AKG K701 vs AKG K702 | THE DIFFERENCE?

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Updated 10/25/18

  • 3,877 word post, approx. 5-6 min read.
  • To send me any type of gear for demo, just Contact me! – Use the form “all other inquiries & questions”

Hey there friend, and Welcome aboard!!

First we’ll begin with a quick comparison if you were looking to make a decision right away! 🙂


Comparison Chart


Preview
Better For Gaming
K701 Open%2DBack Reference Class Stereo Headphones with Varimotion and Flat%2DWire Voice Coil Technology
More Bass
AKG K702 Reference Class Studio Headphones
Title
K701 Open%2DBack Reference Class Stereo Headphones with Varimotion and Flat%2DWire Voice Coil Technology
AKG K702 Reference Class Studio Headphones
Color
Maroon/Grey/Silver
Blue/Black/Silver
Impedance
62 Ohm
62 Ohm
Sensitivity
105dB/V (Around 91dB/mW)
105dB/V (Around 91dB/mW)
Primary Use
Gaming, Mixing, Mastering, Reference
Gaming, Mixing, Mastering, Reference
Amplification Required?
Austrian Model
Open Back
Prime
Price
$199.00
$182.99
Better For Gaming
Preview
K701 Open%2DBack Reference Class Stereo Headphones with Varimotion and Flat%2DWire Voice Coil Technology
Title
K701 Open%2DBack Reference Class Stereo Headphones with Varimotion and Flat%2DWire Voice Coil Technology
Color
Maroon/Grey/Silver
Impedance
62 Ohm
Sensitivity
105dB/V (Around 91dB/mW)
Primary Use
Gaming, Mixing, Mastering, Reference
Amplification Required?
Austrian Model
Open Back
Prime
Price
$199.00
Details
More Bass
Preview
AKG K702 Reference Class Studio Headphones
Title
AKG K702 Reference Class Studio Headphones
Color
Blue/Black/Silver
Impedance
62 Ohm
Sensitivity
105dB/V (Around 91dB/mW)
Primary Use
Gaming, Mixing, Mastering, Reference
Amplification Required?
Austrian Model
Open Back
Prime
Price
$182.99
Details

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!

Now with that, grab a snack, sit back and relax friend,

You’ve come to the right place!!

What I will bring you in this review

Given that both of these headphones have very similar sound signatures, I’m going to review the K701 and then compare it to the K702 towards the end. 🙂


Table of Contents

Click any of these to navigate the page!


Introduction
Specifications & Summary
Pros & Cons
Video Review
Who these headphones benefit?
Consensus/Conclusion
Amp/DAC Section
Similarities & Differences
Final Word
Sources


Why Should You Trust Me?


Because I know what I’m talking about. I haz an education!

Lol. I’m being funny but I’m also serious.

I don’t have fancy credentials like some people (and I don’t think that automatically means you’re legit by the way), but like Craig Boyles said about me on his website Mage Audio,

“Stu knows headphones. He’s reviewed over 70 of them on his website.”

I’ve been a headphone enthusiast for as long as I can remember, ever since I had a pair (or 8) of Sony MDR V150’s. I’ve loved music and everything about it for equally as long. I’ve been making and producing music for over 10 years, and have learned a lot about EQ and sound a long the way. I’ve sold beats, I’ve given them away, I’ve collaborated with a lot of people, and I’ve had a lot of fun.

I’ve had plenty of experience with high end amps, entry level ones, and anything in between. I don’t claim to know everything, but do I know what sounds good and what doesn’t. I know what’s worth your money and what can be glossed over and discarded.

See what I’ve demoed on my Reviews Page!

I also know how and why stuff works..

Check out my Resources Page for more helpful information!!


The Main Reason

The biggest reason to trust me is that I’m just like you! I do an exhaustive amount of research before I purchase anything, and don’t stop searching just because I own a product. I keep up with trends, reviews, blogs, and stay immersed in this niche because I’m truly passionate about it and care a great deal about it as well.

My Goal is to Help You

In addition that, I receive emails, comments, and testimonials fairly frequently from people thanking me profusely for what I do here, and for making such great recommendations specific to their need. It’s refreshing to be able to connect with people from all over the world and help them make the best decisions possible with regards to studio equipment and anything music production related! I truly love and enjoy conversing with you all, because I’m passionate about this stuff!

Click to read some Testimonials! (at the bottom).

Lastly, I’m truly a genuine person and have fostered relationships with a lot of the people that frequent my blog and YouTube channel. In other words, I’m not a faceless corporation or even a faceless blog. I respond to all emails and comments, and value true interaction with people. Peruse my YouTube channel, Instagram feed, Facebook page, Soundcloud page, or any comment thread on my blog and you’ll quickly come to realize that I’m truly here to help in any way I can.

Check the links to the right and connect with me!! >>


Learn more about me:

Other credentials

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts, Graphic Design – Western Carolina University (2010 – 2013), 3.2 GPA
  • Best in Class for Painting – Western Carolina University – Spring 2012. See the painting here on my other site!

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If you have any other questions, let me know!


Introduction


Both of these models have been around for awhile and both have gotten generally favorable reviews. As of late however, the AKG brand is now being designed in Austria and assembled in China. 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 slight difference in build quality since they made the switch to China. Even with that said, the headband bump issue has been resolved and no longer will the headphone leave you with a lumpy dome! It was a serious problem, lol.

Generally speaking, the K701 and K702 are still to this day highly regarded in the category of mid-tier audiophile reference headphones. Learn more: The best audiophile headphones! In my estimation, the HD600 comes in first, the DT880 second, and the K701/K702 third. The main differences are that the K701/702 and HD600 have a darker treble than the brighter sounding 880 with it’s fairly standard peak around 10k.

The K701/702 have a much wider Soundstage than the HD600 and DT880. Some people have called it “unnatural” but for Gaming it’s absolutely ideal. Learn more: The Best Headphones for Gaming!

The 880’s also have a very good Soundstage, but it won’t provide you with that out of your head sound where you can hear stuff happening behind you like the K701/702.

The Q701 is the Quincy Jones model that has a bit more bass response than both the K701 and K702, while also fixing the unnatural Soundstage present in the others. It’s a bit narrowed down but still excellent.

Lastly, the HD600 provides the narrowest imaging and Soundstage out of these 3. It’s instrument separation and general imaging capabilities are tremendous, but the image itself is fairly small with regard to width. Learn more: Sennheiser HD600 Review!

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With that, let’s get into specs..

AKG K701

Note: The Specifications on both the K701 and K702 are identical, and they both use the same driver. What is a headphone driver?

Specifications

  1. Price: Check Amazon! | check eBay!
  2. Type: Open back.
  3. Color: Grey & Maroon.
  4. Fit: Circumaural.
  5. Frequency response: 10 to 39800 Hz.
  6. Impedance: 62 Ohms. What is Headphone Impedance?
  7. Sensitivity: 105 dB/mW.
  8. Material: Leather head band, plastic, velour padding.

Summary

These babies will 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 their strong suit. Some bullet points:

  • The Soundstage on them is exceptionally wide, but some say so wide that they may start to sound a bit unnatural. Others love the 3-D like presentation that the K701 supplies. What is Soundstage?
  • They are very even sounding across the spectrum, with no frequencies overpowering each-other.
  • They will require a good amp, but aren’t as power hungry as some people claim.
  • 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.
  • Finally, being open back, these will leak quite a bit of sound. Closed back vs. Open back headphones

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 YouTube 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.

What about the good and bad?

Pros

  • 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 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.
  • Good body, airiness, and clarity.
  • Does a good job of handling sibilant sound. What does sibilant mean?
  • Solid construction.
  • Great for mixing down tracks.
  • Extremely wide Soundstage. 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. The Best Headphones for Gaming!

Cons

  • Bass is very light and lean. Lacks impact. The quality and extension is there, but there just isn’t a lot of it.
  • 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.

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Let’s take a break to watch a good anime!

Video Review

Credit to my boy @Metal571. Check him out on Twitter!

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What are it’s uses, or..

Who these headphones benefit?

If you’re looking for a wide, expansive Soundstage, these are among the best for that specific purpose. They would make a fantastic gaming headphone as well. They are also pretty darn good for mixing, and will give you a fairly balanced and even response. The bass is a bit more rolled off than some would like, and could prove a bit more difficult to compensate for if you’re trying to mix Hip-Hop or something with a greater emphasis on the low end.

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 3D Soundstage. Learn more: The Best Headphones for Gaming

This is a headphone that will do well with a variety of genres. Some notables include:

  • Jazz
  • Classical
  • Acoustic
  • Folk
  • Rock
  • Metal
  • Hip-Hop
  • Pop
  • R&B
  • World Fusion
  • Country

As you can well guess, the K701 does well for nearly any genre, as it’s resolution, clarity, and strict attention to detail becomes apparent the moment you put them on.

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The Consensus?

Consensus/Conclusion

The K701 excels in providing a flat, even sound conducive to mixing, but some may find that they will have to overcompensate due to lack of bass impact. They have a great Soundstage 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.

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What are the Amp requirements for this puppy?


Amp/DAC requirements


I did an exhaustive amount of research on this matter, and I will continue to do so until I’m satisfied. You can find links to my sources at the bottom!

With a low impedance and low Sensitivity rating by mW, the K701 will need quite a bit of power from an amp to reach peak loudness (around 110dB is the standard). It’s just not that efficient. Related: What is Sensitivity in Headphones?

Even though it does need quite a bit of power, it’s not really amp pick like a lot of people will tell you. You should have no problems with an entry level desktop Amp like the Schiit Magni 3. This provides 430 mW into 300 Ohms, and powers 99% of headphones with ease.

You can also opt for an Amp/DAC combo; something like an E10K, or Audioengine D1. More on these in a jiffy!

Now is the Magni the best amp for the K701? Probably not, but it will suffice for the majority of users. Let’s discuss some options!

Note: This section is still in progress


Desktop


Entry Level


Schiit Magni 2 or 3.

Schiit Magni 2 Review
The famous “Schiit Stack”

As mentioned above, this will be your bread and butter solution for the majority of headphones. It’s got a clean, neutral response and will not color the headphones in anyway. Some complain that the Magni is too bright, and tends to make already bright headphones sound rather harsh. I can relate with that sentiment to some degree, but I still think this is about as good of an amp as you’ll find in the budget category, along with the JDS Labs Objective 2.

LEARN MORE: SCHIIT MAGNI 2 REVIEW!


JDS Labs Objective 2 + ODAC

(or any other DAC of your choosing)

Crisp, just like it’s sound.

The 02 paired with the Cambridge Audio DAC Magic 100 is a sublime combination indeed. It also sounds great with a Modi DAC, as well as the ODAC from JDS Labs that comes in a combo if you wish. Like the Magni 3, you’re getting a crisp, neutral, and clean signal from this amp, as it will also not color your headphones in anyway. It’s honest Abe all the way!

I kind of prefer the Objective a bit over the Magni. It just seems like the music sounds a little better but it could be my imagination. Like the Magni, it provides a ton of power and will work with 99% of headphones with ease.

SEE IT FOR YOURSELF!!

Here’s the combo:

OBJECTIVE 2 + ODAC COMBO!

ALSO

CHECK OUT MY OFFICIAL JDS LABS OBJECTIVE 2 REVIEW!!


Amp/DAC Combo


Fiio E10K.

After spending a lot of time with the E10K and various headphones like the HD600, 650, Aeon Flow, and Black Mage, I can say without a doubt that there really isn’t a reason not to own one of these. It works as a desktop solution as well as a portable Amp/DAC solution. With a gain switch and bass boost, there really isn’t anything more you could ask for. The gain switch helps out tremendously with more power hungry headphones (cough K701), and the bass boost is cool if you want to get all hardcore and rebellious.

I would call the sound very crisp, neutral, and clean, and it’s got an output impedance of less than 1.04. This basically means that it will power the majority of headphones without an issue, much like an Objective 2 or Magni. Build is excellent for an Amp/DAC under $100, and everything feels quality and solid to the touch.

If you only have about $100 or less to spend, this is the solution.

SEE IT FOR YOURSELF!!

AND

CHECK OUT MY OFFICIAL FiiO E10K USB DAC REVIEW!!


Presonus HP4.

Another often overlooked choice, the Presonus HP4 has a ton of headroom, and a clean, crisp signal, and plenty of power to drive a K701. Many users report this one pairing very well if you’re looking for an entry level Amp.

You can plug up to 4 different headphones so it’s cool for movie sharing or demoing headphones as well. Like the Audioengine D1, you can use this with your studio monitors too, so it becomes versatile in that regard. What are studio monitors?

This is an amp that will not only work with a K701, but a lot of other headphones as well. If you’re familiar with the original AKG K240, it was notorious for being extremely hard to drive. Not so with the HP4. A sound investment indeed (no pun intended).

CLICK HERE TO READ SOME REVIEWS ON AMAZON!!


Audioengine D1.

Simple and effective.

This puppy is extremely versatile with RCA/Analog outs, Optical out, and USB inputs. It makes an amazing Gaming rig as well! I was astonished at how much of an upgrade it was vs. plugging the headphones right into the Dualshock 4. The Best Headphones for Gaming!

This just may be the most versatile little box under $200 or otherwise. You can power your studio monitors with it, you can use it as a headphone amp, or you can use it as a gaming rig on your console or your PC! What are studio monitors?

It even brewed me a cup of coffee the other day! What I also love about it is that it’s immediately recognized by your PC and there are zero issues.

CLICK HERE TO READ SOME REVIEWS ON AMAZON!!

AND

CHECK OUT MY OFFICIAL AUDIOENGINE D1 REVIEW!!

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Tube Amps


Woo Audio WA6.

While a solid state amp or Amp/DAC combo may be the most logical and practical pairing at first, a tube amp is what the K701 really desires. This will result in a liquid smooth sound that will leave you satisfied for hours on end. Solid state amps combined with brighter sounding cans have a tendency to cause fatigue in the short term. The K701 has bright areas that do tend to wear on you after awhile with an equally as neutral (read: bright sounding) headphone amp. A tube amp sort of smooths it out and make it sound heavenly. If this isn’t the best option for the K701, it’s certainly up near the top.


Little Dot MKIII.

This little beast pairs extremely well with a Topping D3 DAC, and has RCA outputs on the back for some added flexibility. You can use it as a preamp to power some studio monitors or you can hook it up to your Turntable for some fresh Vinyl snacks! Like the Darkvoice, this Little Dot also benefits from some tube rolling but the stock tubes sound fine too if you don’t want to upgrade right away. This will do very well with the K701 because like the WA6, it tends to smooth out the rough edges in that 2k area. The Dot has a rock solid build and lots of power as well. If you’re coming from a cheaper solid state amp, get ready to have your mind blown!

SEE IT FOR YOURSELF!!

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The Rest


As mentioned above, I did a lot of research on this. Here I will list out everything I came across, with the amps towards the top getting the most mention followed by the ones toward the bottom with the least amount of mention.

  • Heed Can Amp. This seems to be one of the most recommended pairings with the K701, but it’s much harder to find nowadays.
  • Creek OBH-11.
  • Vioelectric V200.
  • Asus Xonar STX.
  • Questyle Audio CMA 800R.
  • Benchmark DAC-1.
  • Musical Fidelity X CAN V3/V8.
  • Matrix M Stage.
  • Aphex Head Pod.
  • SPL Phonitor.
  • Schiit Valhalla.
  • Woo Audio WA7/6/5.
  • Burson HA160.
  • Auralic Taurus.
  • Leben CS300XS.
  • Cary SLI-80.
  • Lake People G103P.
  • Schiit Lyr.
  • Neco Mosfet V2.
  • Neco Portable V2.
  • JDS Labs cMoy.
  • Titanium HD
  • Trends Audio PA-10.
  • Tascam UH7000.
  • Mix Pre-D.
  • Meridian Explorer.
  • RSA Intruder.
  • RSA Raptor.
  • Val E10 Vacuum Tube Amp.
  • Corda Classic.
  • Meier Aria
  • Darkvoice 337.
  • Art 406.

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Let’s discuss the similarities and differences!


Similarities & Differences


Similarities

  • 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. How to choose a 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.”

Differences

  • 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.
  • Bass. The 702’s bass response gets generally more favorable reviews over the 701’s. It rolls off a bit less than the K701, but the difference is fairly marginal.
  • Mid-Range. The K701 seems to have some extra presence and emphasis around 1k, while the K702 does not. Both tend to rise at around 2k.
  • Treble. The K702 has some extra presence around 9-10k, while the K701 is fairly darker by contrast.
  • 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.

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Do keep in mind that these sound signature differences are kind of subtle.


Final Word


I would say if you desire a bit more bass and warmth with your headphone experience, the K702 or Q701 may be the better fit (no pun intended). Keep in mind that the differences between these headphones are fairly subtle.

SEE THE Q701 FOR YOURSELF ON AMAZON!!

SEE THE K702 HERE ON AMAZON!!

If you dig a more clinical sound, with wider Soundstage that’s more conducive for Gaming, I would definitely opt for the K701. The differences between them are very subtle as well.

CLICK HERE TO READ SOME K701 REVIEWS!!


Don’t like the sound signature of the AKG models? Looking for a the absolute best mixing/reference headphone on the planet in it’s class or otherwise? Check out my review of the Gold Standard:

THE SENNHEISER HD600 REVIEW!

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Well that’s about it for today my friend! Hope you enjoyed my comparison review of the AKG K701 vs. AKG K702, and came away with a better idea of the similarities and differences between the two.

Which one of these headphones tickles your pickle? Let me know!!

If you have any other specific questions, please leave them in the box below or Contact me! I very much look forward to speaking with you. As always…

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!

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Sources..


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