Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy
SHE HAS A NAME.
Does she now? Pray tell.
Originally Posted by Chris J
What's the big whooop about it?
It's yet another re-re-re-re-re-re-release of the same headphone they've been making for the last ~7 years.
Originally Posted by cactus_farmer
Mad Gear Lust, if you're going to continue referring to the Anniversary edition of the K701 as the 'AKG Annie' outside of this thread, I think you're going to have to explain yourself every time.
Originally Posted by davidsh
Mad Lust, how does it compare to the HE-500, then? Actually, I tought the anniversary edition had the same drivers...
AKG reports different pads and headband (apparently almost a decade of non-stop complaining by almost everyone who has used the K701/K702/Q701/etc in contrast to *ahem* every other AKG headphone ever made *DOES* make a difference); the pads by themselves should result in some legitimate differences, but I doubt it's anything to justify triple the price. I know with my 701s, near the end, they got relatively sweeter and smoother which I'd attribute to the pads finally "breaking in" (they were rock-hard out of the box, and after YEARS of regular usage, including washing them a time or two, they finally were softening) and moving the driver placement. If they've finally figured out that rock-hard pads + bumpy headband isn't what most people want (isn't there an FG sketch that rips on this? oh yeah! the "every pizza place making a salad" one!), that's a good thing, but it really makes me question how interested in "research and development" Harman actually is.
And lest anyone think that I'm saying anything bad about the 701 as a headphone - I'm not. They're a fantastic headphone and they unfortunately caught a bad rap a few years ago as "wannabe" and "mid-fi" because AKG doesn't strictly enforce MSRP (along with all of the dragon-slaying myths). Sure, there are "better" headphones, but most of them cost 2-4x as much, and even then you're still usually talking about picking at nits. They very much are hitting the wall of diminishing returns. What I'm annoyed with is Harman being Harman (which is nothing new) - they had a good product in the K701, and they decided that wasn't good enough, and that it needed to be (at once) an audiophile headphone, a studio monitor, Beats, and now an ultra-luxury flagship (like the ATH-W series). If the AE (that does seem to introduce some confusion with Bose; and calling them ANV would make them easily confused with ATH-W series cans) really have improved the headband and pads and so on, again that's a good thing, but don't sit there and tell me ~200,000 units and ~7 years is what it took to figure that kind of stuff out (that should've been figured out in the initial R&D stage, you know, where they claim to have spent years and millions of money to solve problems exactly like that
As far as the 701 and their midrange - they're good, but not great. The soundstage is too wide and it creates trouble for the midrange. As John Grado reportedly said a few years ago (speaking about the GS-1000 if I recall correctly),when designing a headphone you can either have intimate and engaging mids, or a wide soundstage, but not both. And by and large, even if he didn't say it, I would agree with that claim. The 701 unfortunately fit into the later category - they have a wide soundstage, and as a result don't have intimate and engaging mids. Sure, they have good mids, and they have clean mids, and I'm sure someone will say "no but it's a ruler from 100 to 1k (or whatever other arbitrary points) - PROOF!" (
) - but that's only one aspect of the overall design. Radiation is a big deal that almost nobody talks about. It matters for speakers, and it matters for headphones. The real trick that the 701 pull off is having as good of a mid-range as they do, despite their very large soundstage. Especially for the money (they are probably the best overall performer for the money today; there are a few cans that have gone out of production in the last year or two that cost around what the 701 do, and I would contend they are competitive if not slightly better in some regards, but none of them are made anymore). It still doesn't change the fact that they have a wide soundstage, and that gets in the way of "perfect" mids - there's only one headphone I've ever heard that will begin to challenge Grado's claim on intimate mids and a wide-soundstage (the Sony MDR-F1, if anyone feels like digging up history), and they are not without flaws - they also are (if I'm remembering ancient marketing literature and the original revision of their owner's manual correctly) the result of Sony (and not modern "broke as a joke" Sony, 1990s "ocean of money" Sony) putting their R&D know-how into solving that problem. Every follow-up that Sony has attempted (and I haven't heard the newest MA900) has tried to address the F1's various flaws, and ultimately ends up more closely re-creating the K701's problems than improving on the F1 (which leads me to believe the F1 represent a very real "wall" for designers).