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AKG Q701 Vs. AKG K702 | Comparison & Review

post #1 of 386
Thread Starter 

Q701 & K702.jpg

AKG Q701  Vs.  AKG K702

 

Gear used for testing

 

HRT Music Streamer II  -> Matrix M-Stage

Gaming:  Astro MixAmp 5.8 -> Matrix M-Stage

 

 

Quick comparison

 

  • These are obviously similiar souding (but NOT the same sounding) headphones.
  • Q701 has as warmer overall sound.  It sounds fuller where K702 sounds a little colder and thinner. 
  • K702 sounds a little more dry, sterile, and fast, where Q701 has a bit of "wet" ambience like a semi open headphone.
  • Q701s have a more body and impact in the bass and lower mids.
  • Soundstage and imaging appear nearly the same. 

 

 

I got the K702s because I was curious how they compared to the Q701.  I had seen very few people who own or have owned both at the same time.  Some people said they sounded identical and some said they're different.  I wanted to find out for myself.  I went into it expecting to either keep the K702s if they did some things better than the Q701, or sell them if they didn't.  For me it's the latter.

 

The verdict is: these two headphones I have here are NOT the same sounding.  They are are clearly different.  It's not placebo.  You don't have to listen "closely" to hear it, it's pretty obvious after you switch between them the first few times.  I was actually expecting them to sound closer than they do.

 

Consider the "K70x is identical to Q701" myth BUSTED!  K70x ≠ Q701.  At least not for these pairs.  It may be that older pairs will sound different and AKG could be slowly updating all AKG x70x to sound the same.  No one knows for sure...

 

I even swapped the grill caps and put the foam inserts the Q701s have into the K702, but it didn't help.  Something else is changing the sound.  It could be internal damping, or it could be Quincy Jones sprinkled magical dust on them....

 

When I got the Q701s, the sound I was expecting is the sound these K702s are giving me now.  I kept saying how surprised I was that people could call the Q701s thin and bass light.  Hearing the K702s, I can see how those statements would apply.  But having come from the Q701s first, I was really confused as they weren't NOT thin sounding.

 

I can definitely see how K702 owners would wish for a little fuller sound/more impact in bass and overall sound, and in that respect Q701s truly seem like an upgrade/fix.  If you just don't like the K702 signature in general, Q701s won't fix that.  It's essentially the same signature, just tuned to be fuller and slightly warmer sounding.  If you wished for more low end, midrange body, and overall fuller/punchier sound....then yes I think the Q's fix some of that.

 

If your someone who has tried the K701 or K702 and found them to sound slightly thin and cold and wished they were a little fuller and warmer sounding with better bass, I recommend you give the Q701s a try.  If I had K702s and actually knew how the Q's sounded in comparison, I would absolutely go through the trouble of selling the K's and picking up the Q's instead.   They sound like improved/re-tuned K702s to me.

 

 

It's possible that these K702 may improve slightly as they burn-in.  My experience with my Q701 however, makes me doubt that.  My Q701 sounded great out of the box - the bass was fine.  I never once thought they were thin sounding, as I do with these K702 here.  I also haven't noticed any changes with my Q701 since I've owned them and put over 100 hours on them, so I don't put much faith in burn-in.

 

 

Bass

 

  • Bass and lower mids are different.  More fullness, body, and impact on the Q's.  About the equivalent of a standard bass boost. 

 

Mids

 

  • Q701 mids are fuller overall, slighlty warmer, and have more body.
     
  • The K702 upper mids sound slightly boosed in comparison to Q701.  They are colder and thinner sounding.

 

 

Treble

 

  • Slightly smoother sounding on the Q701.  Detail is the same, but K702s treble is slightly emphasized, whereas Q701 are slightly warmer souding. Very close though...
     
  • The thinner sound of the K702s make the treble seem more dominant in the overall  signature.  The Q701s have more bass and lower mids to fill up the sound which makes the treble "fall in line".
     

 

Soundstage

 

  • Nearly identical soundstage and imaging.

 

  • The variation in the signatures can make them sound slightly different.  Usually lighter sounding headphones (K702) can sound like their soundstage is bigger.  The warmer weightier sound of the Q701s can make objects sound closer sometimes.  If you listen closely they're nearly the same though.

 

 

Gaming (with Dolby Headphone)

 

  • Again, nearly identical in imaging when gaming.  The Q's are more enjoyable and fun sounding IMO due to the fuller sound with added bass.

 

 

Closing thoughts

 

  • Driveability appears to be nearly the same, except the K702 sounds slightly quieter because of the thinner signature.
     
  • The cable and pads are identical.

 

  • I'm not sure how AKG "tuned" the Q's to sound like this, but it worked.  It does fix some of the issues I've seen people mention having with the K's.
     
  • I still think K702 are a good headphone.  It's just the Q701 is better IMO and at the same price (in the US at least).  It has a more bass, a fuller punchier sound, and the same soundstage.  The Q701 sounds more "natural" to me.  I prefer the timbre of acoustic instruments through it.

 

 

Gallery

 

 

Q701 K702 (1).jpgcables.jpg
Q701 K702 (5).jpgQ701 K702 (4).jpg
K702 Driver.jpgQ701 Driver.jpg

IMG_3386rs.jpgIMG_3385rs.jpg


Edited by chicolom - 2/16/13 at 9:28am
post #2 of 386

Thanks for your review...  I had the Q701s, ended up having to return those as those to amazon.... One of the plastic snubs on the side that held the clear piece on the headband broke off 2 weeks after i got them...

 

I ended up getting the K701s, partly because I was curious how they compared to the Q701s, while I also like the looks a lot more... Right out of the box, I think the build quality is a little better... My Q701's headband never retracted smoothly (maybe part of the reason that the part broke off), and there was a large gap where the strings went down into where the driver is, the headband also seemed really uncomfortable to me even when fully extended... The K701 has no gaps, and the headbands retracted smoothly, while it also seemed to extend more and Im no longer uncomfortable... The K701 i got is the newer version with 8 bumps on the headband..

 

Now this is just from memory, but I couldnt tell much in the the difference in sound... My other favorite pair of cans now is the HFI 780s,I didnt think the Q701 was bass light, and it seems to me that the K701 is not bass light either.. But without them side by side it would be hard to compare..

 

Anyway, Im definitely keeping the K701s :)

post #3 of 386

I swear, just the other day I was looking for a comparison between these two specifically. Nice write up.

 

Also, great picture. The Q's definitely look better! I've been wanted to see them both side by side.

 

BTW, I like your review title as well. It's identical to how I title my reviews. rolleyes.gif

post #4 of 386
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nsx280ps View Post

Thanks for your review...  I had the Q701s, ended up having to return those as those to amazon.... One of the plastic snubs on the side that held the clear piece on the headband broke off 2 weeks after i got them...

 

I ended up getting the K701s, partly because I was curious how they compared to the Q701s, while I also like the looks a lot more... Right out of the box, I think the build quality is a little better...

 

Now this is just from memory, but I couldnt tell much in the the difference in sound... My other favorite pair of cans now is the HFI 780s,I didnt think the Q701 was bass light, and it seems to me that the K701 is not bass light either.. But without them side by side it would be hard to compare..

 

Anyway, Im definitely keeping the K701s :)

 

Nice.  That's too bad about your Q701.  The K701 are pretty classy looking IMO.  I like the leather headband color.

 

The Q701 and K702 build quality feels identical to me.  The K701 might be sturdier.  This K702 serial number is over 20xxx which I assume is quite recent.
 

I think the bass on K702 is pretty neutral actually, but I'm not a basshead and others would probably call it "bass light".  Side bye side compared to the Q701, it is lighter in bass for sure.

 

post #5 of 386
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katun View Post

I swear, just the other day I was looking for a comparison between these two specifically. Nice write up.

 

Also, great picture. The Q's definitely look better! I've been wanted to see them both side by side.

 

BTW, I like your review title as well. It's identical to how I title my reviews. rolleyes.gif



LOL, You weren't kidding!!  They really are identical.  I must have picked that up subconsciously from one of your threads tongue_smile.gif

 

Thanks for the comment on the pic  [ Don't look to closely or you'll notice I left out the top two screws from my m-stage :o ]


Edited by chicolom - 2/8/12 at 9:32pm
post #6 of 386
Quote:
Originally Posted by chicolom View Post

LOL, You weren't kidding!!  They really are identical.  I must have picked that up subconsciously from one of your threads tongue_smile.gif

 

Thanks for the comment on the pic  [ Don't look to closely or you'll notice my m-stage missing it's top two screws :o ]


Yeah, it really is a nice picture. I'm talking stuff like sharpness and composition as well.

 

I always suspected they tweaked the Q701 sound just a bit. And looks like they knew right where to do it.

 

Hmm, I really didn't notice those screws. *now scanning picture for other hidden artifacts*. Say, what's that on your Q701?

 

post #7 of 386
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katun View Post


Yeah, it really is a nice picture. I'm talking stuff like sharpness and composition as well.

 

I always suspected they tweaked the Q701 sound just a bit. And looks like they knew right where to do it.

 

Hmm, I really didn't notice those screws. *now scanning picture for other hidden artifacts*. Say, what's that on your Q701?

 



Thanks.  That's a headphone tumor. 

 

wink.gif  It's the base for this http://www.modmic.com/

      I use them for gaming.

post #8 of 386

Thanks for the comparison. About the same with my experience with the Q701 and K702 too.

I remember back months ago everyone and their brother said they're the same, but I wanted to know for sure.

Expected to sell the Q701 immediately but kept them and had zero complaints since I had them. For the first week I didn't want to take them off my head.

I always said that the Q701 to me felt like a K702 that was improved by about 10%. Don't ask me how, but it fixed every single one of my issues I had with the K702.

 

The treble on the K702, even after 100 hours of use really bothered me and it wasn't due to bad recordings. It kind of ruined the experience and I even tried multiple amps and sources.

The Q701 never bothers me really at all. Maybe I'm just more sensitive to most with specific frequencies. Some won't have any issues with the K702's treble. I did. Same amp and everything.

 

I do feel the soundstage is a bit different on my pair, but doesn't matter much. The soundstage on the Q701 I have with any amp never feels huge, which is a plus.

I clearly remember always play games with the K702 and the soundstage would be so massive and everything way too distant at times.

Almost not accurate at all. This is one reason I preferred the K601 over the K702.

Even in specific music, I always felt the soundstage was just so abnormally huge. Smaller than the Ad700 and K501 though.

 

When I got the Q701 I had no issues at all with gaming. Sometimes I'm now even fooled into thinking the K601 has a larger soundstage than the Q701. Weird.

 

Right now the Q701 and my HD-598 are my favorites. Q701 is still not too forgiving with bad recordings, so that's when I can use my HD-598. They're a good pair for me.

 

post #9 of 386
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdockweiler View Post


I do feel the soundstage is a bit different on my pair, but doesn't matter much. The soundstage on the Q701 I have with any amp never feels huge, which is a plus.

I clearly remember always play games with the K702 and the soundstage would be so massive and everything way too distant at times.



Was this with your micro amp or your asgard?  Thinner sounding headphones give the impression of having larger soundstage in my experience.  If you listen closely back and forth between the two, the sounds seems to actually come from the same spot.

post #10 of 386
Just wanna chime in.

I agree with Chico. The Q701 is certainly not the same as the K701. Fuller sounding, slightly more enjoyable punch to the bass, non-grating treble.

Like tdock said, I too had an issue with the treble on the K701, and not the Q701. Its ironic, as even the polarizing treble on the DT990 didn't bother me the way the K701s did. Something about the way its presented that irritated me. I had zero enjoyment with them for music, where the Qs are very enjoyable. Still lacking sub bass, but everything else is an A+ for me for the price.

Like Chico, I too feel soundstage normally sounds bigger with thinner sounding headphones. Bass tends to restrict soundstages for me. I still feel the AD700 has a neverending soundstage, I bet because of its distinct lack of lower end.
post #11 of 386

http://www.akg.com/mediendatenbank2/psfile/datei/4/k70248b2a8664eaf0.pdf

http://www.akg.com/mediendatenbank2/psfile/datei/34/Q7014ccfcf894bb82.pdf

 

as far as i can tell, it's just the grid cover (8) that's a bit bigger and the Q label (22).

 

i'm very skeptical of the magnitude of difference you hear. did you ABX them? shouldn't be too hard since they should feel the same on your head.


Edited by bellsprout - 2/9/12 at 1:10am
post #12 of 386
There's also apparently some added padding behind the circle where the Q is?

I didn't didn't directly ABX them but I distinctly remember the K701 sound which I didn't care for at all outside of gaming. The Q701 was immediately impressive. Chicolom however did ABX them, and I wholeheartedly agree with his assessment.

So either the earlier batch of Q701s didn't have any difference from the K702, but the newers had a revision of sorts. Not unheard of in the headphone game. I had a pair of DT770/600s that had the sloppiest bass I've ever heard, even coming from the DT770 Pro 80. The 770/600s that were praised, were considered bass light. Certainly the opposite of what I heard.
post #13 of 386

I can confirm that they did add the foam pads behind the grille on the Q701s only, not on the K701, as per the pic below...

I wonder if they changed the K701s throughout the production runs with the new 8 bump headband, as my I am enjoying my new K701s just as much sound quality wise... My serial no. is 70xxx, so they must be pretty recent.

 

DSC_0042.jpg

 

 

 

 

post #14 of 386

It's nice to see a good direct comparison of these. I somehow missed the Q701 until last night. Of course the K's are famous and I considered them when I ended up getting my AD900 and I've always wondered which I'd prefer. I really like my AD900, so I haven't had regrets yet.

 

That said, I discovered the Q701 last night and the slight changes seem like they might suit my tastes rather well and I really like the green version for some reason. I had been planning on selling a pair of headphones anyway, but now it looks like I might end up "wasting" that money on getting the Q701.

post #15 of 386
I wonder how the K272HD/271 MKII sounds. They look like closed 701/702s....
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