Pros: Reference Performance, Well Engineered, Very Comfortable, Unbeatable Value
Cons: Bass Slightly Lacking in Quantity
Me: I am a 21 year old student living in a small town in India. I would like to call myself a music enthusiast, rather than an audiophile. I was inspired by music since childhood, and as the time passed, the passion of music grew in me, and that subsequently led me to join Head-Fi. Eventually, I found the pleasure of listening to music mainly by the HD600 and recently, by the seductive LCD2 headphones, and realized the true components of recorded music. I usually like to listen to Indian Classical Music along with Bollywood songs. My main listening genres include classical, vocal, instrumental, jazz and sometimes pop. With time, my sonic preferences have very much grown. I avidly admire transparency, accuracy along with neutrality, which has led me to review the prestigious K702 headphones.
Intro: AKG Acoustics (Akustische und Kino-Geräte G.m.b.H) is well recognized, established & one of the oldest audio brand specializing in the area of audio & headphones. They are headquartered in Vienna, Austria. The ‘K’ series line is a very popular and long running headphone offering from AKG. They have a specific vision in making their products: Their products should last long and should employ quality engineering for precise and accurate sound reproduction, with state of art cutting edge technology. All the headphones are designed by their engineers in Austria. Few headphones are manufactured in China. The K702 headphones are one of the best headphones AKG has ever produced. These are studio reference headphones. The pair I will reviewing belongs to latest batch & current year manufacturing.
Founded in 1947 by Dr. Rudolf Görike & Ernst Pless. Originally, their main aim was to provide technical equipment for cinemas: loudspeakers, film projectors and light meters. Their business slowly expanded and AKG started selling car horns, door intercoms, carbon capsules for telephones, headsets and cushion speakers. The first AKG microphone was used by radio stations & Theaters. AKG developed its first patents, the moving coil technology and the principle of mass load membranes, allowing its products to have extended frequency ranges. With the creation of the D12 microphone in 1953, AKG achieved international fame, setting the standard for voice transmissions. Being the world's first dynamic cardioid microphone, it possessed excellent sonic qualities for that time, making its way into radio stations and recording studios from across the world. The product was improved through subsequent upgrades, spanning the famous C414 and C12 microphones. In 1994, AKG was acquired by Harman International Industries, and they later setup AKG USA’s headquarters in California.
In 2010, AKG Acoustics received a Grammy Award for the work the company has done in the recording field.
Specifications of K702:
Dimensions / Weight
Let us see what the K702 has got for us,
Packaging and Accessories: The K702’s arrive packed inside a cardboard box. Once the box is flipped open, The K702 is seen resting. Nothing fancy, basic accessories included. But each and every part has a premium quality and feel to it.
List of accessories in the box, which include the following:
Headphone Cable: About 2.5 meters long, terminating in 3.5mm.
¼” Screw on Converter: To plug in the K702 in the 6.5mm headphone jacks.
User Manual: Contains instructions to operate the K702 and other warranty information.
Design and Build: The K702 has a great build quality. The K702 weights just about 235 grams, one of the lightest headphones by weight available. To achieve this, metal parts are very much avoided, and construction is mainly using high quality fibre, which are light but very strong.
AKG headphones use suspended headband technique, which has its own advantage. There will be no need for manual adjusting as per head size. They are auto adjusting, and avoids a lot of hassle. The headband has a foam-pleather base with no bumps, very accurately angled. It is attached to an elastic thread which stretches the headband up and down.
The K702 is a fully open headphone, hence has vents for air intake at either side of headphone. Driver shell rotates about its own axis to fit various types of human skulls.
The whole headphone is supported on by the two parallel outer headband beams, which are flexible. These also carry wiring for opposite driver (right)
Cable has a very good build. It is straight, flexible and does not get tangled. I could not notice the presence of any microphonics. Plug is straight and gold plated. The stock cable does a great job in transferring signals along with great transparency. The cable on headphone has three pins, and is configured for single end termination; balanced mode mode is not supported.
Comfort: K702’s are very comfortable to wear, even for longer sessions. These feel extremely light on head. Clamp force is very pleasant after few hours of break-in from a new headphone out of box.
The earpads are made up of velour, are high quality ones & does feel plastic and do not cause irritations or itching. The Space inside the earpads is also great, good amount of depth and good sense of space. These provide very good ventilation for our ears even in hot tropical climates. These ear pads are very firm in nature, which ensures in consistency of delivery in sonic performance, and also in durability of the pads themselves. The earpads can be removed to clean or replace with a simple anti-clockwise horizontal twist.
One of the most comfortable headphones both by design and by weight.
Sound: The K702 has a very neutral sonic character. ‘Accuracy, Transparency Details’ are the key terms. The presentation here is in such a way that, emphasis is given on mids and highs for optimal listening, while lows take a backseat.
Burn in: These improve a lot with time. Let’s say a playback of 50 hours provides audible improvements, along with softening of earpads and a relaxed clamping force. Bass prior to break-in is slightly more sterile, and eventually it becomes increased in body, Mids will sound more open, the slight peak in upper mids which was present before, eventually flattens out. Highs which more smooth, soundstage opens already excellent, becomes more airy with precise instrument placements.
Lows: are very accurate, tight and refined; but doesn’t has a strong impact. Depth is moderate. Less in quantity comparatively. But the K702 is a reference headphones, focus and precise attention is required on mids & highs.
Mids: Neutral, very detailed & transparent. With a appreciably natural tonality.
Highs: Very are clear, airy & detailed. Very transparent as per the recording.
Soundstage: The K702’s soundstage is very airy, spacious, and fully circular 3D life like soundstage. Imaging is again spatial, with instruments placements very accurately positioned.Component/instruments are clearly and vividly separated and explained in a very detailed manner. According to my observation, these headphones are very neutral, and accurately represent the given recording. Given its transparent nature, I can say the K702’s are not forgiving to poor recordings. Hence these are revealing and resolving.
Special mention here is about K702’s ability to respond.
The membrane of K702’s driver is extremely fast & responsive. It is very quick, delivers sound without any delay, almost like a planar magnetic headphones. No other headphone around this price range can compete with the speed of K702. Overall The K702’s offer a reference quality and vastly uncoloured and transparent sonic performance.
The K702 headphones are widely used by qualified & experienced professionals across the globe in precise. This may alone vouch for the K702’s highly regarded performance.
Comparison: Let us take a look at other popular & well performing headphones available in similar price point.
Sennheiser HD600: A widely loved and a long standing headphone which extremely reliable and durable. It is fully modular. Sonically it is neutral has a nice quantity bass which is fairly accurate; Mids are forward. Highs are smoothened out with very less grains or harshness. Highs are present in just the right amount to keep the music alive. But when compared to K702, HD600 behaves as more of a musical headphone rather than a reference professional headphone.
HD600 indeed does comparatively lack soundstage width & air, but inturn has fuller soundstage. HD600 does not quite retrieve the detail due to its thicker sonic presentation. HD600 is also one of the most comfortable headphones, is also light in weight & ergonomically designed.
Beyerdynamic DT880: Again a long standing headphone offering from Beyer. Widely used by professionals across the world. The DT880 will be comparatively inferior in design mechanism; do observe the headbands, wiring connection methods and fixed cable. It also offers slightly lesser comfort due to shallow clearance inside earcups making ears to touch the inner surface. Also the DT880 is not modular, it does not have detachable cables, and hence maybe troublesome in long run.
DT880 is also very transparent & accurate in terms of sound quality for professionals aswell as for music hearing. Bass delivery is perfect (for reference) in DT880. But it has a slightly recessed mids and comparatively harsher higher frequencies.
The K702 has greater amount of comfort, relaxed clamping force of all, lightest by weight. Going by sonic performance, the K702 has the higher ability in terms of transparency, accuracy, resolving power, detail retrieval, imaging, and soundstage. The only drawback in sound deliverance is in terms of bass, which is a touch less in quantity than optimal. The K702 requires a good headphone amplifier & is relatively difficult to drive.
The K702 offers overall better technical sonic performance & can be considered as a reference in the whole comparison.
Amplification: These K702’s are rated at 62 ohms and are not designed to be power efficient or run by weak sources and hence need a dedicated headphone amplifier for optimal performance delivery. The K702 very much appreciates amplifiers which are revealing or transparent with powerful current output. Ideal amp/dac with a good match for K702 include: Objective2 combo & Schiit M2 Stack. Matrix M-Stage is also proven to have great match with the K702. All these devices are very much affordable and are easily available.
Conclusion: The K702 headphones are exceptionally performing headphones for the price offered. The K702’s are very neutral & presentation is in such away, and one can easily figure out the flaws in a recording. This type of presentation will be very useful for mastering or critical listening, and utility for musical pleasure is also appreciable.
The K702’s will be my favourite pair of headphones for both leisure music listening aswell as for critical listening. K702 is an engineering marvel by AKG engineers, I must admit. These provide superficial performance considering their offering price. These deliver a breathtaking sonic performance. These deliver exactly what is fed into them, thus making the K702’s a technically ideal headphones.
I would highly recommend K702 to any person would like to truly realize the components of a recording & hence the music itself. I find the K702 to be a technically far more superior than other headphone available in this price point.
1) Reference Sound quality: Sound presentation here is very neutral, and is very much helpful for critical listening as well as for casual musical pleasure. K702 is very responsive, with great speed. With sheer amount of transparency & speed, the K702’s are simply one of the best performing headphones one can access get today.
2) Build Quality: AKG K702 is very well engineered and designed. It is wisely built, by using efficient materials which provide a very durable life for the headphones.
3) Comfort: These are feather light, one of the lightest & most comfortable headphones available.
4) Value: AKG K702 puts up an extremely good performance for a fraction of its worthy price. This makes K702 a fantastic purchase for all.
Bass: Is a touch less in body and quantity when compared to other headphones. But going by quality, accuracy or deliverance, it is absolutely fine.