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Over-Ear item created by Farnsworth, May 5, 2010
Pros - Comfortable, Light, Great quality, large soundstage
Cons - Very Neutral
These are my first pair of AKG headphones and I am very impressed. At first I was worried that the headband would not be comfortable, but surprisinly it is very soft. The sound stage is very large and impressive. I like that an amp is not needed for enjoyable listening, unlike my Hifiman headphones. The headphones are very neutral though, lacks energy. Would recommend because the sound is very clear though.
Pros - very wide soundstage, detailed
Cons - not much "below surface" detail, unnatural timbre, little bass impact and NOT neutral
I can only conclude that, after several months trying to like this headphone, (and oh did I try) I just have to give up trying and admit that I don't like it.
Fans of the AKG k702 (or the K70x or Q70x e.t.c.) series will tell you that, not only is the bass well textured and accurate, but that it has a "neutral" quantity of bass. I don't find that to be true. Unless the only instrument playing is, say, a bass drum, the K702 allows every other part of the spectrum to overwhelm the bass, causing it to lose all impact. You are not only supposed to hear the sound of a bass note but also feel (as close as that is attainable on a headphone) the impact.
Take dictionary.com's definition of percussion:
1. the striking of one body against another with some sharpness; impact; blow.
The K702 has unnaturally recessed bass because it has no impact.
Over 300 hours burn in and unfortunately no respite to the nasally, grating, chalkboard-like upper midrange. It also seems to make voices sound unnaturally thin, especially males. I tend to find it can complement female vocals to some extent yet gives males a kind of hollowed-out sound.
Probably the best-performing part of the spectrum but ironically perhaps it is slightly too warm. I seem to be justified in this claim when you notice the frequency plots you find online: a sharp drop in the top octave. This may be why I notice that the headphone does not seem to have much detail below the surface. Perhaps it is because the soundstage is diffuse (see below) and hence harder to pinpoint detail, but I frequently find, in complex passages at least, the HD 650 actually seems to offer more subtle detail.
I was wowed at the beginning but gradually grew bored of it. It seems that everything is diffuse and fairly far away, not helping the sense of thin-ness. Sometimes I get the impression that it is too wide: as if there is only the centre, the far left, and today's GOP. Good for some classical music (though unfortunately the lack of bass does not give cellos e.t.c. any satisfying upper-base resonance) but not really much else.
The headphone is certainly comfortable but not really snug enough in my opinion. It feels like it wants to slide off at any moment. As for the build quality, it hardly seems to be the sturdiest headphone in existence
Problems aside it is actually worth the marked down prices you will often find on certain online retailers. It's a good headphone sure, but I just don't like it.
Now of course a perfectly neutral headphone would be unforgiving on bad sources, mastering et cetera, but the K702 isn't neutral. It is unnaturally treble-heavy and bass-light. It is indeed unforgiving, but beyond the point of neutrality because of the treble emphasis. It is like an examiner who has a personal grudge against a student and will mark them down for minor faults
Pros - good soundstage
Cons - too dry
It was just alright. I wanted to look for something close to hd800 soundstage but cheaper. This one did not do for me.
Pros - Open-back design allows excess frequencies bleed out
Cons - Bass inaccurate when compared to other reference speakers
I am a hobbyist, part-time geek, audio enthusiast who likes high fidelity gear (or just whatever I can afford on the day). You'll find me messing around in Sonar Platinum, EWQL Virtual instruments and other wonderful music production programs.
For reference music: I regard Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Mike Oldfield, Brian Eno and other progressive rock as a benchmark point. Also some classical recordings are a good way to evaluate the sound quality of some headphone products. Neutraility suits me best as I can always add and subtract sounds with an equaliser. CD Audio, DVD Audio and FLAC are my go to formats for music or at least MP3 320K.
Self-built PC using EMU 1212M soundcard
Samson C-Que 8 4-port stereo headphone amplifier
AKG K702 (None Anniversary edition)
About the headphones
These use large semi-open head-cups which will mean they are not ideal to use around recording microphones or public transport. The claimed frequency range of each driver claims to be 10Hz-38.9Khz. Which means they nearly fit the Nyquist ideal of double the frequency for things to be heard properly. The K812 Pro have a reading of up to 44.1Khz due to their larger drivers and 1.5 times factor of the Tesla magnets.
The impedance of these K702 headphones at 1Khz are 62 Ohms, a sensitivity of 105dB SPL/V with a maximum power of 200mW input. Despite all of these relatively low figures it does mean they do need a lot of amplification to get the best out of them. Once these are properly amplified they will come to life, so a run of the mill Digital Audio Player or generic smartphone headphone amplifier won't cut it really and they will sound thin.
So who are these headphones for, audiophiles, studio engineers or your older parents with failing hearing?
Audiophiles will argue they lack low-end and accuracy in the treble whereas a studio engineer will argue they offer a neutral reference for between takes however not for critical mix decisions. I don't think any headphone can offer that as a solution really.
Playing well recorded masters will reveal a great amount of detail and soon you'll find yourself hearing things you never noticed before, like amplifier noises or coughs. The soundstage is pretty detailed and the louder you turn them up more harmonic content becomes present. Adding a touch of low-end with an equaliser of say around 3dB should be enough make them good enough for most music when needed. This is a weak point addressed in the K812 and K712 Pro which should give a more rounded sound rather than a bloated overpowering emphasis on the music.
Evanescence: My Immortal really comes to life (ba-doom-tish!), revealing much more of the stings and piano resonance not that obvious when listening on cheap headphones.
Pink Floyd: The Division Bell (24/96Khz FLAC) playing through 24/96 ASIO driver sounds pretty flawless where you can almost hear the strings of the guitars being strummed or maybe I'm just hearing it with far more clarity. Reverbs and room impulses seem to be more apparent.
The only dislikes I do have are the headband can be uncomfortable after an hour of so, how they reveal of the mistakes of your favourite recordings (not really a dislike as such) and the fact I paid more for mine and soon after AKG reduced the cost.
Overall I would recommend these to people looking for accuracy for a good price.
Pros - Reference Performance, Well Engineered, Very Comfortable, Unbeatable Value
Cons - Bass Slightly Lacking in Quantity
Me: I am a 21 year old student living in a small town in India. I would like to call myself a music enthusiast, rather than an audiophile. I was inspired by music since childhood, and as the time passed, the passion of music grew in me, and that subsequently led me to join Head-Fi. Eventually, I found the pleasure of listening to music mainly by the HD600 and recently, by the seductive LCD2 headphones, and realized the true components of recorded music. I usually like to listen to Indian Classical Music along with Bollywood songs. My main listening genres include classical, vocal, instrumental, jazz and sometimes pop. With time, my sonic preferences have very much grown. I avidly admire transparency, accuracy along with neutrality, which has led me to review the prestigious K702 headphones.
Intro: AKG Acoustics (Akustische und Kino-Geräte G.m.b.H) is well recognized, established & one of the oldest audio brand specializing in the area of audio & headphones. They are headquartered in Vienna, Austria. The ‘K’ series line is a very popular and long running headphone offering from AKG. They have a specific vision in making their products: Their products should last long and should employ quality engineering for precise and accurate sound reproduction, with state of art cutting edge technology. All the headphones are designed by their engineers in Austria. Few headphones are manufactured in China. The K702 headphones are one of the best headphones AKG has ever produced. These are studio reference headphones. The pair I will reviewing belongs to latest batch & current year manufacturing.
Founded in 1947 by Dr. Rudolf Görike & Ernst Pless. Originally, their main aim was to provide technical equipment for cinemas: loudspeakers, film projectors and light meters. Their business slowly expanded and AKG started selling car horns, door intercoms, carbon capsules for telephones, headsets and cushion speakers. The first AKG microphone was used by radio stations & Theaters. AKG developed its first patents, the moving coil technology and the principle of mass load membranes, allowing its products to have extended frequency ranges. With the creation of the D12 microphone in 1953, AKG achieved international fame, setting the standard for voice transmissions. Being the world's first dynamic cardioid microphone, it possessed excellent sonic qualities for that time, making its way into radio stations and recording studios from across the world. The product was improved through subsequent upgrades, spanning the famous C414 and C12 microphones. In 1994, AKG was acquired by Harman International Industries, and they later setup AKG USA’s headquarters in California.
In 2010, AKG Acoustics received a Grammy Award for the work the company has done in the recording field.
Specifications of K702:
Audio Frequency bandwidth
10 to 39800 Hz
105 dB SPL/V
Max. Input Power
Screw-on Jack Combo (1/4" and 1/8")
Dimensions / Weight
Let us see what the K702 has got for us,
Packaging and Accessories: The K702’s arrive packed inside a cardboard box. Once the box is flipped open, The K702 is seen resting. Nothing fancy, basic accessories included. But each and every part has a premium quality and feel to it.
List of accessories in the box, which include the following:
Headphone Cable: About 2.5 meters long, terminating in 3.5mm.
¼” Screw on Converter: To plug in the K702 in the 6.5mm headphone jacks.
User Manual: Contains instructions to operate the K702 and other warranty information.
Design and Build: The K702 has a great build quality. The K702 weights just about 235 grams, one of the lightest headphones by weight available. To achieve this, metal parts are very much avoided, and construction is mainly using high quality fibre, which are light but very strong.
AKG headphones use suspended headband technique, which has its own advantage. There will be no need for manual adjusting as per head size. They are auto adjusting, and avoids a lot of hassle. The headband has a foam-pleather base with no bumps, very accurately angled. It is attached to an elastic thread which stretches the headband up and down.
The K702 is a fully open headphone, hence has vents for air intake at either side of headphone. Driver shell rotates about its own axis to fit various types of human skulls.
The whole headphone is supported on by the two parallel outer headband beams, which are flexible. These also carry wiring for opposite driver (right)
Cable has a very good build. It is straight, flexible and does not get tangled. I could not notice the presence of any microphonics. Plug is straight and gold plated. The stock cable does a great job in transferring signals along with great transparency. The cable on headphone has three pins, and is configured for single end termination; balanced mode mode is not supported.
Comfort: K702’s are very comfortable to wear, even for longer sessions. These feel extremely light on head. Clamp force is very pleasant after few hours of break-in from a new headphone out of box.
The earpads are made up of velour, are high quality ones & does feel plastic and do not cause irritations or itching. The Space inside the earpads is also great, good amount of depth and good sense of space. These provide very good ventilation for our ears even in hot tropical climates. These ear pads are very firm in nature, which ensures in consistency of delivery in sonic performance, and also in durability of the pads themselves. The earpads can be removed to clean or replace with a simple anti-clockwise horizontal twist.
One of the most comfortable headphones both by design and by weight.
Sound: The K702 has a very neutral sonic character. ‘Accuracy, Transparency Details’ are the key terms. The presentation here is in such a way that, emphasis is given on mids and highs for optimal listening, while lows take a backseat.
Burn in: These improve a lot with time. Let’s say a playback of 50 hours provides audible improvements, along with softening of earpads and a relaxed clamping force. Bass prior to break-in is slightly more sterile, and eventually it becomes increased in body, Mids will sound more open, the slight peak in upper mids which was present before, eventually flattens out. Highs which more smooth, soundstage opens already excellent, becomes more airy with precise instrument placements.
Lows: are very accurate, tight and refined; but doesn’t has a strong impact. Depth is moderate. Less in quantity comparatively. But the K702 is a reference headphones, focus and precise attention is required on mids & highs.
Mids: Neutral, very detailed & transparent. With a appreciably natural tonality.
Highs: Very are clear, airy & detailed. Very transparent as per the recording.
Soundstage: The K702’s soundstage is very airy, spacious, and fully circular 3D life like soundstage. Imaging is again spatial, with instruments placements very accurately positioned.Component/instruments are clearly and vividly separated and explained in a very detailed manner. According to my observation, these headphones are very neutral, and accurately represent the given recording. Given its transparent nature, I can say the K702’s are not forgiving to poor recordings. Hence these are revealing and resolving.
Special mention here is about K702’s ability to respond.
The membrane of K702’s driver is extremely fast & responsive. It is very quick, delivers sound without any delay, almost like a planar magnetic headphones. No other headphone around this price range can compete with the speed of K702. Overall The K702’s offer a reference quality and vastly uncoloured and transparent sonic performance.
The K702 headphones are widely used by qualified & experienced professionals across the globe in precise. This may alone vouch for the K702’s highly regarded performance.
Comparison: Let us take a look at other popular & well performing headphones available in similar price point.
Sennheiser HD600: A widely loved and a long standing headphone which extremely reliable and durable. It is fully modular. Sonically it is neutral has a nice quantity bass which is fairly accurate; Mids are forward. Highs are smoothened out with very less grains or harshness. Highs are present in just the right amount to keep the music alive. But when compared to K702, HD600 behaves as more of a musical headphone rather than a reference professional headphone.
HD600 indeed does comparatively lack soundstage width & air, but inturn has fuller soundstage. HD600 does not quite retrieve the detail due to its thicker sonic presentation. HD600 is also one of the most comfortable headphones, is also light in weight & ergonomically designed.
Beyerdynamic DT880: Again a long standing headphone offering from Beyer. Widely used by professionals across the world. The DT880 will be comparatively inferior in design mechanism; do observe the headbands, wiring connection methods and fixed cable. It also offers slightly lesser comfort due to shallow clearance inside earcups making ears to touch the inner surface. Also the DT880 is not modular, it does not have detachable cables, and hence maybe troublesome in long run.
DT880 is also very transparent & accurate in terms of sound quality for professionals aswell as for music hearing. Bass delivery is perfect (for reference) in DT880. But it has a slightly recessed mids and comparatively harsher higher frequencies.
The K702 has greater amount of comfort, relaxed clamping force of all, lightest by weight. Going by sonic performance, the K702 has the higher ability in terms of transparency, accuracy, resolving power, detail retrieval, imaging, and soundstage. The only drawback in sound deliverance is in terms of bass, which is a touch less in quantity than optimal. The K702 requires a good headphone amplifier & is relatively difficult to drive.
The K702 offers overall better technical sonic performance & can be considered as a reference in the whole comparison.
Amplification: These K702’s are rated at 62 ohms and are not designed to be power efficient or run by weak sources and hence need a dedicated headphone amplifier for optimal performance delivery. The K702 very much appreciates amplifiers which are revealing or transparent with powerful current output. Ideal amp/dac with a good match for K702 include: Objective2 combo & Schiit M2 Stack. Matrix M-Stage is also proven to have great match with the K702. All these devices are very much affordable and are easily available.
Conclusion: The K702 headphones are exceptionally performing headphones for the price offered. The K702’s are very neutral & presentation is in such away, and one can easily figure out the flaws in a recording. This type of presentation will be very useful for mastering or critical listening, and utility for musical pleasure is also appreciable.
The K702’s will be my favourite pair of headphones for both leisure music listening aswell as for critical listening. K702 is an engineering marvel by AKG engineers, I must admit. These provide superficial performance considering their offering price. These deliver a breathtaking sonic performance. These deliver exactly what is fed into them, thus making the K702’s a technically ideal headphones.
I would highly recommend K702 to any person would like to truly realize the components of a recording & hence the music itself. I find the K702 to be a technically far more superior than other headphone available in this price point.
1) Reference Sound quality: Sound presentation here is very neutral, and is very much helpful for critical listening as well as for casual musical pleasure. K702 is very responsive, with great speed. With sheer amount of transparency & speed, the K702’s are simply one of the best performing headphones one can access get today.
2) Build Quality: AKG K702 is very well engineered and designed. It is wisely built, by using efficient materials which provide a very durable life for the headphones.
3) Comfort: These are feather light, one of the lightest & most comfortable headphones available.
4) Value: AKG K702 puts up an extremely good performance for a fraction of its worthy price. This makes K702 a fantastic purchase for all.
Bass: Is a touch less in body and quantity when compared to other headphones. But going by quality, accuracy or deliverance, it is absolutely fine.
Pros - Fantastic sound clarity and definition. Incredible detailed sound and instruments separation. The soundstage is the best.
Cons - Not for everyone. Bass can be a little weak in some tracks. Hard to drive, amp needed.
Fantastic Reference Headphones, fantastic sound clarity and definition. The soundstage is the best! Incredible detailed sound and instruments separation.
Not for everyone. This is a very honest headphone: very analytical sound, bad recordings will sound bad, good recordings will sound fantastic pleasant. Bass can be a little weak in some tracks. Hard to drive, amp needed.
Pros - Natural Sound, Spacious Soundstage, Organic/Real Vocal, Tight Bass, Sparkling Highs without being fatigued, Revealing perfectly recorded music/sounds
Cons - Revealing, You can spot bad recorded music/sound soo easily (this is pros and cons, kinda like double edged sword)
If you want a natural sound with realistic vocals and soundstage, tight bass, sparkling highs without being fatigued, and a headphone who can reveal the true quality of the recorded music, and comfortable to be worn, K702s will get you there perfectly. Also the cable is detachable, opening up another opportunities to scale up K702's sound quality with cable upgrades.
But there is two requirements that is a must for K702s to shine and sing :
First, you'll need to invest a really good DAC/amps, started at twice the price or even higher. The higher the better of course, since I myself paired my K702s with Chord Hugo (http://www.moon-audio.com/chord-electronics-hugo-dac-headphone-amp.html) as pure DAC, and added Creek OBH-11 (the little hidden gem) headphone amps to improve the bass section and add more depth. The Sound? For example: Listening to Katy Perry - Spiritual is just Divine
Second, you have to be patient , since K702s also need lot of burn-in time, and changing with time, like a shoes, better worn, better comfort, for K702s, better used (burned-in), the better sound quality you'll get, in my case I hear substantial differences after 1000++ hours of usage
If you don't meet those two requirements, I honestly can't recommend K702s for you or it's ok if you can bear ~10% - 15% of K702's true sound while topping up your saving to purchase a really good DAC/amps.
On AKG over-ear headphones line, I've tried K550, K701, K702, K702 65th anniversary and for me K702 is the best out of those and since the newer version of K702s are without bumps, the comfort or pain because of those bumps is no longer an issue anymore, now I can wear K702s for hours and as long as I want. Great job AKG
That's all in my humble opinion.
Thank you for your time.
Pros - Fantastic sound clarity and definition. Incredible detailed sound and instruments separation. The soundstage is the best!
Cons - Not for everyone. Bass can be a little weak in some tracks. Hard to drive
Fantastic Reference Headphones, fantastic sound clarity and definition. The soundstage is the best! Incredible detailed sound and instruments separation.
Not for everyone. Bass can be a little weak in some tracks. Hard to drive
Pros - Comfort, build, sound.
Cons - Nothing that I can think of.
So I have essentially re-p[purchased a pair of K702s, in as much as I previously owned and sold a pair of K701s
I had got rid of the K701s because I just wasn't using them much, due to the fact that I'm basically bald and found the bumps on the underside of the headband quite uncomfortable.
I came back to these after a very disappointing experience with a pair of Beyerdynamic T90s - I know some folks love them, but they did absolutely nothing for me.
With the smooth, non-bumpy headband and removable cable, the K702 is pretty much my perfect set of 'phones.
I really rate the build quality and design and find them supremely comfortable now the headband bumps are gone, and they look much better in black.
For me, the sound is the perfect balance of lightness of touch and detail through the treble, while having enough 'body' to the mid-range to make the most of any vocal performance. The bass has enough punch to be convincing, but never overblown. Overall I would call them a very neutral headphone, erring towards the slightly analytical rather than lush sounding.
I know many have said they need an extended burn-in period, but I found they sounded great right out of the box, so if they continue to improve, I will be in for even more of a treat.
I have found them to be a particularly fine match for another recent purchase, a CEntrance DACport. This fine little class-A USB DAC/Amp has been around since 2010 but is now available for just over half it's original price, which frankly makes it a total steal. The class-A smoothness of the DACport perhaps works at the perfect balance for cool neutrality of the AKGs.
Finally I must just comment of cost and VFM.
The K702s can be found brand new from Amazon for £159 ($250) and I picked up a perfect Amazon Warehouse pair for £130 ($200). Frankly this is an amazing value considering either their original price or any of the significant alternatives.
So to sum up, great sounding, comfortable, well made and fantastic VFM. I'm delighted to be back in the AKG fold again and intend to hang on to these until they, or I fall apart.
Pros - Great soundstage, Clear and detailed sound,
Cons - 2d soundstage, long burn in time, No texture in bass, needs a amp for full potiental
About a little lower then half a pound in weight it is amazying how comfortable this thing is. The ear cups are angled so its hits your ear in a more natural position. The soundstage is wide and airy but not able to pin point anything like sennheiser hd 800. I would reccomend people to buy the earlyier one with 7 bumps on the headband because it has more bass. For the price its the best you can get. Sennheiser hd 600 or 650 are side grades for more money, just depends on taste. Any of the world class head phones will be the perfect step up from this. But it's a great way to get your foot in the hifi door. Get a simple fiio e11 or e07k or e17 to drive them to the fullest.