AKG K701 (K702)update: my impressions are for an older K701 (7 bump version). New K701s (8 bumps on headband) MIGHT sound close, or the same as the Q701. Too many conflicting reports to say who is right, and who is wrong. All I know is that my old K701 sounded different enough from the newer Q701s.
Sells for around $250-300.Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Remember how I felt the AD700 did something to me? How it completely change my view on headphones and Dolby Headphone? Well, I got that same feeling again with the K701. In fact, I felt like god had given me the secret to just out right smite my enemies with the hammer of justice. The K701 to me, is pure, unadulterated, SMACKDOWN inducing OWNAGE. The very first time I used them (Modern Warfare 2), I went 2 straight 25-0 games in Free For All. I mean, holy smokes. The K701 was like wearing x-ray vision goggles for my ears. Depth, width, imaging, complete detail retrieval... it had it all. These to me, are the very vision of the perfect gaming headphone (with Dolby Headphone). I'd still place the overall positioning behind the DT770 Pro 80, and AD700, but it's on par with the HD598. We're talking about them being maybe a 9.9 instead of a 10 (which is what the 770s and AD700s are to me). Those two have NOTHING on the clarity and detail-whoring the K701 has. The bass is light, but present enough for it not to be anywhere near a complaint for me. It just works. You want my top pick for a purely godlike hardcore gaming headphone? The K70x is it. Now if only they were easy to drive. Believe it or not, the Mixamp does a good job driving the K70x, as long as you don't mix in voice chat whatsoever. Talking about leaving the game/voice balance completely on the game side. Once you nudge the balance away from game, the volume takes a steep dive, and you will note how badly the things need an amp.
Now I already know how volume =/= driving force, but for gaming with dolby headphone, you WON'T think about that or notice. Trust me, the Mixamp is enough for the K701 if again, you don't add voice chat. If you do, you WILL need to attach an amp to the Mixamp's headphone out, just to juice the K70x and voice chat audio. Yes, they do scale with good amping, but for the purpose of gaming, I don't deem it necessary, asides from when you're in need of voice chat.
Comfort-wise, quite polarizing. A lot of people have issue with the headband's bumps. I won't lie, they take getting used to. However, once you've beared with it enough, your head will get desensitized by that particular sensation. The bumps no longer affect me in the least. I find them extremely comfortable. My only complaint now is that I wish the headband extended just a little more. I have to fully extend them to fit me properly, and it's quite noticeably felt, though it's not a real discomfort.
Fun: 6/10 (Decent. There is SOME fullness to the old K701, though it is ultimately a sterile, and highly analytical headphone unless paired up with a very warm amp.)
Competitve: 10/10 (Basically Perfection. The meaning of God-mode is strong with this one. If you want a headphone to pick apart details from everything arround you, this one is pretty hard to pass up.)
Comfort: 7.5/10 (Pretty Good. The bumps may be a factor for a lot of people.)