Home Headphone Comparisons AKG K612 vs. K712 vs. K702 vs. K701 vs. Q701

AKG K612 vs. K712 vs. K702 vs. K701 vs. Q701

by Stuart Charles Black
AKG K612 vs. K712 vs. K702 vs. K701 vs. Q701

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The much anticipated AKG K600/700 shootout. Which of these headphones is most worthy of a purchase? How do they compare with one another? Who exactly benefits from this type of sound?

All of these answers and more, comin’ up…

If you landed here from another page, don’t worry! All of my impressions and research have been compiled here. For the K712 vs. 812, click Here!

So are you ready? Good. Let’s get rolling.

Thicc thighs save lives. Greetings bass head and Welcome aboard.

Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions leading to a beautiful audio experience that will make you fall in love with music, (NOT gear), all over again, so…

Video Discussion

Coming Soon!

In The Box

AKG K612

K612 Headphone

Non-Detachable Cable (9.8 ft.)

1/4″ Adapter

Warranty Card

AKG K712

Note: Keep in mind this is a demo unit from my friend Marko in Finland.

AKG K712 Pro Reference Studio Headphones

Mini XLR Connector Cable

Mini XLR Coiled Cable

Carrying Bag

Limited 2-Year Warranty

AKG K702

K702 Headphone

Detachable Mini-XLR cable

1/4″ Adapter

Warranty Card

AKG K701

AKG K701 Open-Back Reference Stereo Headphones

1/4″ Stereo Adapter

Limited 1-Year Warranty

AKG Q701

AKG Q701 Headphones

1/4″ Stereo Adapter

Warranty Card


Specs/Graphs

AKG K612

Shoutout to Crinacle for the wonderful graph! This is Crinacle’s graph. There are many like it, but this one is his.

  • Price: Check Amazon! | Check B&H! | Check Sweetwater!
  • Type: Open back, Dynamic.
  • Fit: Circumaural (Over-Ear).
  • Frequency response: 10Hz to 39,800 kHz.
  • Impedance: 62 Ohms. What is Headphone Impedance?
  • Sensitivity: 91dB/mW.
  • Material: Leather headband, plastic, velour padding.
  • Color: Grey/Black/Silver
  • Audio Connector to Source: 1/8″ / 3.5mm TRS
  • Adapter Included: Yes, 1/4″
  • Cable: Non-detachable
  • Cable Length: 9.8′
  • Weight: 8.3 Oz. / 235g

AKG K712

Shoutout to Crinacle for the wonderful graph!

Specifications

  • Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check B&H! | Check eBay!
  • Type: Open back, Dynamic.
  • Color:  Black & Orange.
  • Fit: Circumaural.
  • Frequency response: 10Hz to 39,800 kHz.
  • Impedance: 62 Ohms.
  • Sensitivity: 84-88dB/mW
  • Material: Leather headband, plastic, memory foam.
  • Audio Connector to Source: 1/8″ / 3.5mm TRS
  • Adapter Included: Yes, 1/4″
  • Cable: Detachable Mini-XLR
  • Cable Length: 9.8′
  • Weight: 8.3 Oz. / 235g

AKG K702

Shoutout to Crinacle for the wonderful graph!

  • Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check B&H! | Check eBay!
  • Type: Open back, Dynamic.
  • Fit: Circumaural (Over-Ear).
  • Frequency response: 10Hz to 39,800 kHz.
  • Impedance: 62 Ohms. What is Headphone Impedance?
  • Sensitivity: 91dB/mW.
  • Material: Leather headband, plastic, velour padding.
  • Color: Midnight Blue/Silver/Grey
  • Audio Connector to Source: 1/8″ / 3.5mm TRS
  • Adapter Included: Yes, 1/4″
  • Cable: Detachable Mini-XLR
  • Cable Length: 9.8′
  • Weight: 8.3 Oz. / 235g

AKG K701

  • Price: Check Amazon! | Check B&H! | Check Sweetwater!
  • Type: Open back, Dynamic.
  • Fit: Circumaural (Over-Ear).
  • Frequency response: 10Hz to 39,800 kHz.
  • Impedance: 62 Ohms. What is Headphone Impedance?
  • Sensitivity: 91dB/mW.
  • Material: Leather headband, plastic, velour padding.
  • Color: Maroon/Grey
  • Audio Connector to Source: 1/8″ / 3.5mm TRS
  • Adapter Included: Yes, 1/4″
  • Cable: Detachable Mini-XLR
  • Cable Length: 9.8′
  • Weight: 8.47 Oz. / 240g

AKG Q701

Shoutout to Rtings for the graph! Crinacle does not currently have one for these, but you can be darn sure I’m going to bug him about it! xD

  • Price: Check Amazon!
  • Type: Open back, Dynamic.
  • Fit: Circumaural (Over-Ear).
  • Frequency response: 10Hz to 39,800 kHz.
  • Impedance: 62 Ohms. What is Headphone Impedance?
  • Sensitivity: 91-93dB/mW.
  • Material: Leather headband, plastic, velour padding.
  • Color: Neon Green/Black.
  • Audio Connector to Source: 1/8″ / 3.5mm TRS
  • Adapter Included: Yes, 1/4″
  • Cable: Detachable Mini-XLR
  • Cable Length: 9.8′
  • Weight: 8.29 Oz.

Let’s get right into the final shootout.

In this article, I will primarily be comparing 3 headphones that I have here currently (612, 712, 702), and also throwing in the K701/Q701 comparison.

I won’t spoil why, but you’ll find out soon enough.

STAY TUNED!

I will also update this article when I get a chance to listen to Drop’s 7xx.

Sound

Single Reviews

AKG K612 vs. K712 vs. K702 vs. K701 vs. Q701

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 it 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.

Anyway…

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 to be most in line with my overall preferences. You may find the 712 more in line with yours, or you may not.

The 702’s 2kHz bump gives it much-needed energy and the treble sounds crisp and fantastic without overdoing it.

AKG K612 vs. K702

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.

Bass

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 very similar. Here’s another graph illustrating the point. You can also kind of see it in Crinacle’s as well.

Courtesy of Headroom.

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 come across as 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.

K612

AKG K612 vs. K712 vs. K702 vs. K701 vs. Q701

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.

Gaming & Film

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 soundstage on 600 and 700 models has always been a point of contention. Some call it unnaturally wide, others claim the center image is lacking, and some say you can’t really pinpoint sounds well.

I say the truth lies somewhere in the middle. It is very wide, but I really enjoy that aspect of it because I can hear everything going on. In other words, the K702 absolutely never sounds muddy or congested in any way.

I can understand where people are coming from when they say the center image is lacking, as I sometimes hear that as well. It doesn’t always manifest, but can be problematic at times. A minor flaw in an otherwise amazing headphone.

I was just talking with a guy on Instagram and he described the comparison between the 712 and 702 perfectly:

That’s exactly right. There’s nothing about the 712 that warrants the price over the 702 – i.e. it doesn’t inherently do anything better.

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.

Treble

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 holding me down on the ground while vigorously rubbing sandpaper all over my ears.

Speaking of ears, how do they fit? What’s the build like? Are there any cosmetic differences?

Absolutely.

Firstly, the K612 is the only chap here without a detachable cable.

REJECT!!!

AKG K612 vs. K712 vs. K702 vs. K701 vs. Q701

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 of them look about the same; save for some minor differences.

For instance, you can see in the above picture that the K612 grill is more rounded off and flat while the 702 and k712 have a bump around the circumference of the cup itself.

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, that 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.

Color

  • 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

Weight

  • 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!!

AKG K712 Review

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?

Amplification

I would say most certainly yes. All 5 of these headphones have a 62 Ohm impedance but are incredibly inefficient at around 84/88/91dB/mW.

For whatever reason, most websites advertise the Sensitivity rating by the Volt which tends to confuse people. 105dB sounds efficient, right? What is Sensitivity in Headphones? [Explained]

WRONG! Because it’s not /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 sell your forearm to get it.

Any of the following amps linked at the start of the sound section will more than suffice. A helpful article I put together for choosing would be The Best Headphone Amp for the AKG K701 & K702.

Final Word

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. It’s also considerably more muffled to my ears and just sounds bad the more I listen to it. I talk about this more in-depth in my HD560S review.

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 (for some), 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.

But…

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.

Final rankings:

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.

#1

AKG K702

 

 

#2

AKG K712

 

 


Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this final AKG K612 vs. K712 vs. K702 vs. K701 vs. Q701 shootout and came away with some valuable insight.

If you love what I do here and want to support the blog and channel in a more personal way, check me out on Patreon and discover all the value I have to offer you.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

Which one of these are you going to purchase? I would love to hear from you. Until next time…

All the best and God bless,

 

 

-Stu

[Xtr@Ba$eHitZ]

Can’t decide which headphones to purchase? Interested in a complete buyers guide outlining over 40 of the best options on the market? Click on over to the best audiophile headphones to learn more!!

Be sure to also check out my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!

Photo Gallery

More coming soon!

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K712 vs. 812…

*Bonus*

K712 vs. K812

Main Differences

Build

The K812 has more metal in its construction and therefore has a bit better build quality overall. Also, instead of a hammock style adjustment, you kind of press on some buttons before adjustment.

Treble Spike

The K812 has a weird 10dB bump around 5-6kHz which is pretty jarring and something you can clearly see on a well-done graph like Crinacle’s.

So in short, if you were considering buying a K812, just don’t. Get a K712 instead.

For an honest review of the 812, check out my boy Metal’s video!

Video Review

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10 comments

Jacob April 21, 2021 - 7:26 am

Hi Stuart,
Recently I was considering buying new pair of headphones. I saw you video about K702’s and deva’s but I’m still not really sure, and even “Before you buy an AKG k702”. I’m going to be connecting them to Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. I’m going to be using them for recording bass/guitar, mixing, listening to music and gaming (mostly competetive). I really like the idea of planars, but from what I read they have bad imaging and soundstage.

For reference, they will be my first mid-fi/hi-fi headphones, so it’s really tough to say anything else about my preferences etc.

I’m trying to decide between AKG K702 AND HiFiman HE400i 2020. I’m also open for other suggestions. They can be open-back or closed-backs, as I’m living in pretty quiet environment, but I need ones with replacable cable.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black April 21, 2021 - 3:28 pm

Oh my God. After I read this, “I really like the idea of planars, but from what I read they have bad imaging and soundstage.”, I’m not even lying to you, my head started to hurt. Lol. Brain cells melting. Who the h*ll are these people who say outlandish stupid crap like that? Like I’m not even kidding.

Okay, now that my rant is aside, that IS a tough decision. I would lean towards K702 only because the 400i has a somewhat essy treble and can get fatiguing while I don’t experience any fatigue with the 702. Both are very comfortable. What you’ll find is that a planar does tend to have slightly better timbre than a dynamic, and the differences, while subtle, are still there. So yeah, HIFIMAN outperforms by a smidgen, but the essy treble at times may turn you off. This CAN be EQ’d down a bit.

It’s a great comparison though, and one I will be exploring further.

If it helps any, the 702 is my daily driver and is my favorite headphone to listen to. You already read the articles so that would be my personal recommendation. For your first pair, I can’t think of anything better except maybe a 6XX which is actually my top overall choice for newcomers to the hobby. It’s not really suited for gaming IMO as I prefer something more open like a 702.

So yeah, you’re in the right place for sure. My 1 2 3 is 6XX, Sundara, 702. Sundara could be the solution actually as its treble is more tamed down which ended up being the outlier with regard to the HIFIMAN lineup.

So I would say if you really wanted the planar experience, I’d go with a Sundara over a 2020 400i because of the treble issue. The slight issue with the Sundara for me is that it can sound a tad too warmed over/pushed back/recessed/syrupy in the mids which is something that may bother you after a while. In actuality, I should probably swap Sundara and 702 to reflect my own preferences on the article (read: I personally prefer the 2k bump on the 702), but it’s been a while since I demoed a Sundara. https://homestudiobasics.com/the-5-best-audiophile-headphones-for-under-500/

I still think for you the 702 is the way to go based on what you told me. It has a better Soundstage than the HIFIMAN’s and sounds snappier and livelier than a Sundara. It’s really a jack of all trades which is why I use one every day. I know this was long winded but there was a lot to unpack.

Hope it helped! Let me know. 🙂

Reply
PIYUSH KUMAR May 10, 2021 - 7:05 am

PLEASE COMPARE PHILIPS FIDELIO X2HR ALSO

Reply
Stuart Charles Black May 16, 2021 - 8:40 pm

Ok bro will do at some point!

Reply
canman June 21, 2021 - 5:50 pm

i dont know where people get the notion that the 701s and 702s are different. aside from the 702s replaceable ear pads and detachable cable, they are the exact same headphones.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black June 22, 2021 - 2:25 pm

Yeah idk either. I had read some years back from many sources that the 702 has more bass and less unnaturally wide Soundstage, but what I’ve learned in this hobby after being in it since 2014 is that people fabricate and make up A LOT of non-sense.

Reply
Prabin July 21, 2021 - 2:19 am

Keep up the good work stu

Reply
Stuart Charles Black July 21, 2021 - 2:22 am

Thanks Prabin! You just keep being handsome. 😉 LOL.

Reply
Yordan September 12, 2021 - 7:39 am

Hey Stu,
I got my K712 mainly because of the looks and because I thought that “bigger number = better”. Do you think it’s worth buying a K702 if i already have a K712? Or should i go with something different, like the 6XX instead?

PS: It seems that the AKG models are much cheaper (and more reasonably priced) in the EU than in the US. I got my K712s for around 240 USD. What say you, is that price justifiable? Would you pick up one then (if K702 didn’t exist ofc)?

Stay awesome,

Yordan from Bulgaria

Reply
Stuart Charles Black September 12, 2021 - 7:36 pm

Hey Yordan! If you already have a 712 I would say probably not but the thing is that the 702 is much crisper and snappier sounding. That’s the main difference. I think what you paid for is pretty reasonable though actually, as I don’t think the retail price is worth it for that headphone (400-500 IIRC). If the 702 didn’t exist, then yeah, I’d probably have a 712 and do rank it second amongst these. It’s just a tad too warm for me which is why I don’t think I could ever own one as it stands now. Thanks for the love and keep me posted!!

Reply

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