The AKG Q 701s may be ludicrously big and green, but design isn’t their real talking point (honest).
The flagship in AKG’s Quincy Jones-endorsed product range, and closely based on the company’s K701 model, these over-ears have been residents of the five-star club for some time now.
And as they’re £100 cheaper than when we first tested them in 2011, we’re interested to see how these old-timers fare in new company.
The 701s sound just as we remember them: big, open, analytically detailed and superbly balanced.
But enough to compete in today’s market? Absolutely. Any inklings there might have been that they would lose a star or two to newcomers vanished the moment we became reacquainted with their sound.
We start things off with Goldheart Assembly’s The Idiot – a track that can easily sound messy due to its dense combination of heavy electric and acoustic guitars – and the AKGs bask in its energy.
Organised and insightful, even subtle instruments are detectable in their roomy sonic presentation.
Despite multiple guitars often playing the same notes as one another, each has presence and texture.
The AKGs hardly put a foot wrong, producing a complete sound – and a balanced one, too. Play Radiohead’s Creep and bass is rooted to give guitars authority, while cymbals stay composed.
Thom Yorke’s vocals are clear and focused too, thanks to the convincing midrange. If we’re being picky, the headphones could do with more pep – sometimes we just want them to let their hair down... especially when our playlist reaches The Bangles.
Another negative is the fair amount of sound they leak through the protruding circular grille of the cups – using them at home might be wisest.
As well as a 6.3mm adapter and 6m cable, the 701s come supplied with a 3.5mm jack and smaller 3m lead if you do decide to use them on-the-go.
The 701s’ likeable big sound isn’t all that surprising considering their design (in white or black, as well as garish green).
They are huge. The large ear cups and real-leather headband feel like premium items, and they are comfortable due to the headphone’s light 235g weight.
The real home comfort here, though, is the cushioned velour of the ear pads, which AKG says has ‘3D form’ for better fit.
It does the trick, fitting snugly over your ears so: you can enjoy these cans for hours on end. And considering their sound, ‘enjoy’ is the right word.
Updated on 13.08.14