Today I’m about to bring you a sweet post on 2 very well respected headphones. Specifically, I will be smacking you in the melon with the AKG K701 vs. AKG K702 comparison review! Below I have the older versions (pictured 1st), and the newer models (pictured second).
Before we get started:I have also written an informative article on the AKG Q701 vs. K701, if you were looking for that comparison, but clicked on this out of curiosity. If you were looking for the AKG K702 vs. K712, I have that one too!
I also give my recommendation for the Q701’s at the end of this review overall. Read on to find out why!
Whew! Now that that’s out of the way.. Sit back, relax, and grab a bowl of popcorn because..
You’ve come to the right place!!
What I will bring you in this review
Who these headphones benefit?
Similarities & Differences
Both of these models have been around for awhile and both have sparkling reviews. As of late however, the AKG brand is now being designed in Austria and assembled in China, much to the dismay of many audiophiles and enthusiasts. Please keep this in mind before purchase. Both sets still get very good reviews to this day, but there are some people who have noticed a marked difference in quality since they made the switch to China.
Material: Leather head band, plastic, velour padding.
These babies accomplish what they were set out to do, and that is provide you with a flat, close to neutral reference sound conducive to mixing in studio. The bass is somewhat lacking, but the mid range is really it’s strong suit. Some bullet points:
The sound-stage on them is exceptionally wide, but some say so wide that they may start to sound a bit unnatural.
They are very even sounding across the spectrum, with no frequencies overpowering each-other.
They will require a good amp, and are really power hungry.
They aren’t really plug and play type headphones, even at a modest 62 Ohm impedance.
They also won’t sound too good playing back low quality audio, being that they are so honest.
The sound is pleasant from your mobile devices, albeit a bit on the weak side. One thing to note is that there are two different models of the K701: The Austrian made, and now the Chinese made. A lot of people are saying that the overall quality has suffered, but some including Metal571 on you-tube said he didn’t see much difference. Still some things to keep in mind:
The early 2008 Austrian model (as seen in Metal571’s review)
The cable terminates into a 1/4″ adapter rather than the standard 3.5mm.
Has a 7 bump headband. The later models had 8 bumps. The newer models don’t have any bumps, which I found interesting.
Very comfortable. You may forget you’re wearing them. The ear cups are also very large and fit all sizes.
Voices sound true to life. The treble range is rendered beautifully.
Headband is made of leather, and self adjust to the size of any melon, big or small 😛
Very even sounding across the spectrum.
Particularly great mid range. There is a 5db bump at 2khz (just a spike if you will), but it gives the 701’s a certain energy that makes the music sound really enjoyable to an otherwise very flat headphone.
Extremely wide sound stage. Gives a very nice 3-d image. Sound can be heard all around you, which can be very exciting and enjoyable!What is Soundstage?
Great for gaming, as you can hear sound all around you, and can therefore make quicker snap decisions.
Comes with a headphone stand.
Bass is very light and lean. Lacks impact. The quality and extension is there, but there just isn’t a lot of it.
Slight pressure from the head band after many hours of wear.
Sound may have “tinny” quality until they are burned in for a certain amount of hours (upwards of 100). There is a spike in the treble range which can be off putting to some. Others say this makes it sound more detailed, extended, and quite gorgeous.
Sound may be a bit cold, dry, and TOO analytical for some
Check out the video review!
Credit to my boy @Metal571. Check him out on Twitter!
Even at low impedance, these will need to be driven by some sort of amp. The Woo Audio A5 will do the trick, and is highly recommended. If you are looking for some more affordable solutions:
Fiio E10K (can be paired with the E17 or used as stand alone).
JDS Labs 02 (a very highly regarded amp for a variety of headphones).
One of the best options overall for the 701 and 702:
Who these headphones benefit?
If you’re looking for a wide, expansive sound-stage, these will do very well. They are also pretty darn good for mixing, and will give you a flat, even response. The mid-range on these is particularly good as well, as they render acoustic instrumentation with a startling realism. They are also great for FPS gaming as they have that 3-d sound-stage.
The K701 excels in flat, even sound conducive to mixing, but some may find that they will have to overcompensate due to lack of bass impact. Has a wide sound-stage, great mid-range, as well as good clarity and instrument separation. The Austrian model does lack comfort as far as the bumpy quality of the headband. The newer Chinese models don’t have any bumps on them. These also may be a bit awkward sounding, since they will expose tiny human flaws in musicianship that other headphones gloss over. In a nutshell, they are about as cold and clinical sounding as it gets.
It seems as though the K702’s are overall a better buy, for less money. The bass is more pronounced while still remaining tight and controlled, and these seem to be more comfortable than the 701’s. The ear cups are a bit thicker as well. Keep in mind that like the 701’s, these benefit heavily from a good headphone amp. It has been said that these cans are really difficult to drive. One amp that stands out as the best option however is the Woo Audio 5 again.
Tight, controlled, and not overpowering. Very natural sounding.
Transparent mid-range, and crisp highs.
Clean, neutral and honest, flat.
Nice sound-stage, very wide.
Light and comfortable.
Perfect for mixing, translates to speakers/monitors very well.
Great for classical music/opera.
The plastic feels a bit cheap, prone to breaking.
Cable is really long.
Bumpy, somewhat uncomfortable head band.
Bass lacks a bit of impact.
Can be cold to some. Be weary of your sound source, as these are very revealing.
Check out the 702 video review!
Even at low impedance, these will need to be driven by some sort of amp. The Woo Audio A5 (yet again, lol) will do the trick, but if you are looking for a more affordable solution:
Fiio E10K (can be paired with the E17 or used as stand alone)
Who these headphones benefit?
If you’re looking for a wide, expansive sound-stage, these will do very well. They are also good for mixing (like the 701’s), and will give you a flat, even response. The mid-range on these is particularly good as well, as they render acoustic instruments to great effect.
They do well with:
Rock/Alternative (from a good source)
Just keep in mind, they lack a certain bass presence, and may not do as well with hip-hop, reggae, etc.
Again, the sound clarity is amazing, but the head band issue leaves the comfort factor with a bit to be desired. Again, like the newer model Chinese K701’s, the new version of the K702’s also do not have headband bumps. As far as the ear pads, they are very comfortable. Be prepared for an honest representation of your music regardless!
Both are open back, and people will be able to hear what you’re listening to. This also means that your mixes will be better, because the music has room to breathe. It doesn’t get trapped inside your head. This is a big reason why mixing on closed back cans can get very tiring in a hurry.
Both benefit greatly from a good headphone amp.
Both have the bumpy head band issue that a lot of reviewers have complained about. However, the newer Chinese model does not have any headband bumps.
Both are good for mixing, and have that neutral and flat sound.
Both need adequate time to break in.
Neither headphone sounds particularly “fun.”
The pads on the K702’s are thicker, which supposedly allows more of an “around the head” speaker like experience.
The 702’s have a detachable cable, the 701’s do not.
The 702’s do not come with a stand, the 701’s do.
The 702’s bass response gets generally more favorable reviews over the 701’s.
One reviewer noted a vast improvement in comfort and sound when he replaced the 701’s with the 702’s. The bass was stronger, and the mid range was closer.
These two pairs of headphones have been the hardest to concisely review here at Home studio basics. There are many different subtleties in each that reviewers constantly go back and forth on. As for which gets my vote?
Neither. If you dig this particular sound signature though, I would go with the Q701’s over both the K701 and K702.
They have more bass impact, but retain all of the qualities of the 701 and 702. Like the K702, they have a detachable cable, but happen to be more affordable, and come in 3 different colors. The sound-stage has been improved over both predecessors, and is no longer abnormally large and unnatural. The bass has also been greatly improved, but still not at the expense of clarity and control which is a huge plus. Overall, the Q701 is a just a better set. There is really no reason to buy the other two, unless you really wanted to seek out an Austrian model.
Stu is determined to provide the truth about all things audio, and strives to deliver excellent content to you the reader! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, attend church, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His attention to detail and perfectionist attitude are what allow him to excel, but it can be both a blessing and a hindrance at times.