable, due to their lack of weight and the small amount of pressure applied to the ears. I can imagine wearing these for listening to music for a long time without major discomfort – more than you can say for most DJ headphones. However, they don’t isolate particularly well from the outside, which is not so good especially for using in a loud environment such as your average pro DJ booth.
The earcups turn 90 degrees forward, but not horizontally, so when the headphones are hanging around your neck, they don’t naturally “flip” out of your way as models with that feature do. As the earcups are relatively big this means that in the in-between mixes “phones round neck” wearing position they’re not so comfortable.
The sound quality is detailed but a little thin to my ears. The bass goes deep, but the higher end of the bass is curiously muted, as are the low mids, with the headphones kicking in again at the higher end. Maybe that’s why the padding is thin (to keep them close to your ears); certainly if you apply a little pressure on the ears the bass changes considerably. I may be judging them against other bass-heavy DJ headphones a bit much: I think I’d certainly prefer using these at home than most DJ headphones, but “in the wild”, that lack of punchy bass and mids might not be so welcome.
I can’t comment on the durability of them but, they use a lot of plastic and aren’t exactly small. Only time would tell how well they lasted in the wild, though, so I’ll have to pass judgement on a reliability test.
They’re good looking, reasonably practical, and have a balanced all-round sound, especially if you’re planning on using them at home as well as at gigs. Being more comfortable than most DJ headphones for long-term listening, again they score points for home or home studio. For DJing, the lack of high bass/low mids and only average isolation means that for smaller gigs they’d be fine, but in demanding DJ situations they’re only going to be OK performers. I think a detachable cable would definitely have been better, possibly with a straight cable provided too for use away from the DJ booth. There are several competitors at this price that offer that option, and it feels a little under featured not to see it here.
For me overall in this lightweight plastic design, I actually prefer the cheaper K67s, but if you’re looking for a reasonably priced headphone like the K67 but with the over (rather than on)-ear feature, this is it. If you can afford the extra though – and you buy into the Tiesto styling, of course – the more substantial K267s may be a better bet for you.
Do you own the K167s or another model in the AKG Tiesto range? Pease share your thought in the comments below.