AKG K712 Pro

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  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.
  4. KopaZ
    5.0/5,
    "The tale of two semi-flagship headphones"
    Pros - balanced sound with not-really-harsh treble and Three-Dimensional soundstage.
    Cons - Power hungry hungry hippo headphones, picky about amp?
    This review will compare between the two semi-flagship headphones from two companies; The K712 headphones from AKG, and the HD700 from Sennheiser.
     
    "Expect and discover. The perfection."
    -box art from AKG K712's packaging
     
    "The HD700 Truly excite your ears."
    -quote from cover page of Sennheiser's HD700 manual
     
    Along with the first impression, I noticed that the K712 needed more power (the hungry hungry hippo). I had to crank up the volume  about 1.5~2 times for my listening level with Senn's HD700 on my Schiit's Magni 2. I will update the review once I get the Valhalla 2 or Asgard 2.
    These I-don't-look-cheap, you know? looking K712 costed me $280, which, honestly, it's a bargain for me. my HD700 costed me $400 though, so keep that in mind. (both are used by someone else for 1-2days without even a scratch on headphones; however, HD700's are more burned in than my K712, my K712 was only used for like ~15 hours, while I used HD700 for at least 8 hours per day since It was next to my bed; that would equal about 200+ hours of use on my HD700.
     
     
    Build Quality:
    it doesn't look cheaply made unlike the HD700 when compared. HD700 has more of plastic-y feeling, while the K712 has more metalic feeling.
    K712 is made in Slovakia, though raw materials are assembled by machines. there is a video of showing how K702's are made in YouTube. If you really need to know how AKG's make headphones, go to YouTube, search video for "How It's Made Headphones"; the video is published by TRR56.
    The headbands are elastic, so there is no need for spending 30 seconds of your precious audiophile life trying to perfect the K712 for your head.
     
     
    Comfort:
    For me, the HD700 won the comfort war. while wearing HD700, my ears doesn't even touch the driver, while the comfy cushions on headband/earpad virtually makes me feel i'm wearing nothing on long term listening. looks I need some proper adjustments with wearing K712s, for the drivers (or the earpad) to not touch my ears. headband itself is elastic, so for the most users, headband will automatically stretched for size of your head.
    HD700 wins by a little.
     
    Design:
    I mean, who would care since you normally wear these at home? It's not like a pigeon would get impressions on your headphones and run into your windows for the beauty.
    (I've only seen one idiot pigeon running into windows for plants inside my apartment in South Korea)
     
    It would make a difference if you wear headphones outside, though. Personally, for me, I would like to get some decent look since I use my open-backs outside, because my neighbor is quiet.
    for design, which is really, a subjective matter; even more subjective than our picky ears. In my opinion, both of the headphones have very aesthetic look; the HD700s have the look that represents like "I listen to reference-class headphones and it even has better look than your Beats by dre", while the K712s give more of.... calmer, not flashy, but not ugly design.
    For me, HD700 wins the Project Runway war.
     
    Sound Quality
    Here's where the distinctiveness that we can see where Sennheiser's sound and AKG's sound.
    I can't really decide which would "Win" the Sound war; K712 has balanced sound while the sennheiser have emphasizing treble with bass, giving different "purposes" each other.
    The treble on K712 is much relaxed and soft than the HD700's treble everywhere. (the HD700 is infamous of treble spikes noticed by some HD700 users, including myself)
     
    Sennheiser's HD700 has forward  bass with even-more emphasized treble that still shows some degree that mids do exist in HD700, though, not dominant.
    It gives perfect sense that the HD700 is in middle of HD650 and HD800; HD650's darker, forward mids with lovely bass mixed in with HD800's bright sound with precise imaging with wide soundstage, giving a "who art thou?!" sense of half-blooded child from sennheiser (oh yeah, with more of HD800's silver mesh look).
     
    unfortunately, some users found HD700's treble fatiguing due to spikes; many users (such as myself) had to do a modification, known as the anax mod  to the HD700 (originated from HD800), whereby the installed foams around drivers dampen and reduce the emphasis on treble, adding little bit of emphasis on mids and bass instead. 
     
    HD700's mids are less present than the K712 because of the dominant bass and treble; but it gives somewhat "immersive" feeling with wide soundstage on my symphonies.
     
    K712, however, emphasizes on the clarity with separations of instrument unlike HD700;, while it has emphasized treble and bass, with immersive feeling.
    well, it says on the box of K712; "for precision listening, mixing and mastering".
    K712 has narrower soundstage than HD700; but it has the sense of realism because of balanced soundstage.
     
    On beethoven's 9th symphony (ode to joy, which is also known as the the finale) , both headphones have clear separation of instrument while it really shows distinctiveness of the both companies sound that pursue on.
     
    the HD700 gives very immersive sound with bass and treble; with mids that are present, but not really as present as treble and bass. it gives some kind of "live" feeling with the immersive soundstage, further defining the HD700's characteristics, while having full vocals.
     
    K712s have different approach; while it has the balanced sound with much softer treble than the HD700, it has much narrower soundstage than HD700. it gave me more of HD650/600 feeling in soundstage; not narrower as HD650/600, but not wider than the HD700. The K712 tries to show the details in the symphony,  while HD700 tries to show the "live" sounding with the wider soundstage. K712s also have the balanced, precise and three-dimensional soundstage, that made me "wow" with the separations of instrument, while having full vocals, but not full as the HD700's vocal (but I wouldn't say K712s have thin vocal).
     
    Overall/extras:
    The HD700 is more of genre specific (I mentioned this on my HD700 review), it would only show it's true strength on classical music because of the emphasis on treble, unless it is toned down using EQ/mods. K712 is more of balanced, used for many other genres; especially for hearing into details of the music.
    I would use both of them for home use, but use HD700 more often for outside use since K712 is just hungry with my Fiio E18 amp+dac; HD700 becomes more balanced if used with E18; losing few emphasis on treble but adding it to mids.
  5. kman1211
    5.0/5,
    "Quite Possibly the Best Mid-tier Dynamic Headphone Given You're Patient With System Matching"
    Pros - Extremely Dynamic, Clean, Clear, Comfortable, Beautiful Natural Tonality, Phenomenal Bass, Precise Imaging, Large Soundstage, Revealing, Musical
    Cons - Heavily system dependent sound quality. Can be harsh with poor synergy. Power Hungry.
    AKG K712 Pro Review
     
    This is a review I have put off for a long time, I've owned the AKG K712 Pro for about a year now and have tried it on numerous systems. The source is a variety of uncompressed music files on the computer playing through Foobar2000. I'll try to keep this review short and simple, may try to update it later. To put it simply, the K712 is my favorite headphone I currently own, edging out the HD 650, HD 600, and DT 150.
     
    The system consists of:
     
    Schiit Lyr 2(high gain) w/ '89 Amperex Fat Bottle(Voskhod Rocket) silver shield tubes
    HRT Music Streamer HD set at highest bitrate and lowest latency
    Schiit Wyrd
    Furman M-8X2 Power Conditioner
    Ela Audio solid silver RCA to RCA Interconnects
    Venus Audio Canare AKG cable
    Ice Age Audio 10 AWG Cyro treated Power Cable(for amplifier)
    Pangea Audio Silver-plated Copper USB cables
     
     
    Build Quality and Comfort:
    The build quality of the K712 is very good despite it's light weight. It's made of high quality plastics, feels solid in the hands, and seems to be a headphone that will age well, only concern is the elastic bands losing their elasticity over time. The K712 has a matte finish and feels quite nice to the touch. Comfort is excellent. The pads are plenty deep and the memory foam is very comfortable. I never had comfort issues with these headphones. The clamping is just right and doesn't seem to change much with use like it does with the HD 600/650 which I found to lose their clamp by a fair margin. 
     
    Amping: 
    This headphone is a pain to amp properly, it's just so picky due to it's revealing nature and the interesting presentation of dynamics that is typical of modern AKG headphones. This headphone has caused me a lot of frustration to amp properly but I finally got it right. These headphones need a lot of power to truly shine, we're talking orhto levels of current and a good deal of voltage swing, they become a completely different animal with a lot of power behind them.
     
    Sound Quality:
     
    This headphone can be a mixed bag sonically until you get them happy, they aren't as hard to get to sound right as some of the previous incarnations of the K7 family, but like all headphones in the K7 family they are very picky and honestly benefit from a good system. In my experience every little thing matters for the end result. This review is based on the system I currently use, results will vary depending on the system.
     
    Bass: The bass on the K712 is nothing short of amazing to me, it's deep, well extended, has excellent slam, and has excellent excursion factor competing with the DT 150 in this regard. It's a very tight and quite fast bass, never ever seems to sound slow or confused in anyway. The bass has a lot of weight to it.
     
    Midrange: You would think this headphone would be slightly recessed in the midrange based on the graphs but that is not the case at all, it's just as present as the mids on the HD 600/650 and very comparable, there are shocking similarities in the tuning and timbre of the mids between the K712 and the Senns leading to an absolutely gorgeous and beautiful sounding midrange that portrays vocals in a beautiful and pleasant manner. The mids are very clean and clear and full, they never ever sound hollow or recessed in anyway. 
     
    Treble: The treble on these headphones is very revealing, it has more energy than those of the Senns but this creates a pleasant contrast to the Senns as the treble has wonderful dynamics and honestly sounds more natural in this region. Treble can be harsh and sibilant on certain systems, but on the right system they are very smooth and clean and not harsh in anyway, even smoother than that of the HD 650 surprisingly. The headphone has a small bit of air to it's sound, which is nice coming from the HD 600/650 and DT 150. 
     
    Imaging/Soundstage: The imaging on these headphones is simply fantastic, very precise and gives an excellent sense of 3D realism. The soundstage is large and quite wide but also its circular and has plenty of depth and is quite tall. It isn't like the ovalish shaped soundstage found on the Q701. All imaging and soundstage complaints I had with previous K7 series have been fixed with the K712. This is the soundstage and imaging champ of all my headphones.
     
    Transparency: This is a very transparent headphones, it's incredibly revealing of the system. And the headphones simply disappear from the head when listening to them.
     
    Clarity/Detail: The clarity and detail of this headphone is simply exceptional. It's somewhat more detailed and resolving than the HD 600/650. The DT 150 is closer in terms of detail retrieval to the K712, haven't been able to figure out with is more detailed of the two. Though I would say the clarity of the DT 150 is a little better than the K712.
     
    Dynamics: This is one of the standout features of the K712 and honestly a trait I have found with most AKGs, it's honestly why I became a fan of the AKG sound and it's also what makes AKGs so frustrating for me. The dynamics on the K712 are simply incredible, the headphone has an interesting ability to portray the dynamic information of the source in a way and magnitude that the HD 600/650 and DT 150 simply don't. This leads to quite drastic differences from different recordings. Some recordings sound extremely dynamic and others sound flat and lifeless. This can be heard on other mid-tier dynamics, but not to the same degree as the K712. It's as if the dynamic range is a bit compressed on the HD 600/650 and a lesser degree the DT 150 in comparison. 
     
    Conclusion:
     
    The AKG K712 is an excellent headphone and easily competes with other mid-tier dynamics in its price range. It's comfortable and lightweight. I haven't compared it much to planars as I don't own any other than an unmodded T50RP. If your willing to spend time with the headphone and come to appreciate it's sound and live with it's pickiness then the headphone is well worth the time and investment. But it may not be for everyone. The headphone is on the warm and lush side and may not please everyone. It's basically an evolution of previous K7 series and has many sonic traits of the HD 600/650 with an AKG flare to it and is an excellent competitor to the HD 600/650. I personally think it's a bit better than the classic Senns, but that ultimately comes down to preference and the system. 
    DVDIT, Wilashort, guerillaw and 6 others like this.
  6. Oktyabr
    4.5/5,
    "What niche do these fill? All dressed up and no place to go!"
    Pros - Excellent, mostly neutral, full range sound, comfortable, detachable cable and replaceable ear pads
    Cons - Delicate construction, expensive, need a high current amp with lots of headroom to sound their best
    One headphone for all people? I think the K712 tries very hard to please everyone and in doing this misses the boat in focusing on being the best at any one thing. Great headphones but it's not that simple! Well built but delicate. Much better pricing through Amazon than the $699 MSRP but unless you already own a suitable amplifier you are probably going to end up budgeting for one of those too. With tons of competition between $150 and the $700 MSRP it's actual value comes into question, especially when some of their biggest competition bears the name of the same manufacturer. They have a big sound stage, but not the biggest. They have extended bass, but aren't really for bassheads. They are detailed and analytical, great for critical listening, but not as good at this as even some of their older models. They are fairly neutral but are they actually a serious solution for the sound professional? Who are these really made for?

    K712 vs memories of K701:

    These are the first AKG K7 series I've heard in something like four years, after I sold my K701, mostly because the *bumped* headband caused me discomfort. The K712 is FAR more comfortable, on my decidedly large head. From memory (on the same amp, source and music) it seems like the K701 was brighter, perhaps more "neutral", whatever that means. The K712 certainly do NOT want for bass! By contrast my memory of the K701 was a lighter on the bottom end, more forward in the mids and perhaps more "bright" on top which in particular made them a very revealing listening experience. I remember a good portion of music sounded so bad on them (compared to the stuff that sounded SUPERB) that I didn't even want to hear certain songs on the K701. Every recording and mastering error was revealed. The K712 seems more "forgiving" of bad quality recordings for some reason. I also remember the K701 having a more spacious sound stage but perhaps that's just because I've been listening to M50s in their absence...

    K712 vs ATH-M50:

    To my ears the biggest difference between the K712 I just got and the M50 I've been listening to for quite some time is the obvious trait of whether or not one is closed or open backed. Historically its often that fans of the competition like to say the AKG open backed cans lack bass. AKG paid attention and first released the Q701 (which I have not heard) that was said to have improved the bottom end and now the K712, which have bass in spades! The M50 by comparison is often noted as having a LOT of bass, often trading blows with cans like the Beats... and winning. I found the K712 was VERY close to the M50 in the bottom region. The K712 also definitely sounds bigger, more spacious, more "speaker like", than the M50.

    The K712 is more resolving, more detailed than the M50. At first, when I was really listening close for any obvious sonic flaws I kept catching things that made me think one or possibly both drivers were somehow messed up. I'd throw the M50s on and listen to the segment in question again and sure enough, there it was. The M50s showed it too but seemed like it just wasn't as obvious. This happened on songs I thought I knew pretty well, too! At one point I heard a sound in the rear of the left stage that made me think my 18 year old son was trying to get my attention (sounded like his quiet baritone.) I took the left cup off and turned around in my chair to see what he wanted... an no one was there! With good recordings the K712 can make things you've never noticed before jump out of the music at you... Almost "hairs standing up on the back of your neck" spooky how this happens. Putting the M50s back on my head and listening very closely, sure enough, there was that sound was again. The M50s produced the same sound but it was so awash in the rest of the audio that I had just never noticed it before. The M50 is a great, capable, pair of headphones. They don't resolve details quite as well as the K712, nor do they have the same sort of spacious sound stage (no closed back can I've ever heard are any different in this regard) but... they are less than half the price of the K712! This shouldn't be interpreted as a deficiency in the K712 but rather a testament of just how good the M50 IS. It's what I consider "the point of diminishing returns". The K712 DOES sound better, to my ears, but you pay twice as much and do not, arguably, receive twice the value.

    COMFORT:

    Comfort, since my masochistic love/hate relationship with the bumpy K701 a few years ago, is now the top of my list to check off when buying headphones.  A pair of cans you seldom use, no matter how good the SQ, are the worst ones of all!  The K712 is very comfortable from the smooth headband to the velour covered memory foam ear pads.  The clamping force, if anything, might actually be on the "too light" end of things.  They haven't fallen off my head yet but lots of head movement as a test will reveal these slide around a bit more than most will find ideal.  

    BUILD QUALITY:

    Bitter sweet trade offs. Far more comfortable than the K701 I used to have. No more bumps on the headband! The "memory foam", velour covered ear pads are super comfy too... BUT take very good care of them! AKG wants almost $50... EACH... to sell you replacements! The K712 is one of the largest earphones I've ever tried. HUGE ear cups help produce it's outstanding sound stage and fidelity. And yet these are extremely light as well. But that also means there isn't a whole lot of metal in them. All in all these feel exquisitely "delicate", like a beautiful hummingbird or dragonfly. I wouldn't want to sit on them. The velour bag that is included is a nice thought but really, for these cans I'd much rather have a solid hard case to put them in when I'm traveling. Not exactly flimsy but "built like a tank" (or a pair of M50) does not come to mind.

    SOUND QUALITY:

    Like it's relatives the K712 thrives on current and voltage stability. Yes, you can plug them into an iphone or the headphone jack on your computer or something but to really hear them at their best will require a good quality amplifier, the more powerful the better. The K712 is a highly dynamic headphone, sound reproduction wise, and can go from revealing the softest, quietest subtleties to thunderous drum crashes instantly, without sounding strained, but it takes a well built amplifier that will provide plenty of headroom to really make it happen. But given what it thirsts for these are a real treat with just about any music. They are full of bass, nice mids and detailed highs... But do none of these things extraordinarily well! I think I would trade some of this "improved bass" for a slightly more analytical presentation in the mids and treble, like I remember the K701 as having. That said I perceive no weakness in their sound either. Nothing too bright, too boomy, too "fatiguing".

    Some critics of the older models liked to claim that these are only good for classical or possibly acoustic jazz. I never felt that way about my K701 and with the K712 it becomes a meaningless point for debate. Vivaldi, Eminem, Rammstein, Kroke, Benny Bailey, Shpongle, Pink Floyd, Dianna Krall and Three Dog Night all sound excellent on these 'phones. I listen to a wide range of musical genres and I have yet to sample any of them that made me think these weren't excellent headphones for that particular flavor of music.

    VALUE:

    Replaceable ear pads, even at a bit of a premium price, nice. Replaceable cables are a nice feature that any headphone over $200 should have. The K712 includes two cables, one straight and one coiled, and both are just the right lengths for practical use. Well machined, gold plated screw-on adapter from going to the gold plated 1/8" plug to the larger 1/4" size. Velour travel bag? Does anyone really put a $700 pair of headphones in a fancy pillow case? AKG could have kept that and lowered the price another $20 or something.

    With an MSRP of $699 I think AKG was very brazen in the market it wanted to challenge. Not that I've heard any $700 headphones but for THAT kind of money I think they had better leave zero room for complaints. The K712 aren't that. At Amazon's price around $350 I think they become a much more solid contender although some of their stiffest competition also wears the AKG badge. Priced much lower than the K712 perhaps a K702 or Q701 would have fallen a bit more in the middle between the K712 and the K701, sound quality wise, perhaps not quite as much bass and lower mids but slightly more detail and neutrality? Off the cuff I think that if I would have paid anything close to the MSRP for these cans I'd probably be sending them back and buying BOTH the K702 and Q701 just to find out for myself! But at anything close to $350...
    risenfallen and Solarium like this.
  7. Mark K
    5.0/5,
    "Unbeliveble sound quality"
    Pros - Sound quality
    Cons - Previous price
    Called me crazy after I have had so much "not so good" experiences with AKG headphones, from K701 to recently K554, K501. My ears were badly hurt by recent ear infection but I still put my bet on this pair of headphones
    They do not disappoint at all. All these bass, though restrained and subtle, all show up.
  8. achelgeson
    4.5/5,
    "Overall Awesome headphones!"
    Pros - Good balance throughout frequency, not sibilant, balanced, great for casual listening
    Cons - Upfront sound, slight peak around 2khz sometimes annoying
    This is going to be a short review, just letting you know in advance.
    I listen to mostly contemporary pop, classic rock, as well as a little classical. In my search for a good headphone to use for all around listening, I stumbled across these, and I must say I'm quite impressed!
    For me, the bass is absolutely perfect. Of all the headphone I've heard, these have the best quality bass I've heard. It's not just the quantity, but the control that really sets these apart. It even extends down below 20 khz, barely audible but you can feel it!
    Aside from the improved bass performance, it's overall very balanced, but I like to nitpick so I must comment on just one flaw these phones have. In the lower treble, the 2kz has a peak that sounds somewhat unnatural in some recordings. It doesn't bother me that much, but sometimes it makes poorly mastered recordings sound strident and compressed, therefore less "airy" sound. I just EQ it down by 2 decibels, and it sounds almost perfect. 
    The treble not sibilant at all, and it's very detailed yet not fatiguing to listen to. I've read that some people think there's not enough mids, but that's only an illusion created by that 2 khz peak, it has very good mids. 
    Overall, very solid headphones for the price, other competing headphone such as the Beyerdynamic DT 880 and Sennheiser HD 600 will have a tough time beating it.
  9. Rob80b
    4.5/5,
    "When AKG meets Sennheiser and vise versa."
    Pros - Smoother and much added bass over the previous K7xx series, warmer, great phone to chill out to.
    Cons - Mini 3 pin XLR connector makes adding a balanced cable impractical for most.
    Not quite a review but thought I'd quote my recent observations.
     
    Quote:
     
     
    This AKG may win over stuck in the mud Senn hd600/650 stalwarts but alienate previous AKG K7xx lovers, my previous K701s are up for sale.

    Oktyabr likes this.
  10. Head1Case
    4.5/5,
    "Overall great headphone. Love lightness+comfort. Very clear sound with great highs, lows and slightly less pronounced mids. Sweet open sound stage. "
    Pros - Very smooth in high upper mid frequency region, hence very detailed. Sweet lows compared to 701 and 702. Very comfortable. Open sound.
    Cons - Could have a tad more pronounced mids.
    Overall great headphone. Love lightness+comfort. Very clear sound with great highs, lows and slightly less pronounced mids. Sweet open sound stage.