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Mad Lust Envy's Headphone Gaming Guide: (3/18/2016: MrSpeakers Ether C 1.1 Added) - Page 760

post #11386 of 38374
Thread Starter 

K702 65th Anniversary Edition

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), quality = 80

Sells for $400-$500

Review (Click to show)
The K702 65th Anniversary Edition. Limited to 3000 units worldwide, sold at a premium, with a new headband, memory foam pads, gunmetal-like color scheme, and supposed retuning of the hand-picked drivers. I found the name to be a mouthful, so I decided to call it the K702 Annie, or just Annie. Thankfully, the name stuck on Head-fi. So from here on out, I'll be calling it the Annie.

Bass: Sound-wise, this is the most significant change coming off the older models. The Annie presents bass quite well. You can consider it slightly above neutral. Natural if the source doesn't have a need for bass, and quite full and involving when the need for bass is there. There were times where I found them to have more bass than even the HE-400. Overall, it certainly does not, but make no mistake, the bass can be quite full, layered, textured, and infectious.

What it improves over the Q701 is that the bass is no longer situational. It doesn't just hit with really bass heavy songs. It hits at all times, in a very natural way. Put on a bassy track, movie, game, etc, and the Annie WILL impress bass-wise. Make no mistake. I always found the Q701 and especially the old K701 to be slightly below neutral, bass-wise. The bass would decay too quickly, and wouldn't hit with enough energy to give a sense of naturality. No longer an issue with the Annie. Unless you're a basshead, I don't think there will be much to complain about here. If you like accurate, yet full bass, the Annie will impress. They are also absolutely stellar for movies in Dolby Headphone.

Mids: The mids on the K701/K702/Q701 have always been forward. However, due to the very large soundstage, they didn't come across as intimate. That large sense of space made the mids seem pushed back, even though they were actually forward in the mix compared to the bass and treble. The Q701's extra push in bass over the old K701 filled out the sound more, making the mids more natural than before. The Annie further improves on the mids by integrating them even more with the bass and treble. Due to the fuller, warmer sound signature, the mids are still forward, but not as distant due to a thicker sound. The mids are an absolute strength on the Annies. They remind me mostly of the HD650's mids, albeit with less intimacy due to the bigger soundstage. The HD650's strength is in the intimate mids due to a smaller, more closed in soundstage, placing the mids quite near you. The Annie's mids aren't HD650 special, but still fantastic.

The older models had some form of upper mid peak that caused some fatigue with certain music and the like. I personally have not heard any upper mid peak on the Annie, leading me to believe that the stronger bass, and warmer tone fleshed out and softened that peak to non-fatiguing levels. In this instance, the Annie shows what the Q701 would be like when perfected.

Treble: The treble to me, has been a strength for both the Q701 and Annie. Both are detailed, yet smooth, still packing energy without being fatiguing. As mentioned before, the fatiguing area of the older AKGs was in the upper mids, and not the treble.

Soundstage: Oh, that soundstage. The K and Q models have all been known to have some truly immense soundstage width, and good depth. The Annie follows suit with equally large soundstage, despite the overall sound being thicker which further integrates sound cues with the soundstage, making it not as apparently airy. Notice that I said 'not as airy', and not 'smaller'. This is both a pro and con. The thinner sounding K701 (old) had an incredible sense of air due to the thinner notes, which were't full sounding in comparison. This made notes easier to pick up, despite not sounding as natural as the Q701 and especially the Annie. What all this means, is that sound effects on the Annie occupy more of the space around you in comparison to the older models, for an overall meatier/weightier sound.

Positioning: Though I discussed the thicker body of sound making the soundstage not as airy as the old K701 and to a lesser extent, the Q701, positional cues were not hampered in any way. This means that you can expect god tier performance with Dolby Headphone. Lots of space for positional cues to do their magic, and I mean MAGIC. Surely among the best that I have reviewed.

Clarity: The Annie's warmer, less immediately detail oriented sound signature compared to the older models does not mean they lack clarity. The Annie is a very revealing headphone, just as the Q701 is, though it shifts the focus a bit more towards musicality. The Annie is in a place that reaps the benefits of both warmth and detail focus, though if you put it next to the old K701, then yes, it will come off as less detailed, as you're not assaulted with a mostly dry, and analytical sound signature.

Amping: As with the older models, the Annie is very sneaky in terms of amping requirements. It needs minimal amping to play loudly, but the AKGs are notorious for craving as much power as 600ohm headphones. The Q701 was the most amp reliant headphone I had ever heard, and changed the most out of any Dynamic headphone I ever heard and reviewed here. You will get away with moderate amping, but believe me, you will be doing a disservice to all the Ks and Qs by skimping out on amping. If you're gonna spend this much money on these headphones, you shouldn't feed it weak power, IMHO. They will reward you. The Annie is definitely the easiest of the models to power in terms of sounding good, but they still want power. Still, if you absolutely can't do with much amping, the Annie sounds quite full and refined off lesser equipment compared to the other models.

Build Quality: Made of a durable plastic, and well thought out design, I find the build quality to be quite good. I wouldn't toss them around haphazardly, but they'd definitely survive some abuse. The detachable cable is like the non-Anniversary models, which isn't the thickest I've seen, but certainly very malleable, flexible, and light. It certainly does it's job, though I would have expected a more rugged, or fancier cable for this very limited edition variant.

Compared to the non-Anniversary models of the K701/K702/Q701, the headband is thinner in width when viewed from the top/bottom, with a widening of the area where the AKG branding is located. The biggest difference (and it's incredibly significant), is that the underside of the headband no longer has the notorious (7-8) bumps, and is instead completely smooth. This basically turns the Annie from a torture device to a godsend in headband comfort. There is no padding, but it is absolutely unnecessary as the headband perfectly molds to your head, distributing pressure evenly across where it rests. The bumped headbands were notorious for digging into the scalp, especially on the center one or two bumps. Why it took AKG this long to rectify this issue the vast majority of people had is beyond me, but it's finally done.

The headband also has the added benefit of allowing bigger heads to fit due to less stiffness, and more space. Prior to the Annie, I basically needed the other models to be fully extended for them to fit my head. This caused a lot of tight, downwards pressure, which in addition to the hard bumps, didn't lead to the most comfortable headband design. It took me a few days to adjust to the older models, but I didn't find them as problematic as most people still do.

The pads are the second most significant change from the older models. They are made of memory foam inside velour. Very dense and molds to your head shape MUCH more than the older model pads. This causes a better seal, which is more than likely the main reason why the sound signature is warmer, and more bassy (though no consensus or proof that it either is or isn't what causes all the sonic difference between the older models). Other than those two main differences, the Annie is physically a rebadged K702.

Comfort: As previously mentioned, due to the new headband and new pads, the Annie has made a substantial boost in comfort over the older models. I would say that from what I've read, the K701/K702/Q701's comfort is hypothetically a 5/10 (for everyone else). The Annie, however would more than likely jump up to a 9/10 in comfort. Yes, the headband change is that significant. The removal of the dreaded bumps would basically satisfy ANYONE who had issues with them on the older models, and even those that don't have issues with the bumps.

The pads are arguable, as the older pads, while more firm, breathed a little easier than the new memory foam velours. In either case, neither are sweat inducing or uncomfortable, personally. I find the older models to be not as uncomfortable as most people would lead to believe, but the Annie provides a noticeable boost in comfort either way.

Accessories: Nothing but a 6.3mm adapter. Just the goods.

Isolation/Leakage: I don't know if it's just me, but even for a fully open headphone, I found these to not leak out as much as most open cans. I'm pretty sure it's due to the pads. The sound does not escape from the pads, but from the grills, and I find them to be pretty good at keeping sound in despite it's openness. I found the older models to leak out quite a bit more, more than likely due to the velour pads being a bit more breathable.

Value: At over $400, the Annie is a very tough sell, especially for those who own the later K702/Q701s (not sure on the newer K701). The non-Annies consistently sell for around $250. If you're fine with their sound signature and comfort, it's quite hard to recommend the Annie, despite the very obvious improvement in bass, comfort, and tonality. The Annie brings out what was lacking in the older models, for sure, but the jump in price may not be worth it to some. If you haven't owned any and can afford the Annie, I highly recommend jumping straight to the Annie, as they are clearly the best offering in the AKG lineup.

Final Impressions: In the Annie you have: very balanced, warm, detailed, spacious, god tier in positional cues, fun, engaging, and extreme comfort. If it sounds like I'm gushing about them, that's because I am. There is VERY little to complain about here. This is my idea of a perfected well balanced headphone. The only headphone I would prefer over the Annie is the D7000, which loses out on balance, in place of some truly awe-inspiring fun and musicality. Yes. The Annie is my 2nd favorite headphone ever, and due to it's comfort, musicality, and gaming prowess, the Annie would be my very first pick if I could only own one headphone.

Final Scores...

Fun: 8. Great. The bass is mildly above neutral to my ears, while still maintaining good accuracy, giving it the injection of fun that the other models lacked without being too emphasized to hamper it's overall well balanced signature. The soundstage paired with it's tonality, give it a great sense of immersion for ALL manners of gaming and movies, etc. I base this value on overall package, and not just bass emphasis. The Annie is one of the most impressive and fun headphones all around.

Competitive: 9.5. Amazing. Like the Q701, these are basically god tier, with a slight trade off of pure analytical detail-whoring, for an overall better balance between fun and competitive. Positional cues are just as good. There will not be any missed important sound effects or directional cues here.

Comfort: 9.5. Amazing. A significant leap in comfort compared to the older models due to the flat/smooth headband which allows for more extension. The memory foam velours contour to head shape incredibly well, and aren't sweat inducing like pleather/leather. The Annie is a light headphone as well. The only problem I foresee others having is that due to the size of the pads (like the older models), the pads may rest on the jaw which may cause some discomfort.

Edited by Mad Lust Envy - 1/28/13 at 8:22pm
post #11387 of 38374
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

Yes, but that's if I was using headphones that would be hurt by output impedance. The AKGs and planar magnetics really don't. I'd show the graphs from Innerfidelity, but the site is down.


Would anyone care to explain this to me? I still really don't understand much about impedance..

post #11388 of 38374

Nice Clarinet!!  LOL tongue_smile.gif  Should I even ask?


Good review, as usual - and as usual, It's all reading very promising for the anniversaries.  It sounds like they're going to holding onto a top spot in their bracket for quite some time.


After all it's NOT easy for a headphone to pull off the x70x caliber of soundstage, especially while sounding full. It's tricky, as the bassier and warmer a headphone sounds, the more it can hinder the soundstage size and performance.  AKG seems to have a knack for striking an impressive balance between the two though, and it sounds like it's something they've just further improved and refined with the anniversary.


I can see some headphones pulling off the signature, and maybe some pulling off the soundstage (less likely), but doing them both at the same time...that's seriously tough to beat.

Edited by chicolom - 1/29/13 at 2:08am
post #11389 of 38374
A well-written review Mad, certainly wish I could jump on this limited edition. On another note, I like the writing, but then you're starting to write like me: stream of conscious but takes a minute to make it's point. I write like this because I feel I need to qualify my analysis, and I'm sure many people lap up all the info they can whilst in the throes of desire, but just know sometimes less is more. I wouldn't know how biggrin.gif
post #11390 of 38374
Originally Posted by Fulch36 View Post

Hmmm, it is poorly worded but I would read that more as the output it can provide when used with headphones of a given impedance - i.e. with 8ohm headphones and a signal at 1kHz, the reciever can provide a 50mV output. The ellipsis represents the range of headphone impedances the reciever can drive (so from 8ohm headphones up to 560ohm). What this means for the impedance of the headphone jack I'm not entirely sure but if they are listing an output level for headphones as low as 8ohms then I would assume the impedance on the jack is nominal.


Again, I'm not entirely sure as I'm no expert but that's my interpretation. I believe Schiit used to provide info on the jack impedance of their amps in a similar manner until enough people complained about it.

Ah, interesting! That makes sense, I suppose. While I'm not entirely clear on what it all means, I know from practice that my AVR has more difficulty driving the HE-400s on its own than it did the DT990 Pros (250ohm).

post #11391 of 38374

Still think that someday you should try the K601 and add them to your list. Just to have heard it..

They're not as warm as the Q701 or Anniversary edition, but might have a tad more mid-bass. They also have less treble.

They have some of the best imaging of any headphone i've ever heard. They also don't have the detail of the Q701, but close.

They're actually warm compared to the K702!


I think they're one of the most underrated headphones ever for gaming. Someday I could loan them to you.


I also think you should give the Koss Pro DJ100 a try ($55!!). It has HD-650 quantity of bass and you might prefer it to the KSC75. It's dirt cheap too.

It's like a more aggressive sounding HD-650. More treble and more forward upper mids. Fairly well balanced. The bass extends pretty low and isn't that rolled off IMO.


Not really my idea of a true DJ headphone.


One of my favorite gaming headphones was the ATH-AD2000, but I won't go there.. biggrin.gif


Surprisingly I also loved the MDR-SA3000 for gaming, but it had really forward sounding mids. I got rid of it because it sounded so close to my K702 I had at the time.

post #11392 of 38374

I just won $700 at the casino (yay!) and now I'm looking to splurge as I have a ****ty usb headset (Corsair HS1).

I've been thinking about picking up the K702 Anni as a multimedia headphone (gaming, music, movie) after all the positive reviews but I had some concerns.


I've always used closed headphones up to now cuz i felt it would provide better immersion/keeping background sound out. Never used an open headphone before. Will going to the K702 (open headphone) be a huge difference? In MLE's review, he said that the K702's are great immersive headphones. Still true if there is some background house noise (4 university roommates...)?


Another reason I've stayed away from open headphones is because I need a mic for games. How bad is the leakage from K702's? Would it be hard to use with something like a mod mic?


I'll obviously need a sound card. Will the Essence STX be enough for the K702's?


Last question. I've also been thinking about the MMX 300. But I've read so many posts where people are saying that it isn't worth it as it is basically a DT770 with a mic. The MMX 300 costs the same as the K702... Has anyone tried both of them and can verify? Would the MMX 300 2012 facelift be the best closed headphone in the $400 price range?


Thanks so much in advance! This will be the first time I'm spending over $100 on a headphone setup, let alone around $700 (with sound card). I'm really expecting it turn my brain to mush and then make it implode from greatness. L3000.gif hehe

Edited by MadDogz - 1/29/13 at 11:52am
post #11393 of 38374
Sound leakage won't or shouldn't be a problem with a decent mic... Plenty of us use open headphones with clip on mics or stuff like the ModMic boom mic without issue. Sound leakage would seem like a whisper to the mic, at most. The STX should be a solid all-in-one choice if the Annies aren't any more demanding than my Beyers...

As far as background noise tho, if your roommates are horsing around or playing music/movies in the same room you'll clearly be able to hear them with any open headphone. Open headphones can immerse you in the sense that the bass can be powerful and the sound stage can make you feel like you're in the game world, but immersion is one thing and isolation another.

If you're in a constantly noisy environment you might simply need to opt for closed headphones (or two headphones, one open and one closed wink.gif ).The AKGs you're looking at and the DT 770/MMX 300 are very different sounding headphones, the 770's are considered pretty bass heavy even amongst closed headphones...

Closed headphones with good sound stage aren't very common tho. What kinda music/gaming are you into?
Edited by Impulse - 1/29/13 at 12:22pm
post #11394 of 38374

Thanks for the quick response

I don't particularly have one type of game that I play more than others. I play pretty much everything rpg, fps, mmo, single player action, everything gets their turn.


Hmm, I see what you mean about immersion and isolation.

There is pretty much some sort of noise always going on in the background throughout the day.
I might have to just get a closed headphone.
The MMX 300 makes me apprehensive since MLE's DT770 review was pretty mediocre.
Maybe the new MMX 300 2012 facelift 600ohm would be better but it's hard to find any info/reviews on it (that's not in german) right now.

Edited by MadDogz - 1/29/13 at 12:40pm
post #11395 of 38374
Wow, congrats!
First of all, the immersion factor kinda depends on how talkative and distracting your roommates are, with ANY headphone. IMO closed headphones don't cut out that much sound, and the AKG "semi-open" headphones, such as the k702 Anniversaries and the Q701 I have, actually leak out less than many other open headphones I have or have heard. Someone in the same room will hear them, but not anyone next door. Can you ignore them if you're playing with speakers? Keep in mind it'll be easier to understand game stuff because the Annies will sound very clear.

Worst case, you can use your current headphones if you need to close them out some.

The Asus Xonar Essence STX has an amp about as powerful as a FiiO E9, so you'll be off to a pretty great start and may be set for good. Since you have the money, I would also suggest you look into Creative's new Sound Blaster ZxR, it looks very impressive and has a few further surround capabilities over the Asus models. NamelessPFG is a good source of sound card info, but those are my recommendations to start looking at.

We have a MMX300 user (and big fan) who's been posting often here, he can tell you more about that, BUT as far as using an AKG with a Modmic or even a lapel mic, the open nature of the headphone is no problem. My friends have never been able to hear my game audio from my Q701s, it won't be a problem for you.

There are some great headphones around $100, but if you've never heard a good effort from an audiophile company before, you'll be very impressed with the Annies! Lucky son of a...

post #11396 of 38374
Thread Starter 
Wanna clarify that my DT770 review was for the 80 ohm which is very bass heavy, and a 600ohm which was unlike what I was led to believe about it being very neutral to slightly bass shy (like a closed Q701 or something). What I got was a very bass bloated headphone. I honestly should take that review out of the guide because I feel I got a dud.

The MMX300 (which is basically a 32ohm DT770) should have the amazing depth and positioning that I loved about the DT770 Pro 80, without the bass bleed. I'd love to try it out one day.
post #11397 of 38374
Well, the amount of noise that closed headphones can muffle or block out will vary largely from model to model and also depends on what you're actually playing thru them. For instance, my on-ear M-80 aren't the most isolating hp (being on ear rather than circumaural), but if I've got music playing at a decent volume they'll still easily block out most noise at an airport terminal or other public places.

I can still hear something that's intentionally louder than the background noise (like a PA announcement) but it sounds like mumbling unless I pause the music. On ear headphones that clamp harder than the M-80 can isolate nearly as much as some of the least isolating IEM (tho the average IEM still does a much better job of it), tradeoff's comfort.

With full sized closed headphones isolation comes down to how good a seal the pads create around your ear (pleather's obviously better at it, though not a must) and how well the cups themselves are sealed. Headphones like the CAL or Aviators are technically closed but don't isolate much because the cups aren't sealed at all.

With noisy roommates I think isolation would be a bigger issue than leakage... If they're just talking amongst themselves and it doesn't bother you to be aware of that, then open headphones could work regardless... Unless your game's particularly quiet you probably won't make out their conversation. Like I said before tho, if they're horsing around or playing music/movies over speakers at all hours you'll really want closed headphones.

Best Buy should have some open headphones to try out if you just wanna get a feel for how you perceive your surroundings with them on.
Edited by Impulse - 1/29/13 at 1:35pm
post #11398 of 38374
Thread Starter 
The Pro 900, DT770s, and obviously the MMX300 by extension are amazing at isolation. 3 velour padded headphones that do keep out noise quite well.
post #11399 of 38374
Originally Posted by MadDogz View Post

Thanks for the quick response

I don't particularly have one type of game that I play more than others. I play pretty much everything rpg, fps, mmo, single player action, everything gets their turn.


Hmm, I see what you mean about immersion and isolation.

There is pretty much some sort of noise always going on in the background throughout the day.
I might have to just get a closed headphone.
The MMX 300 makes me apprehensive since MLE's DT770 review was pretty mediocre.
Maybe the new MMX 300 2012 facelift 600ohm would be better but it's hard to find any info/reviews on it (that's not in german) right now.

mmx 300 user here :) 


Love mine! MLE's review of the dt770's was accurate in relation to the mmx's, except that his 770's must have been the "bass heavy" version. (He really hit it on the nose about how accurate the sound positioning is!)


I have no issues with the mmx's being too bassy at all. But then again, I am playing on the mixamp's "pro" setting, which eq's out most of the bass.

The 2013 a40 is an open headphone that I have experience with, and in comparison, I like the immersion and overall sound signature of the mmx's. 


So I am not sure how the annies would compare, but I didn't really like the a40's in a competitive use because of the fact that they are "open". I made a makeshift contraption (if you will) that sealed off the a40's, and they sounded ALOT better, imo. I could pick up on directional cues better and it became alot more "fun" to listen to.


I would definitely recommend the mmx's tho, because aside from sounding AMAZING, the mic is by far the best one I have ever tested. And i have used a wide variety of gaming headsets. My only gripe with the headset it the clamping pressure can get to you after a 3+ hours of playing. But I assume this could be alleviated by bending/stretching out the metal headband. 


let me know if you have any other questions

post #11400 of 38374
Originally Posted by SoAmusing777 View Post

Would anyone care to explain this to me? I still really don't understand much about impedance..


Hey man, here's a Sound + Vision article about amp output impedance (and headphone impedance in general) that's probably a much easier read than the links I PM'd you earlier. It's not as technical as some other articles on the matter and it glosses over a couple of facts but it IS technically accurate for the most part and the author uses some very good analogies.

Even the frequency response examples are very easy to follow and they perfectly illustrate why some headphones are more affected by an amp with high output impedance than others.

The only thing I don't really agree with is the conclusion, it makes it out to be a matter of taste to an extent... Which is fine, some people love high output impedance tube amps for these very reasons, but that makes sound reproduction a combination of your amp + headphones and anyone without the same exact amp won't hear the same thing even if they have the same headphones.

An amp with a low output impedance is less likely to impart it's own coloring to the sound so it's all up to your headphones to do that. Output impedance for speakers is sort of standardized for this reason (and the article touches on why it's never happened for headphones, it's practical and market reasons more than anything, not a technical hurdle).

Edit: An amp with high output impedance will also interact differently with various headphones whereas the low output impedance amp will be more consistent (or compatible if you will).

It's not, really a new concept, it's just been getting renewed attention as people demand more transparency from amp manufacturers and more companies jump into the game. Tyll was bemoaning the same exact situation over ten years ago on Head Fi:

Edited by Impulse - 1/29/13 at 5:13pm
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