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The only headphone I regretted buying and was happy to sell.

A Review On: AKG K701 Studio Headphones

AKG K701 Studio Headphones

Rated # 27 in Over-Ear
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Review Details:
Audio Quality
Uncle Erik
Posted · 91999 Views · 5 Comments

Pros: Comfortable, attractive, priced reasonably.

Cons: Godawful mids that sound artificial and plastic.

This is the only pair of headphones I bought that I was never able to warm up to.  The reason for this is that the mids - especially vocals - take on an unnatural, artificial and plasticky sound.  They never sounded true to life and began to grate on me after short listening periods.  They were OK for instrumental music, but even then, the tonality was off in the mids.


What's disappointing is that AKG dropped the K-501 and K-1000, and gave us this.  The K-701/2 is nothing like AKG's previous efforts.  I have the K-1000, K-340 and K-240DF, and used to have the K-501.  All of those got the midrange right.  I was expecting to love the K-701 as well, but like I said, the artificial tonality in the mids completely ruined them for me.


Strangely, the K-601 sounds halfway decent the times I've listened to it and I remain hopeful that AKG will introduce a model that gets the mids right.  They used to have some of the best mids of any manufacturer.


Had similar reaction ... UNTIL I burned them in for 150hrs. There is commercialized cliche: "This changes everything". Well, not quite "everything", IMO, but the 701s came to life.
I haven't heard the other AKGs you mention above so can't compare ... but against Senn 650s, beyer DT880-250, the K701 are probably the most balanced WRT freq. spectrum. The HeadRoom graph seems to point to that, too.
BTW, the SQ -- at current 160hrs -- continues to improve, but not as dramatically. (Now if I can work the same magic with my Grado 350i's, which I similarly gave up on a few dozen hrs after new (like 701s ... literally sat idle for years, until I (finally) heard about the extended burn-in time ....)
First of all I don't really understand why anyone would buy a pair of headphones they don't like. You are talking about the "plasticky" mids. What exactly do you mean by that? Personally I have done a direct comparison between k501 and k701 and I can assure you that k701 is k501 with more and better defined bass and somewhat airier treble. The mids are as fine as on k501. Either something was wrong with the headphones you tested or there is a mismatch in your system. I drive mine with Matrix M-Stage amp with a Harman HD990 CDP as a source.
I also strongly prefer the K501's, and for the same reason. The K701 seems more articulate, at the expense of balance on the top and bottom. The K501's lay the sound out before you. Not recessed, and not forward. When focussing on any particular instrument, nothing gets in your way. The ranges play nicely with each other. With the K701, everything feels closer and more forward. The K701 's are more assertive. Not dramatically, but definitely significantly. The balance on the K501's is just comfy and dreamy.
I registered only in order give my finger down for these poor headphones.
Does not matter what amplifier you are going to use this with, how long you are going to burn in for or what choice of music you are going to listen they are going to sound awful, plasticky, unnatural, shallow, uninspiring. I’ve listened AKG’s on 800€ valve amp, desktop amp, straight from PC, listen brand new 50 and 5000 hours run in headphones, death metal and classic and all their sound is not acceptable. Good look thought it that’s matter to you.
I think they sound just fine,but sometimes i eq up the bass +3 dB
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