Thursday, July 5, 2018

AKG N5005 Reference Class Hybrid 5-Way IEM Review

If you're looking for a good pair of headphones, it's easy to turn to generations of experience. AKG has been making high quality headphones for almost 70 years. When they want to bring out the top of the line headphone, they know how to do it right. And that’s just what they have done with the AKG N5005. It is a premium top of the line IEM that satisfies the most demanding consumer.

Features and specs:
System:  Hybrid technology
Driver size:   9.2mm + Quad Balance Armature
Dynamic frequency response range:  10-40kHz
Sensitivity:   116dB SPL/V@1kHz
Impedance:   18 ohm
Bluetooth transmitted power:   0-4dbm
Bluetooth transmitted modulation:   GFSK, π/4 DQPSK, 8DPSK
Bluetooth frequency:   2.402 - 2.480GHz
Bluetooth profiles:   A2DP V1.2, AVRCP V1.4, HFP V1.6, HSP V1.2
Bluetooth version:   V4.1
Battery type:   Lithium-ion
Polymer rechargeable battery:   120mA/3.7V
Charging time:   <2 hours="" span="">
Music playtime with BT on:   8 hours
Talk time with BT on:   8 hours
Weight (g):   11.4g

The AKG N5005 came in a great looking color printed box, with photos and specs of the product. Opening the box revealed quite the presentation! There were two levels to discover. The first provided the IEM ‘s, sound filters, hard zipper case, and serial number badge. The second level showed the additional ear tips, charging cable, and three different cables. All were held in place with custom cut foam. The actual IEM’s were made of a highly polished metal with a black finish on the first half, and a plastic finish on the back. Materials used in the construction was metal and plastic. Quality of materials used, as well as the fit and finish, was excellent! The owner’s manual was also included, as well as a cleaning tool and airline adapter.

When I opened the box, I was blown away by the presentation. Everything had its spot in the custom cut foam. With the filters, you can tailor the sound to your liking, with options for reference, bass boost, mids boost, or high boost. And there is a black polished metal holder for all of the filters that was clearly labeled. The hard zipper case had pockets on both sides to hold all of the accessories. There are six sets of ear tips to give you the best fit. And just so they didn’t leave anything out, there are three sets of cables. You read right…three sets! One is a 2.5 mm cable, one is a 3.5mm cable, and the last is a Bluetooth cable. So you have all of your options covered for any source player, and for either wired or wireless listening. And of course there is also a charging cable.

The design of the AKG N5005 is also spectacular! For low bass, a balanced armature is harder to get the performance as you would from a dynamic driver.  So I have seen many companies use a hybrid design, incorporating a dynamic driver for the lows, and a balanced armature for the mids and highs.  But as with everything else in the design, AKG has taken it to a whole new level! AKG has come up with a 5-way hybrid design which utilizes quad balanced armatures, and a dynamic driver. So there are 2 balanced armatures for the highs, 2 balanced armatures for the mids, and the dynamic driver for the lows. So there are high quality components to provide the best sound, and there’s also the multiple sound filters so you can also customize the sound to your liking. If this aural bliss which the AKG N5005 is poised to deliver is not good enough, AKG also has the looks covered as well. With their exterior black polished metal finish, they will also look like jewelry. Now let’s hear how they sound!

Eric Bibb: Why are People Like That-vocals were silky smooth with very good texture and timbre. Piano was very natural, more so than expected. Bass had very good low end extension and played with a ton of authority. Percussion was really crisp and clean with very good resolution and impact. Harmonica was really dynamic.  Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue- clarinet was incredibly smooth with excellent resolution to hear the woodiness of the reed and tonguing technique. Piano was very natural sounding and extremely well articulated. Brass was extremely dynamic, without appearing brassy. Bassoon had great extension in the midbass and excellent texture. Flute had extremely good air. Imaging was very good, soundstage was big with good depth.  Earth, Wind and Fire: Let’s Groove- vocals were silky smooth like honey, with excellent timbre and pitch definition. Bass was extremely full, deep, clean and hit like a sledge hammer. Percussion was extremely crisp and clean and very dynamic. The claps were also really crisp and dynamic. There were tons of instruments, and they all came through loud and clear. Imaging was spot on, with a big sound stage.  Katy Perry: Dark Horse-vocals were smooth like honey, with excellent resolution of the timbre and texture. Bass was very full, very deep, hit hard and did so with a ton of authority. Claps were also crisp and very dynamic.

When it comes to In Ear Monitor's, AKG didn't just hit it out of the park.  It went past the parking lot as well!  The AKG N5005 provides killer aural candy for your ears, with its 5-way hybrid design, and hardware sound tuning with its custom sound filters for any preference. Add to that the multiple cables to enable use with virtually any source player, including a wireless cable for Bluetooth!  And if that wasn't enough, they have the polished metal finish for a jewelry look.  Excellent build quality, sound, looks, and plethora of accessories, the AKG N5005 is the whole package.  At $999 MSRP, it's a bargain for what you are getting.  No matter your sound preference, AKG has you covered.  based on their design, features, quality, and performance, the AKG N5005 have easily earned our Editor's Choice Award.  For more info and complete specs, check out their website at