My Humble Review of the most Hated Headphone:K701
Jan 1, 2010 at 9:53 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 42


Headphoneus Supremus
May 1, 2009
Hello everyone,this will be my first review here on headfi,so I am not as experainced in this like Larry(a.k.a HeadphoneAddict) or Skylab,but I will try my best.
The package is very elegant and very classy and simple,nothing fancy or weird.

The K701 is very beautiful in person and………..EXTREMLY HUGE! The photos don’t do them any justice in terms of size! the cable is very flexible and tangle-free but extremly long i think about 1.5meters!
This headphone is supremely duper comfortable,I can wear it for 6 straight hours with no discomfort or it etching or even my ears getting heated and warm.My whole ear literally fit inside the huge pad and sinks in it and the headphone surrounding it.Extremly comfortable and light weight.

I was very afraid in this area because of the numerous reviews that describe the K701 bass as weak or light.BOY were they all wrong! The bass very well controlled,accurate,extends very deep,punchy in the right amount without being powerful or excessive. The ie8 bass sound in comparison bloated fat and not controlled as the 701,although the ie8 has more power and impact.Overall the bass of the 701 can be described as bass of QUALITY.IF you want impactful powerful skull crusher bass,then the K701 is clearly not for you.
I bought this headphone in the first place because I am a sucker for soundstage and airness.i cant enjoy my music unless I feel the wide soundstage and the sense of space.This area is very tricky for me and I will tell you why in a minute.The horizontal soundstage(between your ears) is very wide and out of your head.Excellent indeed. The lateral soundstage is where things become confusing for me. I don’t know how to describe it except in this way: if the distance between the center of your brain and the horizontal soundstage(that is between your ears and extends outside your head)is 20cm,then the distance between the centre of the brainand the lateral soundstage (the soundstage that extends behind your head at the back) Is 10-13cm. I don’t know if this is called soundstage depth or imaging,but it is not consistent. I don’t feel this when I listen to classical or jazz music but I feel it when I play shpongle for example. On my ie8 for example or on any sennheiser headphone, instruments are laid back spreading in the concert hall or in space,never forward sounding…recessed to be exact. On the 701, Extremely wide soundstage(which I love) but the depth is lacking something. Does anyone experience this like me or am I the only one?
The K701 is a brutal in this area,it is insanely detailed and analytical(which I adore). Every page turn,every whisper, every inhalation or exhalation, every chair movement, every blow in a fluet or a saxophone will be heard. This headphone is a beast in this area and it wont let any headphone take that name from it. The K701 demand high quality files,apple lossless,wav, flac,ogg…if you put low quality files they will show the compression.
Female vocals sound wonderful and natural,every female vocal I through at this phone handles it with ease and is a real pleasure to listen to. The same cannot be said about male vocals. I don’t know why but some male vocals sound sibilant and sometimes ear piercing. If you listen mainly to male vocals this can be fatiguing although the crossfeed in my micro amp eliminate this problem and tames the highs,but they lose some of its sparkle. For example crashing cymbals splash will not be as crisp and the decay will be faster..the extra crispness will be lost.
Instruments separation
What can I add that hadn’t been said in this area. The K701 perform phenomenaly in this area, every instrument has its own precise accurate position in space and so the K701 can handle complex music with ease and you can pick any instrument in the chaos. This area is greatly helped by the massive soundstage and airness of the 701 which are to die for.
Highs on the 701 are in the borderline between sweet and harsh. On some songs the treble can be fatiguing indeed and can cause some discomfort,while 90% of the time it is sweet and very transparent. The k701 is completely and I mean completely opposite to the sennheiser sound signature! The senns sound is very laid back,dark and never ever is mellow and relaxing. The k701 treble on the other hand can be a little bit hot at times.
What genres do the 701 excels in?
Classical and jazz(eargasmic),hiphop,pop,light rock,country, music that depends on a lot of instruments and vocals,orchestra,scotish,chamber.
What genres are bad on the k701?
Trance(all its categories), house,techno and metal(although metallica sound fantastic on it,but others no). These genres are horrible on the k701.the best I can describe it is like an elephant is trying to catch a rabbit and stumbles in the middle! Very slow for this type of music.
What I like to change in the k701?
I would like the treble to go down a notch and the vocals to be less sibilant and the soundstage to be wider and a little bit consistent laterally and horizontally.
These headphones doesn’t deserve all this bashing, they are one of the best headphones in the world and have a lot of qualities that I think no other headphone has. I made this review and tried to be as objective as possible,and as long as this headphone keep me smiling and tapping my foot, I have no reason to sell them. Thanks everyone,i hope this review will be helpful for everyone considering these headphones.
Here is a shot of the k701 with my beloved micro amp,enjoy

Happy new year everyone
Jan 1, 2010 at 10:06 PM Post #2 of 42
Thanks for taking the time to review the headphones! They're a great pair of cans, I'm glad you're enjoying them.


Originally Posted by midoo1990 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
On the 701, Extremely wide soundstage(which I love) but the depth is lacking something. Does anyone experience this like me or am I the only one?

I had never noticed issues with soundstage depth until the HD800s arrived at my house. I don't know that the K701 has a shallow soundstage, but it's definitely noticeably less deep than the 800.


Originally Posted by midoo1990 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
If a sexy women tried to wear them everyone will spit at her as she will look ugly!

Sexy women must hate it when people do this. AKG should advertise a sexy women bundle packaging the headphones and a poncho.
Jan 1, 2010 at 10:19 PM Post #5 of 42
haha nice one Aman. about the soundstage,ya there is something missing in the middle,very wide but doesnt extend outside your back of your head,not consistent.Does the HD800 have a bigger soundstage than the 701?and what about depth,is it relevant and consistent? i am tempted to save for a pair if the soundstage is marginally better...
Jan 1, 2010 at 10:20 PM Post #6 of 42
Decent review midoo1990, not sure K701 is most hated, admittedly they are a little polarised around here. Glad you like them, and that is all that really counts.
Jan 1, 2010 at 10:23 PM Post #7 of 42

Originally Posted by Uncle Erik /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Just curious, what other headphones and/or speakers have you compared the K-701 to? Also, do you listen to live music, especially acoustic?

i dont have speakers or other headphones,this is my first one,i compared it directly to my IEMs and specifically with my ie8.yes i listen to acoustic and some live music but not much,most of my classical and jazz collection is recorded and not live.i know there are flaws in this review but i tried my best,so take this review with a grain of salt,i am not audiophile by any mean.
Jan 1, 2010 at 10:25 PM Post #8 of 42
Thanks for the review! strange though, I been looking through and K701 is pretty much appreciated here
Jan 1, 2010 at 10:26 PM Post #9 of 42
I don't think they are the most hated, that would be reserved for some Bose product. As for the bass, I think a lot of people just restate the same, tired crap and I wonder how many of them have actually listened to a pair?

Personally, I've listened to 650/600's and a few lower in the line and I much prefer my 701's. Heck, I preferred my Grado SR-60's to any Sennheisers.
Jan 1, 2010 at 10:27 PM Post #10 of 42
I'm pretty interested in these headphones. Would definitely like to buy some when I get the money. The only real problem I've heard is they are hard to drive. What would be a good $200-300 amp for these?
Jan 1, 2010 at 10:29 PM Post #11 of 42

Originally Posted by Kernmac /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Ah Yes. The old spit at the sexy women wearing the wierd Headphone trick. Sexy women (and even non sexy women come to think of it) would be scared ****less to go out wearing DT150s where you live -no? Is this a cultural thing that I just don't get?

i am very sorry, i didnt know that this phrase is common as you say"the old spit at a sexy woman",it just crossed my mind and i thought it would be funny as you look kind of weird when you wear the 701.i know that there are ladies here on headfi,i am very sorry if i offended any lady here i swear i meant nothing.i will edit my first post.
Jan 1, 2010 at 10:33 PM Post #12 of 42

Originally Posted by Kukuk /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I'm pretty interested in these headphones. Would definitely like to buy some when I get the money. The only real problem I've heard is they are hard to drive. What would be a good $200-300 amp for these?

i think the micro amp is amazing with them,the synergy is great,i think you can get it used here for 200-250$,but you should make a thread in the amp forum because i only have the micro amp so i wont be much useful for you.
Jan 1, 2010 at 10:34 PM Post #13 of 42
re soundstage.

I felt as though there was a big hole in the middle and anything focussed in the middle sounded sort of 'vague.' Like two speakers left and right rather than one image in the middle.

Becasue of that I stopped listening to them and left them rumbling on pink noise for two weeks. I was intending to get rid of them.

Honestly ....... they changed. The treble recessed and the middle focussed.

Either they will burn in or you will become used to their signature and not notice that top end as much as you currently do.

They are stunning.

Jan 1, 2010 at 10:38 PM Post #14 of 42
i bought them used and the former owner had them for 3 months so i think they are burned in.i like them very much but on some recordings i just feel that as you say something is missing in the middle..hollow maybe.neverthless they are joy to listen to.
Jan 1, 2010 at 10:39 PM Post #15 of 42
I understand you meant it as a joke, and I did not look at it as "offensive", simply pointing out that some jokes from different cultures can be interpreted differently by people from different cultural backgrounds. I do not mean to take anything away from your review.

Good job.

There will always be people that will bag out headphones that they don't like, as well as the detractors there is plenty of respect for K70x on Headfi. It is well renowned for the soundstage and detailed mids, and bass quality/quanity like many things will be relative to peoples expectations; DT880 suffers from the same variation of opinion.

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