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AKG K7XX

Rating:
4.325/5,
Tags:
  1. Ian Hickler
    K7xx a meh headphone
    Written by Ian Hickler
    Published Apr 20, 2018
    2.0/5,
    Pros - Wide soundstage
    Comfort
    Cons - Sound is all messed up
    Honestly bass is bloated, mids are meh, treble is hard around 4khz. Just why? Soundstage is wide though and comfort is amazing! Now just the drivers! I am sad that they sound so bad. I wish they could just fix that and make the earpads just a little bit more comfortable they would be perfect
  2. Raymond Zhang
    Not bad, but overpriced for what it offers
    Written by Raymond Zhang
    Published Jul 10, 2017
    3.0/5,
    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!


    1. David_sandela
      Can you suggest me some list of other in the same price range and sounds better than these cans?
      David_sandela, Feb 9, 2018
      FKSSR likes this.
  3. swspiers
    Okay for what they are, not at all what I like.
    Written by swspiers
    Published Mar 27, 2016
    3.0/5,
    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.
  4. Hunki Chunki
    Just a wonderful, comfortable, all day headphones
    Written by Hunki Chunki
    Published Nov 6, 2016
    4.0/5,
    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 =)
  5. Aornic
    Good and inexpensive allrounder with incredible soundstage and imaging
    Written by Aornic
    Published Jul 26, 2016
    4.0/5,
    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 65th 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 65th 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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    1. Blazer39
      great review..i enjoyed reading it :)
      Blazer39, Jul 27, 2016
    2. caenlenfromOCN
      I own this and my Pionersee SE-A1000, I find my SE-A1000 to have the better and bigger soundstage, and vocals are more forward so it feels like I am front row at a concert. Whereas K7xx feels like I am just like 3-4 rows back, not far back, just yea.
      caenlenfromOCN, Jul 27, 2016
  6. UnderScore96
    Neutral when it needs to be, a bit of kick when you want it.
    Written by UnderScore96
    Published Mar 16, 2016
    4.0/5,
    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. MDKrinkles
    absolutely incredible
    Written by MDKrinkles
    Published Dec 19, 2015
    4.0/5,
    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.
    1. capnjack
      Nice review, I have to say that they sound very much like my k702s that I got about 2 months ago for £125.
      capnjack, Dec 19, 2015
    2. piaudio
      @capnjack, wow that even cheaper than I found on other UK shops, where did you find the £125?
      piaudio, Dec 19, 2015
    3. capnjack
      Hi @piaudio, Scan.co.uk they're selling them for £127 at the moment or £107 for "Grade B" refurbished!
      capnjack, Dec 19, 2015
  8. Rhamnetin
    AKG K7xx Review and Comparison to DT 880 Pro
    Written by Rhamnetin
    Published Nov 7, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Mostly neutral, detailed but not brutally unforgiving, exceptional sound stage and imaging for the price, good extension, extremely comfortable
    Cons - Build quality, treble lacking in linearity and naturalness at times, some may find it too "dry" sounding
    y2Na.jpg
     ​
     
    The AKG K7xx is one of the most popular headphones around right now.  In this review you'll see some explanations as to why that is, and how it stacks up to a revered classic in the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro.
     
    Background and Test Setup
     ​
    I am a 21 year old audiophile who sticks to headphones primarily.  So my impressions may differ from many of yours due to my age.  I'm not nearly as treble sensitive as most audiophiles.  Throughout my childhood me and one of my brothers dabbled quite a bit in acoustic music reproduction (him more so), although these days I just listen.  I had owned the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro for several months leading up to this review, so the K7xx is the more recent addition.
     
    When it comes to headphone performance, transparency is of utmost importance to me, but I also prefer a highly detailed and three dimensional sound, and neutral tonality although I am open to some slight deviation from true neutrality.  I want a (mostly) true to life sound, and I demand accurate representation of acoustic instruments of all kinds, and I also demand engaging vocals.  I am partial to electrostatic headphones.  For reference, the best headphone I've ever heard in my opinion is the Stax SR-009.
     
    Both the K7xx and DT 880 Pro (250 Ohm) were tested with my upgraded Maverick Audio Tubemagic D1 (swapped both opamps for LT1364s) which served as the DAC and amplifier.  This is a slightly smooth sounding device, especially with the opamp changes.  It is the older version of the D1, although from what I gather the newer one isn't much different and both are rated for 1W into 32 Ohm.  The D1 was connected to my computer via optical TOSLINK, and Foobar2000 with ASIO4ALL drivers was used for media playback.  I did my best to volume match both headphones although it is worth noting that on this amp, the DT 880 Pro can sound somewhat distorted at lower volume levels.  I generally listen at much lower volume levels than others, so distortion due to driving them too loudly was not a problem.
     
    A variety of music was tested; from sub 320 Kb/s MP3 to high bitrate uncompressed FLAC.  Genres tested include classical/orchestral, metal (prog and melodeath), rock (mostly acoustic), and a small amount of electronica mostly for testing purposes (electronica is not something I typically listen to).  Both headphones were burned in for this test.
     
    So, let's get right into it.
     
    Build Quality
     ​
    OjWcD.jpg IMG_4956_flash.jpg
     ​
    The build quality between both headphones is several leagues apart.  The K7xx is pretty much all plastic, the exceptions being the obvious (pads and suspension headband strap).  Even the grills are plastic, which I didn't think was a thing anymore.  Pictures are deceiving, it's not as sturdy as it looks.  
     
    It is lighter than the DT 880 and significantly wider.  The ear cups are huge in comparison, and as a result the pads are larger in diameter.  The pads are memory foam, the suspension headband strap is leather which is a rarity among $200 headphones (or even sub $1000 headphones).  It features a straight, detachable cable unlike the DT 880 Pro, although the cable retains a small amount of bending.  The cable terminates with a gold plated 3.5mm jack, with a 6.35mm adapter screwed on.  The cable's plug-in design is sturdy and easy to use, just keep in mind it's very stiff to push in, but once it's in it's not going anywhere.
     
    The Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro on the other hand is almost all metal, except for the black part on the ear cups which is solid plastic (seemingly thicker and sturdier plastic).  It is semi-open opposed to the fully open K7xx.  The pads are very soft velour, softer than the K7xx's memory foam pads but also smaller in circumference and diameter.  The headband is thickly wrapped in pleather.  The DT 880 makes the K7xx feel like a toy.  However, the DT 880's cable is fixed and coiled, although also thicker than that of the K7xx.  Like the K7xx, the cable terminates with a 3.5mm jack and 6.35mm adapter.
     
    Both headphones lack portability.  They don't fold much at all.  The DT 880's ear cups swivel a bit more.  It's worth noting that every K7xx is serialized (on the inner left side), although the DT 880 has its serial number on the box.  In conclusion, the K7xx is pretty flimsy compared to the tank-like DT 880, which is better built than numerous $1000+ headphones.
     
    Winner: Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro by a landslide.
     
    Comfort
     ​
    6eHIA.jpg IMG_4965_flash.jpg
     
     ​
     
     ​
    Both headphones have a reputation of being comfortable.  The K7xx's pads are larger and deeper, although still not as deep as I like.  The DT 880's pads are slightly softer, but the K7xx's pads are so soft so that it's not a problem.  Furthermore, the K7xx has less clamp and less weight, so it's lighter than the DT 880 Pro in every way.
     
    The K7xx has an auto-adjust suspension headband.  The headstrap is leather and not bumpy like other AKG models.  It's installed on rails so to speak so that it slides up, increasing the size of the headphone, depending on how large your head is.  So the K7xx should fit pretty much any grown man well.  However, due to its very wide design, it is not a good fit for many women or younger teenagers.
     
    The DT 880 Pro's headband has a more typical adjustment system; the user must pull the headband up on each side.  There are small notches on the frame, so that the adjustment sticks, although it's not a belt loop system which I feel is more reliable.  The DT 880 is a lot smaller on my head than the K7xx.  Those with larger heads will find the DT 880 to be too small and too tight, but on the other hand it can fit most women and younger teenagers well unlike the K7xx.  So we have a sharp contrast here.  Big (headed) guys ought to avoid the DT 880 for comfort problems alone.
     
    For me, both headphones are comfortable but the K7xx takes the cake.  The DT 880's ear pads are too shallow and squish my ears slightly, while the K7xx has much larger pads that are a bit deeper, making it more comfortable.  Suspension headband is the way to go for comfort; the DT 880 is already light but the K7xx is a feather.  Less clamp means the K7xx won't be fatiguing for almost everyone.  The K7xx is more comfortable to me, and it would be more comfortable for most of you.
     
    Winner: AKG K7xx.
     
    Sound Quality
     ​
    Since sound quality is a vague term, I'll be breaking this category down into many subcategories, and try to declare a winner for each one.  I won't attempt to declare an overall winner, since there really isn't one here.  Both headphones have their own strengths and weaknesses.  If I was comparing the Beyer T1 to the DT 880 then that's a different story, since I feel the T1 is a clear cut overall winner, but for this comparison the K7xx and DT 880 are pretty close in overall performance, and it boils down to preferences and priorities.
     
    gCA8M.jpg
     
    Open vs Semi-open
     ​
    I thought I would comment on this.  The Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro is a semi-open headphone, not a fully open headphone like the K7xx.  Despite this, it provides next to no isolation.  It lets as much sound in as a fully open headphone.  However, it leaks noticeably less sound, which can be useful to some.
     ​
    Transparency
     ​
    Transparency is extremely important to me.  It mostly refers to clarity; a sound free of grain and interference so that nothing is between me and the music.  Both headphones are pretty much equal in this regard, and are no more transparent than my previous Audio Technica ATH-A900X.  So, with regard to high quality Mid-Fi headphones, the K7xx and DT 880 seem to be about equal to most others.  That is to say, neither are impressively transparent.  My old little electret Stax SR-30 is more transparent than both of them.  I certainly crave more transparency than what either headphone has to offer.
     
    Winner: None, it's a tie.
     
    Tonality
     ​
    This category isn't going to have a winner, I'll just describe the tonality of each.
     
    1. AKG K7xx - Close to neutral, although slightly mid centric with a hint of added warmth.  The mids tend to overtake the treble slightly, but it's far from veiled or lacking in treble extension.  It sounds somewhat smooth, but not blurred and not as smooth as say the Sennheiser HD 600 or HD 650.
    2. Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro - Very neutral throughout, but much more "sharp" sounding than the smoother K7xx.  Treble is overall more forward compared to the K7xx.
     
    The DT 880 is a great "palette cleanser" for its neutrality.  If your brain is used to a more colored sound, the DT 880 is good for erasing that and getting your brain used to a neutral sound.  Great for evaluating multiple headphones.
     
    Detail
     ​
    The DT 880 is known for the detail it provides, but to my surprise the K7xx is the winner here.  Despite being smoother sounding, the K7xx is more detailed.  This is largely due to the faster decay which I'll talk about in a bit.  The DT 880 sounding sharper is almost like it wants to provide the illusion of being highly detailed, but in fact there are far more detailed headphones out there.  Between the two, they are pretty close but the K7xx obviously has the edge here.
     
    Winner: AKG K7xx
     
    Decay
     ​
    I may as well go into this now since I mentioned it already.  The K7xx's decay is faster and brings out more detail, and can make the background sound blacker.  However, it also leads to it sounding a bit more dry than the DT 880, which is most noticeable in rock and electronica.  It also causes me to reach for the DT 880 first for rock and electronica, and it's a big reason as to why I reach for the K7xx first for larger classical ensembles.  The faster but dryer decay of the K7xx ought to make it hard to choose one for faster, aggressive music since it's a compromise.
     
    Winner: AKG K7xx
     ​
    Bass
     ​
    Both have similar bass quantity although the K7xx has a bit more in vocals (most noticeable in male vocals obviously).  They have very similar quality too, with regards to body/fullness and tightness/control.  The DT 880 Pro's bass extends down to right about 20 Hz to my ears, while the K7xx is super close but a tiny bit less extended.  This was tested using the bass test listed in the link at the bottom of the page.  In addition, the DT 880 Pro has a little bit more bass impact/slam, but both have very little, and note I've never bass modded my K7xx.  Neither are basshead cans, they're meant to be more accurate.  The bass is pretty accurate on both, so ultimately the superior extension crowns the DT 880 here.
     
    One thing of note is that the DT 880's bass can sound very harsh and shrill on some really bad recordings, like its treble.  Everyone knows its treble can sound this way depending on the recording, but the bass sounding this way took me by surprise.  The bass never gets like this on the K7xx.  This is more of a fault of the music recording than the headphone in my opinion.
     
    Quantity: A tiny bit more impact/slam with the DT 880 Pro, a tiny bit more forwardness/presence in vocals with the K7xx, otherwise a tie.
    Quality: DT 880 Pro wins slightly in extension, otherwise it's a tie.
     
    Mids
     ​
    Mid range performance is extremely important to me, as it is for most of us.  Again, both headphones perform similarly here overall.  The K7xx has a tiny bit more warmth; hardly noticeable unless you go back and forth between each headphone like I did.  Still, it's not enough warmth to classify the K7xx as a warm sounding headphone, at least not on my Maverick Audio Tubemagic D1.
     
    The upper mid range sounds a bit more linear on the DT 880 to my ears.  I think this has to do with a peak at the very top of the mid range and bottom of the treble on the K7xx.  It can make the transition between upper mids and lower treble sound a bit less authentic and somewhat uneven compared to the DT 880.  
     
    But aside from this, the mid range performance is close, with the K7xx sounding a tad more dry and detailed because of its general characteristics.  Interestingly enough, on some tracks the K7xx puts acoustic instruments somewhat in front of vocals, but the DT 880 is always consistent with vocals being a tiny bit more forward than the instruments.  Also worth noting is that a few times, when a female vocalist is singing and a guitar is playing at the same time, the two overlap too much on the K7xx and it becomes very hard to focus on the guitar.
     
    Ultimately, the more linear upper mid range of the DT 880 led to my decision here.  Although owning the two made me appreciate the hint of warmth provided by the K7xx.
     
    Winner: Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro
     
    Treble
     ​
    In my opinion, the vast majority of headphones have an imperfect treble presentation.  In fact, the only headphone I've heard with what I consider to be a flawless treble presentation is the Stax SR-009.  I think treble is just something electrostats tend to do better than non-electrostats, although the HiFiMan HE1000's treble sounded very well articulated, more than any other non-electrostat.  But I digress.
     
    The K7xx does not want to overwhelm you with treble.  As such, it's usually slightly behind the mid range, but without being strongly recessed and without being rolled off.  Using the treble test linked to at the bottom of the page, I can hear the treble extend to around 19 KHz, which seems to be the limit of my hearing.
     
    Likewise, the DT 880 Pro's treble extends to 19 KHz, further showing where my hearing limit is.  The DT 880's treble is overall more forward, and the DT 880's general sharper sounding characteristics are noticeable in the treble presentation.  As a result, the DT 880 is less forgiving with bad recordings.  The K7xx is not perfectly forgiving and can still sound slightly harsh and sibilant, but usually not as harsh as the DT 880 on some awful recordings.
     
    Despite the overall more forward treble on the DT 880, it is the K7xx that reached the record high "peakiness" between the two.  I'm less treble sensitive than many other audiophiles (I can handle the DT 880's treble on anything), but the K7xx at its worst is actually piercing for my ears and too much.  I've only heard it sound like this once or twice and I don't remember which tracks specifically, but I think it was a poorly recorded classical track.
     
    Both headphones sound about equally airy.  That is to say, neither are particularly airy.
     
    The DT 880's treble sounds more linear to my ears.  The K7xx seems to have some peaks and/or dips that make it sound less natural at times.  The treble on both overall lacks the body and realism you'll hear on top tier electrostats.  Both have a flawed treble presentation, but the K7xx is more flawed for being less linear in my opinion.
     
    Quantity: DT 880 Pro overall more forward, although the K7xx at its worst was more piercing than the DT 880 at its worst.
    Quality: DT 880 is more sharp, but overall cleaner and more linear, so the DT 880 wins here.
    Sibilance: Somewhat present on certain terrible recordings for both.
     
    Sound Stage
     ​
    Both the K7xx and DT 880 are known for providing an open sounding, above average sound stage.  However, I was never impressed with the DT 880's sound stage.  It's not bad, but it's a far cry from its big brother, the T1.  I was always intrigued by the sound stage reputation of the AKG K7 series, and the K7xx does not disappoint.  It is noticeably wider, deeper, and taller than that of the DT 880.  I really like a big, three dimensional sound stage, and the K7xx actually satisfies me in this regard unlike the DT 880 Pro.  It is very evident when playing large ensembles.  The DT 880 has decent width and some sense of depth, but the K7xx handily bests it in both regards.
     
    Too bad the vast majority of modern music is poorly recorded and doesn't demonstrate the sound stage performance of good headphones like the K7xx very well.  The superior sound stage of the K7xx is also very noticeable in gaming, so the K7xx has definitely taken over as my new gaming headphone for the better immersion and positional awareness it provides.
     
    Winner: AKG K7xx
     
    Imaging
     ​
    Truth be told, the DT 880's imaging never impressed me.  It isn't bad, it's just not great or mind blowing like its big brother, the T1.  Of course, the T1 is also significantly more expensive so that's expected.  The K7xx has superior imaging overall, taking advantage of its larger sound stage and mapping instruments and sounds all around it.  I don't consider the K7xx to be lacking a well defined center stage either.
     
    But I do have to mention the overlapping of female vocals and guitars once again.  It doesn't happen always, but sometimes it can be hard to define guitar on the K7xx when a female vocalist is singing over it.  The DT 880 doesn't have this issue.  Still, it's clear to me which one wins overall with regard to imaging.
     
    Winner: AKG K7xx
     
    Conclusion
     ​
    Z9EjL.jpg
     
    I was hoping one of these headphones would be clearly superior to the other in most areas, so that I could sell one and downsize, but this did not happen.  I'll have to keep both until I buy the Stax SR-L700, and even then I might keep the K7xx for gaming due to its phenomenal sound stage.
     
    Both headphones are equally lacking in transparency, while the DT 880 Pro is the more neutral of the two and the K7xx is more detailed and three dimensional.  The DT 880 is less forgiving, but has a cleaner treble presentation despite sounding sharper.  The K7xx sounds more smooth, but needs parametric EQ more than the DT 880 (I have not done this yet) due to some peaks and dips in the treble region and perhaps upper mid range.  The DT 880 Pro strikes me as slightly more well rounded, due to its more linear tuning.
     
    Both headphones are very comfortable, although the K7xx takes the lead here and it would prove more comfortable to most of other audiophiles I believe.  But the DT 880 stomps the K7xx with regard to build quality.
     
    Curiously enough, owning both of these headphones has made me less satisfied with both of them.  I really want to get that Stax setup now...
     
    Instrument Specific Notes
     
    I thought I'd list specific kinds of instruments with which one headphone is noticeably better than the other.  Any instrument type not listed just means the two headphones perform too closely for me to declare one better than the other.
     
    1. Piano - AKG K7xx is more realistic here, offering slightly better detail and texture and body.
    2. Horns - The DT 880 Pro is shockingly more realistic here.  Maybe it's my amp but horns are just not convincing on the K7xx.
    3. Drums - Both headphones are close, but the superior bass extension of the DT 880 Pro makes it better at portraying drums.  Then there's the fact that the DT 880 has a tiny bit more bass slam/impact, although this isn't really significant.
    4. Electronic Instruments - DT 880 wins, the dryness of the K7xx is not ideal here.
     
    Genre Recommendations
     
    1. AKG K7xx - Classical/orchestral, should also be great for pop, although it's not particularly bad for any genre either.
    2. Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro - Anything and everything.
     
    The following website provided me with bass and treble extension tests:
     
    http://www.audiocheck.net/soundtests_headphones.php
      Radec, trellus, iano and 4 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. TiborM
      Hello.
      So for all the lovers of K7XX headphones, upgrading the stock cable is a must!
      I just got mine from Forza Audioworks (copper series) couple of days ago. Differences are immediately noticable.
      First and most important is that some kind of noise is gone, everything is more clear, better pronounced. Sounstage is bigger too, instruments have more space for them. Bass is stronger and more colorful, voices are clearer and highs are shinier.
      It has added a bit more warmth overall, so it´s not so dry sounding anymore.
      I am talking about small things here, but important. Maybe or probably an even more costly cable will bring more to the table.
      I am still using EQ but only +1db for bass now.
       
      I´m loving these headphones more and more.
       
      Happy Holiday.
      TiborM, Dec 25, 2015
    3. Rhamnetin
      Thank you @TiborM 
       
      If I were keeping the K7xx as my primary headphone I'd definitely swap the cable.  After playing around with the Gustard U12 with the Audioquest Cinnamon Coaxial cable, I see the truth in your earlier suggestion.  Treble response is cleaner, slightly airer, and a little bit sweeter.  I got a hint of the sweetness before, but distortion made that sweetness not so sweet.  Now most of that audible distortion seems to be gone and the sweetness surfaces more.  The biggest difference is noise floor though, it lowered it SO much. Imaging may be a tiny bit better, this could be placebo but I doubt it.  The rest isn't placebo though!
       
      A good digital interface like the U12 is definitely necessary for anyone who uses digital audio.
      Rhamnetin, Dec 25, 2015
    4. watchnerd
      Very thorough and comprehensive review. Nice that it didn't devolve into a morass of superlatives.
      watchnerd, Jan 15, 2016
  9. snapacap
    This is the best pair of headphones I have tried yet.
    Written by snapacap
    Published Feb 23, 2016
    4.5/5,
    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.
    1. caenlenfromOCN
      I own all these same cans, and did the same testing and came to the same conclusion, I am still cautious on buying the HD700 though since I hear the treble spike is rough... still you are like my twin... literally the exact same cans tested LOL
      caenlenfromOCN, Jul 13, 2016
  10. BucketInABucket
    Bang goes the buck!
    Written by BucketInABucket
    Published Aug 15, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Awesome value for money, very comfortable design, natural sounding with much better treble than other AKG K7-series offering
    Cons - Lack of accessories, plasticy build, possible issues with headband elastic, no balanced option

    ==Introduction==

    [​IMG]
     
    I would like to thank the Head-Fi Massdrop staff and AKG for producing such a good pair of headphones. This pair has honestly been one of the best cures for upgrade-itis I have had in a long while and I think that it will be a nice ending to the long story of the AKG K7-series driver as I think AKG decided to do this because the driver is nearing the end of its life cycle. 

     

    This review should of course be taken as a grain of salt as it is my opinion and only my opinion. I have past experience with quite a few cans and IEMs before. I personally own or have owned these cans and IEMs (to the best of my knowledge):


     
    1. Sennheiser HD25 Aluminium 25th Anniversary Limited Edition
    2. Sennheiser HD424
    3. M-Audio Q40
    4. Denon AH-D2000
    5. NAD VISO HP50
    6. Aedle VK-1
    7. Beyerdynamic DTX-101iE
    8. Monster Turbine Pro Gold
    9. ADL EH-008
    10. Koss Sportapro
    11. Other odd vintage cans
     
    As for the backstory behind these cans, I bought the AKG K7xx when I read the description for the drop for it on Massdrop.com touting these pair of cans to basically be a warmer, bassier AKG K702 Annie back around November. As I have already tried various AKG cans in the past and disliked many of them because of the lack of bass, the overly bright tilt and the oh-so-dreadful headband bumps that most of the mid-tier AKG cans seem to possess, I thought to myself that this would be just the ticket to satisfy my desires and jumped right onto the drop, to the displeasure of my wallet and the absolute joy of my ears.

     

    ==Aesthetics==

    Packaging and Accessories

     
    [​IMG]These headphones arrived much later in typical Massdrop fashion in a rather typical box with all the usual labelling on it advertising these cans.  (As most people say, you forget that you’ve bought something on Massdrop and then whatever you’ve bought comes as a pleasant surprise much later!) The packaging these headphones come in is, for lack of a better word, minimal – just enough to keep them safe and make them look pretty but nothing else. When I opened it to have a look, the cans seemed to be quite lonely as it comes with absolutely no accessories to accompany it, apart from a ¼-inch adapter. Well, I suppose that means that my attention will be focused on the cans, it seems. I just wish they came with a carrying case.
     

    Design and Build

    The AKG K7xx Massdrop 1st Edition is a pair of open-backed headphones co-designed by Massdrop and AKG and are the first batch of a limited run of 6000 headphones. For a pair of $200 headphones, they have a fairly typical build for this price point and are mainly made out of plastic with a bit of metal and real leather used for the headband. They obviously won’t survive a direct hit from a nuclear strike but they should last fairly long under daily use. Plastic obviously means that they feel slightly cheaper but this also contributes to its very light 235 grams of mass which is very good comfort-wise (as I will mention later).

     
    [​IMG]
    They have a really cool stealth black colour scheme which deserves props to AKG for completing the cycle of colour schemes they used starting with white for the original AKG K701 and ending with black for this pair of cans. They have a single-entry configuration for its 3m rubber-coated cable which, while nothing special, does the job with fine fashion. One end is terminated in a 3.5mm jack which accepts a 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter provided by AKG and the other end is terminated with a 3-pin mini-XLR jack. Left and right sides are labelled on the outside of the headband and is fairly easily located. The ear-cups are free to swivel a small amount in any direction but do not fold flat as they are designed for desktop listening.

     

    Comfort and Isolation

    Firstly, these are open-backed headphones. Therefore, isolation is irrelevant in this review as they let in almost any background sound and thus isn’t fair to properly judge. However, I do have to say that the leakage from this pair of cans is surprisingly minimal considering its nature and I do have to say that I’m impressed.

    [​IMG]
    Comfort, on the other hand, gets a very big thumbs up for me because I tend to be fairly picky when it comes to this. The pads, while not being the deepest, are adequate enough for my ears to nestle in the cups for a few hours without any issues. 

     

    The only gripe I have with them is how the tips of my ears touch the inside and how this causes some pain after a few hours, but by then I should be taking a break anyways so this is a fairly minor issue. The headband, like I mentioned previously, is made of real leather, which is a nice touch. The main plus for me, however, is the fact that they have none of the atrociously painful headband bumps that early AKG K7-series headphones had which means that the headband rests comfortably on my head. Clamp is also fairly minimal, being just enough to keep these on my head as long as I don’t start headbanging but not nearly enough to hurt the area around my ears.

     

    The only other issue I have is with the elastic headband suspension system. It’s been fine for the few months I’ve been using this pair of headphones but I’m somewhat worried that they’ll lose elasticity over the years (especially since there have been reports of this happening with other AKG cans) but this also means that the entire system is self-adjusting, which is perfect for my OCD self as I just have to put them on without worrying about setting the headband to be exactly this much distance apart.

     

    ==Sound==

    [​IMG]
     

    Equipment and Burn-in

    The equipment I used was: Windows laptop (running Foobar 2000) > AMB Gamma2 > Headamp Gilmore Lite V2, with no EQ used. These headphones have at least a few months of usage and I haven't detected (or don’t remember) any change within the first 100 hours or so of using them. However, I did not burn them in at all and  instead used them straight out of the box.

     

    Bass

    As this is an open-backed headphone, extension will of course not be as great as a closed-back headphone. However I was pleasantly surprised to hear that these reach surprisingly low with good clarity and texture. There isn’t the biggest amount of bass, but it’s definitely enough for every genre of music I listen to. It’s punchy and quick when it needs to be and never overwhelms the sound signature.

     

    When it comes to orchestral pieces, sub bass is extremely important for reproducing the feel of the piece. I’m happy to say that this pair of cans have enough to make for an enjoyable listening experience. Compared to the HD650, the bass is far quicker and actually works for electronic music unlike the HD650.
     

    Midrange

    The mid-range of these headphones take center stage here. It’s very clear and natural-sounding but also a little warm to give vocals and instruments a little extra oomph to make them sound majestic and lively, unlike most AKG cans in this price range. There isn’t a music piece I’ve listened to that sounds artificial or unnatural with these headphones so far, which greatly impresses me as many other headphones I’ve listened to simply don’t work with specific genres. Everything is articulate and very well-defined and is most similar to a window into the recording. It’s not overly lush and rich but not overly thin and cold either and even subtle distortions in the music can be heard as a result of mastering errors.

     

    Treble

    This treble can best be described as neutral to slightly bright, like a cool sip of water in a summer’s day. It’s very well-extended, precise and linear with some subtle lower-treble emphasis which is fairly typical of an AKG can. However, this emphasis is far less pronounced than most other AKG cans and for that I am grateful as I am sensitive to nasty treble spikes. It’s also very resolving, able to pick up a lot of detail in recordings and can be described as rather crisp and clear. However, despite the focus on detail of these headphones, the treble never gets too bright as long as the recording is good quality.

     

    Soundstage/Presentation

    Here we go, the famous AKG soundstage that the company’s headphones are known for having. As expected, the AKG K7xx does not disappoint, offering a spacious, wide, high and deep soundstage with excellent positioning and clarity. Every instrument has its own place and the soundstage is so realistic that oftentimes I will think that a sound in the music came from real life – trust me, it’s a confusing feeling when this happens and it’s a good thing!
     
    The overall sound signature of the K7xx is very natural and lifelike. The frequency response for the most part seems to be fairly neutral and most importantly, natural. This pair of cans especially excels with live recordings but can handle most any genre you throw at it and brings the focus of the listener, not the sound signature of the AKG K7xx like some headphones do. Timbre and tonal balance is both excellent and overall these pair of cans seem to be somewhat like a pair of speakers. This also means that they are not forgiving of poor-quality source files which can be a good or bad thing depending on your choice of music.
     

    Update: The Bass Port Mod

    After doing the fairly simplistic bass port mod (the details of which are detailed here), the bass quantity improved by a noticeable amount without bleeding into the mids. They're now an excellent pair of cans for even those genres which require a heavy-handed approach to the bass section while still being great at what they were originally good at. Anyways, I like these cans even more now, but keep in mind that the mod is not for everyone, especially not for those who prefer a linear bass section.


     

    ==Conclusion==

    [​IMG]
     
    The AKG K7xx is probably the best $200 (excluding the $30 shipping) purchase of my life so far. I have been happy with them for over 6 months and I am sure I will be happy with them for many years to come. I prefer it over a lot of the other headphones I’ve auditioned, including its fellow brethren, the Beyer cans, the Sennheiser HD650 and many more. The value is simply insane and I think that its AKG’s best value pair of cans they’ve made in a while.

     

    Some things that AKG could improve on, although I don't see much, is to perhaps include a carrying case for these wonderful headphones as it would be a shame if they broke. I would also love it if they used a 4-pin XLR instead of a 3-pin XLR connector for the cable. It's a good thing that they cost only $200 though as this helps to justify the lack of accessories. However, the bass port being closed up is in my opinion a strange decision. I have a feeling that AKG planned to leave the port open but closed it up at a later time for whatever reason, the likes of which completely defeat my mind as I greatly prefer these cans with the port open.

     

    Category

    Score

    Comment

    Packaging and Accessories        

    3/10

    Adequate for the price.

    Design and Build

    7/10

    Typical mid-tier AKG plastic stuff. Fairly solid and functional but the stealth black makes it look cool.

    Comfort and Isolation

    9/10

    One of the most comfortable pair of cans I’ve ever listened to in my life, with only one small nitpick. Isolation is of course moot as this is a pair of open-backed headphones.

    Bass

    7.5/10
    Update: 9/10 with the bass port mod

    Good tight well-extended bass for an open-backed headphone. Update: improves substantially with the bass port mod.

    Midrange

    9.5/10

    Fantastic mid-range, better than a lot of more expensive cans I’ve tried and definitely very satisfying.

    Treble   

    8.5/10

    Clear airy and crisp treble which is well-extended and very revealing.

    Presentation

    9/10

    The way the headphone works is simply marvelous and synergizes very well with each other. The soundstage is amazing too and the texture of the music is top-notch.

    Value

    10/10

    Must-buy especially for its price.   Period.

    Total      

    8.5/10
    Update: 9.5 with the bass port mod

    If the lack of accessories don’t bother you, then this is a fabulous open-backed offering from AKG and I highly recommend buying this when it comes up on sale on massdrop. It’s unrivalled at its price point with no significant flaws to hold it back.
    Update: There is also the option to increase the bass by a solid amount which lets these cans shine with even more genres.I have a feeling that AKG planned to leave the port open but closed it up at a later time for whatever reason, the likes of which completely defeat my mind.
     


     

    ==Specs==

    Headphone Type:

    Open-back

    Driver Type:

    Dynamic

    Frequency Response:

    10Hz to 39.8KHz

    Max. Input Power:

    200mW

    Sensitivity:

    105 dB/mW

    Impedance:

    62 Ω

    Cable:    

    235g (Without cable)

    Connector:           

    Single-entry 3-pin mini XLR to 1/8 jack

    Accessories:

    1/8 to ¼ adapter



      iano likes this.