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Eight Earphones to Sweeten Your Listening Pleasure

On The Graph And To The Ear

We tested the phones using our artificial ear, which the K26P fit perfectly.

The K26P has especially extended response - virtually the widest of any of the models we tested. But it clearly has its own approach to balance within the range it covers, in that the bass and low midrange were stronger than the rest of the spectrum.

The impedance is standard for this type of earphone, so it can be used with any audio player with no problem.

The K26P exerts fairly strong pressure on the ear, which ensures that the phones stay in place, but "warms" your ears... This can become rather unpleasant after a while, and it's too bad that there's no pressure adjustment.

Listening to the phones immediately confirmed that the lower end of the spectrum is emphasized a little. Some people will welcome that, but the balance had the effect of masking the rest of the spectrum, making it seem a little dim. That's obviously a matter of taste, but if you correct the balance - mostly by attenuating the low midrange, which is simple to do - you'll find that the reproduction is very linear and with no major faults; there's no aggressiveness, and no detectable coloration. The bass response extended well down, with good definition, but lacked a little airiness, as is the case with many compact headphones. The K26P can put out very high volume levels without distortion, even when used with a portable player.

The K26P is clearly a serious contender, just as we'd expect from AKG, and deserves a listen. Only its bass-weighted balance and too-tight fit keep us from ranking it among our favorites.