Before we get into the AKG Q701 vs. Beats comparison, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..
You’ve come to the right place!!
What I will bring you today
For the purposes of this article, I’m going to quickly outline some notable Beats headphones, and then choose one to make the comparison to the Q701. The thing about Beats is that you really only need to be concerned with a few models. Most are pretty bad, some are decent, and only a couple really have a worthy sound. We’ll get into that in a bit. 🙂
Similarities & Differences
Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!!
There’s a lot going on in the Beats line, and sometimes it can become very overwhelming. In researching this stuff, and trying out demo models, I get kind of irritated.
Because it’s just too much. There’s been somewhere in the neighborhood of 15+ Beats babies, and it’s hard to keep up with at times. They be gettin’ busy! Nowadays, the revamped image, clean design, and better sound has started to resonate with people (even me!). This is why it’s hard to write them off.
A few years back I could never envision myself liking or even trying a Beats headphone. I would see people wearing them around and not only were they overly flamboyant, but the build quality and sound were both downright awful. Their former design left a lot to be desired aesthetically as well, but times have changed.
I will quickly run down most of what’s transpired over the years. I’m sure I probably left something out. If there’s a baby that’s not accounted for, please let me know!! 😀
Beats Studio Wired (Discontinued)
Beats Studio 2.0 Wired Over-Ear (Circumaural)
Beats Studio Wireless Over-Ear (Decent)
Beats Studio Wireless 2.0. (Decent)
Beats Studio Wireless On-Ear (Supra-aural)
Beats Pro Wired Over-Ear (Decent)
Beats Executive Wired Over-Ear
Beats EP Wired On-ear
Monster Beats Solo (Discontinued)
Beats Solo HD Wired On-Ear(Discontinued)
Beats Solo HD “drenched in color” 2.0 (2013). Really? No.
Beats Solo2 Wired On-Ear (Good)
Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear (Better)
Beats Mixr Wired On-Ear (Decent)
Generally speaking, the models in green are decent to pretty good, and the ones that aren’t you can just forget about. Fuggetaboutit!
The Studio Wireless have a very good build, and are more comfortable than the Solo series. Because the Solo’s are Supra-Aural (On-ear), I found myself adjusting more often than the Circumaural (Around the ear) Studio version. I also prefer the sound of the Solo 3 over the others. The Studio Wireless tends to be bass heavy, but the bass is less focused and rattles more than the tighter Solo 3.
The Solo 3’s have the best sound in my opinion. It’s the first Beats headphone that I really enjoyed. Learn more:Beats Solo 3 Review!
The Solo 2 is pretty similar to the 3, but the sound is just a tad more refined, and the W1 chip makes the 3’s worth the increase in price. Learn more:Beats Solo 2 vs. Solo 3.
The Mixr is as close to balanced as you’ll find in the line, but the treble does present some problems and they’re not as comfortable as some of the others.
Whew! Now that the dust has settled, let’s find out how Beats stacks up with the Q701. I’ll use the Solo 3’s as my comparison. Most of the Beats general sound is the same: Lots of bass, bright treble, recessed mid-range. If you would like a different comparison, please comment below or contact me!
Fit. The Solo 3’s are Supra-Aural (On-ear), while the Q701’s are Circumaural (Around the Ear).
Pads. Further, the Q701’s pads are much larger, and the cups are very deep. This in part contributes to their open sound, and wide Soundstage. What is Soundstage? The Solo 3’s are pretty much the complete opposite in this regard. They have shallow cups and the driver is very close to your ear. This results in a very “in your head” sound vs. the airy and spacious one of the Q701.
Fold. The Solo 3’s can fold up for easy storage, while the Q701’s cannot. They are meant for the studio only. There are some headphones I can get away with using in public, but the Q701 is not one of them. This leads to the next point.
Sound leak. Being open, the Q701’s will leak sound. Similar to the K240, you’ll have a hard time hearing the music if you’re outside, or around a lot of noise. Learn more:AKG K240 Studio headphones review. By contrast, the Solo 3’s will not leak much sound, and do very well on the go.
Chord. The Q701’s come with a detachable mini XLR cable. What is XLR? The Solo 3’s cable is also detachable, but terminates in your standard 3.5mm jack. The Q701’s terminate in a 1/4″ jack and come with a 3.5mm adapter.
Headband Adjustment. The Q701’s boast that awesome hammock style adjustment, which is the most convenient way of putting on headphones. Imagine that, we’re now too lazy to adjust the traditional styled mechanism that the Solo 3’s possess. 😛 I admit, I get annoyed by it too. Once you go hammock, you never go back!
Amp. The Solo 3’s are designed to be used without an amp, while the Q701’s need one without question. My default recommendation is the Schiit Magni/Modi stack because it’s less than 0.1 output impedance means it will pair well with 99% of headphones. Schiit Magni 2 Review.Learn more:What is Headphone Impedance?
Materials. The Solo 3’s are plastic and have a glossy finish, but also have some elements of metal in both hinges. The pads are a supple protein leather, and actually feel very nice. The Q701’s are plastic as well, but the pads are made of that amazing velour that we all love. Speaking of:
Comfort. The Q701’s are much more comfortable than the Solo 3’s. You’ll find yourself adjusting them often. With the Q701, you can put them and forget you’re wearing them! Fuggetaboutit!
Bass. This is night and day. The Solo 3’s have a slamming bass, with plenty of impact and surprisingly good clarity and texture. The Q701’s bass is extremely light and lean, but not as lean as a K701. You’ll definitely hear it, but you’re not going to feel it. It’s better for analyzing and critiquing rather than enjoying. However, I’ve come to really appreciate articulate bass and find myself really enjoying the fact that I can actually hear what’s going on, rather than simply feel it. Your mileage may vary!
Mid-range. Again, night and day. The mid-range on the Solo 3 is much more recessed than the Q701. You won’t be able to discern instruments and vocals nearly as well with the Solo 3, while the mid-range on the Q701 is it’s bread and butter.
Treble. Most headphones have some sort of spike in the treble for added clarity and sparkle, and these headphones are no different. The Solo 3’s spike comes at around 11k, while the Q701’s appears around 9k. However, the spike on the Solo’s is much more pronounced, and you’ll find the treble to be brighter.
Overall signature. You’re going to find that by and large, the Q701 is a mostly flat signature. This means it’s more suited for critical listening as opposed to the Solo 3’s, which are supremely casual.
Source. Aim to use higher quality source files with the Q701, as it’s much less forgiving than the Solo 3. I would suggest 320kbps and above, WAV, and FLAC files. The Solo 3’s will work well with mostly anything.
It becomes pretty easy to make a recommendation, but I have a lot of options for you today depending on your specific need.
If you need a Wireless bluetooth portable headphone, the Solo 3’s are the solution. They’ve got an exciting sound and will deliver all the bass you can handle. That said, they don’t sound bloated or muddy and that was the main kicker today. It’s a worthy entry!
What about an audiophile bass head sound? The V Moda Crossfade M100 is the ticket. It’s got a more detailed signature, the treble isn’t as peaky, and the bass is slamming without being too intense. It’s a textured bass with lots of added clarity. Interested?
The Q701 is a great audiophile headphone. In fact, it’s up there with the best. Is it the best? Not in my estimation. The Sennheiser HD 600 represents that Gold Standard, to which all headphones should be compared. However, I think if you’re looking for an open headphone with a lean bass response, and a much more clinical sound, the Q701 is the solution.
That said, if you need a bit more energy, the HD 600 provides that. It’s treble is a bit brighter, and the mid-range has some added energy as well. Overall it’s a bit more elevated and comes across as snappier and more lively. The bass is also tighter and much more present overall. Interested in learning more about my favorite audiophile headphone?
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.