Type: In-ear earphones
Specs: Click here for full specs
Price: £59.99 direct from AKG
When it comes to pop music royalty, names don’t come much bigger than that of Quincy Jones. From humble beginnings as a travelling jazz musician to the stratospheric success he garnered working with the late Michael Jackson, there are few more respected producers in modern music than Mr Jones. He’s recently put his name to a new AKG audio line, and we’ve got our hands on a pair of Q350 in-ear earphones. Do they live up to their namesake’s legendary reputation?
At a penny shy of £60, you can happily place the Q350s in the middle-range price bracket for in-ear buds. It’s nice then to see a level detail in their design that would easily serve products twice the price. White with lime-green detailing and cabling, the Q350s look rather eye-catching. They’re also very comfortable too, with the buds themselves weighing just 3 grams. As a result, once you’ve slipped on the correct set of three different sized tips to match your ears, you can happily wear the Q350s for many an hour without even noticing they’re there.
At the extreme end of the 1 metre green cabling you’ll find a standard 3.5mm jack. Around 10cm from the right ear bud you’ll find a 3 button in-line remote control for volume and pause/play functions, compatible with the majority of Apple iPod, iPhone and iPad models. To be honest, it’s pretty ridiculously placed; far too high to be able to see which button you’re pressing, you’ll have to feel around for the raised control symbols to figure out which button you want to press, or take the right bud out entirely and have a look. A little further down the cable and this problem could easily have been averted.
Though we’ve had no problems with the actual cable itself so far, we’re a little concerned to see that the cabling remains in two stuck-together leads beyond the main split halfway up. We’d hate to see the join between the two wires come loose, so you’d best take good care of the earphones when in transit. Thankfully, AKG supply a little carry case in the box for free, meaning you’ve only got yourself to blame if you cant keep them in good nick.
Moving on to sound quality and the Q350s deliver a crisp, clear experience. Specs wise, you’re looking at an Impedence of 16ohms, sensitivity of 121 dB spl and a max input power of 20mW. Though initially a little harsh, a few hours of warming up the buds saw them deliver a solid audio experience from the top and middle ranges, with good detail throughout.
We listened to a range of music with the Q350s and found that classical styles fared best, as the buds themselves were not really up to bass-intensive tracks. Popping on the dance-like “Swim” album from Caribou and girl-fronted gothic-indie from Warpaint’s “The Fool” album, we struggled to hear any real definition from bass frequencies, which struggled to make themselves heard over the dominant high frequencies. A little bit of EQ twiddling improved this slightly, but its worth noting that you wont get much bass kick if you’re using the Q350s with a device that doesn’t let you tinker with equaliser settings.
Though comfortable and stylish, the Q350s feel like a missed opportunity. The placement of the in-line remote is frankly bizarre, making it a chore to use rather than useful. And while the sound quality is likely clear and detailed enough for most musical tastes, the distinct lack of bass left them feeling more than a little cold. Not quite as thrilling then as you’d expect from a product bearing the “Thriller” maestro’s name.