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AKG K 702 Headphones


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:


Headphone type


Audio Frequency bandwidth

10 to 39800 Hz

Sensitivity headphones

105 dB SPL/V

Max. Input Power

200 mW

Rated Impedance

62 Ohms



Detachable cable


Cable Length

3 m

Earpads Replaceable


Audio Interface


Screw-on Jack Combo (1/4" and 1/8")





Interface Finish


Dimensions / Weight


113 mm


199 mm


212 mm

Net Weight

235 g



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.



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: 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: very wide soundstage, detailed

Cons: not much "below surface" detail, unnatural timbre, little bass impact and NOT neutral

I can only conclude that, after several months trying to like this headphone, (and oh did I try) I just have to give up trying and admit that I don't like it.




Fans of the AKG k702 (or the K70x or Q70x e.t.c.) series will tell you that, not only is the bass well textured and accurate, but that it has a "neutral" quantity of bass. I don't find that to be true. Unless the only instrument playing is, say, a bass drum, the K702 allows every other part of the spectrum to overwhelm the bass, causing it to lose all impact. You are not only supposed to hear the sound of a bass note but also feel (as close as that is attainable on a headphone) the impact.


Take dictionary.com's definition of percussion:


1. the striking of one body against another with some sharpness; impact; blow.


The K702 has unnaturally recessed bass because it has no impact.




Over 300 hours burn in and unfortunately no respite to the nasally, grating, chalkboard-like upper midrange. It also seems to make voices sound unnaturally thin, especially males. I tend to find it can complement female vocals to some extent yet gives males a kind of hollowed-out sound. 




Probably the best-performing part of the spectrum but ironically perhaps it is slightly too warm. I seem to be justified in this claim when you notice the frequency plots you find online: a sharp drop in the top octave. This may be why I notice that the headphone does not seem to have much detail below the surface. Perhaps it is because the soundstage is diffuse (see below) and hence harder to pinpoint detail, but I frequently find, in complex passages at least, the HD 650 actually seems to offer more subtle detail.




I was wowed at the beginning but gradually grew bored of it. It seems that everything is diffuse and fairly far away, not helping the sense of thin-ness. Sometimes I get the impression that it is too wide: as if there is only the centre, the far left, and today's GOP. Good for some classical music (though unfortunately the lack of bass does not give cellos e.t.c. any satisfying upper-base resonance) but not really much else.


The headphone is certainly comfortable but not really snug enough in my opinion. It feels like it wants to slide off at any moment. As for the build quality, it hardly seems to be the sturdiest headphone in existence


Problems aside it is actually worth the marked down prices you will often find on certain online retailers. It's a good headphone sure, but I just don't like it.


Now of course a perfectly neutral headphone would be unforgiving on bad sources, mastering et cetera, but the K702 isn't neutral. It is unnaturally treble-heavy and bass-light. It is indeed unforgiving, but beyond the point of neutrality because of the treble emphasis. It is like an examiner who has a personal grudge against a student and will mark them down for minor faults


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.


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: Detail

Cons: Detail

Can you have too much of a good thing? Going by the various threads and reviews of the K702s, yes. These cans give you so much detail it is not true. Sounds appear that have never been heard before in the background of familiar tracks. That satisfies some and manages to irritate others. i did not understand that until recently.


When I first got my K702s I only had open backed headphones. But the demands of family life and travel meant that my next few purchases were closed backed to limit noise leakage, of which the K702s have loads.


I then got used to the deeper more bloomy bass, in your head sound and echo like resonance of closed backed cans.


Returning one day after a few months of no use, when home alone to the K702s, I realised how dry then can sound. The lush sound had gone, replaced instead with 'put you in the recording studio' levels of detail and clarity. I kept taking them off because I thought I could hear noises in the house. That was caused by the big sound stage and that detail flooding back again.


For me that is superb, But I can understand why for others it is too much.



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.

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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