Specs Configured by Massdrop Manufactured by AKG Open-back construction Pre-selected dynamic...

AKG K7XX

Average User Rating:
4.44737/5,
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  • Specs
    Configured by Massdrop
    Manufactured by AKG
    Open-back construction
    Pre-selected dynamic transducers
    Flat-wire voice coil
    Varimotion two-layer diaphragm
    Genuine leather headband
    Memory foam earpads with velour covering
    Individually tested and numbered
    Detachable 9.8 ft (3 m) straight cable with 1/8 in (3.5 mm) jack
    Frequency response: 10 to 39,800 Hz
    Sensitivity: 105 dB/V
    Maximum input power: 200 mW
    Rated impedance: 62 Ohms
    8.3 oz (235 g)

Recent User Reviews

  1. Raymond Zhang
    3.0/5,
    "Not bad, but overpriced for what it offers"
    Pros - Light and comfortable, decent clarity
    Cons - Very "V" shaped, bass leaks into the mids, highs can be piercing at times
    The AKG K7XX's are very popular in this community, and while I can see why, I'm personally not a fan. (Pls no haterinos, it's just a personal opinion)

    Packaging: eh/10
    As the K7XX's are a Massdrop exclusive, designed to be sold at a lower price, the packaging was nothing special. The headphones came in a simple "presentation" box with one cable. No other accessories were included, again understandable, but still a bit troublesome. A shorter cable would have been greatly appreciated, as the one included with the headphones is around 8 feet long (and a proprietary plug, GDI AKG).​

    Comfort: 9/10
    To me, one of the strongest parts of these headphones lies in its comfortableness. It's very light, there's just the right amount of pressure to keep the headphones in place yet avoid squishing your brain, and the adjustment will work for all but the most extreme head shapes and sizes. The ear pads are a kind of memory foam, velour covered type thing, which are a bit thin, but no big deal.​

    The covering on the inside of the ear cups (driver covers?) are made of a rougher woven polyester type thing; the tips of your ears will almost certainly be resting against this. Again, less comfortable than it could be, but not a big deal, and won't be a problem unless you're constantly shifting the headphones and rubbing against it. It would have been nice to have spare ear pads, but again, it's not to be expected.​

    As the K7XX is open backed, your ears more than likely won't get sweaty as they would with closed back headphones, again enabling hours of use at a time.​

    The build quality isn't bad, but it does look a little bit fragile. Mine have yet to break, but I'd certainly try to avoid sitting on them or placing things on top. Those two guide rails on top look problematically thin if you were to place something on top by accident.​

    Sound: 5/10
    In my opinion, this is where the K7XXs really struggle, or at least differ from my own tastes. And no matter your taste in headphone sounds, these are definitely not "Reference Headphones" like they're marked. Apologies ahead of time for my lack of terminology.

    Bass on these headphones is honestly most of the problem for me. While they're strong and clearly emphasized, they seem to be boosted in the wrong way. Individual bass beats are muddy and lack the punchiness that I look for.

    Mids seem almost recessed, like if the singer were standing behind all the instruments, creating the illusion of a V shaped curve. Additionally, parts of the bass leak into the mid section, making the whole thing sound rather "muddy", and taking away from the clarity that would otherwise be exceptional for a $200 pair of cans. Guitar and other string instruments tend to sound recessed as well. Male voices sound much stronger than female voices, which I suspect is a result of the V shape sound curve (? is that even the right term?)

    Treble is like the bass, almost artificially enhanced. It can be too piercing at times and makes long term listening tiresome, despite the headphone's exceptional comfort. What really annoys me, however, is how drastic and obvious this change is. You can distinctly hear the change from when a singer, especially female, goes from a lower note to a higher one. On a good note however, the highs are very detailed.

    Overall, the very drastic way that the sound was boosted on the low and high ends creates this overwhelming sensation of unevenness in the music. These should not be used as
    Miscellaneous thoughts:
    These are actually great for gaming. The soundstage, while not exceptional, does offer very pretty good separation. Forward highs will make gunshots and other sound effects stand out while the slightly muffled bass will make explosions sound slightly less piercing. You might have a bit more trouble hearing gunshots due to recessed mids, but at least these headphones are detailed. No microphone on the cable or headphones means you have to figure that out yourself though.

    Massdrop shipping times are annoying AF, but maybe I've just been spoiled by Amazon Prime. Their no returns policy is especially bad though.

    Being open-backed provides these headphones major advantages in comfort (and some say soundstage, though I personally don't hear it). However, it also means that sound isolation will be abysmal. The K7XXs are for use in a quiet room or at home alone. You will hear everything happening around you unless you turn the volume way up, but then the people around you will hear everything you're listening to.

    In my opinion, for $200, there are better options out there, unless you're specifically looking for open backed headphones, or if this V shaped sound signature particularly appeals to you. I'd personally pay no more than $150 for these. Remember to do your research beforehand no matter what you decide to buy, and if possible, try out a pair first!


  2. Sam-Fi
    5.0/5,
    "equal to k712 in all but price"
    Pros - treble presentation, image, detail, vivid from the mids to the upper mids, price to performance ratio, studio monitoring
    Cons - bass presentation requires your ears adjusting a little, can be a little dry sounding, revealing of record quality
    The 7xx is going to be one of my main stays that I keep around in case I need to adjust my ears back to a neutral sound, yes, kings of neutrality these phones hold nothing back about a recording, the detail retrieval is pretty stellar with good sourcing and amplification, slightly forward presentation but neutral and laid-back especially above the upper mids.
    These don't have a lot of drawbacks aside from some crispness that can show itself on certain tracks but for the most part it is a phone that stays true to the source so it is recording dependent when that flaw can show itself.

    Those that have blasted far off into summit fi land should come back and listen to some Yamaha HS80s or these AKG k712/7xx they seem to nail timbre and neutrality in such a way fancy colored gear cannot, sure you can listen how you like but listening to gear that helps clue you in to the studio mixing and where the rubber meets the road as far as music is made really helps you appreciate recording quality and musicianship. So no matter if you are new to audio or have an endgame setup, these phones are not hard to drive, they take to punchier amps better but are nice with sweet tubes, give them another listen. They are sweet little studio music machines.
    trellus likes this.
  3. Hunki Chunki
    4.0/5,
    "Just a wonderful, comfortable, all day headphones"
    Pros - Nice balanced sound, super comfortable and BIG earpads
    Cons - Bass could do with a little help. Needs an amp to show its true potential
    Got this as a "replacement" for my K501s, has that same-ish AKG sound to it, comfortable all day listening headphones.
     
    The earpads on these are superior to the old 501s, very big and comfortable.
     
    Bass is a subdued, but its there in a very refined lowkey manner.
     
    There is a big noticeable difference when this headphone is amped, a wonderful... addictive difference =)
  4. Aornic
    4.0/5,
    "Good and inexpensive allrounder with incredible soundstage and imaging"
    Pros - Beyond vast soundstage, accurate imaging, comfortable, detachable cable, lightweight, price
    Cons - Overall sound is good but not great, only available (with a long wait time) when Massdrop makes it available, requires a beefy amp and source setup
    [​IMG]
     
    Background
     
    It’s safe to say that Massdrop has played a decent role in both introducing new products to the headphone community while highlighting others through their group-purchase system. The headphone I’m going to tackle today is their collaboration with Austrian manufacturer AKG, a Chinese-made version of their K702 65[sup]th[/sup] Anniversary Edition rebranded as the K7XX that retails for $199 on the site.
    I had been interested in this headphone for some time now as praise has been showered on it for its price-to-performance ratio – with special consideration being given to its soundstage and imaging. I got my hands on one recently and this is what I found.
     
    download.jpg
     
    Specifications:
     
    Configured by Massdrop
     
    Manufactured by AKG
     
    Open-back construction
     
    Pre-selected dynamic transducers
     
    Flat-wire voice coil
     
    Varimotion two-layer diaphragm
     
    Genuine leather headband
     
    Memory foam earpads with velour covering
     
    Individually tested and numbered
     
    Detachable 9.8 ft (3 m) straight cable with 1/8 in (3.5 mm) jack
     
    Frequency response: 10 to 39,800 Hz
     
    Sensitivity: 105 dB/V
     
    Maximum input power: 200 mW
     
    Rated impedance: 62 Ohms
     
    8.3 oz (235 g)
     
    2016-07-2315.33.54.jpg 2016-07-2315.34.40.jpg 2016-07-2315.27.49.jpg 2016-07-2315.27.34.jpg
     
    Build, Comfort & Features
     
     
    I have not felt a full-sized headphone as effortless to wear as this since I sold my Beyerdynamic DT-990 600 Ohm. There is no incremental adjustment on the sides, much like the Meze 99 Classic, so you just pull it over your head and it stays in place. Comfort is supreme, absolutely supreme. The only issue I can imagine is during intense summer heat, which my locale actually had last week during a heatwave. Without air conditioning in such weather, the soft velour pads of the K7XX can get quite hot and bothersome.
     
    The build itself can be described in a single word: plastic. That really is all there is to it. I was briefly fooled by one part and mentioned in my video review that it looked like a small piece of thin metal, but that is just brushed plastic too. While on one hand, this keeps the cost low and the weight light, these are not very durable and I’ve read of many accounts of creaking issues after some time of use.
    The box really does not include much. Just the headphones, the cable and a small 1/8 to ¼ adapter. The cable is one of my favourite aspects of the K7XX as it is removable. I applaud such a quality showing up in a $199 pair of headphones just as much as I lament it not being included in $399, $449 and $499 pairs of headphones also being sold on Massdrop.
    Sound
     
    Before I even dissect the bass, mids and treble of the K7XX – I must address its most conspicuous feature. The soundstage is the widest I have heard yet on a pair of headphones, beating the previous champion of my list – the Beyerdynamic DT-990 600 ohm edition. The soundstage and imaging go hand-in-hand to create an out-of-head-space experience that truly lends credence to the term “surround sound.” A good test of such an attribute is a binaural recording, and this headphone was able to let me pinpoint a person’s almost inaudible movements while standing behind the binaural microphone setup. What really helps with the imaging is the speed of the headphones. They are in no way a planar magnetic level of speed, but they provide an excellent experience and fast transient response for $199. Panning audio in songs is effortless and not laid back at all.
     
    I have read that the major change to the K702 65[sup]th[/sup] Anniversary Edition, and therefore the K7XX, from the original K702 was a three decibel increase in bass. How I wrap my mind around such a number is by imagining two bass ports on the ZMF Vibro Mk. I that I used to have, each one controlling one-and-a-half decibels of bass. With that knowledge, it is a substantial increase and by no means a basshead-pleasing one – but one to round off the low end and add body to the music played. Due to this, I would not characterize the K7XX as being a bright headphone but rather a warm one. The bass is fast but, obviously, not planar magnetic levels of fast but it is very smooth. There is definite roll-off so some genres of music would not be suitable for use – such as really bass-dependent EDM and hip hop tracks.
     
    The midrange gives a clean feeling to it. It is not recessed, stark nor syrupy sweet – like the Hifiman HE-500. It’s just there, and vocals and instruments utilizing it will be heard as such. It just exists, if that makes sense. If the K7XX was a sports team, the midrange would be a role-player and not the star of the show – which the soundstage is. By all means, do not take my words as negative in this matter because music does sound quite full bodied in the midrange for most genres. It’s just those certain times where you feel like vocals and instruments sound a little thinner than they should. This could probably be changed with the right amp setup, for I do hear a slight improvement using my Cavalli Audio Liquid Carbon in this regard.
     
    The treble takes my old term of “comfortably extended” and raises it just a slight amount more. Suddenly, there is more sparkle to music and the “air” around instruments is more distinguishable. Sibilance is only reached rarely in music that was not mixed/mastered properly. One can be grateful for the treble extension and detail because of how drum cymbals are so easily elevated from the rest of the instruments, and then be grateful for the immense soundstage because where they can rest in the mix accurately.
     
    Is it a performer? Absolutely. Will it take down the more expensive and heavier hitters in the audio world? Not really. While the sound itself has been a welcome surprise for the price range, the actual selling point of these headphones is definitely just mid-fi all-round usage and immense soundstage. This actually influenced me to come up with a new sub-section for this review.
     
    Gaming
     
    Yes gentlemen and gentler men, the K7XX is by far the absolute best gaming headphones I have ever heard. If you have the budget, and it is indeed a budget you will require for reasons that will follow below, then do away with your Razer, Steelseries, Kingston and other gaming headsets and buy these instead. I have not had a comparable experience with audio clarity when it comes to gaming from anything I have owned before. I play Overwatch these days and every footstep and ability trigger/voiceover rang out incredibly in the overall game sound design thanks to how well the K7XX was keeping up.
     
    All those aspects that gaming companies’ marketing divisions like to yell about is indeed present in the K7XX, to a realistic level. You can actually make out where an enemy is by the sound of their footsteps growing louder or softer in a direction. Will it give you that L337 gaming edge you’ve been looking for since you first jumped into Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s online-mode? I can’t say, only you can, champ.
     
    Amping
     
    This is where it gets a bit tricky. You might be fooled by the 62 ohms impedance of the K7XX, but these are not very easy headphones to drive. They are nowhere near Hifiman HE-6 levels of difficult, but they do need proper amping if you want to enjoy all aspects of its sound. I have three amps in my possession and let’s see how they compare:
     
    Cavalli Audio Liquid Carbon
     
    While this amp adds a little body to the midrange due to its warm characteristic, my specific model is not one I would pair with the likes of the K7XX because it does fall into the “low impedance” realm that is problematic with some first run Liquid Carbons such as mine. There is a humming issue, greatly exacerbated if on high gain (which I don’t recommend with these headphones in general).
     
    Venture Electronics RunAbout Plus
     
    This portable-sized amplifier actually packs a good punch to it and a sound signature that isn’t quite warm but isn’t quite neutral. It even drives my ZMF Omni, a planar magnetic Fostex T50RP mod, somewhat decently. However, the K7XX loses a fair amount of its bass response and tightness when paired with it. It’s the same problem I notice if you try to run the headphones through the likes of a smartphone, the bass becomes quieter and a tad distorted.
     
    Schiit Magni 2
     
    I keep calling this “probably the only amp you’ll ever need” and I keep being proven right. The clean power that it provides synergizes very well with the K7XX. I keep it on low gain and it is more than enough to control the bass and have the sound blazing on all cylinders – just don’t expect an especially melodious or magical pairing. It is just adding volume and power, nothing more.
     
    Conclusion
     
    I am satisfied with the K7XX. That is the best way I can put it. I didn’t expect magic but I did receive some in a small way, the soundstage and imaging is a great selling point as it its allrounder functionality. In terms of build, mine don’t creak so much and I bought them used so your mileage may indeed vary if a new pair starts to do so after a few weeks.
     
    Ultimately, I see the K7XX as a very capitalist pair of headphones. This took an item that was limited edition and priced over $400 and brought it down to $199 simply by switching some build materials and moving production to China. However, unlike Walmart, you can’t really hate on Massdrop and AKG for the birth of the K7XX because it is indeed bringing a quality headphone within the reach of those who are starting out in the audio game or those who want something relatively inexpensive but different to complement their main set of cans. If you can amp it, go for it I say. I’ll be using these for gaming and movies for sure.
     
    2016-07-2315.30.34.jpg
     
     
     
    Comparisons
     
    Bass Quantity: TH-X00 > Classic 99 > ZMF Omni > ZMF Vibro Mk. I > HE400i > DT990 > K7XX > HE-500 > HD600
     
    Mids: HE-500 > HD600 > ZMF Omni > Classic 99 > HE400i > ZMF Vibro Mk. I > K7XX > TH-X00 > DT990
     
    Treble Quantity: DT990 > HE400i > TH-X00 > K7XX > Classic 99 > HE-500 > HD600 > ZMF Omni > ZMF Vibro Mk. I
     
    Soundstage: K7XX > DT990 > HE-500 > ZMF Omni > HD600 > HE400i > ZMF Vibro Mk. I > Classic 99 > TH-X00
     
    Comfort: DT990 > K7XX > TH-X00 > HE400i > HD600 > ZMF Omni > Classic 99 > ZMF Vibro Mk. I > HE-500
     
    Aesthetics: Classic 99 > TH-X00 > ZMF Omni > ZMF Vibro Mk. I > HE400i > DT990 > K7XX > HE-500 > HD600
     
    Lightness: Classic 99 > K7XX > DT990 > TH-X00 > HD600 > HE400i > ZMF Vibro Mk. I > ZMF Omni > HE-500
     
    Song Impressions
     
    Equipment used: Foobar200 WASAPI Event > Schiit Wyrd > Schiit Gungnir USB Ver. 2 > Venture Schiit Magni 2.
    All tracks in lossless FLAC in at least 16/44.1
     
    Aerosmith – Dream On (2012 Remaster)
     
    A headphone’s soundstage always makes or breaks this song in my opinion. With the ability to space out and separate the instrumental, the K7XX does this song justice in a manner that is out of reach of headphones like the TH-X00. The low end is not overly bassy, but well-rounded so that the bass guitar finds itself comfortably in the mix. Nothing is drowned out either in the instrumental.
     
    a-ha – Take On Me
     
    While missing the incredibly low reach of the TH-X00’s sub-bass, the K7XX does an admirable job of opening up the song’s instrumental and vocal layering so that the 80s synthesizers have more of a sparkle to them – so far removed they are from the low end. The superior imaging of the K7XX really plays well into the panning synthesizer runs in the bridge section.
     
    Alan Parson’s Project – Sirius
     
    This track synergizes very well with the K7XX, which delivers warmth and body to the low end while maintaining a treble extension that allows the shimmering string section and synths to stand out in the mix rather effortlessly. The song is a builder, and every instrument is represented well as the layers stack.
     
    Black Sabbath – Planet Caravan
     
    While the soundstage is undoubtedly incredible, there is a certain artificial nature to Ozzy’s voice in this song compared to the likes of the HE-500. I chalk this up to the superior mids of the Hifiman headphone. The piano on the left channel at the end does not sound as natural either. Not by any means a poor listen however – owing to the really good allrounder status that the K7XX has.
     
    Prince – Controversy
     
    While not oozing effort in the midrange, the K7XX does quite a good job at holding the song’s driving nature at the seams. The presentation is disciplined, but the sub-bass of other headphones in my possession is missed for that oomph sound in the beat.
     
    Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start the Fire
     
    One of my favourite listens with the K7XX. The production gels with the strengths of the headphones to provide a complete and fun listening experience. The overdubs ring out clearly due to the large soundstage with the bass-boosted nature of the headphones providing a good sense of fast pacing with the kick drum.
     
    Blink-182 – I Miss You
     
    The two acoustic guitar tracks ring out incredibly on the two channels. Not quite a punk rock song by a pop-punk band, the mature melody and instrumentation is really well served by the K7XX on all fronts.
     
    Chris Isaak – Wicked Game
     
    I return to this song with every song impression and with good reason as it is very good at highlighting the strengths of various headphones. In this case, as aforementioned, the incredible soundstage benefits the song in a large manner. The warmth also makes the acoustic guitars sound rich and lifelike. However, the vocal is not as pleasing as it would have been on the HE-500 or ZMF Omni, but one must consider the incredible price differences in making that comparison. As also mentioned before, it is still a great listen on its own and quite excellent for $199.
     
    Clint Mansell – Lux Aeterna
     
    As the string sections creep up on the listener, the fast nature of the K7XX comes into play as the whole presentation is very controlled and effortless. The different sections are spaced out well. The higher pitched main melody, played on a violin, maintains a decent amount of air around it but not an incredible amount due to the extension of the treble being as a “comfortable” level. What is most impressive is that I can name a number/degree from 0 to 180 for exactly where each string section is in the mix.
     
    Coldplay – Clocks
     
    The K7XX separates the tracks incredibly in this densely layered track, giving the backing ethereal synth-pad a lot of body. The piano rests in the right channel, far from the guitar work on the left – all while Chris Martin’s vocal rings out above it all.
     
    Eminem – Without Me
     
    I was taken by surprise here, the 3 dB of bass bump that is present on the K7XX compared to the K702 really shows on tracks like this. While the bass is not the centre of attention like it is on the TH-X00, it isn’t entirely lacking either. If anything, the whole song sounds “clean.” The extended treble makes the snare and hihat bite through the mix however, something to consider if you are treble sensitive.
     
    Fleetwood Mac – Dreams
     
    The cymbal on the right side is further to the right than with any other piece of audio gear I own currently, another fact attesting the vast soundstage. The bass guitar work does not feel as tight however. The vocal layering in the chorus is not as rich as the HE-500 either. What is done the best is the sense of space and the treble lending a decent amount of air to the production.
     
    Metallica – The Unforgiven
     
    The Black Album probably has the best production on a Metallica record to date, but it can feel a bit hollow on some headphones due to how much it relies on low end and midrange body. So what I hear is a lot of sparkle in the cymbals and crashes but not so much weight behind the guitar section except with the acoustic guitars kick in in the intro and chorus. The guitar solo however sounds pretty good, with its overdubs adding to its presence. However it is only a small section of the song.
     
    Thanks for reading my review. If you enjoyed this, please check out my new website where I put all of my work in both written and video form. www.aornic.com
     
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  5. swspiers
    3.0/5,
    "Okay for what they are, not at all what I like."
    Pros - Solid build, price, not fatiguing at all, pretty comfortable
    Cons - Unnatural soundstage, muddy bass, no "impact"
    AKG K7XX
    As should be obvious, I’m not a professional reviewer. Heck, I’m not even a frequent reviewer. But every now and then, I do get a desire to throw my $.02 in an interesting headphone or other piece of equipment. In this case it is the AKG K7XX, straight from Massdrop.

    One of the things that keeps me in this hobby, is I just love headphones. I am always seduced by the magic that emits from the transducer. I am also entranced at the thought of the miniature room sitting on top of, or near, my ears. Every experience is different and every headphone seems to carve out its own particular niche.

    These headphones have garnered enough attention that I couldn’t resist the most recent drop. I’ve read glowing reviews, with one member who I really respect, referring to them as giant killers. Really? For $199? I just had to try them, especially since for the past 4 years I’ve mostly been listening to planars from Hifiman and Mr. Speakers.

    Before you read on, I will state right out the gate that rarely have I heard a headphone that I disliked so intensely from the first few minutes I wore them. In fact, my initial review was written with a one star in mind. That’s just how much I do not like what they do, although I can certainly understand why some people think this is one of the greatest bargains in headphones today. But at this moment, I have to be “that” guy who really dislikes something that’s almost universally loved. Let me explain…

    BASS
    A lot of people believe the bass is one of the most important aspects of a headphone. I totally agree with this, but for me it’s a matter of quality and not quantity. I have to admit; the 3 dB bump that AKG claims is compelling. It is there, and it’s rather tastefully done. But unlike other commentators on these headphones, I find that it does come at the expense of macro and micro detail.

    And this is the thing that really bugs me about these headphones. A slight bass boost is always a nice thing, except when it interferes with the overall presentation. Especially when it comes to percussion. There’s something about the bass on these headphones that “veils” the kick drum on a lot of the material I love to listen to. These headphones just don’t have the visceral impact I value so much in a speaker or set of headphones. Now, Grado’s are not known for their bass, but the presentation of the bass guitar or a kick drum on my Grado SR-225i’s (with tape modification) is very distinct and clear. But the K7XX’s just don’t present those instruments as clearly and distinctly as I want.

    MIDRANGE
    I have very little to complain about regarding midrange overall. But that pesky bass boost gives a bit of chestiness, for lack of a better word, for vocals – especially male. Even female vocals are affected somewhat, though not nearly as much. It’s as far from “natural” as I have heard in the past couple of years.

    However, the presentation of electric guitar, keyboards, and even stringed instruments is pretty good. In fact, they’re a bit above average. What is most impressive is the lack of distortion. Once material gets dense and complicated though, the mids tend to lack clarity and definition.

    Going back to drums and percussion, they have very little impact. I don’t get the sense of “smack” when the stick hits the drum. For most people this might not be a big deal, but for this guy, it’s maddening not to hear that or sense that. For dynamic headphones, these just don’t seem very dynamic to me.

    TREBLE
    For the most part, this is their strongest presentation in the audible range. Virtually no sibilance that I could detect, regardless of material. Really good detail retrieval in the upper range as well. Most importantly, these are extremely non-fatiguing headphones. Their treble presentation makes them very easy to listen to, for extended periods of time. If you love how they sound overall, this is awesome.

    IMAGE/SOUNDSTAGE/DEPTH
    Okay, here’s the part where I expect a number of people to totally dismiss this review and move on to something else. By far, the strongest aspect of these headphones is their soundstage. It is wide, and under the right circumstances, they are impressive. My problem with it is it seems unnaturally so. Yes, this is because I listen to a lot of Grado and other headphones that have a more limited soundstage.

    But it’s also because the depth of the soundstage is very, very shallow to me. It’s wide, and I can hear where that is fun. But it’s at the expense of imaging. By that I mean vocals seem out of proportion and larger to me than I usually experience with my other headphones. This is where I have a problem with their imaging in my head. Which reminds me, these headphones are more “inside my head” than any other set of headphones that I own. I experience no illusion that anything is in front of me. It’s all right between my ears, which when I wear them, is about 10 feet wide.

    ON THE OTHER HAND
    By now, it is probably clear that the AKG-K7XX headphones are far from my favorite headphones. In fact, up to this point, they are by far my least favorite that I have heard to date. I posted some impressions on the K7XX thread, and got a few suggestions for trying them under different circumstances. But it didn’t matter what the source was, didn’t matter what the amplifier was, and it didn’t matter what I was listening to. I just don’t like these headphones.

    Then, I decided to watch some older episodes of “The Walking Dead”. My girlfriend is not fond of the show, so I watch it pretty much alone. Which means, I use headphones- usually the Alpha Primes from Mr. Speakers. But this time, I decided to give these a chance through my receiver, a rather average Marantz SR-7008, not a receiver generally regarded as a great headphone amp.
    It was like a revelation. Almost every single objection I had up to this point regarding these headphones disappeared, and I enjoyed television on headphones like I have rarely done before. The soundstage was wonderful and everything is perfectly placed, from the birds in the background, to the zombies eating flesh in the middle. They came across is dynamic, impactful, fun, and a much better headphone for this purpose. I thought for sure I would keep them…


    IN THE END
    To sum it up, I was initially quite disappointed in these headphones. Music just came across as flat. Even the wide soundstage seemed to lack depth or excitement. I couldn’t enjoy any music on them at all, no matter what source or amp I used. I wrote in another tread that I can see why people love these so much: I just don’t hear it.
    However, when I used them for movies/TV, the whole thing flipped for me. I’m glad I kept trying with these, because I would have missed out on an experience that I found enjoyable and in many ways, practical.
    Overall, I have to rate these as a marginal “3”. They are worth the money if one favors their signature, have no apparent quality issues, and fit a very specific want of mine. But not a need. Gamers, video enthusiasts, and soundstage fans might indeed find these to be the deal of the decade. For me, they’re just a set of headphones that do one thing that I value very well. The rest- they’re okay.

    TEST TRACKS
    Cowboy Junkies- Crescent Moon, Mining for Gold, Misguided Angel
    King Crimson- Indiscipline, Asbury Park (live)
    Black Sabbath- Into the Void
    Taylor Swift- Red
    Lo Pan- El Dorado
    Porcupine Tree- Arriving Somewhere, Trains, Anesthetize

    TELEVISION SHOWS
    The Walking Dead: Season 6, episodes 1 through 6
    Vinyl: Season 1, Episodes 1 through 3

    ASSOCIATED EQUIPMENT
    Shiit Modi and Magni
    Benchmark DAC-1
    Cavalli Liquid Carbon
    Burson Soloist
    iPhone 6S
    ipad Air 2
    Oppo BDP-103
    Sonos Connect
    Nexolek likes this.
  6. UnderScore96
    4.0/5,
    "Neutral when it needs to be, a bit of kick when you want it."
    Pros - Sound quality, very analytical, slight bass kick, very open.
    Cons - Almost too neutral, not "fun", build quality not the greatest.
    The K7XX is a set of cans that has earned some extremely high praise since its burst onto the audiophile scene roughly a year ago through group buy vendor Massdrop. Some of which is deserved, some... not so much. The headphones are essentially a rebranding of the extremely popular K702, with a slightly enhanced bass response to appeal to the beginner audiophile (people like myself).
     
    The built quality of the K7XX is adequate, its construction mainly consists of plastic, with a genuine leather headband which is adjustable via elastic tethers. Personally I'm not a fan of the elastic as all elastics that I've encountered, especially ones that are constantly stressed when in use, tend to wear down fairly quickly. The general build quality is not quite up to par with direct competitors like the DT880, with its metal adjustment arms and foam/leather headbands. That being said, I've had these for a year now with very common use and the plastic and elastic has shown no sign of degradation. In fact, while almost the entire construction is plastic, they honestly don't feel like they're going to fall apart any time soon.
     
    The comfort that comes from the attractive design and enormous ear cups is second to none. If you're the type of person that is easily distracted by contact with the drivers or ear pads of your headphones, you'll have no problems at all with these guys. Speaking of which, the memory foam ear pads that AKG have chosen to use is delightful. Personally, I would've preferred a soft plushy foam, such as that used in mid-to-high-end Beyers, but these do very well in their own respect.
     
    What really matters is: how do they sound? Well, if you're on the market for an almost-neutral set of headphones, but don't want to lose too much of that bass you've grown to love, look no further than the K7XX. Now, keep in mind, these are definitely not a bass-lover's headphones. If your music collection consists of a lot of EDM, rock, or other bass-heavy genres, you may want to look elsewhere. Personally, I listen to mostly rock and psychedelia and have these on rotation with Beyerdynamic DT990s, and I vastly prefer the listening experience obtained with the latter. This is just my personal taste and I still have great respect for the analytical signature of the AKGs.
  7. snapacap
    4.5/5,
    "This is the best pair of headphones I have tried yet."
    Pros - clear, not anemic, looks, removable cable
    Cons - My ears touch the side, not a fan of the headband
    I got these from the forum. They are First edition.
     
    Looks: The look is slick. Big earcups, all black, clean look. (though not important, who wants headphones to be ugly?)
     
    Build: I very much like the overall build.
    The earpads are pretty good. The material is not uber cushy, but has a memory effect to it. No complaints, and quite nice.
    The cable is not braided [​IMG] , but is removable, and still miles better than the HD558 spaghetti cable. Mini XLR connector is somewhat proprietary, but i actually love the connector style.
    The headband is real leather, but I think it will take some time to soften up. I found it annoying.
    The overhead bands are cheap, but they work fine. Not really a negative.
    Thankfully AKG decided to go with a large earcup. This is a huge thumbs up!
     
    Comfort:
    The first thing i noticed when I put these on is how much the headband dug into my head. This is annoying, but you can rotate the headband slightly, which mostly solved this problem, yet not entirely.
    Next, the Earcups are plenty large in height, and width for the majority of ears. My ears are close to pushing the limit on height. My ears stick out a bit, and thus touch the inside of the earcup quite a bit. It is padded though, making it good enough, but a bummer for how much I love these. 
     
    The pad dimensions are:
    Inner Width: 70mm 
    Inner Height: 70mm
    Inner Depth: 20mm
     
    Because they are so large and round, the depth seems a tad lower to me.
    The clamp is enough that they do not slide off. As someone who had high sensitivity to clamp pressure, These are not a problem at all. Not perfect, but not bad at all. The K7XX are more comfortable than not. I have yet to find anything up to my very high standard of comfort yet.
     
    Sound: Yes. Just Yes.
    I waited to write this review until i had received all the headphones I recently purchased to arrive. This includes the Pioneer SE-A1000, HD558, SHP9500, Fidelio x2, and the AKG k7xx.
     
    I will put these in order of cleanliness.
    1. SHP9500
    2. K7XX
    3. SE-A1000
    4. HD558
    5. Fidelio X2
     
    The thing to note here is that cleanliness is not all there is to sound. I get the most resolve out of the SHP9500, but that does not mean they have the best overall sound quality.
     
    This is very important in this case because I think the AKG K7XX has better overall sound quality than the SHP9500. The SHP9500 does give a tiny bit more clarity, but the amount is not very much, and sometimes would say it's a tie, or a small victory for the K7XX. The place where the K7XX beats the SHP9500 is in the low end. There is more bass, more attack, and just more complete sound. The K7XX has the edge that the SHP9500 lacks. The K7XX is more full, and still keeps all the clarity. The only reason I put the SHP9500 ahead on the list is the lesser bass allows the other ranges to be  clearer. The SHP9500 is also quite grainy compared to the K7XX, which is far smoother. The K7XX is the superior Headphone.
     
    The sound of the K7XX is pushing toward the analytical side of the equation, but had enough warmth to keep them from sounding sterile. They fall into the Jack of all Trades category for me. They are never the absolute best at any one thing, but are collectively the best headphones I have had yet. If I had to sell all but one pair of open headphones, based on sound I would keep the K7XX. They are not super dry, but keep the clarity, and neutrality. 
     
    On a side note, I can hear a treble spike (maybe 7KHz?) I have cringed a little at times from this, but not really much of a problem.
     
    Compared to the Fidelio X2, These have way better treble and upper mids. The bass on the X2 crush most other open back headphones, but I do not miss them so much withe K7XX. There is enough bass that they are not anemic, and I can feel it sometimes. While the X2 lie to you in an exciting way, the K7XX tell the truth in a not-super-boring way. My neighbor across the hall seems to find the K7XX boring. He much prefers the sound of the Pioneer SE-A1000, but was not a fan of the X2, saying they had too much bass.
     
    Personally, I freaking love how these sound. Nothing sounds bad on them. The X2 left me without good enough vocal, the SHP9500 left me wanting bass, the K7XX sit somewhere between the two, and Fill the gap in a wonderful way. They are not exciting, but I do not find them too boring either.
     
     Recommended song:
    Crystal - Fox Stevenson
     
    In essence: These sound fantastic. I recommend these to all the people who just want a single pair of headphones that do everything well.
    I think most people will find these very comfortable.
     
    EDIT: Those of you who have asked me about an upgrade from the HD558, the AKG K7XX will not likely disappoint!
    Also, I now have the HD700, and I like them more.
    trellus, Zobel, Bloos and 1 other person like this.
  8. Turbo AL
    5.0/5,
    "A+ headphones that should be known for sound quaility and not just value. "
    Pros - Huge sound-stage and separation, clean fast very open sound, extremely comfortable, removable cable, an evolution of a classic, a steal at the price.
    Cons - Should be used with an amp.
    I have been an Audio Technica guy for the last 20 years or so.  I have the AD700, A700, AD900X, M50, ANC27 plus the Sony 7506's.  I was looking to try an AKG and had been trying for a while to win a set of Q701 Quincy Jones Signatures on Ebay when I saw a post on Slickdeals about the AKG K7XX (First Edition) for $200 on an unknown site to me called Massdrop.  After reading the discussion about them claiming K702 Anniversary sound with improved bass I went for it (serial # 2255) and they are now my go-to phones.
     
    Sound:  These are silky smooth and clean but still can be very dynamic and fast when they need to be.  While all of my other headphones have their pluses and minuses these can match up to the strengths of each of them nicely. The bass is very close to the level of the closed back M50 but cleaner.  Drum solos sound more real than I have ever heard them, tight and clean and you can easily tell differences between each drum.  The members here said that the K7XX would need and amp so I bought the Fiio E12 to use with it and it definitely helps give the K7XX a stronger dynamic presence.
     
    The sound-stage is second only to my AD700's (the purple pasta strainers) but the base is magnitudes better.  I am not a bass-head so the K7XX has more than enough low end to satisfy me.  As I am writing this paragraph I am listening to Freebird and the bass is nice and tight, better than open backs usually are.  The mids are also better and more open than anything I have heard,  Female vocals have always sounded great on my favorite open backed AD900X's but the K7XX is still better and the highs blend in nicely without any listening fatigue.
     
    While I think the K7XX is fairly neutral they are not flat or boring.  The 7506's don't have the presence these do and just seem limited and sound small after listening to the K7XX.  The sound-stage is large and makes you feel that the music is all around you rather than coming from headphones.  These are large phones and don't have a problem filling the whole room (between your ears) with sound.  Now I mostly pull out the K7XX by default instead of picking a set of phones for what I want to listen to.  Since everything I have played on them sounds as good or better than anything else I have heard they are the one headphone I can't be without.
     
    Comfort:  These one of the most comfortable headphones I have ever used. Made from lightweight plastic (8.3 oz.) and with the over-sized memory foam velour ear pads I wear them 4-5 hours some nights and never have had to removed them.  There is hardly any clamping pressure, they use a form of self adjusting band on the top that adjusts elastic bands on each side to the right height.  The larger Audio Technica models have a self adjusting wing like mechanism that is also works very well and that I really like but the K7XX seems to move around less.  The headband doesn't have any padding and my only concern is that it feels a little slippery.  If the headband had a little more grip I think that it would be the perfect system for a comfortable but still secure fit.
     
    Value:  Well I am a guy that stays around the $150 to $250 area.  I find that that gives me the best sound for my money. The AKG K7XX is heads better than anything in it's price range.  It might only be due to the Massdrop group buying club that I got these for $200 but that is what they sold for so I am basing my rating on the price.  I think that I have the best headphone that can possibly be bought for this price and will probably have to move up to the $500+ range on my next pair to feel that I got a worthwhile improvement.  I would like to try a planar magnetic next, maybe the OPPO PM-3 or Hifiman 400i but for open backed dynamics I can't imagine anything under $500-$800 being better than these.
     
    Conclusion:  This is my first review and I know that it is incomplete and amateurish in depth and format but there is nothing not to love about the AKG K7XX.  I didn't post any new photos as the ones that others have posted are much clearer than anything that I could have done.  I didn't know that ear-pads could be so soft and comfortable.  That a headphone as large as this could be so light.  That you can get this good a bass from a open back design with this large of a sound-stage. Or that one headphone could replace several that I had been using with different music genres.  If you don't have a pair of AKG headphones then I think you will be very surprised at what you can get for $200.
  9. MDKrinkles
    4.0/5,
    "absolutely incredible"
    Pros - cloud pillows, very open sound, amazing separation, great highs and mids
    Cons - bass could be better but that'd be nitpicking
    First off, this is my first real pair of "audiophile" headphones. After about of year of research I came upon massdrop and these beauties, all black, Austrian design, and legacy of great open backs to back it up, for only 200$! I can very much get behind this. Although I was disappointed to hear that it was being produced in china instead of glorious Austria, the pros to this over the k712 and the k702 seemed pretty great. The new headband, the slightly altered drivers, etc. It all seemed like a great deal, so I went with it, and boy oh boy was it the right choice. These cans are amazing. First off is the comfort. It uses the elastics attached to the headband to make it seem weightless on your head, that coupled with the memory foam velour ear pads make these incredibly comfortable. Alright onto the sound!
     
    Serj tankian "fish don't scream"
    This song is kind of my standard for bass because its very well recorded and starts out with a bass intro, the bass sounded clear and loud but not overpowering or boomy like some bass head cans, I personally love the bass on these but they definitely aren't for people looking for a strong or imposing bass. Other than that the other instruments sounded great, the piano was clear and sounded similar to being in a room with a piano, I think what I found with these headphones is everything sounded exactly as it should.
     
    SOAD......all of it..........I tend to really like this band
    The first thing I noticed was the guitar sound, I could hear not only the sound of the guitar coming through the amp but also the sound of the guitar being played, strings being pressed against frets, picks strumming the strings, similar to how being in a room with a guitarist would sound. The drums had a nice oomph to them which was great, it reminded me of the drum sound I got when listening to a large speaker system rather than a pair of headphones. Its really a great sounding pair of headphones. The bass on tracks like Mr. Jack sounded clear and precise whereas on tracks like Streamline the bass sounded heavy and distorted giving each track its own unique tone instead of muddying all bass tones together.
     
    Infected mushroom "friends on mushrooms"
    I actually really like these headphones for infected mushroom because they make it easier to differentiate live bass from synth bass, one of the pros of EDM is if the track is programmed to sound open it will sound very open with these headphones. A lot of these tracks take advantage of the large soundstage these headphones have. These headphones definitely weren't designed with EDM as an intention but they do a good job so bravo to AKG
     
    Miles Davis "kind of blue"
    Bass sounds incredible, especially for something recorded decades ago. You can hear the bass throughout the track even as more instruments are layered on. Although it doesn't sound quite as clear and precise as Serj tankians "Jazziz Christ" I believe that has more to do with 60 years in technological advancements in recording equipment. The brass sounded wonderful and yet again just reminds me of being in a room with the instrument, a very large, open, room. I've listened to lots of closed backs and something about these headphones is different, it feels a lot closer to listening through a large speaker set in a big open room and less like listening to a pair of headphones, yet at the same time it gives the very immersive feeling of listening through headphones.
     
    Jaco Pastorius
    Just bass and piano galore, the harmonics sound incredible and the piano is beautiful and clear.
     
    Lara Ruggles "snowflake"
    Now I admit, I only have this track because it came with my DAP (sony NWZA17, wow they have got to come up with easier names), however, after listening to the track many times I'm probably going to end up getting the full album. The piano is perfect, it is absolutely perfect. Crystal clear, amazing sound, it's just beautiful. The vocals rang, there was power in her voice, you could hear all the slight nuances and subtleties that go with each individuals unique voice.
     
    Okay I've rambled enough and I'm running out of adjectives in my active vocabulary to describe sound so I'm gonna end it here. These are absolutely fantastic headphones, I love the sound signature and the huge soundstage, these are super open and just sound beautiful with whatever you listen to (note: bad source=bad sound, you put good in, you get good out, I wouldn't recommend any sound files below 320Kbps, and I also wouldn't recommend generally poorly recorded albums, so maybe old punk fans wouldn't like it, it catches all the imperfections so just beware). I love these headphones and can't get enough of them, I've even been sleeping with them on sometimes (I guess thats a statement to their comfort). They're just amazing and for 200$ I cannot emphasize enough how much of a must buy they are. 
    trellus likes this.
  10. Errorlord404
    5.0/5,
    "Bang For Buck Beast"
    Pros - Bass, Comfort, Clarity
    Cons - Build Quality
    I'm a sort of an amateur in the audiophile world, however, after owning these headphones and pairing them with a good-ish amp (Aune T1 MK2), my not so expert opinion says that these are a pretty killer pair of headphones for the price (~$200 on Massdrop). They sound great, having a strong bass, smooth mids, and a clear but not over pronounced high range. Their comfort is greater than all headphones that I've tried before (given, that is a pretty selected range including most Bose headphones, some Sony, and a few Sennheisers). Only possible complaint is that they're built out of plastic, and are therefore more prone to breakage. Compared to HD280s (~$100), these are quite a steal for only double the price of the Sennheisers. Sorry for the poor quality review, I simply don't know how to describe these in as much detail as others can, however, I hope this short and sweet response is easier to digest for the new-ish headphone enthusiast.
    iano and ChickenWaffles like this.

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