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AKG K701 Review Thread

post #1 of 380
Thread Starter 
Ok, we got all the other kinds of K701 threads out there so it's getting about time people have them broke in and start reviewing for the lusters

Alright, here is my attempt.....

Before we get started, let me give you a little background info on my headphones and the type of sound I like.

My headphone journey went something like this. Last Christmas I wanted some headphones, not knowing jack about headphones. So to make a long story short, I found head-fi and everything went downhill from there I got a pair of AKG 240’s and really liked the sound, it was better than anything I had heard before. But it didn’t take very long for me to figure out that I hated pleather pads. So back they went and Beyer DT880’s came in. WOW! Crystal clear highs and a gigantic soundstage. Well, after spending a lot of time with them, I realized that they were lacking midrange and bass (in my system, I heard them later at a meet with a different amp and had plenty of bass). So, off those went and in came Senn HD650’s. Again, they accomplish most of what I was looking for, bass, midrange, comfort, and soundstage. They lacked the treble balance I was wanting. So off those went and that brings us to the 701’s.

I will compare the k701’s, hd650’s and dt880’s in this review but please remember the dt880’s and 650’s are being pulled from my memory so it technically isn’t a fair review. But my reasons for getting rid of both of those pairs of phones are still vivid and that’s what I will focus on.

Ok, here are my initial impressions of the k701’s. In the beginning I noticed the treble was kind of scratchy and not very coherent, the bass was present and eased my fears that this headphone would have to go back on account of the lack of bass. The midrange was wonderful like all AKG’s (supposedly…I have owned the k240’s and those had great midrange and other people say other AKG’s have great midrange so…there.)

After about 50 hours, the treble evened out more and became more transparent. The soundstage is massive, I will be sitting here listening to music and something will come out of the background and scare the bejesus out of me.

After about 100 hours, it is becoming more balanced and more even. It is starting to sound like a high-end headphone.

And now, I have ~150 hours on it and I think it is pretty much done changing. So here we go on what I think these headphones are.

Ok, we’ll start at the bottom and work our way up. The bass is there but I wouldn’t be hurt if there was a little more (remember the DT880’s, yeah, it’s time for me to get a new amp). So, right now I say the bass is VERY tuneful and is actually pretty impactful if your music is recorded that way. Who knows, hopefully they will improve in the bass volume department with a different amp. The Senn’s win in this department as far as volume and amount goes, but I think the 701’s are more articulate and are faster at reproducing bass notes along the same lines as the DT880’s. As far as amount of bass between the k701’s and the DT880’s, I think the k701’s are marginally better.

The midrange is outstanding, male and female voices are so intimate and textured. It is really pretty easy to pick out an instrument, say guitar, and being able to tell how it is being played. The strumming, the “twanging”, and just being able to hear fingers going up and down the fret board. The k701’s are very clear and “open” sounding. Separating instruments are very easy to do with these phones. I think the k701’s pull ahead fairly easily in this category.

Detailed, airy, smooth, and articulate are the words that come to mind when I think of the treble. It transitions smoothly from lows to mids to highs. There is no sign of sibilance anywhere and it is easy to listen to for long periods of time without getting fatigued. The highs are very well extended and focused. Obviously much different in this category from the 650’s and fits my listening habits much better. I can really pick out more details with the k701’s than the 650’s. The dt880’s also excelled in this department and although I can’t compare them fairly since it’s been a while, I’d have to say the dt880’s and k701’s are very close in the upper regions.

These headphones are very comfortable also. Actually they were pretty stiff out of the box and I think it will take a while before they get to the point of being broken in (comfort wise now). The headband is the part that hurts the most right now. Don’t get me wrong, I love AKG’s headband suspension system, but it really needs to loosen up a bit. The earpads aren’t quite as soft as the Beyer’s but they are still lovely and can keep them on for long periods of time.

So, there you have it, my first attempt at something resembling a review. Sorry it wasn’t very formal in the sense of including what music I tested or what not but I did write it with them on my head listening to all kinds of music.

Alright….pick away
post #2 of 380
Great job, thanks. Mine should be here tomorrow...can't wait....
post #3 of 380
Thank you very much for the review. I'd been on the fence, trying to decide whether to order a pair of 701s, but your review pushed me over. I just called Todd and ordered a pair. Today is the last day for his introductory pricing.

My wife says I don't need another pair of headphones. What does she know?
post #4 of 380
Thanks Gordo.

Can you comment more on the dynamics?
What about pace, rhythm and timing?
post #5 of 380
Gordo, thank you for taking the time to write a review. I enjoyed reading it.
post #6 of 380
thanks a lot for the impressions/review gordolindsay. a comparision of K701 with HD650 and DT880 is just what i want to see.
post #7 of 380
Noteworthy effort. Congrats.
post #8 of 380
Great idea for a thread (truly unselfish thread title) and it's a very insightful review on top of that!

Looking forward to more reviews...
post #9 of 380
Thread Starter 
First off, thank you everyone for the kind words. It makes it all even more worthwhile that you guys liked it.

Originally Posted by Ayreonaut
Thanks Gordo.

Can you comment more on the dynamics?
What about pace, rhythm and timing?

I would say the 701's are fairly dynamic headphones. They are much more involved than the 650's I would say, but not really anywhere near Grado's. They do place you a couple rows back, I would say something like:

On Stage - Grado
2 rows back - DT880's
3-4 rows back - k701's
8 rows back - hd650's

As for PRaT, I think they're groovy baby! Yeah! Sorry.
post #10 of 380
Sweet! Thanks for the review. Enjoy the burn-in.
post #11 of 380
Very nice... thanks for the review, and thanks for the comparision of the 701's to the 650's and 880's.
post #12 of 380
Thanks for the review, I was hoping that the treble would be on par with the DT880, which I consider to be one of the best out there. Bass isn't that much of an issue for me, as I'm sure there is just enough of it. Like you said, the amp really helps.
post #13 of 380
What HeadRoom says about K701 :


AKG has brought their considerable audio engineering skills into focus in on their high-end dynamic headphone designs and produced an astonishingly good sounding pair of cans in their K701. Getting it absolutely right at this level of performance is tough and the K701 gets pretty darn near. These cans deliver a dynamic and punchy sound; articulate and clear over the full audio range. Bass lovers will dig the solid punch and control of these cans; classical and acoustic fans will likewise love the fact that that dynamic control moves right on up the frequency range to clearly articulate every finger pluck and rosin-on-gutt texture in the mix. About the only thing that we can say bad about these cans is that those who like a laid back or airy sound might want to look elsewhere, these are clearly cans that deliver an immediacy that demands you attention. And…oh!...what a lovely demand it is.

post #14 of 380
ARGH! i hate head-fi lol. i just bought myself a pair of dt880s. resistance is futile lol
post #15 of 380
Originally Posted by gordolindsay
...I found head-fi and everything went downhill from there ...
That sounds familiar.

Thanks for the review! I have one question which I have asked in many threads now. How are they with rock music?
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