When it comes to gadget design, there's a fine line between dull and over-the-top, and AKG walks it nicely with the K 518 LE headphones. The semiexposed metal headband and pop of color on the earcups give them a bit of style, but not so much that you'd feel overly conspicuous when rocking them in public.
The circular earcups are quite compact, measuring 2.7 inches across, making this model fall squarely into the on-ear category. Like any portable earphone worth its salt, the K 518 folds down for transport and includes a soft travel pouch.
Immediately upon slipping the AKG K 518 LE onto our head, we were greeted with one possible design concern: the headphones are exceptionally tight. After less than an hour of wear, we became bothered by the uncomfortable pressure on the top cartilage of our ears.
Our only other design concern with the K 518 is that the top portion of the Y-cable, which measures 40 inches long, is thin and may not be durable, though we do appreciate the thicker lower half and the reinforced gold-plated straight plug.
The AKG K 518 LE headphones aren't the cleanest-sounding we've heard, but the overall audio quality is very solid for a set in this price range. Other than a few select songs that had a muddy quality to them, we were impressed with the performance across a variety of genres and would have no issue recommending them to listeners with eclectic taste.