AKG K451 review

Product of the Year, Awards 2013. Now even better value Tested at £130

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Product of the Year, Awards 2013. Not only do they look good, they’re excellent sonically, too


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    Crisp vocals

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    Fun, authoritative sound

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    Great design


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    Nothing at this price

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AKG has managed to do what Hollywood repeatedly fails at: making a decent sequel.

It already had a winner on its hands with the K450s, a 2011 Product of the Year, and now it’s done it again with the AKG K451 - which has won a Product of the Year accolade for two years in succession. This year they're even cheaper than last year, at just £50, so it's no surprise they hold on to their crown.

Video review

Design and build

They tick all the boxes a pair of headphones designed for portables should. The earpieces are slim, sturdy and adjustable, and of a hefty construction, while the soft earcups twist and fold inwards making the K 451s compact and easy to carry in your bag (a carry case is also supplied).

Smartphone users will rejoice at the inclusion of an additional cable that has volume controls and an in-line mic.

We took the K451s for a stroll around town. Their lightweight build is comfortable, while a snug fit around your ears and head ensures they stay put.

MORE: See all our 2013 Award winners

Sound quality

The K451s are, musically, simply exceptional. They’re forgiving with lower-bitrate material, too.

Play a ripped-from-CD Where is Everybody? by Nine Inch Nails and the thumping beats and distorted basslines are delivered with plenty of bite, and the K451s do a great job of separating all the parts.

They go loud easily too, with that innate weight and authority keeping the synths in check.

The K451s’ deftness with vocals is best illustrated with the likes of the highly amusing BBC Radio 4 series Cabin Pressure – all the important nuances are conveyed with clarity and crisp detail.


Their agility and timing makes the K451s an enthusiastic-sounding pair of headphones, and every bit the successful update to our previous Award winners, the K450s.

That character, combined with their excellent build and compact size, makes them a must-audition pair of cans. And now they're even more affordable.

MORE: Best over-ear headphones 2014

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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