When comparing AKG K81 DJ vs Bose QuietComfort 20, the Slant community recommends Bose QuietComfort 20 for most people. In the question“What are the best headphones?” Bose QuietComfort 20 is ranked 2nd while AKG K81 DJ is ranked 77th. The most important reason people chose Bose QuietComfort 20 is:
You can disable active noise canceling at a press of a button. Aware Mode can be quickly accessed from the remote, which will disable active noise-cancelling and open up the microphones to allow you to hear your surroundings better. LEDs on the control module will let you know when this mode is turned on.
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Pro Full bass with adequate levels of mids and highs
Despite the compact size. the bass is full, has great impact, deep extension yet is not loose. The low end also has a natural quality to it that makes these headphones great for music that is performed using real instruments.
The mids are slightly recessed, but also have a natural tone. The highs are the most recessed or rolled-off, but the detail and airiness of the music is not totally absent. This quality helps give the sound a smooth and pleasing tonality.
Pro Ear cups can swivel facing outwards
The K81 can be used “DJ style”, wherein only one ear cup is in contact with the head. The cups have a smooth swivel action so they can be rotated to face outwards. A user can choose to hold one ear cup up to his or her ear while flipping switches or turning knobs on the mix board with the other hand.
Pro Easy to travel with
While these are already quite compact, the ear cups can be folded into the headband to reduce their size even further. This makes them easy to stuff inside a bag and travel with.
Pro Comfortable to wear even with extended use
The clamping force is not too much at all, so acceptable levels of pressure will be applied on the ears. Also, the ear pads are thick with ample pleather padding on the surface. This combination provides adequate cushioning between the ear cups and sides of the head.
Pro Can fit a wide range of head sizes
The aluminum headband itself has some good flex. Combined with the sliding mechanism of the ear cups, K81 can be adjusted to fit a wide range of head sizes. Also notable are the numbered steps on each side of the headband, which allow for accurate and consistent ear cup positioning.
Pro Feels high quality
Although it's mostly made of plastic, the materials don't feel cheap at all. Aside from feeling sturdy, the plastics have a smooth rubber coating which makes them feel premium to the touch. Also, the headband is made out of aluminum which is significantly more durable than an all plastic one.
Pro Disable noise-cancelling with "Aware Mode"
You can disable active noise canceling at a press of a button. Aware Mode can be quickly accessed from the remote, which will disable active noise-cancelling and open up the microphones to allow you to hear your surroundings better.
LEDs on the control module will let you know when this mode is turned on.
Pro Best in class noise-cancelling
These headphones are ideal for long flights. In addition to having overall impressive noise-cancelling (-33dB across all frequencies on some tests), these headphones excel when you need to cancel out low frequencies like jet engine sounds (-45dB).
The headphones stay comfortably in your ear. They don't always offer a complete seal but surprisingly, this doesn't affect noise cancellation or reduce comfort. Also included are 3 sizes of eartips to help better fit your ear. Note that these tips have a unique design so you won't be able to use aftermarket tips.
Pro 16-hour battery
These QC20 has a lithium-ion battery that promises to work for 500 charge cycles without diminished returns. After that it will still work, but won't last as long.
Note that the battery is non-replaceable so when it finally does stop working, you will need to buy a new pair of headphones.
Pro Comes bundled with a small pouch
The pouch will make it much easier to bring the headphones and its accessories on the go.
Pro Cord doesn't tangle easily
These headphones have a 2.5 ft cord that's split chest high with a control module near the jack. It does a good job of not getting too tangled.
Con On-ear design can still be uncomfortable
While the ear pads are thick and give a lot of cushioning, some may still find this to be uncomfortable. Being on-ear, some pressure is applied onto the ears.Those who are sensitive to this may still feel some discomfort, especially when worn for several hours straight.
Con Highs may sound too recessed
People who prefer their music with sparkly highs and utmost clarity likely won't find these headphones to be a good listen.
Con Lengthy cable can be a hassle
The cable is 2.5m which is fairly long. Since it is not detachable and the cable tends to tangle quite easily, it may cause some problems with regular home use or when taking these headphones on the go.
Con Average sound
The sound of the in-ear headphones is decent. The highs are a bit withdrawn, but the sound doesn't come off as too muddy.
The suggested retail price for these headphones is $300. And although you can get a pair on Amazon for around $200 it still is a lot to pay for a pair of earbuds.