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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.

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The headphones are available in a rainbow of shades--from red all the way to fuchsia (seven colors in all)--so you should have no trouble choosing one that appeals to your taste.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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