AKG Q701 Vs. AKG K702
Gear used for testing
HRT Music Streamer II -> Matrix M-Stage
Gaming: Astro MixAmp 5.8 -> Matrix M-Stage
- 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 and lower mids are different. More fullness, body, and impact on the Q's. About the equivalent of a standard bass boost.
- 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.
- 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".
- 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.
- 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.
Edited by chicolom - 2/16/13 at 9:28am