Home Headphone Comparisons AKG K701 vs. DT880 | VASTLY DIFFERENT!


by Stuart Charles Black
Published: Last Updated on

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Hello there friend and Welcome aboard!!

Before we get into the AKG K701 vs. DT880, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..

You’ve come to the right place!!

What I will bring you in this review

For this article, I will do a quick and dirty comparison, and then link to some separate reviews towards the end! 🙂

  1. K701: Chinese vs. Austrian Model
  2. DT880: Pro vs. Premium Model
  3. DT880: Impedance differences
  4. Similarities & Differences
  5. Final Word

Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!!

K701: Chinese vs. Austrian Model

The main differences between the K701 Chinese model and the Austrian model basically just come down to the headband bumps on the top of the Austrian model, which many people complained about.

The Chinese model improves on comfort, but not necessarily on build quality. The vast majority of people said that the overall quality suffered after the manufacturing relocation to China.

DT880: Pro vs. Premium Model

The big thing to know is that the Pro model is more suited towards mixing/mastering, and reference, while the Premium model is better for casual listeners.

Between the 250 and 600 Ohm models:

  • The treble and bass are a little more prominent with the 600 Ohm.
  • The clarity is also a tad better with the 600 Ohm version.
  • The 32 Ohm will work much better with your mobile devices and does not require amplification.

DT880: Impedance differences

The DT880 comes in 3 different impedance versions:

  • 32 Ohm
  • 250 Ohm
  • 600 Ohm

What is Headphone Impedance?

Similarities & Differences


  • Both have great instrument separation.
  • Neither is particularly strong with rock music.


  • Soundstage. The K701 is infamous for having an unnaturally wide Soundstage. However, many people really enjoy it immensely because you’re able to discern different sounds far easier. With the 880s, individual layers of music tend to get clumped together with complex musical arrangements. The 701 handles these passages with ease, while the 880 may get muddy at times. This is however the exception and not the rule. For the most part, the 880 is a phenomenal sounding can. What is Soundstage?
  • Detail/Crispness. Because of the above mentioned, the detail retrieval of the K701’s is superior to that of the 880s, as well as the overall crispy nature of the sound.
  • Treble. The treble range on the DT880 can become shrill/sibilant at times, while the 701’s remain tamer. What does Sibilant mean? With the 701, you get that upper sparkle that the 880s don’t quite achieve (although they come close).
  • Bass. While the 701’s bass is by no means heavy, it does go deeper, revealing more complex tones. By contrast, the 880’s bass is a little heavier but isn’t as detailed.
  • Vocals/Mid-range. This may be where each headphone differs most. With the 701, the vocals blend in with the music but may sound more distant. The 880’s vocals are more balanced within the overall structure of the song and sound more intimate. You’re more aware that they’re closer to you. The mid-range overall on the 701’s is a tad recessed in comparison to the 880s.
  • Padding. The pads are less comfortable than the 880.
  • Amp. The 701 functions best with a quality tube amp, while the 880 isn’t very picky in this regard. A basic high-quality solid-state amp will do the trick just fine. Tube amp vs. Solid state.
  • Comfort. The DT880’s are more comfortable overall than the K701’s.
  • Size. The 880s are quite small and dainty (but compact) compared to the K701’s.
  • Build quality. The build of the 880s is better overall than the K701’s.
  • Type. The 880 is a semi-open back headphone, while the K701 is a traditional open back headphone. Closed back headphones vs. Open back headphones. This basically means that with the 880, you get the soundstage and openness of an open back, with the added benefit of the isolation that a closed back provides. The 880s will leak a small amount of sound and let more sound in, while the 701’s leak quite a bit and will let a lot in.
  • Headband. The 880’s headband is perfect, and how a headband should be designed.
  • Analytical. While the 880 is known for being analytical, the 701 is ruthless in this regard, and much more clinical overall. It will reveal bad recordings with no mercy whatsoever. The DT880’s are definitely more forgiving overall and will sound good with almost any genre of music.
  • Genre/Versatility. The K701 excels better with Acoustic, Classical, live, and instrumental recordings, while the DT880 sounds better as an all-around type of headphone.

Final Word

If you’re looking for an uncolored, neutral, mid-tier headphone, you’re in the right place! I would say that overall, the K701 has a more airy, spacious sound, with leaner bass and a mid-range that isn’t quite as prominent as the 880. If you desire a larger soundstage with more detail retrieval, the 701 is the headphone to choose from here, but the Q701 improves upon everything that the 701 lacked. Its bass has been elevated, the Soundstage is more natural, and they do better with more genres of music.




On the flip side, the 880 is a phenomenal headphone without a doubt. It’s more comfortable than the 701 and has a mid-range that becomes more intimate and enjoyable. However, if you’re looking for the Gold Standard, the 880 comes in a close second place. If you’re interested in learning about the absolute go-to headphone in this class, the Sennheiser HD600 is your boy. It’s the benchmark to which everything should be compared, and does a few things better than the 880: It’s not sibilant in the treble range, and subsequently doesn’t suffer from a loss of detail. This is what finally sold me on the 600’s. Interested in learning more about my favorite audiophile headphone?


Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this  AKG K701 vs. DT880 comparison.

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

Which of these tickles YOUR pickle? I would love to hear from you. Until next time…

All the best and God bless,





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