Pros: Extremely Dynamic, Clean, Clear, Comfortable, Beautiful Natural Tonality, Phenomenal Bass, Precise Imaging, Large Soundstage, Revealing, Musical
Cons: Heavily system dependent sound quality. Can be harsh with poor synergy. Power Hungry.
AKG K712 Pro Review
This is a review I have put off for a long time, I've owned the AKG K712 Pro for about a year now and have tried it on numerous systems. The source is a variety of uncompressed music files on the computer playing through Foobar2000. I'll try to keep this review short and simple, may try to update it later. To put it simply, the K712 is my favorite headphone I currently own, edging out the HD 650, HD 600, and DT 150.
The system consists of:
Schiit Lyr 2(high gain) w/ '89 Amperex Fat Bottle(Voskhod Rocket) silver shield tubes
HRT Music Streamer HD set at highest bitrate and lowest latency
Furman M-8X2 Power Conditioner
Ela Audio solid silver RCA to RCA Interconnects
Venus Audio Canare AKG cable
Ice Age Audio 10 AWG Cyro treated Power Cable(for amplifier)
Pangea Audio Silver-plated Copper USB cables
Build Quality and Comfort:
The build quality of the K712 is very good despite it's light weight. It's made of high quality plastics, feels solid in the hands, and seems to be a headphone that will age well, only concern is the elastic bands losing their elasticity over time. The K712 has a matte finish and feels quite nice to the touch. Comfort is excellent. The pads are plenty deep and the memory foam is very comfortable. I never had comfort issues with these headphones. The clamping is just right and doesn't seem to change much with use like it does with the HD 600/650 which I found to lose their clamp by a fair margin.
This headphone is a pain to amp properly, it's just so picky due to it's revealing nature and the interesting presentation of dynamics that is typical of modern AKG headphones. This headphone has caused me a lot of frustration to amp properly but I finally got it right. These headphones need a lot of power to truly shine, we're talking orhto levels of current and a good deal of voltage swing, they become a completely different animal with a lot of power behind them.
This headphone can be a mixed bag sonically until you get them happy, they aren't as hard to get to sound right as some of the previous incarnations of the K7 family, but like all headphones in the K7 family they are very picky and honestly benefit from a good system. In my experience every little thing matters for the end result. This review is based on the system I currently use, results will vary depending on the system.
Bass: The bass on the K712 is nothing short of amazing to me, it's deep, well extended, has excellent slam, and has excellent excursion factor competing with the DT 150 in this regard. It's a very tight and quite fast bass, never ever seems to sound slow or confused in anyway. The bass has a lot of weight to it.
Midrange: You would think this headphone would be slightly recessed in the midrange based on the graphs but that is not the case at all, it's just as present as the mids on the HD 600/650 and very comparable, there are shocking similarities in the tuning and timbre of the mids between the K712 and the Senns leading to an absolutely gorgeous and beautiful sounding midrange that portrays vocals in a beautiful and pleasant manner. The mids are very clean and clear and full, they never ever sound hollow or recessed in anyway.
Treble: The treble on these headphones is very revealing, it has more energy than those of the Senns but this creates a pleasant contrast to the Senns as the treble has wonderful dynamics and honestly sounds more natural in this region. Treble can be harsh and sibilant on certain systems, but on the right system they are very smooth and clean and not harsh in anyway, even smoother than that of the HD 650 surprisingly. The headphone has a small bit of air to it's sound, which is nice coming from the HD 600/650 and DT 150.
Imaging/Soundstage: The imaging on these headphones is simply fantastic, very precise and gives an excellent sense of 3D realism. The soundstage is large and quite wide but also its circular and has plenty of depth and is quite tall. It isn't like the ovalish shaped soundstage found on the Q701. All imaging and soundstage complaints I had with previous K7 series have been fixed with the K712. This is the soundstage and imaging champ of all my headphones.
Transparency: This is a very transparent headphones, it's incredibly revealing of the system. And the headphones simply disappear from the head when listening to them.
Clarity/Detail: The clarity and detail of this headphone is simply exceptional. It's somewhat more detailed and resolving than the HD 600/650. The DT 150 is closer in terms of detail retrieval to the K712, haven't been able to figure out with is more detailed of the two. Though I would say the clarity of the DT 150 is a little better than the K712.
Dynamics: This is one of the standout features of the K712 and honestly a trait I have found with most AKGs, it's honestly why I became a fan of the AKG sound and it's also what makes AKGs so frustrating for me. The dynamics on the K712 are simply incredible, the headphone has an interesting ability to portray the dynamic information of the source in a way and magnitude that the HD 600/650 and DT 150 simply don't. This leads to quite drastic differences from different recordings. Some recordings sound extremely dynamic and others sound flat and lifeless. This can be heard on other mid-tier dynamics, but not to the same degree as the K712. It's as if the dynamic range is a bit compressed on the HD 600/650 and a lesser degree the DT 150 in comparison.
The AKG K712 is an excellent headphone and easily competes with other mid-tier dynamics in its price range. It's comfortable and lightweight. I haven't compared it much to planars as I don't own any other than an unmodded T50RP. If your willing to spend time with the headphone and come to appreciate it's sound and live with it's pickiness then the headphone is well worth the time and investment. But it may not be for everyone. The headphone is on the warm and lush side and may not please everyone. It's basically an evolution of previous K7 series and has many sonic traits of the HD 600/650 with an AKG flare to it and is an excellent competitor to the HD 600/650. I personally think it's a bit better than the classic Senns, but that ultimately comes down to preference and the system.