Pros: Midrange, soundstage, imaging, build quality, comfort, self-adjusted headband, all-in one reference headphone
Cons: Huge earcups, treble spike, sub bass, would prefer more warmth
I purchased a used pair of AKG K702 65th Anniversary Review two months ago from the owner of VeritasBN. It was in great condition and I have been using it with FiiO E09K/E07K which was also bought from the same seller. They work great together. Throughout these two months, I have been using it for music listening, gaming and movie. What I am writing below is all belongs to my opinion and my thoughts on it after two months of using it.
Before I get started, I would like to mention that I am a “Midrange-Head” and was never a fan of over-emphasized bass. Just like bass-head, I prefer as much midrange as possible, preferably smooth, warm but not too muddy, and detailed mids. My favorite headphones include AKG K550, PSB M4U1, Sennheiser HD598. AKG K550 and PSB M4U1 for the timbre, neutral, sweet mids, wide soundstage in closed headphone and bass extends deep without over emphasis at any point of bass. Sennheiser HD598 for the warm and forward mids. I find the HD598 to have the perfect amount of bass too.
So here we go…
Accessories and packaging
I got these used, but it comes with the original box in perfect condition. It kind of reminds me of the Incase Pivot boxing; similar to Incase Sonic. It’s funny how more expensive headphones does not package as well as some of the consumer priced headphones, the Jabra Vox, for example. I don’t mind having all the pizza boxes [I mean, Grado boxing] for the AKG K702/65 though. The boxing does look good to me as well. It comes with a 3.5mm to 6.3mm jack converter and a 3m long cable. Other than that, nothing else, but that is all you need although some [including me] would prefer a carrying pouch in it.
As far as build quality goes, my only concern was the cable. It’s on the thin side or maybe I am just used to the thick Grado cable which prevents tangles. Both do not tangle as badly, but for the price of AKG K702/65, I would expect something of better quality. While the cable is detachable from the unit itself, it does take some effort to remove it. Other than the cable, I find the unit itself to be very sturdy. The earpads are made of memory foam and the headband cushion is removed vs the traditional AKG K701/2 for better comfort. While I can tell certain parts of the earcups are made of metal, there are certain part made of plastic, but for reference use, there’s really nothing to worry about.
Comfort and isolation
The first time I wore the AKG K702/65, I feel like the clamping force is clamping my lower jaw and it kind of annoys me at times. After a few days of using it, I find the clamping force to be vanished somehow. Very comfortable headphone even when wearing glasses. Earpads are very soft though does stick around with dust easily, but easily removed as well. I like the fact that I do not need to adjust the headband to fit my head each time I put it over my head. It adjusts to my head automatically and good thing it does not add too much weight to my head as well, it does feel like I am still wearing a headphone but it’s not at all heavy. I can easily wear these for one whole afternoon while I’m doing my gaming, homework or head-fying. My ears do not get warm while wearing it under room temperature, which I find a good add. If anything, I find the earcups to be super huge like the AKG K550. Extremely comfortable, but I have heard people preferring the MA900 lightweight design over AKG K702/65.
As a semi-closed/open headphone, I find the AKG K702/65 to isolates “okay”.
When it comes to its sound quality, I have given these about 300 hours of use [not sure about the previous owner] which I find it more than enough for typical AKG headphones and to say the least, I am very satisfied with it. It plays everything well, but master at none. It’s a great pair of headphone for all-in-one use at home. It does not get affected by the damping factor like some headphones do thus, it will suit any home audio equipment. I do recommend pairing it with something powerful. The AKG K702/65 is by no mean hard to drive, in fact, I can drive it straight out of my iPhone 4/iPad 2 to my listen volume at around 50% of maximum volume but they do scale better with more power.
The bass hits when called with the right amount of bass. It goes deep for a semi-closed headphone but it’s no competition when put next to Momentum whose bass extends deeper. I do prefer AKG K702/65 tighter bass though. It is warmer and fuller in body than the AKG K550 but if you were to put the Philips X1 next to it, the AKG K702/65 may sound thin but cleaner and less muddy sounding.
If the bass is K702/65’s weakest point, the mid would be its strength. Very detailed and smooth sounding. I have heard people saying that the K701/2 midrange sound “plastic” but to my ears, I do not find it so in the AKG K702/65. I find the midrange to be really nice, very musical and spacious sounding. It may not have the most natural timbre nor is it the most transparent headphone but the midrange is definitely something worth listening to after turning down the upper mids.
The highs do not sound harsh at all instead, it’s very clean sounding like the AKG K550 that I love a lot except for the lack of body but nothing EQ and a warm pair of amp won’t fix. There is some treble spike here, but it does not affect most of the music I listen to. Overall, a pretty forgiving headphone but things sound muffled with compressed files.
Another thing I like about the AKG K702/65 is its wide and deep soundstage and excellent imaging. This makes it great for movie and gaming. Everything feels more alive.
It is ideal to pair it with a tube amp or at least, something warm and powerful as in my opinion, the better you feed it, the better they perform!
Unless I have around $500 just for buying a pair of headphone, I don’t think I will be giving these up. If you can find these at around $300 or the K712 for a little bit more than $300, it is definitely worth considering, but if you wanted something warm and bassy with great sound resolution, I suggest looking into the X1 if you do not mind the less musical and spacious sounding mids.