The AKG K181 is a ‘DJ’ headphone. It is an on-ear with a fair amount of clamping force. Good isolation from sounds around you.
Because of its larger pads pressure is distributed better than the smaller on-ear headphones.
While it is aimed at DJ work it really is more a ‘hifi headphone’ in the lower price range (around $ 150.-) than one I would recommend for DJ-work.
You would want a more sturdy headphone for that application with somewhat less treble energy so you can play it louder.
It does have a higher power rating (3.5W) associated with DJ headphones, this way you can leave it around your neck and use it as ‘neckband speakers’ without blowing it up.
This headphone has slide switches on it, one is mono stereo but there is another slider called ‘Club’ and can be set to Small and Large, instead they should have named it ‘Flat’ and ‘Bass-boost’ because that’s what it does.
On the ‘small’ setting the headphone is surprisingly hifi-ish with a good tonal balance. On the ‘large’ setting it sounds boomy and bassy.
I would keep it on ‘small’ but with some (pop music) recordings that 6dB bass boost makes that music sound fuller without bloating the sound.
Below the measured frequency response in ‘small’ setting.
The CSD (Waterfall) plot of the K181 in ‘small’ setting shows some slight ringing from 3.5kHz and up but doesn’t seem to mess up the sound that much. It isn’t completely ‘refined’ sounding but all the ‘components’ in the sound are present in a pleasant way.
The ‘large’ setting boosts the bass and subbass. The increase between 100Hz and 200Hz is a bit too much though for hifi listening and makes the bass bloated and fat on well made recordings. It does have an appealing ‘warming’ of the sound of recordings that show very little bass.
red = small, purple = large
In short a good (tonally balanced) sounding AKG headphone that is easy for travel but not the most comfortable one to use, certainly for longer listening sessions.