Pros: warm sound, neutral, comfortable, more bass than stock Q701. Good all-rounder.
Cons: slightly forward sound overall
6-7 hour impressions. I will update/edit this more as I listen to it more. If you don't like this please GET OUT!!!.
These are only impressions vs the bass port modded Q701.
- Slightly fuller sounding in the mids than the Q701m. Barely audible. K712 adds some slight warmth to recordings that are already warm. The Q701m does this less.
- K712 to me sounds slightly more forward in nature than the Q701m, especially in the low mids. The Q701 low mids are leaner but still nice and full without being too forward.
- The soundstage of the Q701m is slightly more open/spacious/airy. The K712 is still really very good in this area. On warm recordings the soundstage is noticeably worse. Try the Buena Vista Social Club. That sounds best on the Q701m. The K712 Pro sort of feels like it gives it a slight haze over the sound of that album.
- The K712 really doesn't sound any smoother or forgiving. There's music that is harsh on the Q701 and other music that's harsh on the K712. Harsh/bright Jpop seems slightly worse on the K712 to my ears due to the more closed in soundstage. This is all random though. Sometimes the Q701 spaces out vocals more so they sound less forward (due to recording). No dang fixing of my poor tracks on either of them.
- I don't notice any increased bass over the MODDED Q701. I know this will surprise some people. There may be a little, but not worth pointing out. The low bass is still not perfect. I remember the Annie having a little more perhaps, but that's based on memory. The idea of ruler flat low bass to 10hz is good for a laugh! No way! Both sound like they have some slight roll-off still.
- Both are very very accurate to my ears. None of my music is dramatically altered. Isn't that how it should be?
- Both headphones are able to reproduce male/female vocals that sound way too distant or way too forward. This seems to confuse some people. Female vocals don't really sound all that much more forward on the Q701. It doesn't magically shove them forward despite what some think. Both have good soundstage depth.
- The K712 doesn't sound even remotely dark to me. Perhaps a little less treble than the Q701, but again not very audible.
- Level of detail is about the same. K712 doesn't sound any more revealing.
- Some music sounds noticeably clearer on the K712, but this is very rare. Maybe if I had ALL HD tracks this would be easier to spot.
- Modded Q701 sounds very very very slightly more neutral to my ears. Mostly due to it's flatter low mids.
- In 6-7 hours zero fatigue or discomfort. Nice!
- I disliked the Annie but love the K712 Pro. No clue why, but I think I was right and it's the improved pads. That's my only idea.
- I could not really detect any difference between my DACs with the K712 or Q701m. Sound transparent to me.
- The full low mids of the K712 are really addicting. My brain tells me the K712 is smoother in the low mids, but I think it's fooled due to the warmer sound. Makes sense.
- Vocals sound a bit fuller on the K712 at times, but not by much. It's VERY subtle. Don't know why but they remind me a little of the HD-598.
- To me it sounds like a perfect mix of the K702 and HD-650.
- After dozens and dozens of tracks I did find a couple tracks that sounded easier on the ears with the K712. ONLY some 128kbps bright/tinny/harsh tracks from a singer named "Hitomi". I guess perhaps the K712 is more forgiving of low bit-rate files? I have very few of them. This makes sense to me. I really can't call it a forgiving headphone. Who uses 128kbps mp3 files anyway with such a headphone?
Both headphones sound great! I highly recommended both.
Final overall sound score (mid-fi):
Modded Q701: 9.75/10
K712 Pro: 9.75/10
Q701 stock: 9
I would be happy with either headphone. Due to preferences I prefer the modded Q701 slightly despite no change in score.
If you don't like mods or prefer no bumps, I can definitely suggest the K712 Pro.
To me you can't really say which is better. All depends on preferences.
I have to get this out of the way but there was not more than a 5% difference between the two. Think i'm wrong? Get a modded Q701 and compare them and report back.
If AKG can afford to get these down to $325 they'd be a pretty good deal. $400 is kind of high.
Disclaimer: My Q701 might be darker/warmer or bassier than the rest. I really don't know.
NOTE: My gear has about zero warmth itself that's audible by me.
Good job AKG!
EDIT: I know they say the K702 and Q701 drivers are the same, but I don't know. I have my doubts. Most likely the K712 Pro uses the best measuring K702 drivers (with different part #). So K712 would possibly equal hand selected K702 drivers + memory foam pads and flat headband. The extras are not exactly free. $350 is a fair deal. When I listened to the K712 Pro with Q701/K702 pads it sounded closer to a K702 than a Q701. I did not install the Q701 outer grill and foam though.