If anything shows how the standard of wireless headphones has evolved from ape to man in recent years, it’s the AKG Y50BTs. These booming beauties are proof that you don’t have to pay a pretty penny for great wireless sound and are easily good enough to pass for a solid wired performance.
Essentially they’re carbon copies of their wired cousins, the AKG Y50s, meaning ‘AKG’ is still boldly brandished across the cups. While more subdued than, say, the white-on-red or black-on-yellow finishes of the Y50s, this branding won’t be up everyone’s street. What will be are the dapper blue, black and silver finishes, though. Gorgeous.
The Y50BTs simply carry a bit more holiday weight (the ear cups are a few millimeters thicker), and have buttons for volume, play/pause and power/pairing nestled into the right ear cup. The intuitive layout doesn’t require the permanent carrying of a pocket mirror; you’ll soon be reaching for the right button without hesitation.
They’re no slouch in the sound department. With none of the horrid hiss and whine, crack and pop that’s often a glitch of Bluetooth headphones, they’re clear as a bell, serving up truckloads of detail, and a much cleaner, refined and agile listen than past faves, the Philips M2BT.
They walk through Belle & Sebastian’s Nobody’s Empire with a skip in their step. There’s space and openness to keyboards, with melodious guitars and tuneful vocals never fighting for room. It shows its musical hand and knack for rhythms as we switch to Macklemore & Lewis’ Can’t Hold Us while timing is punctual, even when we try to trip it up with Radiohead’s Paranoid Android.
A full charge (using the microUSB charging cable included promises 20 hours of juice, although a flat battery doesn’t mean game over. The included headphone cable lets you carry on listening passively, which is a slightly more refined experience, if not quite as powerful.
Stuff says: ★★★★★
Proof that good wireless sound doesn’t have to cost the earth