Home Before You Buy Series Before You Buy An AKG K612, READ THIS!!

Before You Buy An AKG K612, READ THIS!!

The K612 is about as close to dead neutral as it gets, but is that actually a good thing?

by Stuart Charles Black

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Part of the “Before You Buy” Series

 

What about the K612 is so unique?

Should you bypass it in favor of something else?

In this review, we’ll analyze the sound objectively and figure out if it’s worth a purchase.

If it’s not, I will give you a fantastic alternative.

Deal?

Great! Let’s dive in.

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, all over again, so…

At A Glance

Preview
Great for Film
AKG Pro Audio K612 PRO Over-Ear, Open-Back, Premium Reference Studio Headphones
Title
AKG Pro Audio K612 PRO Over-Ear, Open-Back, Premium Reference Studio Headphones
Color
Black/Grey/Silver
Weight
8.3 Oz. (235g)
Fit
Circumaural
Type
Open Back
Materials
Plastic, Velour
Connector
3.5mm Jack with 1/4" Adapter
Headband Style
Hammock Style (Self Adjusting)
Impedance
120 Ohms
Sensitivity
101dB/V (Around 88dB/mW)
Frequency Response
12 Hz to 39.5 kHz
Primary Use
Reference, Film
Cable Length
9.8 ft.
Cable Detachable?
Folding?
Amplification Required?
Prime
-
Price
$159.90
Details
Great for Film
Preview
AKG Pro Audio K612 PRO Over-Ear, Open-Back, Premium Reference Studio Headphones
Title
AKG Pro Audio K612 PRO Over-Ear, Open-Back, Premium Reference Studio Headphones
Color
Black/Grey/Silver
Weight
8.3 Oz. (235g)
Fit
Circumaural
Type
Open Back
Materials
Plastic, Velour
Connector
3.5mm Jack with 1/4" Adapter
Headband Style
Hammock Style (Self Adjusting)
Impedance
120 Ohms
Sensitivity
101dB/V (Around 88dB/mW)
Frequency Response
12 Hz to 39.5 kHz
Primary Use
Reference, Film
Cable Length
9.8 ft.
Cable Detachable?
Folding?
Amplification Required?
Prime
-
Price
$159.90
Details

AKG K612

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check B&H!

In The Box

K612 Headphone

Non-Detachable Cable (9.8 ft.)

1/4″ Adapter

Warranty Card

Specs/Graph

Shoutout to Crinacle for the graph

  • Type: Open back.
  • Fit: Circumaural (Over-Ear).
  • Frequency response: 10Hz to 39,800 kHz.
  • Impedance: 120 Ohms. What is Headphone Impedance?
  • Sensitivity: 88dB/mW.
  • Material: Leather headband, plastic, velour padding.
  • Color: Grey/Black/Silver
  • Cable: Non-detachable

Build & Comfort

AKG K612 Review

The K612 continues in the same vein as the others in the line.

It’s nimble and light but doesn’t feel cheap.

The cups are made of all velour and supported by the hammock-style self-adjusting headband.

As far as the aesthetic and construction, it really doesn’t get much simpler than this.

The cable is not detachable, terminates in a 3.5mm jack, and comes with a screw-on 1/4″ adapter.

In fact,

the package is pretty bare bones, though because this is meant for the studio, you’re likely not going to be transporting it much.

Even so, a soft mesh drawstring carry bag would have been nice. Whatever.

AKG K612 Review

AKG K612 ReviewBecause of the aforementioned hammock adjustment + their lightweight profile, comfort is exemplary and you’ll hardly be adjusting these – even over extended listening periods.

The clamping force is just about perfect, and the cups, while round, are generally open, large, and spacious enough to prevent problems down the road.

Put simply,

these are incredibly comfortable and I can’t recommend them enough in that regard.

Amplification

AKG K612 Review

The 612 is a bit harder to drive at 120 Ohm Impedance and 88dB/mW Sensitivity, vs. 62 Ohm and around 91 for its K702 sibling.

You’ll find yourself turning the dial on the amp a little more to get them pumping.

This could also be an issue depending on the amp. I’d go with a FiiO K5 Pro for sure.

Plenty of power, a lot of features, sounds great.

DON’T OVERTHINK IT!

I still wouldn’t say this line of headphones is all that power-hungry, but you will want to invest in some sort of amp.

The 612 however is leaning towards power hungry, although at the end of the day, it’s still not that hard to drive if we’re being realistic.

Is the K612 worth a purchase?

It seems like every time I go back to these headphones, I almost immediately take them off and want to listen to something else.

I’ve had a K702 since 2019 and recently sold the K612. Before selling it, I found it was starting to collect dust; a sure-fire sign that it needed to go.

My reasoning was that the sound signature, while incredibly flat, is also incredibly dull and boring.

There’s little excitement to the music; it sounds dry.

I really like that word that Lachlan used in his review of the 612 way back when.

It is dry like laundry day.

Credit to Lachlan!

 Laundry day is a very dangerous day.

It’s just.. hard to even explain.

I think Crinacle’s graphs of both the 612 and 702 illustrate exactly the point I’m trying to make:

The 702, in my opinion, is a perfect headphone (or very close to it).

It has just the right amount of emphasis on the mid-range, and the treble sparkles without becoming too sharp or essy.

The K612, by contrast, doesn’t know exactly what it wants to be, which results in the frequency kind of getting lost and sounding directionless.

Everything after 1k and going into the treble sort of weirdly melds together like fondue but doesn’t hit with purpose.

It’s too warm and gooey and blankety and wooly and clammy and hazy for its own good.

AKG K612 Review

The 702 by contrast is exactly sure of itself, and the roughly 3-5dB rise at around 2kHz is just about perfect for some added female vocal and instrument presence.

I think the 612 works incredibly well when you’re just kicking back maxing and relaxing on the couch.

Speaking of, check out this shameless plug – my kick back and relax homie t-shirt. Listen to music in style and in a variety of colors. Act now while supplies last!

Seriously though,

when I first purchased a 612 and 702 and started listening, before looking at any graphs, I found myself consistently reaching for a 612 when I sat down to watch a movie.

This completely goes hand in hand with how it sounds; it’s laid back, relaxed, and warm – something I likely subconsciously crave when I’m winding down after a long day.

By contrast,

I’m reaching for a 702 when I’m gaming or listening to music because it’s much snappier, much livelier, and more open and revealing.

AKG K612 Review

It’s a headphone for high-alert situations and engaging music; something you prefer most of the time when you’re digging through the crates or browsing Spotify and Tidal.

It almost perfectly encapsulates the entire genre spectrum; I can listen to pretty much any type of music with it and be completely enamored.

Looking at a graph of the 612 reveals pretty much exactly what it sounds like – borderline too flat.

I find that when I’m listening to music with a 612, I sort of just shrug my shoulders most of the time.

There’s nothing about the experience that gets me excited or keeps me engaged all that much.

Put another way,

the great thing about the 612 is that everything sounds right.

The not-so-great thing about the 612 is that everything sounds right. Lol.

AKG K612 ReviewAKG K612 Review

An analogy would be like eating white rice for lunch with nothing else.

No butter, no salt and pepper, no chicken, no sauces, nothing.

Just white rice. It may satiate you, but you’re not going to really enjoy it that much.

Unless of course, you’re a f’ing weirdo. Like me. I <3 white rice. Nah I’m just messin’.

It’s like that girl who’s everything you want on paper, but actually spending time with her ends up being incredibly drab and dull.

Lifeless. She has no personality, no color. No character.

Hanging out with her is a tedious endeavor and thus a waste of your time. Your heart’s not in it. You like her, but you’re not in love with her.

I think if more people treated their headphone relationships like their love life, there would be fewer divorces and breakups.

Cutting ties with the 612 was incredibly easy for me.

Cutting ties with a girl I’m not fully invested in also happens to be as well. I’d rather not waste my time or hers. It’s a sign of respect, both for yourself and for her if you’re not 100% invested.

Final Verdict

AKG K612 Review

I prefer the K702 over the 612 for sure and recommend most people invest in one.

I’ve had one since 2019 and love it more and more each day.

In other words,

it’s getting closer and closer to being my deserted island pick at this point.

Speaking of the K702, let’s check it out and learn why it’s so valuable:

 

Video Discussion

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YouTube video player

Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this AKG K612 Review & Discussion, 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!!

What do YOU think about the 612? Is the K702 the better headphone? 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

AKG K612

4.4

Build

4.7/5

Sound

3.5/5

Comfort

5.0/5

Pros

  • Incredibly comfortable.
  • Natural Sounding.
  • Built well despite being lightweight.
  • Good for gaming and film.
  • Good for reference and easy to mix with.

Cons

  • Dull, and boring. A bit too flat. No life.
  • Sound can sometimes come across as wooly, clammy, etc.
  • Non-Detachable Cable.

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10 comments

Cris March 31, 2022 - 3:45 am

Hey Stu, new reader/viewer here. Great great stuff!
So… if the K612 is flat and boring, and everything sounds right with it , how does it compare to a k702 exclusively for Mixing? Or should I get the 702?
Thanks!

Reply
Stuart Charles Black March 31, 2022 - 3:16 pm

Hey man! Glad to have you on board.

I’d personally still get the K702. In my experience, there’s not enough discrepancy between frequencies on the K612. In other words, stuff tends to run together and sounds kind of blurred almost if that makes sense. The K702 has a snappier character and I like it better for picking out small nuances and details.

This is my own opinion and experience. Others may disagree with me and that’s fine.

I’ll put it to you this way: The K612 is in a cardboard box waiting to be sold on eBay and shipped. The K702 is on my head and remains there pretty much daily. 🙂

Hope that helps! Check out the K702 review as well.

Reply
Cris March 31, 2022 - 11:08 pm

Hey thanks for answering! I was thinking the K612 might be sort of like some monitors that sound so lifeless, that are actually good for mixing.
I’m sure either option would work to some degree, but I want to make the best possible decision. I’m thinking of just getting the k702.
Also, I’m not sure if you’d be able to help: would either the k612 or the k702 be easily driven by a Tascam console from the 80s or similar? (tascam m30)
Thanks again!

Reply
Stuart Charles Black April 2, 2022 - 4:25 pm

Hey man my pleasure!

Not too sure about the m30 as I haven’t tried that one. Do you have any power output specs?

And no, not in my experience per K612. As mentioned previously, the sound is lifeless but also stuff tends to get jumbled together. With the K702 you’re getting much more clarity at every frequency. Yes, you may have to undercompensate around 2kHz because there’s about a 5dB bump there, but the 702 in my mind is just light years better than a 612. Again, my 612 collects dust and I have it for sale on eBay. Every time I go back and try it thinking maybe I misjudged it, I end up hating it even more lol. That’s in part why I finally decided to dump it.

Again, others may disagree here but that’s my word and I’m sticking to it. xD

Keep me posted!

Reply
Cris April 7, 2022 - 3:08 am

Hey! I checked the manual for the tascam mixer and for headphones it says: “Maximum power before clipping is 100 mW, and output load impedance is 8 ohms”. But I’m a noob and have no idea how to interpret that lol.
I’ve been reading lots of reviews on the k612 and it really blows my mind that you hate it haha what amp did you use with it? There’s a huge k612/k601 thread on head-fi and through the 150 pages they keep repeating that they have to be properly driven to really sound right. (they also talk about 702 pads on a 612, maybe a sacrilege for you!)

Also, maybe a veeery general question, but do you know if either the k612 / k702 would work with a vintage receiver? (late 60s, early 70s)

Thanks again for the help!

Stuart Charles Black April 7, 2022 - 6:31 pm

Oh no, you’ve opened a can of worms. xD

“There’s a huge thread on Head-Fi.”

Well, that’s your first problem lol. That “properly driven” stuff is just so over-exaggerated in my opinion. It’s what’s caused there to be more amps than there are #2 pencils. In other words, to me, it’s almost equivalent to a money-making scam after demoing 55+ of them. Amps nowadays are a dime a dozen.

If you subscribe to that, which is every bit your right to do, then in my opinion expect to be disappointed when those claims don’t actually pan out or turn out anything as you’d hoped. In other words, you’ll be satisfied for a while (maybe) while simultaneously looking for your next setup. Guaranteed. I’d almost bet my life on it and have talked to people who have done this.

In other words, the reality is often disappointing. 99% of amps out there drive headphones perfectly fine and the sound differences between them are so incredibly minuscule that in the end, you’ll likely find it was a complete waste of time in dedicating so much time to it. That or you just like the hobby which is also cool.

Again, these are just my opinions. You can buy whatever you want. I’ve used the K612 with pretty much everything I have here and I don’t like its sound signature. It’s boring and dull. It has nothing to do with the amp. hip-dac/hip-dac 2, Gryphon, Zen, Zen V2, K5 Pro, BTR5, etc. It doesn’t matter that much. If those people are telling me that a 612 needs something so uber specific to sound good, then I don’t want to own the headphone in the first place as it’s more trouble than it’s worth. I personally prefer the K702.

Yes, I get passionate about this. I warned you! 😛

And my pleasure!

As far as receivers, I’d stick to higher impedance cans like the HD600 and generally don’t plug low impedance stuff into my receiver.

As far as the Tascam, 100mW from a Tascam sounds fine, but it doesn’t specify Impedance load which is very helpful. Still, I’d say that’s more than enough. A 600 Ohm K240 requires about 88mW from an amp.

Pete December 3, 2022 - 7:31 pm

Why do people keep reviewing STUDIO headphones and beating them down for sounding the way they do.. They are meant to.. They’re designed for mixing, tracking and monitoring, not enjoying your music collection on Spotify.

Same goes for the YouTube video you linked.

Infuriating waste of time and misleading

Reply
Stuart Charles Black December 3, 2022 - 8:40 pm

Reply
Ufuk Arkın April 8, 2023 - 2:04 pm

I bought a K612 pro and I felt some bass distortion and sizzling in the bass of some of the songs I listened to from deezer. I don’t have an amp yet. I’m listening from the output of my phone. Is it because I’m listening to it without an amp, or are my headphones broken

Reply
Stuart Charles Black April 10, 2023 - 4:00 pm

It’s because the headphone f’ing sucks lol.

In all seriousness, it could be the track itself or the fact that the K612 really shouldn’t be driven out of a phone and needs adequate amplification. I would get an amp and see what you think but yeah, I’m not personally a fan of the 612 and that fuzz to me is apparent over the entirety of the sound signature. In other words, it just sounds bad to me and always has. I’ve given it 2+ years of on and off testing and demo and I eventually sold it.

Reply

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