AKG K701 Studio Headphones

Average User Rating:
4.03061/5,
  1. Audiopro
    4.5/5,
    "fantastic pleasure at a bargain price"
    Pros - Dynamics, fun, comfort, definition
    Cons - nothing at this price
    I have owned a few headphones including Sennheiser HD 600 and Grado SR80i.
    I simply sold the Grado when I heard the AKG701, not because the Grado is bad, but simply because of the level of fun and excitement the AKG gives me when I listen to classical. At this price it simply unexpected.
    The bass is not too present by more than enough for any experienced hifi enthusiast who likes classical and Jazz (maybe not rap  or other boomy music)
    I will not write many lines about the bandwidth, midrange etc which is absolutely perfect. The most important things for a headphone is how much fun it brings you and its capability to virtually disappear from your head.
    Its comfort is top. The dynamics bring the music to a level of live and excitement I never heard before from a headphone less than 1500 usd.
    The cherry on top: you can have fun with it on your labtop, or even portable, which is impossible with a sennheiser HD600 due to its too high impedance.
     
    No need to say more..try it, it’s a winner.
     
    As for the bumps on the head, I have made a surgical operation consisting in removing one bump on the top (only to try first after localisation of the point where it was a bit painful) with a scalpel. Here is a pic:
    [​IMG]
     
    Now it's really perfect, I do not feel the need to replace the band or cut the other bumps, just removing one bump allows the band to maintain on the head without feeling anymore pressure on my scalp (I have mid-long hairs)
    I will soon receive a FIIO amp E5 to give it a try..
  2. bedlam inside
    4.0/5,
    "Make listening to music Fun, great headphones for a sensible budget, "
    Pros - Overall Balance, ability to play clean and loud
    Cons - Attenuated bass requires EQ or an Amplifier with suitable bass boost, cannot match the best for airyness and 3D presentation
    Conclusion
     
    Sonically well above average, decent build quality and excellent ergonomics AND a real world price that is not mad price, these ‘can’s are ‘bad’, but in a good way. In absolute terms they are no match for the best Headphones I have come across, but they do so much right for relative sane money and are so much fun to listen to, these go for now to the top of my shopping list. Jack Wolfskin coat or these headphones? I’m gonna say sorry Jack, hello Quincy. I’d still like a pair of ‘can’s with ergonomics like these but with planar drivers and for less than a monkey, (<£500) please, but that failing, these I can live with on all fronts… Let me see if I can keep the loaner pair for a bit while longer, here’s to hoping John forgets I have them. [​IMG]

    read the complete review here:

    http://www.head-fi.org/t/648968/a-headphone-shootout-from-a-speaker-listener-testing-eight-headphones-from-80-to-1-200/45#post_9158684
  3. BK201
    4.5/5,
    "Despite all the hate, I love these"
    Pros - nice mid-treble ratio, soundstage
    Cons - bass rolls off
    Similar sounding to the HD600, but is a bit brighter.

    Not as bright as the DT880.

    One thing that I like about these headphones is the out-of-head experience that it provides. It's like hearing the music in 3D and you can easily pick apart the instruments.

    I think the weakness is the lack of bass (similar to the HD600) and maybe that it can get a bit harsh in the 2-3kHz region at times leading to a somewhat honky sound.

    But the soundstage is fantastic, very similar to the HD800 in terms of presentation of sounds.

    Oh and those headband bumps... glad they got rid of them in the limited edition 65th edition K702s. Maybe the K703's or whatever the next variation in the line-up will have the new headband. I wish AKG would make a new flagship.
  4. bracko
    5.0/5,
    "Another legendary headphone from AKG"
    Pros - Airiness, resolution, mids, musicality
    Cons - can be a little uncomfortable on the crown
    I have had these headphones for some time now and would like to write a simple review. They sound absolutely fantastic. I also have a Sennheiser HD 650 which I immensely like for all their virtues but after purchasing k701 I rarely reach for my Senns. k701 is a better allrounder and particularly fits the music styles I love the most, classical and jazz. That big and airy sound is simply magical. Every note and every small detail is so clearly reproduced and presented. The tone is very balanced and quite natural. 
    ChardonnayLogic likes this.
  5. 6dublefive3two1
    5.0/5,
    "Clean."
    Pros - True flat response.
    Cons - I don't have a mellon head.
    Some have said that these are more suited to classical. I understand why. Personally, I knew I had a keeper after my first session with my Lo Fi blues collection. Hard to admit, but better than my cherished k280. 
    ChardonnayLogic likes this.
  6. szoze
    5.0/5,
    "One of the best"
    Pros - Detailed and natural sound, flat frequency response, glorious mids, nice-looking, somewhat comfortable
    Cons - Need time to soften up
    These are one of the best headphones I have ever heard, and I have heard a couple. I undoubtedly prefer them to Senn HD650, like them slightly more than Senn HD600 and Beyer DT880. Why? Because they have more natural sounding midrange and airier soundstage, characteristics that fit the music genres I prefer (classical and jazz). In terms of neutrality these are as good as Senn HD800. The bass is nicely extended and precise. Mind you, they need proper amplification. Don't expect them to sound great right out of an iPod. I have heard mine with MF x-can v3 and there is no synergy between the two. A better match is the cheap Pro-ject headphone amp. They sound even better if you drive them with a more powerful amp (ie Burson). I have mine coupled with a Matrix M-Stage V2 and the combination sounds really magnificent. All in all these are one of the best sounding headphones around, and one of the absolutely best values out there today.
  7. iamthem
    4.5/5,
    "Well rounded reference mid range can."
    Pros - Neutral frequency response. Massive soundstage. Excellent imaging and separation. Fast transient response (highly detailed.)
    Cons - Slight resonance in the mids. Relatively poor soundstage depth leading to a "void." Relatively weak bass may not be for all.
    This will be a quick review summarising the K701. My rather arbitrary rating scheme is based off price ranges with 10/10 as the best for its price, 5/10 as meh and 1/10 as horrible.
     
    My review in one line:
     
    Overall Sound (9/10): Very neutral. Slight resonance in mids. Detailed reserved bass. Excellent soundstaging and imaging.
     
    Design (7/10):
    Although the construction is mostly plastic, the headphones feel solid. The design is quite striking and the full size ear pads are expectedly huge. They are reasonably light, and everything from the wire frame to the velour cups feel stiff… although not very durable. Despite the solid feel, they still look quite delicate (especially the plastic suspender + elastics.) These ARE studio cans, so I doubt they would stand up to much abuse.
     
    Comfort (8/10):
    They are very comfortable and the cups do not touch the ears at all. The only problem is the headband, as many others have noted, the bumps tend to dig into the scalp and it gets somewhat uncomfortable. I have a huge (long actually) head and wearing it I stretch the headband to max. Personally I can leave them on for about 2-3 hours without a break.
     
    Audio Quality:
    These are reference headphones, no doubt. Don't expect a single frequency bump anywhere, because the K701's have an almost ruler flat frequency response. The excellent frequency response results in near perfect portrayal of harmonic rich instruments like vocals, strings and cymbals. I burnt mine in for about 300 hours.
     
    Frequency breakdown:
     
    Treble (9/10): Excellent, smooth, detailed, medium airyness, not sibilant or harsh. Renders cymbals with stunning reality, reflecting on the remarkably clean transient response. Grain is not heard. Missing out on a tiny bit of upper treble resulting in some air being lost. A few treble peaks found through pink noise listening.
     
    Mids (9/10): Very smooth yet detailed. Slight resonance that results in a somewhat artificial sound. Otherwise the midrange is smooth and realistic.
     
    Lows (7.5/10): Good extension to about 30hz. Unlike what many reviewers have said, these are not anaemic, although they certainly have less bass than the HD650/600, DT880 and slightly less than what I consider neutral. Pink noise reveals a slight deficiency of deep, bassy "weight" in the sound. Control and detail is excellent, and they can be punchy if called upon by the track. The bass quantity is still slightly below par though.
     
    Soundstage (9/10): Very, very wide. Easily the widest in its price range. Imaging and separation is superb, again reflecting on the clean transient response. Front soundstage extension is not as good as side extension, which results in a slight "void" in the centre of the soundstage. Varies with the recording, but with an inner boundary of closeness.
     
    Value (?/10): At $200-300, these are the cheapest out of the old flagship trio, the HD650, DT880 and K701, and yet they have a similar level of performance. These have the least bass and the biggest soundstage. They are also the fastest in responding to transients. A similar headphone would be the HD600 with more warmth and bass with slightly less detail, soundstage and speed, or the HD800 for a clear all round upgrade. For monitoring the DT880 may be better, and the HD650 has a slightly coloured, warmer more relaxing sound, but the K701 has the best balance between monitoring and recreational listening. Reading all the other K701 reviews, there's always been a lot of K701 hate going around. I can see why many people dislike the K701 because it isn't as relaxing as the HD650 nor does it have the monitoring orientated sound like the DT880. There are people who claim the K701 have a horribly plasticy sound that kills the experience. I can tell you (after listening side by side with the world class HE-500's) that the slight resonance in the mids hardly detracts from the whole experience. In fact, vocals are among the best in its price range. There are those who claim that the soundstage is unnaturally large and ruins intimate music - certainly untrue as the size of the soundstage varies - within limits - according to the recording. And then there are HD650 fans… I can personally guarantee you that most HD650 fans will hate the K701's. Their sound signatures are very polarized and as a result, it's difficult to like both at the same time. There is little doubt that the K701 perform very well technically - and better than its older siblings the K501 (the K701 is bass light, but the K501 is the definition of anaemic) and K1000 (the outdated drivers simply can't match the transient response of the K701.) Should you buy the K701? Or the HD650 or DT880? I can't tell you, but what I can tell you is, as always, to give all three a listen and then decide.
     
    Amping, Burn-in and Genre Synergy: These headphones are deceptively hard to drive and need a massive amount of current. I could drive them with my iPod touch decently but I'd recommend the much cheaper ATH-ad900 if you don't want to buy an amp. An amp improves bass and dynamics significantly. According to measurements they draw even more power than some Orthodynamics, which is just insane. I'm using an O2 to drive mine, but anything around the $100-200 price range such as the M-Stage should be fine.
     
    As for burn in, I used to be a disbeliever of burn in until I heard these. 150 hours will smooth the treble significantly and expand the soundstage, a rather pleasant change. Numbers as high as 300 hours have been quoted, but I found by 150 hours there was little change.
     
    The K701 is perfect for classical/instrumental with its wide pinpoint soundstage and balanced sound sig, presenting instruments like pianos and violins in stunning clarity. Personally I find these satisfyingly bassy and aggressive (treble wise) for rock, alt rock and rockpop which is what I primarily listen to. The K701 will suit a majority of genres though.
     
    Changes:
    A note on head positioning:
    The way the cups are positioned on the head has an extremely noticeable and dramatic effect on soundstage. This is made worse by the fact that the cups are unusually large. As a result, improper positioning is very detrimental to soundstage, which can be exacerbated by head/ear geometries and may be the cause of the many differing opinions on the K701. Strange positioning can also affect the mids. Basically, try before you buy, because the sound actually varies a great deal depending on the person (unlike, say the HD650/IEMs/etc.)
  8. Zub-a-Roo
    5.0/5,
    "Akg K 701 Best Soundstage I have eard"
    Favorite headphone for soundstage and detailed highs
  9. hahabass
    3.0/5,
    "Design???"
    Pros - Look nice
    Cons - Not as sturdy as they look
    I am not a sound expert when it comes to anything hi-fi, but I bought these headphones secondhand 9 months ago just because I wanted a great pair of phones, for once.  I'm also a self(ish) taught bass player and I had gotten through a number of cheaper ear and head phones with my bass played through a Korg Pandora practice unit. My only problem at the time of purchase was the fact that I'd not done enough homework to realise that, first off, they work best with an amp - that's how much I know.  However, as they don't sound half-bad on their own, I kept them. Now nearly a year later I'm pissed that what I think is a straight forward design flaw has lead to a broken pair of expensive cans rendered practically useless.  One of the two thin plastic mechanisms which help to pull the phones tight over the head has broken. I can't believe it. So, beware y'all!! These may look gorgeous, but unless they sit on a shelf, or in a frame, without use, you may end up pissed like me.
  10. mattphones
    4.5/5,
    "Quincy Jones Q701 Green"
    Pros - As stated: Amazing
    Cons - inefficient
    No need to beat this dead horse. These headphone are the TRUTH as long as you have a very good headphone amp to provide overkill power to the phones. They simply sound limp-wristed from anything less. They bass is anemic and the highs are all sizzles if you dont drive them well.
     
    PS- yes, the green is nuclear secret of the ooze green. If professionalism is what you are going for- look elsewhere. This green is for pure S&G's.
    SOLID BUY RECO.