Did not get a chance to do some heavy listening comparing the HD700s but immediate observations were quite enlightening.
"Way back when".. on these forums AKG and Sennheiser were more or less diametrically opposed, the K501s and HD580/600s were two flavors of the day, Grado being a third..... the advent of the K701s and HD650s made this opposition even more so.
Not to go into the attributes of each as there’s more than a decade of that on the forums, but here I am today with the Sennheiser HD700s and AKG K712s and damned if these two offerings do not share more similarities than differences, but in a nut shell the AKG now has bass-deep bass and has become much warmer while the 700s have shed the Senn veil and are crisper and clearer.
Appears that both manufactures in their strides to appease the masses have come head to head with similar offerings, at least when it comes to overall sound.
Without critical listening both phones could by many sound the same, but Sennheiser have put a lot of R&D into the HD700s, especially with regards to the head cup/baffle design and the driver integration and IMHO the results are rewarding with regards to staging and image placement, this of course coming from a speaker guy.
AKG pioneered angled placement with the K701s pads (not to mention the K1000s, another kettle of fish), but never could really hear the difference and the cup/baffle design has been used forever with minor modifications and then there are now the new memory foam pads.
The 700s for me also have slightly better attack and decay, snares having a wonderful snap and bass notes are a little tighter and central images are less recessed. But the K712s as I noted earlier are no slouch either, running off the Bryston BHA-1 they are a lot less warm sounding than when I first heard them paired with the 25-30 year old receiver mentioned above, bass was also better controlled as was focus and detail but not quite the linearity of the HD700s.
Without direct comparisons and depending on associated equipment IMHO it would be a coin toss as to which is the better phone.
There are differences but they’re close so I’m sort of torn if I’ll keep both, the biggest deterrent for the K712s is the 3 pin XLR as I much prefer the added 6dB gain using balanced as single ended, depending on source, the volume control can get maxed out on the Bryston BHA-1.
The K712s need major surgery for the conversion, unlike my K701s, K501s and DF240s, although I’ve spent a special request to AKG service to if one can get the left cover “without” the mini xlr socket installed and either install a 4 pin mini XLR or even better…hard wired.
Edited by Rob80b - 8/20/14 at 8:25am