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K702 in the Studio

post #1 of 304
Thread Starter 

 

 

The following review is my impression of the K702, based upon working on mixing and mastering processes with them in my music studio.

Today after 100 hours I can say that I can trust my K702 100% as my best studio monitor headphones. It's very easy to navigate with them through the frequency response scale within the sound stage environment. The sound is very smooth, airy and clean; no artificial noise, due to the perfect axis in the 3D sound stage. This means the depth is equal to the stereo image which is equal to the frequency response. This brings better instrument separation and musical details to the sound. With these abilities I can be anywhere in the mix and the best thing about it is that I can match the K702 sound with my speaker monitors. (I have to comment here, most of the headphones have problems creating this depth in the 3D sound image.)

First, I was a little wary when I saw the frequency response graph on the Headroom site. When I got my chance to listen to the K702 and compare them to the 271MKll and the K240MKll on the SPL Phonitor, I realized that this frequency response graph is divided by the expansive K702 sound stage. I still don't know if it makes any sense but with this coloration, it still sounds very balanced, especially when you compare them to the monitor speakers or to my other flat FR cans.

A member mentioned on the forum that with the K70X you can hear the end of the reverb tails, and it's true. This is what I call "musical details". It's very easy to hear distortion on the sound, especially when you are mastering or cleaning noise in the mix. The other thing that I appreciate about them is that they are not laid back and not fast. This means that the sound is very stable and doesn't move forward or backwards when you use compression or EQ on several channels as a dynamic process on a track.

Conclusion:
No matter what kind of music I'm working on in the studio, I found that the K702 will create the best results. Until I had the chance to own the K702, I was relying on a few different headphones, in that each one gave me a different view and characteristic of the sound. With the K702, I don't have to use any other headphones to check the references anymore. They do the job completely. In my ongoing search for the best studio monitor headphones, these are at the top of the list, so far.

 

Review update, 11. 1. 2014

 

Since I've did this review / impression back in 2008 and After cheeking for a few years what will be the best amp for the K702 I've come to the same conclusion that I've start with back in 2007, the SPL Phonitor is the best amp for the K702. For studio applications I didn't found any solid state amp out there that can compete with the Phonitor in terms of transparency and sound separation, and the most important for me is the long sessions in the studio with no ear fatigue! The Phonitor is a very balanced sounding hps amp, and they use the nine SUPRA OP amps that made and developed by SPL (120V technology), same technology as in the SPL MMC 1 @ 8K mastering console, and the SPL PQ 2050 mastering edition EQ @ 15K.

 

Over a few years I had the opportunity to compare the K702 to other high end hps, like the Sony Qualia 010, T1, HD-800, HE-500, Stax 4070. As well the K702 is the cheapest one on this list, a high end hps with a mid range price. 

 

The Sony Qualia are a great hps and the most balanced sounding out there, but out of my price range and I was not so pleased with the Qualia sound stage. 

 

The Beyer T1, are the closest one to 702s sound concept and yet not natural as the K702 with the Phonitor combo. Here is more info of my studio impression, http://www.head-fi.org/t/595522/akg-k702-vs-beyerdynamic-t1-in-the-studio

 

About the HE-500 with the Phonitor combo I didn't like it so much, but the upper mids are good and maybe the best part for me about those hps.

 

The HD-800 are very expensive hps and yet very popular hps on head-fi. I had a few sessions with the HD-800 and every time after about 20-30 minutes into the session I've found the treble spike of the HD-800 to kick in and start annoying my ears, especially with electronic music that have a lot of energy going on in the treble area. I cant afford my self to burn my ears because of the HD-800 treble spikes, so for me the 800s are out of the race after 20 minutes with the Phonitor combo.  

 

The Stax 4070 are the most promising monitoring tool so far, I was very impressed with the sound concept of the 4070s, but to get them in my studio up and working I'll need to sale the Phonitor and bring some other amps to fit the 4070s for my best needs. As well I would like to try out the Stax SR-009 first.

 

At this point in time, is the beginning of 2014 and the AKG new flagship hps is out, the K812. I would like to try them out very much unfortunately I'm not in the U.S any more, I've moved back to Israel and here at the kley zemer music store (AKG main and only distributor in Israel) they sale the K-271 MKll which are the most advance AKG hps in their store for 1000 nis ($287). A year ago I've asked if they'll import the K702 and they told me the K702 will be too expensive to be sold in Israel. So, I don't think they will ever sale the K812 here in Israel.

 

I'm still a bit optimistic and I didn't totally give up yet on the K812, I hope soon I'll have the opportunity to check them out and compare them to the K702 on the Phonitor.

 

In the meantime in a parallel universe as a electronic music producer and mastering engineer I have long mixing sessions in my studio, I mean after 5-6 hours on my speakers my ears starting to get tired at this point I want to change to a different reference system. In those moments I'm very happy to power up the Phonitor and get into the micro details of my musical word of mixing and my mastering with the K702.

 

Another issue with the K70X series is the cable, I've found out you can improve the sound by 10-20% with a better cable. Here is more info and some great impressions, http://www.head-fi.org/t/378255/akg-k702-build-your-own-cable

 

 

The SPL MMC 1 mastering console.

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), default quality

 

 

SPL PQ 2050 mastering edition EQ.

 


Edited by Acix - 1/12/14 at 4:33am
post #2 of 304
Thank you for the review. As i read it i'm listening to "Gabriels Oboe" by Chris Botti on my 240S. Can you give a comparison by experience? I have considered the 701/702 but considered the 240 is pretty close to them both...esp the upcoming upgrades i'm installing.
post #3 of 304
great review.i always want to try k702...
post #4 of 304
Agreed, nsc4u!

Acix: have you compared them to the Beyer dt 250's?

Trav: have you seen the freq. graphs of the AKG's...with that big upper bass hump?
http://www.headphone.com/technical/p...ph.php?graphID
I still love the mid range on the 240's though!

http://www.myspace.com/lejaz
post #5 of 304
Yes Lejaz seen it. I'm just very excited to have an actual studio guy here giving a testimonial. I've always leaned toward a midrange attenuation on my graphs for as long as i can remember. So i'm not as flat as i thought lol...
post #6 of 304
Great review,
I would also argue that the k701s are the most balanced cans I've heard and they leave me little want to hear any more.

Dave
post #7 of 304
Thread Starter 
The K240 is a studio workhorse, The K240MKII is 70-80% of the K70X. About the Beyer, I would be happy to compare the DT880 to the K702, it's a very hard task to beat the K70X in the sound resolution/presentation area, some people may call it High fidelity.
post #8 of 304
Thank you for the impression, I am now seriously interested in a pair. What is driving them in your studio, mixing board or separate amp? Details would be a bonus.
post #9 of 304
Usually in a studio, cans are powered by mixing board I guess.
post #10 of 304
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by buddhashenglong View Post
Thank you for the impression, I am now seriously interested in a pair. What is driving them in your studio, mixing board or separate amp? Details would be a bonus.
I'm using AUDIO KONTROL 1, and I'm very happy with this usb sound card.
Suitable for studio, live and DJ applications. This sound card can drive nicely 100 Ohms as my MB Quart QP250.

Headphone
8 600 Ohms(load) impedance
4.26 V rms, 100mW @ 100 Ohms
102.5dB SNR
Line: 103 dB (A-weighted)

NATIVE INSTRUMENTS : Products : AUDIO KONTROL 1
Native Instruments Audio Kontrol 1
LL
post #11 of 304
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acix View Post
The K240 is a studio workhorse, The K240MKII is 70-80% of the K70X. About the Beyer, I would be happy to compare the DT880 to the K702, it's a very hard task to beat the K70X in the sound resolution/presentation area, some people may call it High fidelity.
Interesting, I never realized the 240mkII was that close in fidelity to the 701. FWIR the dt250 is supposed to be a little like wearing a pair of studio monitor speakers strapped to your head! Of course this is just hearsay...never tried them myself. Now I'm wondering which would serve me best...a set of 701's or dt250's, or some monitor speakers in the same price range. Since my room is not really treated properly perhaps the headphones would give me a more accurate picture of my mixes..plus with headphones I can work late at night without disturbing the neighbors in my building.
post #12 of 304
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acix View Post
With the K702, I don't have to use any other headphones to check the references anymore. They do the job completely. In my ongoing search for the best studio monitor headphones, these are at the top of the list, so far.
Thanks for the interesting read but wow, is this ever a different view from the one over at the Steve Hoffman site where a lot of industry folks hang out. This is what Jamie Tate, another mixing engineer said about the AKGs:

I burned mine in for a week without improvement so I left them to simmer for another week or so. Jellyfish's Spilt Milk CD must've played through them a thousand times. When I came back they still had that upper mid boost and lean bass. This was right after the review was published in Stereophile. I had to send them back knowing I would never be happy.

An engineer friend and I bought them together (there was a sale online). His complaints were the same as mine and we never agree on things. They changed our mixes way too much to ever be called reference.

...

I almost canceled my subscription to Stereo Review but decided to just ignore one of the reviewers who think these things sound good. Sharp upper mid boost, lean bass, harsh overall tonality... don't get it. I tried to listen to some of my stuff on them and it changed the mixes! They sounded totally foreign to me, something that my Sennheiser 600s don't do.


Steve Hoffman Site on AKG701/2

I guess even folks in the business can't agree on what something sounds like.
post #13 of 304
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Murphy View Post
Thanks for the interesting read but wow, is this ever a different view from the one over at the Steve Hoffman site where a lot of industry folks hang out. This is what Jamie Tate, another mixing engineer said about the AKGs:

I burned mine in for a week without improvement so I left them to simmer for another week or so. Jellyfish's Spilt Milk CD must've played through them a thousand times. When I came back they still had that upper mid boost and lean bass. This was right after the review was published in Stereophile. I had to send them back knowing I would never be happy.

An engineer friend and I bought them together (there was a sale online). His complaints were the same as mine and we never agree on things. They changed our mixes way too much to ever be called reference.

...

I almost canceled my subscription to Stereo Review but decided to just ignore one of the reviewers who think these things sound good. Sharp upper mid boost, lean bass, harsh overall tonality... don't get it. I tried to listen to some of my stuff on them and it changed the mixes! They sounded totally foreign to me, something that my Sennheiser 600s don't do.


Steve Hoffman Site on AKG701/2

I guess even folks in the business can't agree on what something sounds like.

Thanks for the link, Most of points of view based on their own individual experience.
One important fact is the burn in time, that mostly smooth the gaps in the sound.
My first big change in my K702 sound come after 100 hours, There is here on the forum testemonis from members
thet the sound keep changing after 400 and 500 hours.
from my previous experience with Ultrasone the sound still keep changing after 500 hours.
and just became smooth and over all much better and pleasant.

About a pair of companion cans for my K702's, I would easily go with a bright and nice transparent sound, and a beautiful low end bass like the RS-1.
post #14 of 304
The only challenge with the K 701 (and I am assuming the K 702 has the same challenge because I have been told by very reliable sources that it sounds the same as the K 701) is the slight weakness of the bass frequencies, IMO. When mixing with the K 701, a mental compensation needs to be made for this slight weakness because if that compensation is not made during the mix, the final mix will turn out slightly to somewhat "bass heavy", IMO.
Also, there is a slight "roll-off" in the upper most frequencies of the K 701 which, if I'm in the right mood and not wanting to hear a "stricter" similarity to accuracy, can be quite a pleasant listening experience.
Overall, the Ultrasone Pro 750 is a better headphone for production and mixing use when compared to the AKG K 701, IMO, partly because of it's more dependable presentation of the spectrum of frequencies.
post #15 of 304
arent sony sa5000 supposed to be similar to the 701/702 but more detailed making them better in the studio?
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