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AKG Q701: Made in Austria vs made in China?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I'm looking for a detailed, comfortable, spacious set of headphones for listening at work to replace my ATH-M50s, which are kind of dark, rolled off in the treble, and closed in. The reviews I've read on the AKG Q701 and K712 make them sound perfect, with the K712 offering a more comfortable headband at a significantly higher price. I listen mostly to classical, ambient, and world music (e.g., Dead Can Dance and Loreena McKennitt).


Thing is, the Q701 reviews are all of models made in Austria, and I see that the headphone is now made in China. Has this changed the sound and build quality at all? The K712 is still made in Austria, so it seems the safer choice.


I have an Asgard 2 amp, so driving them won't be a problem.


The other headphone that caught my eye was the Ultrasone 2900, but there's scant info available and it's a bit pricier than I'd like to go. There's also the now-discontinued Beyerdynamic T90.


Thanks in advance for any advice!

post #2 of 8
Hmm, I have no idea if the china-built Q701 sounds different than the Austrian one I have (and K712). Probably few people who bought both Q701s to compare, you'd have to go off heresay. As long as the Q701 was designed in a way that can be easily built with little need for fine-tuning, and AKG didn't change the design along with the globalization of manufacturing, the ought to sound the same within manufacturing tolerances.

I've found the K712 to be more comfortable and the accessories more convenient, and I admit I prefer the sound character over the Q701 (as a detail-head and former violinist), but I haven't decided yet if it was worth the cost difference over the Q701. Thus, I still have both.

You can greatly mitigate the headband discomfort if you wrap it in something like a baby's seatbelt cover (or a couple hand towels if you don't care about looks), or by cutting off the bumps.

If price value, comfort, and soundstage are the most important things in a headphone to you, I also recommend checking out the Sony MA900 and Audio Technica AD700x.
post #3 of 8

I believe the AKG K612 Pro is built in Austria and it's cheaper.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

I ended up scoring an Austrian-made Q701 and am loving it. Wonderfully open sound and detail! I was worried about the headband, but it hasn't been an issue even after wearing them for eight hours straight. The bass is lightweight but well defined. I can understand why people don't like them for rock & roll or some other genres, but they're just great for the kind of music I listen to at work.


I was close to pulling the trigger on the Audio Technica AD700x when I found these.

post #5 of 8
^ weren't an issue for me either, at first. Guess I've lost more hair this year than ever before.
post #6 of 8

Bought these few months ago and I Had to sent them back to shop, because right channel/driver lost maybe a quarter of it's volume. I got a new pair today.. I sent back Austrian made and the new ones are made in China. The Austrian made felt a bit "flimsy" and "loose" when I moved them around. Now these chinese feel a bit sturdier especially on the two "rings" that connect the headphones. Pads seem to have less "firmer" foam inside (China). So far I've listened two records..  Soundstage seems to be a narrower on the chinese made or I just remember incorrectly.. but that might change with more burn-in time. I haven't been comparing the two versions side by side so make of what you want on this post.

post #7 of 8

Not anymore. My early production K612 is made in Austria but now they are made in China.

post #8 of 8

Chinese version has stiffer headband leather and uses different kind of plastic for black twist off caps (the ones with Q logos on them). Earpads are made from slightly different plastic & foam as well.


Sound-wise, I'm pretty sure they are about 98-99% the same.


I miss the soft leather from my Austrian model.

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