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He 400 Upgrade over the K702?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Is the He 400 really a upgrade or just a side-grade over the K702?


I heard the only "real" upgrade of the K702 is the HD800, which does everything the AKG does, but better.


I only have a Modi + E12 setup, but i heard the HE 400 will be easy to drive.


Some authorized dealer on Ebay is offering me a BRAND NEW (factory sealed arrived 2 weeks ago) pair of He 400 for $300 with full factory warranty. (Great deal i know)

So my question is, is the HE 400 really worth the $300 upgrade over the K702?


I listen mainly to classical, instrumentals, and sometimes pop.

post #2 of 19
Thread Starter 



This is where i offered and got accepted from btw. There's still one left, so if you offered him $300, he'll probably take it.


I think it's a great deal for a brand new one with all full warranty. Just not sure if it's worth it since some people say it's mostly just a side grade.

post #3 of 19

I never understood the idea that the HD800 is like an upgraded K701/702. I've heard both on many setups and don't think they sound similar at all. Maybe there's some similar categories they both excel at, but I wouldn't say it's a lock that a K701 fan is going to like the HD800. I think it's more likely an HD650 fan would like the HD800. The K701 is a more urgent sounding phone, based on what I recall about the HD800. It brings a lot of life to something like the original Judas Priest Painkiller cd. The HD800 is significantly more laid back, if memory serves. Perhaps the upgraded opinion is more specific to certain types of music sounding better on the 800.

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hmm. Most people described to me that the HD 800 is just a better version of the K702. (Better soundstage depth, much more bass, and just overall better)


I suggest it's very subjective, like the rest of this hobby lol.


BTW, has anyone heard the HE 400 compared to the K702? It is a sidegrade or a upgrade?

post #5 of 19

I recently upgraded from the Q701 to HE-400 and I'll try to summarize. 

Bass -- So much better on the HE-400. It goes just as deep, if not deeper, hits much harder, and is faster. Even though it's faster, it's not necessarily "tighter," since the HE-400 has more midbass. I don't find the midbass bloated though. Overall, the bass has much more impact and more of a physical texture.  

Midrange -- More recessed compared to the Q701, but it has a fast, tactile edge that really sounds nice on distorted guiters and synths. More crunch. 

Highs -- Maybe not as extended as the Q701. The HE-400 are less bright overall, but there is a peak in the treble that gives it some sparkle (or fatigue, depending on how much you like highs). I thought the highs on the Q701 were smoother, but also more emphasized.

Soundstage/ Imaging -- The HE-400 have a smaller soundstage, but not by a large amount. I wouldn't call it small, just not huge like the Q701. However, the imaging is significantly better and more precise. I found the Q701s emphasized width but could also sound too diffuse. The HE-400 are more focused and 3D. You are closer to the music and the center image is denser. 

Detail -- A bit more detail through the HE-400. The Q701, with their brighter sound, can make small details louder and more obvious, but the HE-400 reveals more in the end. You have to listen more closely though. 

Overall, the HE-400 have more of a "v-shaped" signature, with a focused and precise soundstage that's moderately smaller. The imaging is  much more defined. The HE-400 have a lot more midbass and a denser, thicker sound. Somewhat paradoxically, though, the HE-400 is also faster and more resolving. Sounds snap in and out of a nice, black background, and there is a tactile and precisely textured weight to the bass and midrange.

For classical, the Q701's soundstage has a clear advantage. It does a better job of recreating a grand sense of scale. However, the HE-400's imaging can be very pleasant. It's cool to have a clear picture of how different sections of a choir are positioned relative to each other, for example. The HE-400 does a better job of giving weight and texture to instruments like organ, drums, and horns, but the Q701 has a more natural timbre overall. The HE-400's treble isn't as smooth and it has a slightly off upper mids to treble transition. For vocals, the HE-400 are more recessed by I get a better sense of the physicality of the singer's mouth, how the lips move and the tongue interacts with the teeth. 

Hope that helps.

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hmm thank you.

Seems like its more of a side grade. A more fun can with more bass

I think it'll make an awesome complementry can
post #7 of 19

I found it to be an upgrade for the type of music I listen to (electronic and rock). I think its strengths are better showcased with this kind of music. For classical, it's certainly a different sound, not necessarily better or worse, so I'd agree that it's more of a sidegrade. It's really relative to your preferences though. It does some things better and some things worse than the Q701.

One other thing about the HE-400 is that it polarized my music collection into good recordings and crap recordings much more so than the Q701. Even though it does have a fun sound, it doesn't do any favors to music recorded with poor extension or a small soundstage. On the flipside, it has also helped me better appreciate exceptional recordings. I suppose this is a sign of transparency. 

post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 

I wished I had a better dac and amp than the e12 + modi combo.

It's only about as good as the o2/dac combo.

If I had the bifrost + lyr with good tubes, I might be looking for some he 500 instead.

Most people say they're more balanced and netrual. But I heard most say its not worth 2x the money, or even some that preferred the v shape of the he 400
post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 

I wonder why the K702 is so cheap.


It does some things better than even 400-500$ headphones. You can pick a pair of K702 up for around 150-160 if you look, but they work better than even headphones that's 3-4 times more expensive on classical music. 


To me, i think this K7xx/Q7XX lineup is the true value king, there's no true upgrade to it either besides maybe the HD 800. (Which is 10x more expensive) 

post #10 of 19

Yeah I noticed that too. They probably cheaper because they keep coming out with newer iterations of the K701/702/Q701 models.

post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hmm that may be true, but they still retail for around $300. Which i think is already really cheap as it is for the unique SQ you're getting.


I would understand if the bad 7 bump old models went for around $150. But even the newer more balanced and more comfortable ones are going for this really low price.


Kinda confused as to why phones such as the HE-400 (Which also came out with so many versions) only drops around 25-50$ from retail price. Even when it is not in like new condition and had been used for months. 

post #12 of 19

They don't drop that much in price because they are already a good value at $400 and can compete with higher end headphones IMO.

post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 

True, but you can argue the K702 is just as good value  if not better. (retail is normally at around 250-300)


I'm getting a brand new HE 400 in a few days for a good deal with both velour and leather pads. Most people would agree that the K702's soundstage makes them better for classical listening, and they've better highs + mids. Can't wait to burn in and compare them to my beloved K702. 


Expecting the soundstage to underwhelm me, but expecting much much more bass impact + "planar magic"??????

post #14 of 19

I've never heard the 701 but I'd wager the HE-400 to sound too drastically different to be considered a real upgrade.  Now, if it's a sound signature that you like way better than the 701 then it'll be an upgrade to you.

post #15 of 19

I've owned the akg702 before and have used the he400 multiple times.  It is a side grade.  IMO not worth getting.  I recommend using that money to upgrade your dac/amp.  If your looking for more fun in your tone look at getting a tube amp like the project sunrise.  And if you love how the akg702's sound but looking for more bass/warmth maybe the hd650's are something you should look a little more into.  The hd800's are bright like the akg702's and does everything the 702's do but better, but they can sound lifeless with the wrong set up (very picky headphones). 

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