back to Logo usat smarthome 3d00d0583dd95af3f7ce8dd6c5b121640f13c9e2513cef3241fb16a5d3f4960d
Tested by experts 06d9a64036647e73500f0390c533b110047acb1d8dfcda07834106364a611f86
headphones
  • Best of Year 2014
  • Editors' Choice

AKG K 323XS Headphones Review

Teeny headphones, massive soundstage

$49.95 at Amazon
8.6 score Tested by Experts
Where to Buy
Amazon $49.95Buy
Advertisement

The AKG K 323XS in-ear headphones (MSRP $59.95) are as portable and sleek as they come. Pop them in and treat yourself: The XS produces huge sound marked with prominent bass, supportive mids, and very healthy highs.

Moreover, these are some of the best passive isolators I've ever tested, and I didn't measure even a speck of audible distortion. High-five, AKG: These things are top-to-bottom winners.

The Outfit

A win for the busy listener

These AKGs are tiny, good-looking, and comfortable enough for most. We tested the white pair, but they also ship in blue, orange, yellow, green—the list goes on. Aesthetics aside, if you're searching for the perfect travel companion, you'll want to give these a close look. In fact, the XS are a friend to commuters and athletes alike.

The form is just perfect for multitasking in general: The Android version packs a one-button universal remote, and there's also a three-button version for iOS. The XS's teeny form factor, featherweight frame, and small carry case are additional on-the-go perks.

Users get four different speaker covers.

The cable is simple, but of decent quality. It's shorter than most cords—just 3.5-feet long—which makes it very manageable for busy listeners. There could be better reinforcements around the jack and earpieces, though, so definitely keep these AKGs wrapped up in their carrying case for safekeeping.

Users get four different speaker covers, too: extra small, small, medium, and large. Take note, Goldilocks.

Advertisement

The Audio

Tester's pet

Basically, the XS in-ears do everything right. Time in the lab revealed a straight-A student: I discovered solid engineering, and just all-around great performance.

Listeners will enjoy big, thumping bass that doesn't obscure subtler instruments like violin.

Thanks to moderate bass notes and very prominent middle and high notes, music sounds both full and balanced. From classical, to jazz, to hip hop, every genre benefits from this even-handed sound quality. Listeners will enjoy big, thumping bass that doesn't obscure subtler instruments like violin and piano.

These tiny in-ears aced distortion tests, too—you won't find one drop of unwanted or distorted sound on the XS. They balance volume properly in the left and right speakers, and the isolation results crushed it. The amount of outside noise that these things block is comparable to some sets of active noise cancelers—very impressive.

Comparable Products

Before you buy the AKG K 323XS, take a look at these other headphones.

The Bottom Line

Premium product, perfect price

The K 323XS really shines, even in a crowded market. It's hard to pick which glowing attribute to praise first: The massive, well-balanced sound stage? The distortion-free listening experience? The $59 price tag? The monster isolation? The tiny, portable design? These AKGs are simply Aces, and online sale prices of around $40 kick everything up another notch.

If you're searching for ultimate durability, removable cables, or piles of flashy extras, you'll want to keep shopping.

Then again, you've got to tip your hat to a soundstage this big and balanced from something this tiny and inexpensive.

News and Features

Logitech headsets

Logitech Targets Audiophiles With New Gaming Headsets

Customization and compatibility abound

Meelectronics m9p 2nd gen hero

Back to School: Picking the Right Headphones

In-ear or over-ear, we've got you covered

Raumfeld hero 1

Raumfeld's Multi-Room Speakers Deliver Top Marks

These WiFi speakers offer impressive sound in an elegant design.

Frank sinatra home recording studio hero 2

Peek Inside Frank Sinatra’s Home Recording Studio

Frank Sinatra used to record right at home on a recording turntable.

Aivvyheadphones

These Smart Headphones Pull Music From the Cloud

Cloud-based headphones that curate your music so you don't have to

Gibson hero

Go on Tour at Gibson's Popular CES Venue

Gibson brings rock star vibe to CES 2015 display.

Singfit hero

SingFit Works the Whole Brain to Aid Dementia Patients

Using songs from their lives, dementia patients can sing to health.

Headphones newhero

Listening to the New Sony MDR-1ABT Headphones

We got our hands, and ears, on Sony's MDR-1ABT headphones.

P1890889

Wireless Gains Momentum in new Sennheiser Headphones

Bluetooth is iffy for headphones, but boy are these comfy.