AKG Q701 Premium Class Reference Headphones, Quincy Jones Signature Line

General Information

Music has never sounded better or closer than with the Quincy Jones Signature Series Q701 Reference Class Headphones. Sparkling harmonics,incredible low distortion and unequalled realism in the lower frequencies - it's the huge, airy, three dimensional sound that's been only available in the finest high end speaker systems and microphones. Now, we've engineered it into the most accurate and responsive reference headphones we've ever produced, the Q701. Hear music exactly as the artist intended.

Latest reviews


New Head-Fier
Neutral sound for the studio and the couch
Pros: Detail variety & naturalness
neutral tuning
great 3D image
removable cable
Cons: voices are sometimes a little demanding
in the upper area maybe a bit too bright
headband quickly becomes uncomfortable
Rating: 8.1
Sound 8.4


Sound: 8.4

Handling: 7.5
9684235 grams

Total: 8.1
Price: 150 € - 400 €


I don't want to be heretical, but I suspect basically the same driver as in the K701/702 also in the Q701. The basic sound characteristics are too similar.

Quincy Jones should be a term to some and that with "name" products can be marketed well has not passed by AKG.

Whether this now directly justifies the entrance price of approximately 500€ is left to everyone. The price also went down quickly and had levelled off around 250€. Meanwhile the Q701 is officially no longer available and so there are currently only (partly overpriced) remaining stocks, or 2nd hand models to buy.

I don't want to be heretical, but I suspect basically the same driver as on the K701/702 is also in the Q701. The basic sound characteristics are too similar.


Plastic, metal, leather, velour - the 7-Series is not only visually indistinguishable, the materials remain just as high quality and even the plastic used blends in well without acquiring a toy character. Okay, the Q701 was also sold in squeaky green, which of course is quite polarizing.

The headphone encloses the whole ear and thus provides a good wearing comfort, but for me the velours pads are still a bit too firm. AKG has reacted to the headband criticism and now offers the K701 & K702 with a flat leather headband to minimize pain caused by the hard "nubs" of the original version. However, the Q701 is no longer in production and so you have to live with the original headband, if you can still get hold of a Q701 and are not a handicraft king

The cable (2x - 3m & 6m) is removable and has a 3.5mm connector which can be adapted to 6.3mm (adapter included). The connection to the headphones (single-sided guide) is a mini-XLR plug.

The included cable lengths make it clear that the Q701 is not intended to be taken on the road, but rather feels most comfortable in the studio or on the sofa. The non-existent isolation also speaks for this, which not only allows a lot of noise to enter, but also releases a lot of noise. This also makes the Q701 less suitable for recording, at least not together with other musicians at the same time.



You won't expect much bass from the AKG 7 Series in general. They are studio or reference monitors that focus more on neutrality than on fat beats. The bass is quite dry, but has a good texture and above all quality, even if it avoids the very deep regions. I admit that sometimes I just wish I had a fat, punchy bass when it comes to just chilling out and rocking along with my head and/or feet, but such a bass presentation is counterproductive for reference monitors or mixing applications.

Chilling out is generally not a really familiar word for the Q701. It's always on its toes, drawing your attention more or less obtrusively to what's in the music. Compared to the K702, the mids are a bit brighter and more direct. I already criticized the slight aggressiveness of the K702 and now I have to do the same with the Q701, at least as far as my preferences are concerned. But what makes the Q701 better is the separation, clarity and also the richness of details, at least as far as their presentation is concerned. On the other hand, voices become a bit more obtrusive and the focus is more on analysis than on relaxation. Nevertheless, the Q701 retains a slight warmth, which saves it from sterility. I find instruments absolutely credible and you can hear even the finest nuances.

The trebles are one of the most satisfying features of the Q701, even though the Q701 is basically convincing across the entire bandwidth, even if it cannot absolutely cover my preferences. I'm more into the big, soft, detailed, secure and harmonic sound, in which one can easily get lost.

The trebles reflect this quite well, even if they can sometimes become a bit sharp and at the same time are not quite sibilant free, but they are wonderfully differentiated and transparent. Their liveliness is contagious, but as far as I'm concerned, not in the long run either.

In contrast to the K701/702, the Q701 is specified as half-open, which surprises me a bit, because on the one hand the sound emission to the outside is on the same level, but on the other hand the width of the stage is absolutely congruent, if not even more extended. In the depth it could be even more.

The generated 3D image of the Q701 is already a small work of art and it offers plenty of space to give each instrument or detail its appropriate place. As with the K702, the separation is a bit too much left/right for me, but the Q701 opens up more in the vertical direction and so the sound also opens up. The K702 sounds a bit more pressed in comparison and also the Q701 shows up with a better transparency even with a lot of information available.


The Q701 is a special headphone and worth a recommendation, regardless of the exclusivity, if you are looking for a reference and are not willing to go into the 1000 € range.

It certainly takes a short time to get used to the sound, but I really appreciate the analytical and at the same time musical character of the Q701, even if it does annoy me a bit here and there and thus limits the audibility (apart from the headband).

If the Q701 is too brisk for you, you might find your luck with the K702, which sounds like a somewhat muted version of the Q701.

For private use the Q701 is quite limited and you should have your own (quiet) room at your disposal, but it is a lot of fun to consume music and if necessary to dissect it. However, this is not my claim/headphone in everyday life.

Whether the same driver is used in the Q701 compared to the K701/702 and only with the help of other, or missing filters the sound is influenced is irrelevant in the end. However, I would certainly not have paid the called price at that time, because the Q701 does not offer me such a big sound advantage compared to its K-siblings. If you get an offer below 200 €, you have made a good purchase.

On the internet you can also find some instructions for a bass mod, which can be undone and should not influence the rest of the signature.

Thanks to
Sattler Electronic Showtronic AG for providing the test headphones.
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Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: good soundstage and tone, punches above weight, fairly light
Cons: rattle in right driver, schiit headband
Q701 is not really a headphone that merits a long review. It was my entree into the high-fi world, and a good entree at that. If you listen primarily to classical/jazz/acoustic music and/or are using the headphone for mixing purposes, it is a stupendous value for ~$200. Piano especially is airy and wonderful, but all orchestral stuff is ably done. Other than that, probably just recommended for clinical things like mastering. It can be driven by an iPhone, though amplification is worth considering for a better sound. 
Headband has bumps. I think they feel like schiit. (K1000 on temples is far worse, however). Worse than this though is the rattle in the right driver. Not dissimilar to the rattle in my K1000, it comes and goes, but affects certain piano tracks in particular at unpredictable frequencies (I should do a lab test of this).
All in all, at anything under $200 a great value. Amazon fluctuates a lot, and they're only over $200 right now, so I'd say don't buy over a cheaper K701/02/12. For ~$100, which it's regularly listed at used on HF, an utter steal. Even if you're not a fan of the sound signature, it would be a good neutral (though on the brighter side of neutral) can for critical listening, and a small investment next to the HD800. AKG's 700 series is incredible, and as used cans continue to plummet in resale value, the community collectively reaps that reward. Get one!


New Head-Fier
Pros: Linear audio, can reach down to 10hz, amazing spatialization
Cons: Headband can be uncomfortable, requires good amplification
Bought from Memory Express in Canada for about $220 CAD.  Don't overpay, these can be found for around $250 if you search around.
Sound impressions:
Measured with a UMIK1 and the response is very linear with a smooth increase up to 1khz then a smooth decrease back down to 20khz.  Can reach as low as 10hz with a tone generator (can't hear it but can definitely feel it on the skull!).  The sound is incredibly spatial!  Live music (concerts, orchestra) sounds amazing!  Songs with reverb sound awesome.  Can hear a lot of detail.  Very linear audio and if you're into equalization (or tube rolling) these things have a lot of diversity available due to the linear response.  Can make them sound like anything.
I've grown to love the sound.  I listened to an assortment of grado & beyerdynamics headphones at a local shop on various amps and preferred these to headphones over $2000.
Amplifier Requirements:
These are not efficient headphones.  Needs 150mw at 64 ohms and headphone/phone jacks can't do that.  Don't buy these headphones unless you plan on getting a half decent headphone amp.  Not even my fiio X1 can drive these things.  I get good amplification from the following items I own:
  1. NAD 326BEE integrated receiver headphone jack
  2. Audioquest Dragonfly 1.4 Black (connecting this to android makes it my most portable amplification solution)
  3. Little Dot I+ Hybrid Tube/SS headphone amp (amazing combination!)
I highly recommend the Little Dot I+ Hybrid tube amp if you're looking for a headphone amp and don't want to spend a lot.  Get it with the 6CQ6 tubes which pair well with the headphone's audio signature.
Large ear cups are comfortable even with glasses.  Headband feels "hard" and tight and can become painful after an hour of use.  Spring is a little too tight.
I haven't done it yet but supposedly these can be easily modified to have a balanced audio jack for balanced outputs.  The 3 conductor mini-xlr jack is replaced with a 4 conductor, soldering separate negative/ground terminals on two separate conductors.  Then order a 4 conductor balanced cord with mini-xlr for the headphones and whichever balanced connector on your headphone amp.  That's a nice feature in case I move to a very high end headphone amplifier.
Supposedly can open up the side covers & slip in some cloth for a little more bass and a little less spatialization.  Haven't tried that yet.
Sonic Defender
Sonic Defender
AKG is one of the few brands I haven't tried yet. Thanks for the review, it sounds like the Q701 is interesting and the price seems right. Cheers.
Nice review. Great headphones for the $$$.

Side note...if you're thinking about getting a new smartphone, these work very well with the LG V10. The have a high enough impedance to trigger the high-gain setting on the phone's amp. The sound is very good straight out of the headphone jack.


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