Sorry for not being able to post more details/responses earlier today. Didn't want to log on whilst I was at work, otherwise...well...I wouldn't have worked!
I've read the previous pages and thanks to those who read the review. I'll just address a few points here. Again it looks like it's going to be a long post - quite a lot more questions that I thought there would be.
Comparison to Current AKG's Top Tier
I haven't ever been a fan of the k701. I've heard it a fair amount of times now and the frequency tilt, the tonality and overall type of sound energy/emotion was never to my liking at all to be honest. A properly driven HD650's rock my boat much more.
AKG's highest end closed headphone, K550, I was enthusiastic about when it first came out mainly because of the all round sound, physical properties and price of the headphone. I still like this headphone and have it with me today, but now, unlike two years ago I feel there's quite a few more options on the closed headphone market. The beyer custom pro's at their highest bass setting (burnt in unit) are great for the bass head, sounding surprisingly near the Ultrasone Signature DJ. And some like the Momentum, sony MDR 1R and the KEFM500 amongst others over the K550. I have the Mad Dog Alpha 3.0 and the Ultrasone Sig Pro on stands right near the k550 and these two definitely sound better in a variety of ways.
I was talking about these headphones and the K271 to Philip before he kindly shook his head and stopped me in my tracks. 'This K812 is completely different to all of them.'
Take it from him. Confirmed by me. What he said couldn't be more true. There's no trait, no AKG house sound, no translation from the current AKG headphones to this one. It's a headphone playing a completely different game as it really is, I fully believe, designed to be the best sounding headphone ever. That was and is the goal.
When you guys hear these headphones I'll be surprised if even any one of you disagrees about what it's trying to achieve!!
I don't think they were burnt in though I was kicking myself on my way home after the audition for not asking. They didn't sound as if they needed them at all. Again folks, it's probably easiest to try and forget that previous akg phones existed (!) as they all in my experience carried the argument of burn in. Personally I've noticed burn in for AKG's from the k550 to the k167.
I find it hard to imagine these improving after burn in.
Like I said I couldn't find flaws and I struggled to find realistic ways in which the headphone can be improved. There of course will be, as it's a headphone and it can't be perfect, but in the time I had it I was so distracted by it's remarkable performance that I didn't desire anything better.
A HD800 sounds bad out of my sgs i9000 because my headphone output can't drive it. It is not the sound of all the flaws of this device as it sounds awesome across a range of easy to drive headphones, not least the k812 and Ultrasone Sig Pro.
When stepped up to the lehmann and Harman CDP the K812 jumped up at least a few levels in sound. I've heard much less significant jumps, the K550 being a good example. I might have heard it very close to it's potential or still quite far away. Seriously though, the latter prospect scares me.
Competitors and HD800's
I've come across both new and old HD800's though I haven't been able to compare them side to side so can't say for sure if one had more bass. Without a/b'ing they of course sounded pretty much the same.
Sound-wise I think it's better than the HD800's, T1's and the W3000anv's (didn't like the tinge to the upper mids on the occasions I've heard this headphone). The TH900's I just haven't heard enough to form an opinion. I really like the TH900's though not the build quality and pads/clamp (hit a pressure point beneath my right earlobe that hurts). It may be a matter of preference in some musical pieces as the K812 whilst proving very ample bass looks won't hit the heaviness of the TH900's. With a high end setup I find the TH900's to open up and present sound with more clarity and air, with improved instrument texture and feel too. I can't see it matching the k812 in these areas.
Pricing, Release and development
£1000 and released across UK (Europe too I think) at the end of November. Philipp told me that the sound is final but there's a finish (form of paint I think) to a part of metal near the earcups that needs completion. Basically it's a final product and they'll most likely try to market this at £1k for some time. The K3003 still remains at the RRP and this will pretty much follow suite I guess. Note that it's still marketed/intended toward the 'pro' market rather than consumer (unlike the k3003 then) so as Philipp said, it'll be available through professional dealerships at least to begin with. I'm sure there's a list on their website somewhere.
It's a beautiful headphone and a price of £1k is competitive in my eyes. Brand new the T1's cost £900, HD800's £1k, W3000anv £1100, TH900's £1300, HE6 £950, LCD 2.2 £800......so a £1k K812 is competitive.
Yea, of course, in an ideal world it would be purchasable from poundland. Scratch that - delivered free to your door tomorrow morning. Unfortunately we're not that special and for all the effort/money they've put in making this headphone, I don't think we should expect a low price. Agreed??
I asked him about the Headfi meet (promised to be an amazing event esp given how good last time was. So useful). Unfortunately they won't be attending as currently there are only 6 k812's available for sampling and they'll be in America or somewhere exotic like that. He may have said there are only 6 fully working models in the world, not just as sampling units. Can't remember.
These are obviously meticulously made all in austria so expect the first batch to sell out pretty fast, but I might hold on until the third/fourth batch hit the market. By principle really. I doubt it, but It's not impossible that there might be a problem or two in the early units and if I were to guess where that would be I would say the headband adjusting mechanism.
I'm actually really eager to know what you guys will think of this headphone and it almost doubles up as a sanity check for myself really. I just can't believe at how good they sounded and I won't be surprised if say some of you with larger, more flagship filled inventories than mine approach the same conclusion - k812's are the best headphones you've ever heard. You may come up with a different conclusion, rating something else above it, experiement with different synergies, whatever - all interesting to hear. Remember, I only had an hour with it.
I asked him if he was going to give a sample to Tyll. Surprisingly he knew well of tyll's reviews and said he'd definitely be willing to send one over!!
Wow...hopefully we'll be getting a comprehensive review soon...
Edited by CantScareMe - 10/11/13 at 4:54pm