AKG K701

Tested at £250

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


When I bought the AKG K 702 headphone it was to replace an ancient set of Sennheisers, which had given good service but had become uncomfortable to wear. I read all the reviews I could find and then a friend of a friend , who manufactures frighteningly expensive amps and DACs, suggested the AKG as he said it was a clear and precise sounding headphone that would faithfully recreate what was in my music collection.

When I first plugged them in I must confess that I was a little underwhelmed. Tracks sounded a little thin and lacking in body, not the rich mixture that I thought my old Senns gave. However I perservered and gradually, over the period of a few weeks , I found them more and more satisfying. The thinness that I had perceived was actually a lack of cloying , muddy and artificial bass that the Senns had smeared the whole of the soundstage with. I could hear beautiful detail and clarity of sound in it's place and the soundstage was there, all set out , in front of me. I was actually hearing all of the music that was there to be heard.

Returning to listen to the Senns revealed that they were so indistinct and coloured as to be an embarresment. How could I have regarded so poor a headphone in such high esteem ? They went in the bin.

To be fair that headphone was 25 years old and so probably should not be judged along today's offerings and I had read that the Senn 650 was a superb headphone. I had to find out for myself and so bought a set as a direct comparison to the AKG.

I have to say that the 650 proved to be a very good headphone for the heavier type of music but for light acoustic work it was no match for the clarity , precision and detail of the AKG. The Senn added it's own layer of bass and masked the light, airy feel to some tracks. I particularly noticed this on Jack Johnson's album On and On. It became dull and a little tedious, losing the sparkle that is to be heard through the AKGs.

One caveat is that the AKG are more difficult to drive than some other headphones and so I would recommend using them in conjunction with a good headphone amp. I use a Yulong DAH Mark 2 DAC/Headphone amp, fed from my PC via USB, and the two marry up beautifully to my ears.

To summarise I would say that I love my AKGs and have no plans to look elsewhere. I have learned to fully appreciate their stark detail and clarity and do not wish that to be marred by over sickly artificial bass that seems to be the hallmark of so many headphones.

Cracking set of critical listening headphones very comfy even after hours of mixing. made even better now by a german company Thomann selling these babies for £156 inclueding postage. http://www.thomann.de/gb/akg_k701.htm they are a very reliable company i have ordered many things from them such as studio monitors and the delivery has been quicker than the british companies i have ordered from.

The high definition these cans offer is not offered by any other headphone in this price range. In order to hear full-bodied bass though, a mighty amp and a good source are a must. Not a headphone for bass heads, but for audiophiles with good equipment only.

I am suprised that nobody has bothered to post a review of how good these headphones are.I totally agree with your review as always{no honestly}.They offer a massive amount of detail and insight but are totally honest with badly recorded material,as for pure dynamics with less insight try somewhere else,Russ Andrews rewire these with they're HC1 cable which i use and it totally ups the dynamics.


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