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AKG K 702 Headphones


Pros: Spacious sound stage; realistic vocals; high level of detail; lightweight and comfortable for long sessions;

Cons: Can be a little on the cold side

I've owned these for the best part of a month now and have done some extensive listening with them both in extended listening sessions of several albums and of comparative listening sessions with with my HD650. I feel I am ready to comment on the qualities of these phones.


I had always intended to put these and the HD650 against each other and sell one, as I had thought it would be an indulgence to keep two expensive open circumaural home-listening phones. The problem I have found (and it's a good problem to have) is that the are fantastic companions. Any type of music the HD650 does not do so well with, the K702 shines with and where the K702 seems a bit too formal and cold, the HD650s warmth is a perfect tonic. I'm keeping both.


Formality is really the term I would use to describe these phones. They are polite, analytical and are certainly revealing of a track, with details not just presented but presented with a crispness and accuracy that is a joy to hear. Don't bother listening with anything but high quality encodings though, as it will show up the wrong kind of detail just as clearly.


The AKG K702 have less bass than most of my other phones, but still presents more low end than, say my Phonak PFE or MS2i with bowls rather than flats. The bass is of an exceptional quality, impact and speed. The mid range is beautiful and airy, especially where it comes to female vocals which sound sometimes unnervingly real and the treble is crisp, if a little cold.


The real star of the show when it comes to the K702 package is the sound stage. I was worried I would be put off by its size as many complain of it being unrealistic. Well, it's really not that big, but it does offer the space you need to really delve into a song, picking up on this and that instrument and then mentally stepping back to hear the whole track as one.


It's sound stage and level of detail really make these phones perfectly suited for my classical music and my jazz and my electronica and works very well with layered rock/alternative music such as Radiohead, Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, Frank Zappa, the last two Joanna Newsom albums and that sort of thing. That isn't to say it doesn't do a great job of presenting rock, pop, reggea and simpler folk as well as it is certainly pleasant, but for these warmer and simpler types of music I find myself switching to the funner HD650 with its more intimate sound stage.


Comfort with the K702, for me, is a major plus. I understand a lot of people have big problems with the bumps on the bottom of the headband. Pressing them with my fingers I can feel they aren't comfortable, but I have plenty of hair and do not really feel them. The 3D form cut velour pads seem to have been designed for the shape of my skull and compared to the HD650 the lack of clamp is quite a relaxing experience. I can wear these for hours on end and often forget I am wearing them. 


If the AKG K702 were my only headphones, I might find their genre range a bit limiting, I might find myself wanting a bit more bass with my reggae and hiphop and a more intimate sound stage with my rock and folk. But as a part of a varied collection with the HD650 and MS2i as the other two main home phones I find I have a great set of options to cater for every mood and genre.


The AKG K702 has filled in some gaps for me; has given me a classical and jazz listening option that can seriously compete with speakers, a natural home for aphex twin and a sound stage that brings the best out of some of my more complex rock music as well. Add to this it's almost unnervingly realistic reproduction of female vocals and it really does justify its price.


Pros: Dead neutral, detailed and revealing (though oddly enough, not on the same level as the much warmer HD-650s), extremely comfortable (for me anyhow)

Cons: Not "fun" to listen to. Cold, analytical and soulless poorly amped, hardly inviting even out of my best gear. Cheap plastic on band breaks easily.

And yet, of every headphone I've ever owned, heard, lived with, worked with...you name it at a sane price range, these are the ones that time and time and again I come back to when I'm testing out new gear.  That should basically say it all.  When I want to know what, on average, a new DAC or amp (especially a new amp) is worth, these are the first cans I run through them.  Because if it can do these justice, it's looking good for pretty much every other hard-to-drive can in my inventory (and there are a few).  I also use these pretty much exclusively for tracking and mobile editing. 


And as much as I want to malign their lack of apparent musicality, I nevertheless end up using them for my own personal listening pleasure more often then I'd like to admit (which may just have something to do with my being used to how they sound, but we'll leave that aside for the moment).  I'm the kind of person who likes neutrality, detail retrieval and subtlety.  Given that I lack a solid tube HPA at the moment, it may well be there that there is warmth and musicality lurking in these yet, but given that, on average, my choice for high-end listening is usually between these and HD-650s, I usually end up choosing these because at the end of the day I feel like I'm being hoodwinked, bamboozled by the Senns.  So many of the tracks I know and love I've heard as studio masters running through studio monitors.  I know what they were, for all intents and purposes "supposed" to sound like.  And, with that context, they never sound the way they "should" for me quite like they do with K702s.  For 200 bucks street, all other qualms aside, that's a mighty huge achievement. 


Pros: Comfort, build, sound.

Cons: Nothing that I can think of.

So I have essentially re-p[purchased a pair of K702s, in as much as I previously owned and sold a pair of K701s


I had got rid of the K701s because I just wasn't using them much, due to the fact that I'm basically bald and found the bumps on the underside of the headband quite uncomfortable.


I came back to these after a very disappointing experience with a pair of Beyerdynamic T90s - I know some folks love them, but they did absolutely nothing for me.


With the smooth, non-bumpy headband and removable cable, the K702 is pretty much my perfect set of 'phones.


I really rate the build quality and design and find them supremely comfortable now the headband bumps are gone, and they look much better in black.


For me, the sound is the perfect balance of lightness of touch and detail through the treble, while having enough 'body' to the mid-range to make the most of any vocal performance. The bass has enough punch to be convincing, but never overblown.  Overall I would call them a very neutral headphone, erring towards the slightly analytical rather than lush sounding.


I know many have said they need an extended burn-in period, but I found they sounded great right out of the box, so if they continue to improve, I will be in for even more of a treat.


I have found them to be a particularly fine match for another recent purchase, a CEntrance DACport. This fine little class-A USB DAC/Amp has been around since 2010 but is now available for just over half it's original price, which frankly makes it a total steal.  The class-A smoothness of the DACport perhaps works at the perfect balance for cool neutrality of the AKGs.


Finally I must just comment of cost and VFM.


The K702s can be found brand new from Amazon for £159 ($250) and I picked up a perfect Amazon Warehouse pair for £130 ($200). Frankly this is an amazing value considering either their original price or any of the significant alternatives.


So to sum up, great sounding, comfortable, well made and fantastic VFM.  I'm delighted to be back in the AKG fold again and intend to hang on to these until they, or I fall apart.


Pros: Weight, Comfort, Soundstage

Cons: Tone, Fatiguing

I used this out of a USB Pico DAC -> Dynalo (Sheer Audio HA-006+) -> K702 using well ripped FLAC files


I really thought this was going to be better, but I really just do not like these headphones much at all. Probably my biggest complaint is the airyness and tone of the vocals. I also have a pair of Grado HF2 and the HF2 just absolutely completely super duper destroys the K702 in tonality, especially the vocals.


It's also very fatiguing for my ears for some reason, even at quiet-medium listening levels. I've read this is because it has a high frequency spike or something. Oh well. I learned a valuable lesson with these K702, the best and only way to know if a headphone sounds good to you, is to listen to it yourself.


addendum: I suppose this could've been good for me had I a different amp or source or whatever. A Pico DAC -> Dynalo setup is a pretty standard and good setup. To me, a standard dynamic headphone like the K702 is, that doesn't sound good on my setup, is not a headphone worth paying for.


Airy soundstage, sparkling detail, and a slightly cool presentation, with accurate and detailed bass response, lighter bass than others I've owned but not bass-light.  Paired with my WA6se, Sovtek rectifier (to fill out the bottom end) and Sylavania 6DE7, they sounded wonderful.


Pros: really clear, good soundstage, comfortable

Cons: hard to drive

I like the AKG k702, they are pleasant to listen to, do a good job of positioning, very airy and open.  Sound is very balanced for the most part, but could use a little more bass (might also be my amp, I don't think my littledot has enough power for these or the hd800s)


I like them 99.7% as much as my HD800s (out of this source) if that gives you any hint!


Pros: excellent value; wide soundstage; great rendering of acoustic instruments

Cons: lacks bass impact; shouty upper midrange; headband bumps are uncomfortable for some

Just trying to pull the average up.

can't believe someone would give reference headphones of this quality a 1.5 star rating overall.

but, that, i suppose is the love/hate nature of the k701/k702.


personally, i feel they are wonderful headphones.  and, at $260 street price at time of this posting, you'd be hard pressed to find a better sounding pair for the money.


they are a little light in bass impact, and a little strong in the upper mid (female vocal range).  harmony vocals can get a little shouty sometimes. 


but, what they do well is render acoustic instruments with startling realism, and produce a spacious sound that is perfect for listening to concert hall recordings. 


ideal headphones for unplugged recordings, or live jazz, or classical, etc.


not ideal for hard rock, electronica, etc.


Pros: Very detail oriented

Cons: headband not so comfy past 30 min.

I loved them while I had them, recabled them with DHC Nucleotide cable and liked them even more. There is a but, I was not able to pony up the cash to power them properly so I had to let them go. I thought I could make them work with the rig i had (uDAC->Indeed hyrbid) but it ended up just frustrating me. They were awesome with female vocals and any acoustic recordings! Every once and a while I get phantom memories of those mids and cry a bit inside because they are gone...  Someday I'll own them again!    


Pros: Detailed sound and huge soundstage

Cons: Bumps on headband kinda hurt, needs proper amping.

Beautiful detailed and analytical sound provide a well balanced and easy listening experience. This, coupled with a huge soundstage, put these headphones at the top of my list. 


Pros: Open-back design allows excess frequencies bleed out

Cons: Bass inaccurate when compared to other reference speakers

Background information:


I am a hobbyist, part-time geek, audio enthusiast who likes high fidelity gear (or just whatever I can afford on the day). You'll find me messing around in Sonar Platinum, EWQL Virtual instruments and other wonderful music production programs. 


For reference music: I regard Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Mike Oldfield, Brian Eno and other progressive rock as a benchmark point. Also some classical recordings are a good way to evaluate the sound quality of some headphone products. Neutraility suits me best as I can always add and subtract sounds with an equaliser. CD Audio, DVD Audio and FLAC are my go to formats for music or at least MP3 320K.



Equipment used:


Self-built PC using EMU 1212M soundcard

Samson C-Que 8 4-port stereo headphone amplifier

AKG K702 (None Anniversary edition)



About the headphones


These use large semi-open head-cups which will mean they are not ideal to use around recording microphones or public transport. The claimed frequency range of each driver claims to be 10Hz-38.9Khz. Which means they nearly fit the Nyquist ideal of double the frequency for things to be heard properly. The K812 Pro have a reading of up to 44.1Khz due to their larger drivers and 1.5 times factor of the Tesla magnets.


The impedance of these K702 headphones at 1Khz are 62 Ohms, a sensitivity of 105dB SPL/V with a maximum power of 200mW input. Despite all of these relatively low figures it does mean they do need a lot of amplification to get the best out of them.  Once these are properly amplified they will come to life, so a run of the mill Digital Audio Player or generic smartphone headphone amplifier won't cut it really and they will sound thin.


So who are these headphones for, audiophiles, studio engineers or your older parents with failing hearing?


Audiophiles will argue they lack low-end and accuracy in the treble whereas a studio engineer will argue they offer a neutral reference for between takes however not for critical mix decisions. I don't think any headphone can offer that as a solution really.


Playing well recorded masters will reveal a great amount of detail and soon you'll find yourself hearing things you never noticed before, like amplifier noises or coughs. The soundstage is pretty detailed and the louder you turn them up more harmonic content becomes present.  Adding a touch of low-end with an equaliser of say around 3dB should be enough make them good enough for most music when needed. This is a weak point addressed in the K812 and K712 Pro which should give a more rounded sound rather than a bloated overpowering emphasis on the music.


Evanescence: My Immortal really comes to life (ba-doom-tish!), revealing much more of the stings and piano resonance not that obvious when listening on cheap headphones. 


Pink Floyd: The Division Bell (24/96Khz FLAC) playing through 24/96 ASIO driver sounds pretty flawless where you can almost hear the strings of the guitars being strummed or maybe I'm just hearing it with far more clarity. Reverbs and room impulses seem to be more apparent.



The only dislikes I do have are the headband can be uncomfortable after an hour of so, how they reveal of the mistakes of your favourite recordings (not really a dislike as such) and the fact I paid more for mine and soon after AKG reduced the cost. 


Overall I would recommend these to people looking for accuracy for a good price.

AKG K 702 Headphones

The K 702 are the new reference for open-back dynamic AKG headphones. They combine an extremely accurate response with agility and spaciousness. This is achieved by using revolutionary flat-wire voice coils and a patented Varimotion? two-layer diaphragm. A totally open design and a high performance cable complete these reference headphones. Their comfortable, specially shaped ?3D-form? ear pads and a padded genuine-leather headband ensure a perfect fit. They are individually tested and numbered. K 702 ? experience pure perfection.

FeatureConnector gold plated stereo jack plug 6.3 mm (1/4"). Includes 1/4" to 1/8" adaptor.
Height5 inches
Length19 inches
Weight2 pounds
Width16 inches
List Price$539.00
Package Quantity1
Product GroupCE
Product Type NameHEADPHONES
TitleAKG K702 Open Back Headphones
Is Autographed0
Is Memorabilia0
Special FeaturesThe K 702 are the new reference for open-back dynamic AKG headphones. They combine an extremely accurate response with yet unseen agility and spaciousness. This is achieved by using revolutionary flat-wire voice coils and a patented Varimotion two-layer diaphragm. A totally open design and a high performance cable complete these reference headphones. Their comfortable, specially shaped '3D-form' ear pads and a padded genuine-leather headband ensure a perfect fit. They are individually tested and
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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