What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Thu, 11 Dec 2008, 4:00pm

AKG K701

Tested at £250
100100
5

These AKGs are for detail fanatics: they offer staggeringly good insight for the money

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For

  • Impressively analytical sound
  • build and comfort are both top class

Against

  • Some offer a little more outright excitement

In many ways these AKGs are one of the most impressive pairs of headphones we've come across.

They're beautifully built, and feel like they'd survive years of use with ease. The K701s are also extremely comfortable due to wide, well-cushioned ear pads, a sensible 235g weight and just the right amount of inward pressure to stop unwanted movement on the head.

The sound is as appealing. If you're the kind of listener who revels in unpicking fine detail and wants to examine every note in a recording, these AKGs are the ideal headphones for you.

Class-leading clarity, but lack fluidity
They're massively detailed and render the beginning and end of notes with class-leading clarity. The K701s do bass too, delivering deep notes such as those from Massive Attack's Angel, with real power and drive.

There are headphones on the market that trade in the AKGs' level of insight in favour of a tad more excitement. If sheer, heads-down thrills are your thing, you might find the K701s just slightly too analytical.

When we reviewed the K701s (January issue, First tests), we judged them at the price of £350. However, we've since learned they are available at the far more wallet-friendly price of £250 – some  retailers are even selling them for less that £200. Which makes them, frankly, a bit of a bargain.

At the price of £250, we can't think of a single pair of headphones that reveal as much musical detail, insight and control as these AKGs. For that reason, we've marked them up to a fully deserved five stars.

 

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