The new AKG flagship headphone that we mentioned in this thread is AKG K812 [no Pro]
AKG K812 Price: £1 000
Audio Frequency bandwidth5 to 54000 Hz
Sensitivity headphones110 dB SPL/V
Max. Input Power300 mW
Rated Impedance36 Ohms
Cable Length3 m
TypeScrew-on Jack Combo (1/4" and 1/8")
Dimensions / Weight
Net Weight390 g
Expected release date: NovemberImpression by " CantScareMe " @ post #227 in this tread, page 16;
AKG K812 ProWarning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
What a great privilege to hear AKG’s newly formed Flagship, the AKG k812 pro! I had around an hour with this headphone, in a very quiet and relaxed environment. I had my own music CD’s and my beyer T1’s and Ultrasone Signature Pro’s.
MORE IMPRESSION! By Ra97oR
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
I spent the last 15 minutes of my session trying to search for a flaw in the AKG’s sound presentation. I couldn’t find one. Seriously, I could not find a single one.
It is the best sound I have heard from a headphone to date.
Philipp, the AKG engineer taking me through the design and background, was helpful throughout and his passion, enthusiasm and resolve at creating a headphone of world class quality has to be admired. This isn’t a botch job by people only seeking to make money – this is the effort over many years to bring back AKG into the days of the K1000. I talked to him in depth and found it very interesting and revealing, helped especially by his ‘non-salesy,’modest outlook.
Here’s quite a detailed review based on what I heard and saw. I thought I may as well go into detail as there is going to be few impressions I believe between now and the end of next month when they are released. Plus in here I try to reduce the amount of questions you can ask me as hopefully the answer should be already given!
Note: Forgot to take my camera. Pictures are from pocket-lint. They won’t mind I’m sure!
1) Build and Presentation
- Construction & Looks
Overall it feels solid. The construction looks like a careful effort with plenty of metal and premium-feeling materials used. Spring steel has been used as it copes best with resonances and doesn’t distract the sound.
Interestingly enough parts of the outer construction can be replaced in say after 15 years if they need to be as AKG stock them. Clearly this is for the use in the long run. It’s here and here to stay.
Looks? Well guys, it looks good. It looks expensive. If put on the same table as other similarly priced flagships from Beyer and Sennheiser, a headphone foreigner probably won’t be able to pick out the most expensive one.
These are interesting.
Firstly the material. They are made of high quality protein leather, chosen ahead of standard leather as it’s easier to care for. Real leather would need more care and doesn’t respond well to various hair-type products that users (more-so studio users than audiophiles) wear. The stuffing is lovely – not too soft/collapsible or too ridging and this along with the headband make this an excessively comfortable headphone. More than the th900, hd800, T1’s and on a level with the d7k (I’ve got a big head by the way – so the d7k fits not too loosely).
Secondly the shape. That picture isn’t the best – I really should have taken my own picture, sorry for that. What you see is actually a lip where the earpads would usually sit on or around ones earlobes. This lip is designed to enhance the seal at that location preventing a weaker bass reproduction and I have to say it works awesomely. I just finished work and a long session with my ultrasone signature pro’s, wishing they had something like this. Great design that aids comfort as well (provides a greater surface area hence less pressure per square inch)
This is also interesting especially as I haven’t seen anything like it before. Apparently no one else has a design like this. The headband itself is a perfectly comfortable (no stupid bumps) mesh foam/fabric type of material, like the seat padding on my chair. It’s of course flexible but instead of being suspended on springs it is held by a clicking/locking mechanism.
I reckon a few may find this fiddly and might think of it as a problem. Time will tell – I couldn’t get used to it in the time I had though I have to say that it does aid comfort. Philipp and the other AKG engineer (sorry mate – forgot your name!) told me that this was the reason behind it where just moving it down/up (by pressing on the side AKG button) once the headphone is seated on the head is the method to get the perfect seal. I personally think they’ve learnt from the k550’s ever present seal problems.
For short term listening I feel them to be more comfortable than the th900, hd800, T1’s. The reason why I haven’t got the th900 is that I didn’t find them comfortable enough – bad pressure point. Sucks as I love this headphone. I find the d7k more comfortable than all of these, with the k812’s coming a close second. Long term comfort I can’t discuss as I haven’t of course had a long time with them.
In terms of clamp they are more than the d7k and I think similar to the d7k with Jmoney/Lawton pads. Not sure entirely.
I’ve never been one to stress too much on the cables. It’s not great but it’s fine. I should stress that this can be used straight from a portable device. Actually this is on purpose where the designers felt there actually is a market for audio professionals mixing/listening on their ipads using these headphones. Boy, do they sound good out of a portable device. Frighteningly good this heapdhone is out of my smartphone.
Is it removable – Yes
Is it single entry – Yes
Is it light or heavy –Very light. I like this as I liked the Momentum’s cable a lot. Less weight the better
Might it become finkly (like the d7k) – Doubt it.
Very easy to drive. Yesterday I would have said the best sound out of my Samsung galaxy I9000 (voodoo) was via a seasoned Ultrasone Sig Pro. Side by side with the k812 today - the AKG was so dominant over the sig pro, it just made me feel bad. I expect an open, home listening, headphone of £1000 to be better than the sig pro by the very nature of it’s design….but not from a portable device.
This is much better than other flagships out of a portable and I am so sure of it I can talk from memory even. HD800 sound bad. T1’s…meh. Fostex th900’s….still not there. The K812 is something else.
Volume wise it’s very convenient and easy to achieve a high volume out of a portable, not just a high quality sound. Okay, not much is going to be as sensitive as the sig pro’s – not even my phonak 232’s - but the k812 requires probably just a bit less turn of the volume dial than the d7k.
At the session they had a proper amp and source present. With the Lehmann amp and harmon kardon CDP I could definitely tell the difference in sound. They scale very well, have no doubt about it. The soundstage increases in depth by a large and definitely noticeable amount as does instrument tone improve along with for example detailing, attack/decay and midrange clarity.
I have heard this for just under an hour. This is not a full on review but as I heard it in very good conditions with my own music and compared to familiar headphones, it stands. Heck, literally 6 hours after I last heard the k812, I can still hear it virtually. It’s left that much of an imprint on my mind making it pretty easy I feel to review. Just so memorable.
This is the real deal. It’s not on the light side (hd800) or on the heavy side (th900). More in quantity than the T1’s. It’s crystal clean and clear. Impact is terrific and hauntingly natural. Drums sound so natural with their hits, with all the HD800 like micro-detailing present yet with the right amount of energy, emotion and weight.
Wow. Not fatiguing at all. AKG have really cleaned things up here, especially different to the k702. These are a definitively less sharper than the T1’s which are themselves a level less than the hd800’s. Extension is good of course (maybe not as good as the hd800’s) though the integration with the midrange is excellent. Vocals have a w3000anv feel to them. I’ve only auditioned this ATH headphone once, unlike around 10 times for the hd800, so I won’t say too much more as comparisons won’t be very accurate. Vocals can come up so close and personal it’s pretty stunning on both headphones.
With these open flagships from ultrasone, beyer and sennheiser the talking points are usually on the bass being too light and the highs too bright. Mids I guess are normally good. No hint’s at all of peaks or artificial resonances/edges, even when the volume is turned up. Midrange is where most of music lies and to talk more we look at the overall presentation:
The layering is very impressive indeed. This is an area I felt the HD800’s didn’t perform on, where everything was out there, but remained out there. The T1’s are IMO superior in this regard but not to the k812’s.
The soundstage is expansive though I suspect not as large as the HD800’s. It’s very close I reckon. I can’t say for sure as I didn’t have both on hand, but it seems like the hd800’s may win on soundstage height more so than depth. The T1’s are beaten across the board, comfortably here, but they don’t have a particularly large soundstage anyway.
Clarity, instrument separation and air are permanent features of this headphone (unlike the th900’s). Detailing is at the level you should expect – probably at or past the level of the hd800. Past the T1’s/Sig Pro’s from my listening.
The tone is perfect. This is what I’ve been looking for. There’s no hint of any artificial edge and like I said to Philipp, after I hear a performance/orchestra/band play live in a well-treated hall I go back to my headphones and long for the most natural mirroring of what I’ve just heard. If I had the k812’s I am sure they’d be the best.
The ‘colour’ seems right. It’s not warm or cold. I’d say it’s more to the warm side. When you get a new TV and try to calibrate the display, changing it from movie mode to warm can introduce too much orange and yellowy colours. Changing it to ‘natural’ is probably the better bet. Well the k812 would be natural rather than warm.
As for the frequency response, with the seal in place it’s pretty flat. The engineers said the wanted to achieve a flat monitor like response but with an involving and dynamic sound. That’s what they’ve done in my opinion.
I repeat what I said in the first lines. This is the best sound emanating from any headphone I’ve come across.
Usually I’m mostly negative about headphones the first time I hear them and very rarely get wowed right at the off. I eagerly await the release of this headphone as well as the reviews and listening impressions of other headfiers.
To conclude, AKG have finally delivered. Their flagship is here, a £1000 headphone which will establish a concrete place in the listening pleasures of plenty.
I have got the pleasure to listen to AKG’s new flagship headphone K812 Pro, it is a professional aimed headphone and frankly comes with little bell and whistles.
AKG K812's impedance comparison with other flagship: [Credit to Jespersen @ page 62 post #926
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The headphone is constructed very solidly in metal. Gone are the hidden squeaky cup swivel system that are on the K701, the K812 comes with a metal, 2 way swivel for the same movement without any noise. The removable cable is a 3 pin metal spring loaded connector on the headphone side but a cheap rubber thread 3.5mm plug on the other end. The cable is also less than spectacular, similar to the rubbery, springy type on the K701 but seems to be even thinner; the thinner flexible cable does offer superior comfort to other heavier and stiffer cable on other high-end headphone, but surely feels less premium.
The comfort is excellent with a well-designed ear pad system and the familiar suspended headband. Unlike the K7XX, the headband doesn’t suspend on a spring as such. It is just like any other headphones and have stepped adjustment system.
Headphone: AKG K812 Pro Impedance: 36 ohms Efficiency: 110dB/mW
Amp: Lehmann Black Cube Linear
Smartphone: Sony Xperia Z1 with FLAC
Quick impression points:
Excellent frontal depth perception
Well separated but coherent sound
Texture is there but falls behind other flagship, especially the planar
Sounds surprising good out of a smartphone
Doesn’t sound piecing even on brighter tracks and a smartphone
With the same test track “Eagles – Hotel California (Live) from Hell Freeze Over” on both a smartphone and the full system, the differences are there but even out of a smartphone, it sounds excellent.
The noticeable differences are the poorer bass impact, decay and a narrower soundstage. The drums taken a hit on the presentation, but the vocal are still excellent with the guitar solos in the middle very well separated and textured nicely.
Listening with smartphone:
LiSA - Crossing Field - Brightness test
Utada Hikeru - Beautiful World - Vocals
supercell - ODDS & ENDS - Brightness and bass impact
Hearing the performance out of a smartphone on well recorded piece, I was sceptical that it will continue to perform well with less well recorded music.
I even choose some brighter pieces just to make sure it is going to stab my eardrums with unbearable treble.
Well, guess what? It didn’t happen, the brightness is very well tamed even on bright songs and female vocal extends beautifully. Deeper bass does suffers with the lack of power and authority and faster hits sometimes becomes blurred.
That is a marked achievement for a pair of high-end headphones, as most flagships sound downright terrible on such devices.
Bad smartphone pictures:
Nice slight blue tint going through the grill because of the colour of the coating on the driver unit.
Manual adjustment system, lots of small increments but note that "rail" is made of plastic.
The very solid 2 axis cup swivel, one joint on the black outer frame, and another in the silver inner frame.
Close up on the metal spring loaded 3 pin plug.
Very basic, if not cheap feeling rubber 3.5mm threaded plug on the other end.
A pair of easy to drive headphones, not picky with source or amp with a sound signature (or rather without a distinctive sound signature) that is hard to fault.
Thin flexable cable (good and bad), excellent comfort and very much a neutral sound out of even a smartphone.
Generic wood headphone stand that you will most likely seen it hundreds of times
Cheap rubber plug
The removable cable is only 3 pin and not balanced.
Of course, this is my personal impression, your thoughts might vary. And hope the efficiency figure could help out pairing for people that want to get their hands on it.
AKG K812: 36Ohms
Shure SRH840: 44Ohms
Grado GS1000i: 32 Ohms
Denon AH-D7100: 25 Ohms
Fostex TH-900: 25 Ohms
Audeze LCD2: 60 Ohms (added by edit)
Audeze LCD-X: 22 Ohms (added by edit)
Audeze LCD3: 45 Ohms (added by edit)
Sennheisser H800: 300Ohms
Beyer T1: 600 Ohms (added by edit)
Billson Edited by BillsonChang007 - 11/1/13 at 8:31pm