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AKG K702 Impressions. - Page 13

post #181 of 363
Originally Posted by Alonski View Post

I've had my k702s for about two years. Right out of the box they sounded thin and strident, with lots of detail and commendable soundstage, but they didn't sound right. They had little bass, a tizzy upper end and a sound that was definitely fatiguing after even ten minutes of listening. After 300 hours of burn in, it's like a different headphone altogether. The harshness disappeared, the tonal colors became rich and deep, the soundstage now populated by flesh and blood musicians playing their instruments.... Not only was it not subtle, it was night and day to my ears. Instead of being fatiguing, I can now wear them all night at even higher listening levels.

Just about everything in high end audio sounds better after burn in: tubes, transistors, cartridges, speakers, headphones, and even cables!

Measurements are useless in proving or disproving this phenomena. Like the saying goes, "if it sounds good and measures good, it's good. If it sounds good but measures bad, you measured the wrong thing."

The K702s DO need burn-in. It wasn't until I burn-in my over 100 hr. mark, that they came to life. Very good headphones.

post #182 of 363



In your avatar photo you seem to have LCD 2s or 3's... how do you like the 702s in comparison?

post #183 of 363
Yeah, haven't changed it yet!

Had to get rid of them due to needing the cash:( and the WA22 in the background:( so anyhow, got vinyl driving a Soloist with these K702's and PS500. Ok nothing will match LCD bass, had to accept that. Actually, overall I think the LCD is the better phone. However, the K702 does some things really, really well, like the soundstage width, LCD is better at depth, both phones need to be driven properly to get the best out of them.. Anyone that says "ooooh K702 is easy to drive" is wrong. I've heard the sister phone, the Q701 under amped, and its boring as bat ****! There's more treble sparkle with the AKG's and I'd suggest that though there is less bass, I think it's more nimble. The mids on the LCD are sweet, lush and down right seductive and muscular. A bloody drug I tell you! The AKG is like a clean pipe in the mids.. Which I actually kind of like:) when I can afford some LCD's again, I'll be keeping the K702's....
post #184 of 363

Also, these are fantastic when powered by a Valhalla;)

post #185 of 363

I did a review of these so here it is


The first thing I’ll talk about is amplification. Frankly, on a not so great amp, these sound awful. They’re thin, bright, shrill, sibilant and downright unnatural. Pair them with a good amp though, and the magic happens. As far as how to do that, a user has many options. For a solid state amp that gives some warmth and body to the K702 while maintaining its neutrality and cleanliness, the O2 or Matrix M-Stage are excellent options. The sound produced is extraordinarily exact – everything is tight and spaced perfectly without sounding overly clinical. Another option that a user has is adding tubes into the equation. Due to the 62 ohm output impedance, OTLs are somewhat difficult to use the K702 with (unless it’s something high end and powerful), however to add a tube flavour, a hybrid becomes a good option. To explain the difference in sound when paired with a Phillips 5814 tube on my Project Ember (reviews of the amp and tube can be found here http://www.head-fi.org/t/675850/project-ember-review#post_9686059) , the sound on recordings becomes less clinical but not in a bad way. The sound becomes more relaxed and smooth with more body instead of an edge like a solid state amp. Imaging still stays spectacular, but loses a bit of the razor precision that the headphone has on a solid state in favor of a more musical, resolving presentation.


These headphones require a lot of burn in to sound their best. I think that a fair amount of the comments that call them thin and plastic sounding are due to the lack of burn in. I found them to be that way as well as a bit constrained sounding out of the box but with more hours on them the mids began to gain a thicker, more airy quality. The treble began to become a tad more tame, bass kick increased, and they became more open sounding as well. These are a headphone that I’d recommend letting play overnight for at least a couple of nights before listening to them if you’re like me and don’t want to wait until you log a bunch of hours listening for them to sound their best.


Now onto the review proper


First thing to talk about is comfort. I find the K702 to be extremely comfortable largely due to the fact that the headphones only clamp just enough to get a good seal and the pads are extremely large so they cover your ears easily. Some people find the headband which has bumps on it to be aggravating but I don’t find this to be a problem at all.


Next is soundstage. There isn’t much to say except that it’s extremely massive. Imagine there is a circle around your head and each sound occupies its own specific space and never once bleeds into the space of any other sound. Even in loud sections that present a wall of sound, the k702 manages to keep each individual guitar part separate. Instead of a presentation that presents a track as a whole, the K702 produces it as its individual parts played in different spaces. In certain parts of songs with sounds that come from seemingly nowhere such as Black Stacey by Saul Williams I have looked in the direction of the sound thinking that something was there and I’ve also thought that my speakers were on due to the illusion of space that the K702s provide. These headphones present as if you are about in the middle range of seats of a concert – still close enough to feel intimate, but not slammed against your ears like a Grado headphone would be.


Now onto detail retrieval. Every little thing is exaggerated in these headphones. That part in your favourite symphony when the person in seat 6B sneezes? You can hear it. The violinists bow bouncing when he plays your favourite violin concerto? You can hear that too.  The little bit of vocal distortion that Adam Lazzara from Taking Back Sunday does on his vocals before he starts a phrase? You can hear that and it stands out in spectacular fashion. This is why it is extremely important to provide a sufficient amp and dac to these headphones. If you feed them garbage they will absolutely eat it alive. If you reward them with a good source and amp, it will pay dividends. These would be fantastic headphones to use as studio monitors because they are near neutral (other than a small treble peak) and it is very easy to zone in on individual parts due to the presentation.


As far as frequency response related things go


Treble: It’s a bit bright and can occasionally be fatiguing but that’s the beauty of these headphones. It’s insanely crisp and clear making cymbals sound wonderful and the upper registers of string instruments really pop. If you’re a classical fan, these are the headphones for you. If you find the treble bright, tubes are your best friend. I know some purists hate anything that distorts sound but as explained before, they provide some extra musicality and can really tame the treble to make it entirely non fatiguing and less bright if that’s what you’re after.


Mids: Some people will disagree with me, but natural is the first thing that comes to mind. As a violinist, these headphones produce the sound that is closest to what comes to my ears when playing of the headphones that I have.  Vocals sounds amazing as well and have a wonderful slightly airy presentation that isn’t dark or bright. As far as what they sound like, they don’t sound like an actual voice but that isn’t the fault of the headphones — it’s that you can hear the production  methods so well that it becomes apparent what methods were used to mic the recording and what work was (or wasn’t) done to clean them up. The detailed aspect of these headphones dominates how they sound at every stage.


Bass: This is where a lot of people complain about these headphones and I’m inclined to chalk it up to bad amping. From my Fiio E9 and Little Dot I+ when I owned them, bass was light and subpar. However on my O2 and Project Ember you can feel a solid kick from bass which makes these things perfectly fine to listen to rap and electronic with. In fact, I love them for those genres due to the fact that the soundstage and neutral presentation which is lacking on most headphones that are traditionally recommended for the genres provides a very different look at them. These extend very very low and instead of being bloated, the bass is extremely tight and snappy. As far as general speed goes, these are the fastest headphone that I own and it shows very strongly in the bass end of things.


As far as recommendations of what to listen to these with, anything goes. I find them to be an excellent choice for classical as that is where their detail shines most but don’t hesitate to turn to these for rock, rap and anything else.


If you're interested in reading more from me, I have a blog here http://musicandlistening.wordpress.com/

post #186 of 363
I'll add to the above post by saying that they sound great on the end of a Schiit Lyr...
post #187 of 363

Hello Fellow 702 Owners,


The purpose of this post is to describe a quandary with the K702s. The post will be longer than some.


First, about me, rest assured I am not an audio snob:


I am a 'big rig' refugee, having some $14K or so invested in speakers (VMPS RM30s, Von Schweikert VR4 GENIIIs) and associated amplification, sources, etc. My new home doesn't have an adequate listening room, and I am tired of chasing perfection in a room-based audio system (doing it 'right' costs serious $$$). All of it will be sold.


I've been a casual headphone listener for a few years, using a Xonar STX driving AT ATH-AD700s fed by JRiver (loving HI-RES PCM). I like headphones; the accuracy, detail and 'musicality' appeal to my audiophile nervosa. This led me to search for a reasonably priced and satisfying headphone setup:


AKG K702s (days of research led to this choice).

Schiit Lyr (l like tubes, and have many 6DJ8s, 6N23Ps and 6922s to play with, good reviews with 702s).

Schiit Bifrost Uber (SPDIF fed from the STX)


I like the above setup very much. The 702s were added this past Monday, and have been running music or pink noise for nearly 72 hours. Don't stop reading, this isn't a break-in bitch thread; the 702s sound excellent. In fact, the entire setup is very, very good. The Bifrost is particularly surprising; awesome deal. The pads on the 702s are a bit firm for my taste, but no biggie.


Now, my 'problem'; my 702s are of Chinese manufacture, which is not what I expected. Before anyone clubs me, please understand I own Chinese gear; an integrated amp and a modified Lite DAC60. This is not about China, its people, or like debates; it's about me feeling cheated and wondering if I'm missing anything. I DO believe Austrian manufacture superior to Chinese manufacture. Call me anal, conservative, perhaps prejudiced; don't call me racist.


The first clue was the 'Made in China' sticker on the smooth (no bumps) headband. I assumed that meant the headband was made in China. Today, I decided to investigate further, and found that my 702s don't have 'Made in Austria' on the earpieces. The picture from the site where they were purchased does, and there are bumps on the headband. I also found direct references to AKG (cough, cough, HARMAN) moving production to China.


Given the above, I've considered:


Keeping the 702s.

Buy used 702s.

Return the 702s and buy Annies or K712s (I like the orange).


I don't have a problem paying an extra $200 or so for either of the above. My issues with them are sonic descriptions: more bass, less air and the like. Admittedly, impressions of the K712 are scant. I read posts and watched a video review by that Headphone Samurai dude.


I don't want to lose air, and find the K702s bass deep enough and very accurate. No, they don't bust-a-gut like my big speakers pushed by 400 watts, but it's good.


So, what to do?


I'm miffed, don't usually ask for advice (I've read Head-Fi for years and posted only three times or so), and want to make a decent choice.


Thanks, All.

Edited by PassiveO - 8/15/13 at 10:05pm
post #188 of 363

Yeah, wow. Mine must be old stock. I've had mine for three months, and my K702's are made in Austria...

post #189 of 363
The first clue was the 'Made in China' sticker on the smooth (no bumps) headband. I assumed that meant the headband was made in China. Today, I decided to investigate further, and found that my 702s don't have 'Made in Austria' on the earpieces. The picture from the site where they were purchased does, and there are bumps on the headband. I also found direct references to AKG (cough, cough, HARMAN) moving production to China.


Yeah, PassiveO... I'm in exactly the same boat as you are, except with the Q701.  Same sticker, same lack of "Made in Austria".  I really want to believe that there aren't any differences between the China-produced models and the made-in-Austria ones, but I've seen no comparisons thus far on Head-fi.  It seems as though Harman/AKG -just- switched production to China.


I'd be curious to know what path you end up going.

post #190 of 363
@Darkdork.. I emailed the AKG distributor in Australia, and he said to me that all the Q701's were made in Austria, whether they had the sticker or not. Now there could be a case of him being full of s*** but you would hope it was a reliable source!!!
post #191 of 363

Maybe your distributor is correct. Here is a review from a guy who purchased 702s a different set later:


This review is from: AKG K702 Headphones (Electronics)

I bought these about 4 months back and was very impressed.

Yes, the bass is at a lower level compared to some heavy bass sets, but none of the bass is missing. They have an excellent reproduction of the entire range.

My issue started though about 3-4 weeks after getting them when a rattle started in the right side at certain bass frequencies. This became worse and very noticeable, so I finally got around to having them replaced. (was away for a while before this, hence the delay).

Just received my new headset, only to find it is now made in China. Basically any review that says they are from Austria is now outdated. My last set were Austrian made, and there is a difference in the quality.

I will be honest, if you did not see them side by side you may not notice, but the detail has been lost (especially in the headband which is a major downgrade, even though it superficially looks the same)

As for the sound...

Well this too has suffered. Again, the Chinese made ones are still good by any standard, but they have lost their real edge. As I have the replacement from Amazon I can test them side by side.

For me they are comfortable, sound great and are still an awesome pair of headphones. But they have gone downhill, which is a shame. And they are now made in China but still cost the same price.

For me it is that tiny edge of difference between the Austrian and Chinese made sets that justify the price difference compared to other sets.

All I can say is shame on you AKG.

Edited by PassiveO - 8/16/13 at 7:08pm
post #192 of 363

I've ordered a pair of Annies to try, even though the reviewed differences from the 702 don't thrill me. I'll post impressions-comparisons next week.

post #193 of 363

Wow! Have the Annies on my head at work (no tunes here) and they are MUCH, MUCH more comfortable. The 702s I have are large, but fit very tight across the top of the head. The Annies are not tight, presumably because the elastic is of lower tensile. The headband is also narrower.


They appear to be better built. I'll post build comparisons and sound comparisons after about 100hrs of break-in.

post #194 of 363

No need to wait 100 hours. The Annies smoke the chinese production 702s. The same differences apply. I.E. Annies have slightly less air, which leads to perception of a slightly smaller soundstage. Reports tie this to the pads, which on the 702s are angled. Folks say the Annies are also 'warmer', which is true.


However, what I've not read in any comparison is the Annies have better resolution over a 702. I.E. better retrieval of detail without sounding harsh. Compared to the 702s of chinese manufacture, the Annies are much more articulate and relaxed. Some call this more 'musical.'

Posts suggest this could be due to break-in. However, the 702s do have 125 hours on them between pink noise and music, so:


The 702s go back and I keep the Annies; the extra $110 is worth it.



post #195 of 363

Since I've got the SPL phonitor I'm not so much active here on the forum, in a way I've just got to my audio nirvana. k701smile.gif The Auditor will do a great job as well, I think you guys should try this combo.

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