The K712 PROs are reference, open, over-ear headphones for precise listening, mixing and...

AKG K712 Pro

Average User Rating:
4.27778/5,
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  • The K712 PROs are reference, open, over-ear headphones for precise listening, mixing and mastering. The over-ear design guarantees maximum wearing comfort for fatigue-free mixing and mastering, while providing spacious and airy sound without any compromise. Their precise powerful sound results from improved low-end performance by 3dB. Being hand-crafted in Austria, the K712 PROs represent the high quality and legendary design AKG is known for.

    These headphones have a genuine soft leather headband for a lightweight and comfortable fit. Their carefully selected transducers provide consistency and accurate localization. The K712 PROs come with a professional mini XLR connector for quick replacement of the cable. Also included is an additional coiled cable and a premium carrying bag.

    GENERAL
    Headphone type: open
    Audio Frequency bandwidth: 10 to 39,8 Hz
    Sensitivity headphones: 105 dB SPL/V
    Max. Input Power: 200 mW
    Rated Impedance: 62 Ohms
    Earpads: velour
    Detachable cable: yes
    Cable Length: 3 m

    AUDIO INTERFACE
    Type: Screw-on Jack Combo (1/4" and 1/8")
    Gender: Male
    Contacts: 2-pin
    Interface Finish: Gold
    DIMENSIONS / WEIGHT:
    Net Weight: 235 g

Recent User Reviews

  1. bpandbass
    4.5/5,
    "The Fairest K7 Variant of Them All"
    Pros - excellent neutrality, excellent soundstage and imaging, neutral and detailed bass, well-balanced treble and mids, comfortable, highly musical for a K7
    Cons - headstrap elastics weaken over time, needs high quality power to extract the bass impact, can sound harsh on the wrong system
    Allow me to preface this review with some background information.
     
    I have experience listening to different present-day AKGs, including the Q701 Quincy Jones Signature, the K702 65th Anniversary Edition (Austrian-made), the K7XX Massdrop First Edition, the K240 Studio, and the K612 Pro. The K7-Series, while highly detailed and comfortable, proved to be a mixed bag for me sonically, with the models being either too intimate sounding, too mid-forward, or too dark. I did believe that these flaws belied a truly great-sounding headphone lurking beneath, but it was simply a matter of sorting out the right acoustic balance. And now I can say for sure that the K712 Pro hits the mark dead on for me, and has become my new favorite neutral open-back headphone. Now onto the review.
     
    Build and Finish:
     
    The K712 Pro resembles the K702 65th Anniversary (Annie) in many ways, from the charcoal-colored matte plastic body, to the colored stitching on the smooth (no bumps) headband, and the colored center ring on the driver housing. But this time it is in a deep orange color accent theme, with the twin headband rails, headstrap stitching, inner driver ring, and cable being orange, rather than the electric blue of the K702 Annie. Some people might not like this color scheme, but I think it stands out nicely, if looking somewhat like it was themed after a KTM motorcycle (coincidentally another Austria-based company). The K712 is well made, but it does feel a little more plasticy than something like a Sennheiser HD600 or HD650, and certainly more than a Beyerdynamic DT880 and DT990. 
     
    The K712 is made in two different places: formerly Vienna, Austria; and presently, Bratislava, Slovakia. AKG users have bemoaned this now complete abandonment of Austrian manufacturing of AKGs, but with the Slovak-made models, you still have a headphone assembled in the European Union. The Austrian-made models like mine have "Made in Austria" silk screened on the center driver cover, while the Slovak models do not have any country-of-origin markings. While I cannot comment about sound or build quality differences between K712s made east and west of the River Danube, those who may want a potential collector's item should opt for an Austrian-made model. 
     
    What it comes with:
     
    The K712 Pro comes with two cables: a 3-metre straight cable, and a 3-meter black corded cable for plugging into mixing consoles. Also included is a satin-lined black velour carrying bag, which other K7s do not feature, so you get a little more for your money with the K712. 
     
    Comfort: 
     
    The K712 Pro features AKG's tried-and-true self-adjusting headband, which features a leather strap suspended by elastic bands. It makes the K712 a highly comfortable headphone, in addition to its moderate weight, but the bad part of this is that the elastic bands will begin to weaken over time and lose their tension. This will cause the headphone and the ear pads to slide down your head over time, and it also means the headphone will not sit firmly on the head. So far as I can tell, the solution to this is either to send the headphone into AKG for an elastic replacement, or perform a DIY fix. 
     
    The ear pads on the K712 are thicker than the older K702 Annie pads, but are not as thick as the K701, K702 and Q701 pads, and are not angled. Despite this, the K712 retains its spacious ear cups, with the padding made from dense memory foam that conforms nicely to the shape of your head to form a comfortable seal. If you wear thin-armed glasses, then you should have no problem wearing the K712. My ears are notorious for have a problem with rubbing up against driver covers, or getting irritated from having the backs of pads rub against them. With the K712, neither of these comfort issues are present, especially considering the moderate clamping force, and the pads that do not collapse like Sennheiser HD650 and Beyerdynamic DT880 and 990 pads often do. The earpads also run fairly cool for my ears.
     
    Sound:
     
    Now this is where we get into the most important distinguishing feature of the K712...
     
    As I mentioned earlier, I have not found all of the K7-series headphones to be the most satisfying to listen to. The Q701 was extremely spacious sounding to my ears, but I found its overly left-right-panned soundstage to be unnatural at times with older stereo recordings, causing all of the music to go in either direction, and making the center image go dead. In addition, I hated the upper midrange hump, which caused horns and saxophones to trigger an immediate cringe from me. So I thought the soundstage and glare needed addressing. Next I owned the K702 Annie. The Annie was a significant departure from the Q701, with what sounded like a large amount of dampening added to it. Instead of the overly-panned soundstage, the Annie now sounded closed in and highly intimate, the treble was significantly darkened, and there was a slight boost in the midbass (the Q701 had good bass extension though). But there was still that funky upper midrange bump that still stood out relative to other frequencies, especially since the treble was decreased and the bass was increased. The pads also did not have quite enough depth, causing my ears to touch the drivers. So next I tried the K7XX, which was a Chinese-made 200-dollar K702 Annie, but with deeper earpads, and a more toned-down upper midrange. Unfortunately for some reason, this combination managed to end up soundnig dull and lifeless, which spoiled that AKG magic. So finally I tried the K712. 
     
    To my ears, the K712 combines a mix between the K702 Annie and the regular K702 or Q701. The headphone overall has an unstressed, fairly musical sound with an overall even tone, and a slight emphasis on the upper midrange and treble. There still is that upper midrange peak at around 1-2,000 Hz, but this time it meshes better with other frequencies since the bass and treble are more even with one another, so the balance ends up sounding less harsh and more neutral, while allowing that presence region boost to contribute to a more musical and engaging sound. The K712 still has that upper midrange increase but just a better tuning of it. Soundstage is great for a headphone of its type, and is the most evenly balanced of any K7 model. It does not pan excessively to the left and right like a K701, K702 or Q701, and it does not sound compressed like a K702 Annie can sound. It has plenty of depth, while imaging and placing instruments accurately. It will not sound out of your head like a Sennheiser HD800, AKG K812, or Sony MDR-MA900 will, but it has better imaging than a Sennheiser HD650, which while being deep sounding can sound blobby with the placement of instruments, and often sounds like a HD600 with simply more depth added. 
     
    Treble:
     
    The treble on the K712 rarely gets harsh, but could possibly sound sibilant with excessively treble-heavy music (even an HD650 can sound sibilant in the right scenario). There is air in the treble, but overall it sounds mostly neutral. In comparison, the K712 is brighter than an HD650 but much less bright than a Beyer DT990. The K712 sounds great with jazz, acoustic and classical, since the treble has smooth presentation, and contributes to good instrument placement. 
     
    Midrange:
     
    The Midrange is where the K712 gets into its stride. The midrange has plenty of detail, and rarely sounds stressed. The K712 sounds more musical than you would imagine, and it does not have a bright or overly warm tone that distracts the listener from enjoying a realistic-sounding song. The midrange to my ears is about as realistic and even as you are going to get in an open back headphone for 500 dollars or less. It makes the K712 much more enjoyable than the Q701, which can be irritating, and the K7XX, which can be overly dull. 
     
    The bass on the K712 Pro is as neutral as it is going to get on a K7. There is plenty of extension down low, with excellent tightness and a clean tone that makes it easy to distinguish notes. In comparison to the HD650 the bass on the K712 is much less warm, and has a tighter sound, with often better extension. The HD650, especially when underamplified, can overly warm in the bass, and that bass tends to contribute to a pleasing and euphonic sound, but at times can get in the way of hearing finer details. While the K712 has a neutral to somewhat leaner physical bass impact at times, with a good amplifier and a good DAC, it can take an EQ boost, and you can get some good performance with bassy music. That said, the K712 only becomes bassy if the sound it is playing is highly bassy; it does not introduce a bass boost if it does not need to. 
     
    K712 Pro vs. K702 Annie
     
    Now just to clarify this, the K712 is NOT a rebranded K702 Annie. The two headphones sound noticeably different, though I have heard some newer Annies have been retuned to more closely resemble the K712 sound. Compared to the original Annie, the K712 sounds more spacious in the soundstage, a tiny bit lighter in the bass, and more lively with a more present treble and a more proportionally-balanced upper midrange. To my ears the K712 is better balanced than the K702 Annie, and less dark. 
     
    Amplification:
     
    First off, do not expect the K712 to sound great plugged directly into an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, because it will not. You are going to need to budget in a good amplifier and DAC if you want to enjoy the most this headphone has to offer.
     
    The K712 tends to exhibit the same characteristics that are present on other K7s when it comes to amplification: harsh and thin sounding when underpowered or driven on a bright amplifier, dull when not driven on the right source, and revealing of cheap quality DACs. The K712 has a tendency to be less forgiving with poor amp/DAC matches, and often sounds like what you plug it into-to an extent. 
     
    I have driven the K712 on the Schiit Audio Lyr 2 hybrid tube/solid state headphone amplifier, and the pairing produces good results, with a tight and unstressed sound, though the stock tubes are a little dull. The Schiit Modi tends to not be a very good source DAC with the K712, as it often sucks a ton of bass impact out of most headphones, and sounds compressed, so I would look at a better quality DAC, or one with a better sound, like an HRT Music Streamer, or Meridian Audio Director. A good sounding and detailed DAC is crucial to the K712, so make sure not to overlook that requirement. 
     
    I have heard of people running the K712 off of OTL tube amps like a Darkvoice 336SE, and achieving pleasing results, but do keep in mind that an OTL amp like the Darkvoice or Bottlehead Crack is not going to be the best for impedance matching, as the K712 has a fairly low impedance of 62 ohms, and that impedance tends to stay dead even throughout the frequency spectrum, unlike the Sennheiser HD650. So either a hybrid amp like the Schiit Vali 2, Lyr 2 or Mjolnir 2, or an OTC amp like the Woo Audio WA6 or WA7 would likely be the better option if you choose to run the K712 on a tube-based system. Solid state amps are an excellent choice with their lower distortion figures, lower noice floor and lower output impedance than most tube amps. 
     
    As for being driven on a 2-in-1 portable DAC and amp unit, I have been experimenting with both the new Oppo Digital HA-2SE, and the famed Chord Electronics Mojo, costing USD $300 and $600, respectively.
     
    The HA2-SE uses the newer ESS Sabre ES9028Q2M DAC chip, which Oppo claims provides a quieter noise floor than the previous Sabre chip in the HA-2. While I do not have the two to compare, I can say that the HA2-SE makes for a very good pairing with the K712 Pro, extracting a good amount of detail, while driving the K712 loud and maintaining a tight and spacious sound. Some people do not like Sabre-based DACs because of their harshness in the upper midrange and lower treble, known as the "Sabre Glare". I do notice some Sabre Glare on the HA2-SE but it does not prove to be a deal breaker, though this glare does not always bode well with the upper midrange emphasis on the K712, and can make the K712 occasionally shouty or blare sometimes. This does not dissuade me from recommending the K712 with the HA-2SE. They make for a pairing that is a great deal enjoyable, and the bass boost switch on the Oppo can add a nice rumble to the K712 when your music calls for it. 
     
    But the winner so far is the Chord Mojo. The Chord Mojo is twice the price of the HA2-SE, but handles the K712 excellently, and it should. There is no lack of power and performance, and while the Mojo does not necessarily sound quite as spacious as the HA2-SE on the K712, it makes the headphone sound less stressed and more effortless, with more detailed bass and better imaging, and a less bright tone. That said, the Mojo is considerably more expensive than a K712, so if you cannot justify purchasing it, I can absolutely recommend the K712 with the HA2-SE. 
     
    That concludes my review of the K712. Thank you for reading this lengthy writeup, and if you are in the 300-500 dollar market for a neutral open back headphone, and are willing to give an AKG a try, I can safely recommend the K712 Pro. If you like transparent and neutral-sounding headphones, and want a lighter-feeling headphone with more soundstage than an HD600, and a less metallic sound than a DT880 or DT990, then I do not think you will go wrong with the AKG K712 Pro.
    thesebastian likes this.
  2. FooThane
    4.5/5,
    "Love these for almost everthing"
    Pros - Clear detailed sound, Deep bass, Confortable, Accessories(it came with a nice carrying bag and a coiled cable)
    Cons - With some songs the bass is too harsh and looks like it cant keep up with the song, Highs can be sharp
    I have these headphones for about 3 week and I think they are great for overal listening to music even for a long time, however I dont think you can drive them without an amplifier because the audio quality from a phone or just a poor build-in dac isnt good, the bass sounds weird and the highs are just bad.
     
    So I've got the Magni 2 and Little Dot 1+(6JI X2 tubes) and I must say that the Magni feels like the inferior amp for these headphones the bass is less fun, the soundstage is smaller although the sound is more detailed but still less fun. It looks like the tubes add little smoothness to everything. I found out that the high gain on the Magni improves bass still I prefer the Little dot for these headphones.
     
    Anyway I got these for cheap (they are made where I live) and I keep them for sure.
     
    8/10
     
    Before buying you should know that sometimes(maybe a first revision or something) the K712 has a loose wire on the left ear. My first pair had this problem (sound from the left ear was gone after the first day of use) but thank god the second pair I got is fine(for now).
    xxAMAROKxx likes this.
  3. WonWesleyChoi
    5.0/5,
    "Great improvement from AKG Q701 and K702, much better EQ, and balanced sound, slightly in the bright sound range but not an annoying bright sound"
    Pros - soundstage, bright sound but non-fatigueing bright sound
    Cons - if i had to pick, leaking sound, sound is not centered sound
    overall great headphone at its price.

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