The AKG Q460 are based on the AKG K450 and are very similar aside from the addition of that Quincy Jones name and the secondary iPhone-compatible remote control cable. However, what comes out of these headphones is not very Quincy Jones-like.
Perhaps we’re feeding off our own Quincy preconceptions a little too much, but the Q460 are surprisingly forward and aggressive. They’re not at all laid-back, with a mid-range that feels so close to your ears that it might start pouring out through the speaker grille like primordial ooze. A side-effect of this approach is that the sound stage of these headphones is not particularly wide.
Next to the capable Fanny Wang On Ear Wangs, the scale of the AKG Q460 feels small. Consequently separation between instruments, voices, sound effects – whatever you’re listening to – is not particularly evident. This doesn’t mean the headphones are flat-out bad by any means, but if you’re after an airy, laid-back sound like the high-end AKG Q701, you’re jonesing for the wrong set.
They are also not particularly natural-sounding. With a powerful mid-range held aloft like a battering ram, the AKG Q460 are sonic invaders. Not very Quincy Jones, we’d argue.
If this all sounds rather negative, then hold on. The AKG Q460 do have a very rich, powerful and deep bass response that can be exhilarating when given the right source material. And while the frequency response here is anything but flat, there’s a bullish charm to their sound once you begin to get used to their very forward sound. Oh, and they’re a darn sight better than the Monster Beats Solo, the on-ear iteration of the Dre-endorsed Beats series.
The AKG Q460 belong to a seemingly growing fraternity of on-ear headphones selling at a premium price, and several have a similar sound signature. Greater refinement is available at the same price, but you’re unlikely to get the same combo of durability and portability.
However, one outlier that kicks these into touch is the AKG K450. Why? Because they’re available from several places from as little as £50 – around half of what these earphones sell for. Even with the additional hands-free and remote housing in-tow, it seems a lot to pay for that Quincy name.
As un-Quincy as they are, the AKG Q460 are more than capable of doing battle with their popular rivals the Monster Beats Solo. Their sound is brash and aggressive, but powerful too with exciting, rich bass. However, when their design “inspiration”, the AKG K450 can be found for about half the price they’re difficult to recommend for price-conscious buyers.