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My AKG comparison K7XX, K712, 65th Annies and the rest! to stop this confusion!

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by ryanr1987, Jan 30, 2015.
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  1. Ryanr1987
    Still to this day people are confused about these headphones. They will state they all sound the same which is totally incorrect. The topic has been covered so many times so I'm making this thread/review to try help with the confusion.
    Firstly I'm going to start with my personal findings on the differences between the Q701 and K701 and how they apply to the 65th Annie, K7XX and K712 Pro.
    Right...deep breath!
    The K701 is a lean, bright headphone. The peaks in the upper mids are prominent giving them this artificial presence in this range. This can make the mids as a whole sound uneven. The bass is not neutral it drops offs making them sound very detailed the mid-high frequencies. This makes them great for games or anything needing a super wide soundstage. The stage is artificial though, it seems endless with no definition. The sound as a whole is dry and harsh it's almost a horrible sounding headphone to my ears for music, but rather nice for open world games.
    The difference are almost not even noticeable but my annoyingly sensitive to detail ears found the soundstage to be ever so slightly smaller and an ever so slightly more present low end. Apart from that the headphones are pretty much identical in tone, dryness and detail and everthing else. The minute difference are not even worth speaking about to be honest but I'd be lying if I said these were 100% the same, this could be production variation though.
    The Q's added a bit more bass bringing them about neutral or maybe slightly below. Mids sound more balanced due to the upper mid peak being tamed. It seems to show it's self in a minor way with harsh recordings. The treble seems about right, it's not super bright like the K701 and it's a slightly warmer headphone overall making it suitable for  genres of music although not quite as versatile as I like. The final result of this headphone is a smoother listening experience with a more controlled soundstage without losing too much detail Don't get me wrong, I'm saying the Q701 is a smooth headphone, it's a SMOOTHER version of the driver.  Directly compared,  you can tell they share the same driver but the Q701 is a better version for music.
    Original K702 65th Anniversaries(Small Pads)
    Don't let the K702 in the name fool you!  It's based on the Q701 version of the K7 series driver as opposed to the K701 or K702. First thing I  noticed when I put the Q701 pads on the Annie was they sound the same but noticed a slight warmth in the Annies driver. This could again, be production variation or handpicked drivers for the Annie. The warmth isn't a big deal but it's there and it's noticeable if you have a good ear for differences. I came away happy with the result that the Annie stripped down is the Q701 and not the peaky K701 or K702. The original pads give the Q701 a forward up close and almost fatigue free sound; think Sennheiser HD650, LCD2 forward but with a bit more obvious detail and a more spacious soundstage. The treble is more rolled off but still present keeping some detail and the bass was boosted adding extra warmth adding a more pleasant sound and eliminating the extra dryness the Q701 didn't catch from the K701. The final result is smoother, intimate, smoother sound.
    AKG K712 Pro
    Before these came out, people straight away were saying these are the 65th Annies. I mean it made sense because other companies have done the same thing; i.e Sennheiser HD580 Jubilee which was the HD600. The thing people didn't remember though was that the 65th Annie got a lot of complaints from people who enjoyed the older models because the loss of soundstage, detail due to it's lush; creamier and more rolled off sound compared to the other AKG's. The K712 again, first thing place some Q701 pads on them to see the result..Ouch, so dry, so harsh but super airy and extended! straight away they reminded me of the K701/K702.
    With the K712 pads back on the warmth found in the Annie was almost present, it's not 100% identical. I found the Annie to go a bit lower while the K712 had a bit more presence. The K712 keeps a dryish nature here due to it's prominent peaks and treble. The actual treble is slightly more subdued than the K701/K702 because of the memory foam pads. The peaks seems artificially enhanced to keep detail that would otherwise disappear due to the more air killing pads of the K712. The mids on this headphone due to the more extended treble and peaky upper mids sound thin and lacking body compared to it's blue and grey sister, the 65th Annie.  The lower mids are pushed back more making voices sound less up front.
    One thing I noticed was the foams on the inside were different to the Q701, Annie. It was more dense with less pockets. 
    I decided to put the Q701 foams in, the result was the bass didn't seem as present compared to the K712 foam. Again not a massive issue, but noticeable.
    The problem I had with this headphone was that while it's the best gaming headphone I've ever had due to it's ability to be an all rounder; it was just too sharp for my ears and I prefer a more liquid, smoother presentation. Those who like the airy, detailed nature of the K701 but want a bit more bass will like the K712.
    AKG K702 65th Anniversaries 2nd revision(K712 pads)
    Not really a revision as it wasn't documented by AKG. They decided to change the pads, maybe because the lack of air and lack of typical AKG character with the first Annie or they simply just wanted consistency. The sound has changed a bit, it's still smooth, still fairly intimate. Not quite as lush and upfront as the Old Annie. It's a change for the better technically because, it's a bit more spacious and extended. I Purchased the old Annie recently to refresh my memory. It still has the smooth nature but the peak seems a bit more visible in hot recordings but it's still not a problem.
    Mids are intimate but not as intimate as the old Annie. Bass sounds the same in presence and impact. Imaging is the same, that's one thing that remains constant is the K7 series driver's  ability to image even though the older Annie was darker.  Those who found the K712 too dry or harsh or the old Annie too intimate will like this version better. Overall sound, smooth, detailed, good soundstage but still not as good as the K712, neutral bass, slightly warm. Just to add the Q701 pads on these still show the slight extra warmth but is 98% or so the same.
    AKG K7XX Massdrop edition
    The biggest confusion so far is these. People are asking are these the K712 or the Annie?  I'm going to say right now, they are the Annie, which is the Q701. For those who want it clearer
    Q701 + K712 Pads = 65th Annie =K7XX
    Everything  I mentioned in the 2nd Annie revision page is the same as these. The only difference is the Writing on the buttons and the caps isn't raised, it's printed. Everything else feels the same regardless of the China move.
    Now just to add something else about the K712. It's not confirmed because AKG say they are a different driver, but the K712 I believe is just the K701/K702 driver with slight difference like a more boosted mid peak and extension up top. It sounds like it's just a simple tune rather than a completely new driver. It's still a K7 in the same so it's pretty much the same surely? I'm sticking to my opinion and findings in that the K712 is the K701 with the more dense foam to bring the bass up over the K701 to assist the memory foam pads with the presence and bass texture. Finally a more prominent peak and treble so detail doesn't get lost in the warmth.
    Again with the Q701 foam the bass becomes leaner.
    I hope this helps, everything from this write up is purely off my experience. I'm a big gamer,  I love AKG for gaming, I've owned them all multiple times and have spent a long time comparing them all.
  2. kramer5150
    Very cool thanks for posting that.  Very few (if any) members actually have them all side by side to directly compare and pad swap...etc.
    One things for sure the original K701 is the coldest, most bass shy of the bunch.  Its been a love-hate thing with me.  I really like how it punts sound WAY out there, but at times its just too distant and un-involving... boring at times.  Its always occupied this slot in my collection.  Output transformer coupled tubes has been my solution to deal with its upper midrange peaks... but admittedly its far from an ideal one.
  3. Ryanr1987
    I also either love or hate the K701. I never recommend it though because the Q701 is a better version. The soundstage on the K701 is epic.

    I also have the K501 which competes well with the K701 ib staging.
    dhruvmeena96 likes this.
  4. DarthFader

    I've had trouble finding out: how does the K701 compare—in terms of brightness—to a Grado? Say a RS1e for example. I've always wanted a K701 and now that you can find a new pair at prices nearly matching the K7XX from Massdrop, I'm pretty seriously considering buying a pair. 
    Then again, I don't know that I'd want anything brighter than my Grados.
  5. troymadison
    After trying the K701, K702, Q701 and K712, I would have to say that the Q701 is my favorite out of the three. The K1000 still is my favorite AKG headphone but I've yet to try the K812. Really I'd just be happy with a sextet lol
    awoodbri likes this.
  6. Kouzelna
    And of course, here come the detractors...
    I agree with most of what you said on the K701.  It was the first headphone I truly loved... but unfortunately, it always seemed like they were incomplete.  Just too many flaws.  The soundstage is amazing, but, a bit undefined as you mentioned.  The highs can be harsh, though these headphones go with a tube amp like p'nut butter and chocolate, or two hot babes in a convertible Corvette.  The thing that killed me about them, was the vocals.  Just too distant in the background.  It's almost like the singer couldn't be bothered to come into the same room as the band, so was singing from the bar downstairs.  I could've lived with them, but I just knew there had to be something better out there...
    ... and sure enough, there was.  Thus on the K702, I have to totally disagree on your findings. I find them basically different headphones, albeit with the same basic sound sig, but they improved on all the flaws in the K701.  First off, they were more comfortable.  Then they were also warmer, fuller sounding, still with that same great soundstage but more defined and with vocals right where they should be.  Bass was slightly better, and with the K series any improvement is good improvement!  These are my still my favorite headphones, though I just came home with the K712 and think they just may be the perfect AKG achievement.  We'll see.
    On the Q, however, holy cow was I disappointed.  I heard all manner of good things about them, but my pair at least was ubearably harsh in the highs.  I found myself having to actually take it off my head often, as it was just so screechingly painful in my ears to listen to, it sounded so bad.  I tried multiple searches and music files, to no avail.  I also burned them in for a full two weeks, with no improvement.  I finally sold them, though to be fair I should've just fed them to a crocodile rather than burden another head-fier with them.  Anyway...
    I never got to try the Annie's as they were priced too high for my budget all the times I looked into them, and I believe still are.  I got a great deal on the K712, so I'm super psyched about those.  In the future, when I find some pirate gold or inherit a fortune from a mysterious uncle, I hope to get the Beyer T1 and the K812 and see which I like better.  I imagine these will be my ultimate headphone, as I hear the T1 specifically is basically an 'ultimate' version of the K702.  Sounds like a dream come true...
  7. DarthFader
    With such a lack of consensus about the merits of each of these versions, it makes me wonder if the real issue is a lack of consistency in production. Has anyone taken a look at comparing, for example, two K701s back to back? Seems like someone probably has right?
    eldus and ardilla like this.
  8. Kouzelna
    Darth, I often wonder the same thing.
  9. kramer5150
    Tyll did that...
    Sample B is ever so slightly brighter by maybe 2~4db in the critical upper midrange areas.  The impulse response is also a little "noisier / fuzzier"
  10. DarthFader

    Interesting. Thanks for sharing this!
  11. T.R.A.N.C.E.
    Nice comparo OP. But in the end what OP is claiming doesn't carry much weight in the light of current evidence of the driver variations of ~3dB, which is also the same amount that the Q701 is claimed to have more bass than a K701 etc, so this means the reality is either:
    A- What OP is saying is true, there are two types of driver
    B- The differences heard are from driver variations between different batches
    C- AKG does minor updates to the driver through time, so older K701 will not sound exactly like new K701. Around the time of Q701 there was a driver update, people saying Q701 sounds better than K701 and K702, but in reality all newer K701 and K702 also have adopted the same updated driver as Q701 and now sound the same, as do K712, Annie, K7xx are same driver but hand picked for matching and the ear pads are mainly what makes them sound different.
    Either one of the three scenarios could be true, or even a mix of the three, we will probably never truly know what is what.
    xxAMAROKxx likes this.
  12. Oktyabr
    The OP only considers ear pads and driver variance (if any).  While these certainly are key to changing the sound profile, it neglects more subtle design differences such as the bit of tape covering one of the ports, any changes in dampening rings under the earpads, etc.   Even the "Q" logo on the back of the Q701 may change the frequency response to a measurable degree (enough to hear or not is debatable).

    Last but not least everyone must remember that the most complex bit of kit in any headphone system is the user's own ear.  No one's ears are exactly the same, no one is sensitive to the same frequencies in the same way either.  You might consider your ears to be a subtle EQ profile unique to you...  and this wouldn't be far from the truth.  That's why measurements on calibrated equipment are the best way of detecting differences between different headphones.  :)

    Me?  I found the K701 excellent in every way... except the bumpy headband which eventually forced me to sell them.  I also spent a couple of months with both the K712 and the K7XX before selling one of them.  To MY ears they were so close to identical that I could not tell them apart by listening to them and while they may have had their subtle differences they were so minute that I had no preference of one over the other.  I did find both seemed to trade off the delicate, crystal clear, analytical highs and some of the sound stage that I loved in the K701 to bring about stronger emphasis in the lower mid bass, which some in today's market probably find appealing.
    trellus likes this.
  13. punkmanmatthew
    I have the grado 325es and the akg q701 aren't as bright and clear. They r bright but not as much of that grado detail as far as clarity and sparkle.

    The akgs have a bigger sound stage and better instrument separation. Also more bass.

    I like them both probably like the grados better because I can't get over how good the clarity is but the akgs r good at most things other than punk rock or something like that. The grado r better at Rock. The akgs to me seem to fall apart with the distorted guitars.
  14. xAk MoRRoWiNdx
    I've never gotten an Audiophile pair of headphones before so i did some diggong and decided on AKG. I really wanted the K712, but the price however, is a no go. I just can't spend $300+ on headphones :/ I just don't know what pair to get. I decided not to get AKGs and get the Sennheiser 598s because of 1) the nice price on Amazon and 2) the reviews. I play alot of games (RPGs, Shooters, etc) on my Xbox One so I need an amp also. I just discovered the K7xxs today and they seem to fit he bill though. Which would you recommend 71 or 7xx? I really have no money to spend so sub $200 plus cost of amp (looking at Fiio e11k/e10) Thanks
  15. Rhamnetin
    You should be looking at the Q701 and K7xx.  If you can't audition both, then the comparison in this thread is the most helpful information you're going to get.
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