The K612, K712, and K702 represent the most significant discrepancies between the entire line of K600 and 700 headphones.
To start off, the K612 is the most neutral and flat out of the entire line, to my ears and in looking at graphs. The K712 is the second most neutral, followed by the K701/702 and then Q701.
I should note immediately that I rarely listen to the K612 because of this. It’s just a bit too flat and dull for my tastes, but others would disagree.
I will say that I do think the 612 works slightly better for Jazz and Classical as it kind of helps to mellow out the volatile nature of Classical specifically. That genre can go from quiet to loud in a hurry and I think the 612 handles that a tad better.
Right now I’m listening to John Coltrane’s Spiritual off of the Village Vanguard recordings through the 612 and having a blast. So there’s that. And yeah, that jam out got REAL spiritual. Like wow. I now know exactly where the Allman Brothers and Grateful Dead got some of their influence.
The K712 is a bit more lively but still isn’t quite as snappy as something like a K702.
Out of the entire lot, I find the K702 is most in line with my overall preferences. The 2kHz bump gives it much-needed energy and the treble sounds crisp and fantastic without overdoing it.
The K712 has a rise at 2k as well, but also has a similar gradual decline after 1kHz that reminds me a lot of the Sundara – that is to say that at times, it can sound a bit too laid back.
The Bass on the entire line is very, very similar, but there are a few minor differences.
The K712’s mid-bass rises a bit more than the others and does sound more elevated across the board without coming across as unnatural. Imagine a really smooth, elongated semi-circle.
The K701’s bass rolls off slightly more than the 702’s, but at the end of the day, all three (701/702/612) are all very similar.
The Q701 is the outlier here and clearly does have more low-end impact, sounding the least neutral out of them all because of it.
To sum up, I wouldn’t get too caught up in the discrepancies here as the bass on each is fairly similar at the end of the day.
Describing the sound of the bass, I would say it’s clear, articulate, and textured, but sometimes lacks the slam and impact that some may desire.
Still, if the track in question’s bass was mixed rather heavily, it will come through. This is one thing I absolutely love about the K702 specifically – The headphone does a good job of not over-exaggerating the low end and makes tracks that would otherwise be too boomy, listenable, and enjoyable. It’s even better if the track was mixed really well as the bass comes through astonishingly well and sounds sublime.
The discrepancies of overdone bass vs. more correct bass can be clearly heard on a track like Toonorth’s Wish You Would Call, and Last Chance with the AKG K371 (boosted bass shelf) vs. K702 (rolled off below 60Hz).
The former (K371) is basically unlistenable (due to how he mixed it), but the latter (K702) makes it sound pretty incredible, all things considered.
Looking at a graph of the K612, it would seem to be a perfect headphone. For me, this simply isn’t the case. I almost never find myself wanting to listen to it (outside of doing this A/B/C), and do plan to either give it away or sell it.
The K702 on the other hand is now my daily driver; I find myself reaching for it over all of the headphones I have here at the pad including the venerable HD600. It just sounds so right; a signature you could listen to for hours and never get bored or fatigued musically. I love the energetic nature of the mid-range and feel as though it provides some much-needed liveliness vs. the sometimes duller 712 and 612.
It’s also great for pretty much all genres across the board but does excel with lighter compositions. None of these headphones should really be pushed too hard, as they’ll kind of have a tough time keeping up. Still, one of the main reasons I use the 702 every day is because it handles everything really well and sounds fantastic to boot. The others do as well.
Gamers and film buffs should look here first as well. There’s simply no other headphone I’d rather have than a K702 when I’m sitting down to watch a flick or when I’m sh***ing on some Raiders in Fallout. Why?
BECAUSE I CAN HEAR THOSE LITTLE BITCHES COMING FROM A MILE AWAY AND DON’T YOU FORGET IT!!!!!!!!!!!!😂
The K712’s mid-range sounds very good, but the gradual drop-off after 1kHz can be bothersome at times. It causes the signature to sound kind of dull in certain instances (like a Sundara) but is still a headphone I’d rather have over the 612.
The treble on all 5 of these headphones is very similar – crisp, natural, and mostly correct. This is an aspect of AKG Headphones that I also adore as most companies tend to screw it up.
Hi-hats, cymbals, crashes, and specifically the delicate Jazz brush hits are all rendered effortlessly and with amazing Timbre; this allows you to listen for hours without fatigue. What is Timbre?
There’s no sibilance, essiness, or peakiness to speak of, and the high end never sounds artificial or metallic. These were all problems in headphones like the 40x,7506,DEVA,400i, etc.
I’m loving the fact that I can listen indefinitely without feeling like someone’s vigorously rubbing sandpaper all over my ears.
Speaking of ears, how do they fit? What’s the build like? Are there any cosmetic differences?
Firstly, the K612 is the only chap here without a detachable cable.
The other 4 sport AKG’s famed detachable mini-XLR out of the left cup only. All 5 come with a 9.8 ft. straight cable as well, making it easy to sit on your ass and game!!!
All 5 sport the hammock style self-adjusting headband, and all 5 looks about the same; save for some minor differences. Do note that the original made in Austria variants had 7 or so bumps across the bottom of the headband, an issue rectified in the Chinese models. People complained of discomfort and in some cases, the bumps even left indentations in their heads!
Man, you got a lumpy ass head!! 😂
Marko’s K712 is actually made in Slovakia, something I wasn’t aware of as well. I believe both my K612 and K702 are of Chinese origin.
AKG K701: Maroon/White/Grey/Silver
AKG K702: Midnight Blue/Grey/Silver
AKG K712: Black/Orange
AKG K612: Dark Grey/Silver
AKG Q701: Black/Neon Green
AKG K612: 8.3 Oz / 235g
AKG K701: 8.47 Oz / 240g
AKG K702: 8.3 Oz / 235g
AKG K712: 8.3 Oz / 235g
AKG Q701: 8.29 Oz
All 5 terminate in a 3.5mm jack and come with a 1/4″ adapter.
Aside from some minor cosmetic differences, all 5 of these headphones look, feel, and function in pretty much the exact same way. It’s interesting to note the headband on the K712 is shaped a bit differently from the rest, but aside from that, they’re all more or less identical.
DON’T OVERTHINK IT!!
Some say the self-adjusting portion wears out over time, meaning instead of the mechanism moving up and down fluidly, it kind of gets stuck. I haven’t experienced this issue myself on the K612 or K702, but your mileage may vary. I’ve had the K702 since December 2019 and the K612 since early 2020. Both adjustments are still performing beautifully.
It also may just be my imagination, but I feel like the K612 is just a smidgen smaller in stature than the rest.
Aside from all of that, will you need an amp?
I would say most certainly yes. All 5 of these headphones have a 62 Ohm impedance but are incredibly inefficient at around 91dB/mW.
In reality, each of these needs a bit of power to get pumping, but seriously, don’t be like those forum snobs over the years with the wild and unsubstantiated “THEY SO POWER HANGRY LOLZ”
Yes, they need some power. No, you don’t have to mortgage away your kidney to get it.
Any of the following amps linked at the start of the sound section will more than suffice.
I love this type of sound signature and recommend the K702 often because of it.
But how would I rank them?
I think the K702 definitely gets top honors today, followed by the K712 and then the K612. Remember: The K701/K702/Q701 sound mostly the same outside of the Q701’s boosted bass. The K702 also has a tad more extension than the 701, but it’s very, very close.
Again, DON’T OVERTHINK IT!
I like the K712, but I think it’s runner-up here due to everything we discussed above in regards to its sometimes too laid-back nature. The K612 suffers from a similar sentiment but is definitely the most flat across the board out of all these.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with a signature as flat as the 612’s is, but I think most people are going to appreciate the added energy that the 702 brings to the table. It just makes everything sound that much better and is most worthy of purchase out of these, at least in my opinion. I will say that again, the 612 may be a hair better for stuff like Jazz and Classical, but it’s still pretty close at the end of the day.
The K712 is a close second, but I may not pay the asking price for it as it tends to be pretty steep. To me, there’s nothing about the K712 that’s inherently better than a K702. Even so, you may desire that more laid-back approach. It just depends.
I think that’s enough talk. It’s time for the final exercise. Raiden, TAKE SOLIDUS DOW…. wait we’re not playing Metal Gear Solid 2 lol.
My Top 2 choices are the K702, then the K712, followed by the K612, K701, and then Q701. I really don’t see a need to link all of them, so I will link the first 2 instead.
Stu is determined to help you make sound decisions, and strives to deliver the best and most in depth content on the internet! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, pray, rap, make beats, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His sense of humour, coupled with a knack for excellence and strict attention to detail are what allow him to stand out in an crowded industry.