AKG K701 Headphone Reviews

Manufacturer AKG Model K701
Headphone Type Open Circumaural Headband Type Double
Weight (g) 235 Driver Type Dynamic
Enclosure Material Plastic Isolation (dB) 0
Impedance (ohms) 62 Cable Length (cm) 300
Frequency Response (Hz) 10 - 39800  
Connector 6.5mm Street Price US$275
Buy from Amazon.com  
Average reviewer scores
Bass Extension 7.5 Bass Impact 7.0
Bass Quality 8.2 Mids Quality 8.3
Highs Quality 8.0 Soundstage 9.0
Detail 8.5 Portability 1.8
Isolation 0.0 Comfort 7.2
Durability 7.0 Improvement With Amplification 6.5
Value for Money 7.5    
Overall Score 7.8 Total Reviews 6

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Reviews by our members

Review by Senior Member amangeorge on 02 Jun 09  13:42
Individual review
Bass Extension7
Bass Impact4
Bass Quality8
Mids Quality8
Highs Quality9

I think this is the most comprehensive set of thoughts I have written down about my K701s, and I hope they prove useful to you, the reader!

My feelings about these headphones vary greatly depending on the mood I'm in. When I'm feeling like a very mellow, emotional, darkish sound, I turn to my Sony MDR-CD3000. When I feel like a change of pace, I turn to these to bring energy and an incredible (and this will sound corny) "lightness of being" to my music.

These have excellent highs that are as good as I have heard. I also love the highs on my Ety ER4P as well as the slightly less emphasized highs on my Sony MDR-CD3000, each has their own charm but these are different from, rather than necessarily worse than the other two. The tradeoff here is that with poor equipment or poorly-recorded material feeding these headphones, the pretty, sparkly highs can turn a little shrill and fatiguing, and the entire sound can be pretty dry.

The K701 mids are beautiful, slightly forward, sparkly, and breathtakingly transparent. They have a unique way with female voices that makes them sound clear as crystal and incredibly melodic. What they don't do as well is capture the "authority" of voices (maybe due to the fact that they're a little bass-light) as well as some of the warmer headphones I've heard. So, for example, someone with a clear, high, ringing voice like Eva Cassidy sounds excellent, but there's a little something missing with throatier singers like Christina Aguilera or many male vocalists.

The bass is the region in which these headphones are most lacking. The bass it does have goes quite deep, has excellent texture, and is very controlled, but in comparison to most other cans (with some exceptions) the bass is just not very impactful. It's there, but you can't really feel it, and it can be overshadowed a little bit by the treble and mids.

The soundstage on these cans is truly special, and the best (by a lot) I've heard on any headphone I have listened to. It's huge, airy, three-dimensional, and completely immersive. There's nothing like listening to some big orchestral music with these headphones and closing your eyes and being able to "see" the orchestra out in front of you. Like this headphone's other strengths, however, it comes with a caveat: the bass-light nature of the 'phones, its slight tendency towards dryness, and its huge soundstage can with certain types of music (especially thin recordings) make the music sound like it's "falling apart" a little bit and not fully resolving itself.

The K701 captures instrumental texture/timbre better than anything I've heard, with the CD3000 a close second here. It's incredibly natural. This contributes to it sounding truly outstanding with orchestral music and a lot of jazz.

Last, you won't be wanting for detail with these AKGs. They are among the best in this regard that I've heard.

Some final comments:
First, as mentioned above, these work very well with certain genres of music and not as well with others. If you're considering buying these headphones, you should definitely take your musical taste heavily into account. If you spend a lot of time listening to orchestral/instrumental music or a lot of acoustic stuff or jazz, these should be a serious contender. If, on the other hand, you tend more towards electronica, rock, metal, or pop, there are probably better options out there for you. This also goes for poorly-recorded material - I can't think of much else that I have listened to that is less forgiving of poor source material than these.

Second, the only reason I don't rate these higher on the "value for money" scale is because they are so dependent upon having powerful, high-quality amplification. At their current pricing in the mid- to high-$200s, I think the headphones themselves are a real bargain, beating out (to my ears) everything less expensive than them and many headphones that I've listened to that cost a pretty penny more (including all the other mid/high-fi stuff I've heard besides my Sony, such as the HD650, DT880, Denon D5000, K601, Audio Technica W1000, Grado 325, and Sony SA5000). However, they aren't necessarily "entry-level" cans because they require some heavy-hitting equipment to really get them sounding good.

For what it's worth, I highly recommend the Head-Direct EF1 with these - the strengths of this amp seem to match very nicely with these 'phones, eliminating a good deal of the dryness and adding a nice touch of warmth as well as some bass presence, and it's not that expensive.

If what I've written so far about these headphones makes them sound like they're up your alley, I encourage you to take the plunge - you'll be richly rewarded with some audio magic.

Review by Senior Member ceffalo on 31 Jan 09  13:06
Individual review
Bass Extension7
Bass Impact6
Bass Quality8
Mids Quality7
Highs Quality7

The 701 is a very nice headphone set. I purchased mine from J&R Electronics online and received them in under one business week.

I was using Sennheiser 280s until they failed up to the first of January 2009. The Sennheisers were at the time the best headphones I have listened to. I listen to a lot of rock and heavy metal music and the definition of the sounds is something I covet. The 701s reproduce excellent sound over all ranges. It is not flawless sound by any means, but these are seriously better than the Sennheisers were. Music has far greater clarity and definition. I really love the separation between the highs, mids, and bass. It is really a joy to listen to my music through these phones. These are also the most natural sounding phones. The playback is very nice, like listening to a live performance. Distinct and distinguished. That is how I would characterize these phones.

Review by Senior Member JMCIII on 22 Jun 08  03:20
Individual review
Bass Extension8
Bass Impact7
Bass Quality8
Mids Quality8
Highs Quality7

Of all the headphones I've heard over the years, the AKG K701s come the closest to being completely neutral as any. They sound, to my ears, like a good set of planer speakers. No boomy, ill-defined bass, no recessed mids, and especially no piercingly bright highs. Instead, you get a well balanced, (very) slightly treble tilted sonic signature.

Bass is deep, tight and defined. No one-note bass, but bass that allows you to hear what the bass player is doing "in context" with the rest of the group. If you're a basshead - look elsewhere. The K701s won't slam your head with bass either - impact falls on the positive side of OK, But oh that definition and depth. Of course to really hear what the K701s are capable of you'll want the best amp you can afford, since the better the amp, the better the bass. It wouldn't seem so based on the K701s impedance but these headphones require some juice to make them sit up and preform. But get it right and you'll be rewarded with superb bass extention, definition and detail.

It's in the midrange that you'll realize why you fell for the K701s. As with most upper end AKGs, the midrange is magical. Vocals, either male or female, come across as three dimensional and realistic. Intruments, especially acoustic, are portraied with all the tonal and timbral accuracy you could desire. Piano is very well handles, the K701s giving both a sense of size as well as making it sound like the percussive instrument it is. Orchestral muisc is a delight through the K701s - they allow you to hear the full orchestra in a well balanced presentation, from deep bass to the richness of the cellos to the silky ssstring sound of the violins.

The treble is well extended, detailed and smooth. The K701s will let you hear out as far as you ears will allow while never sounding strident or peaky. There's plenty of space and an excellent deliniation between notes that makes it seem the music is emerging from a jet black background.

The only nit I can pick is that the K701s are not the most immediate sounding set of headphones available. They offer a slightly more distant presentation - more midhall than front row. Oh,and give them plenty of time to burn in - on the order of 300 or more hours before passing any judgement. If you don't, you'll probably dismiss the K701s - and you'll miss out by never knowing what you really had.

One other very important thing I'll add is that many, many people consider the K701s thin (I've even heard the term threadbare) and uninvolving. Let me clarify both points in one way. The K701s are the most accurate headphone available today. Others may sound better with certain types of music, but are not accutate - they color the sound, thereby appealing to biases of the listener. The K701s don't do that. They tell you in excruciating detail how good a job the engineer did recording the music (or how good or bad your source/amp are). No sugar coating, no added colorations, no tailoring of the sound to fit certain types of music. Like buying any good audio gear, one should be looking for the most accurate so that you're hearing only what was on the recording, not some prettied up version of it - unless inaccurate sound is what you want (in which case why are you reading any of this?).

To sum things up, the AKG K701s live up to their roll as AKGs new top-o-the-line headphones and also live up to AKGs heritige of producing some of the best headphones available. Highly recommended.

Review by Senior Member chunkage on 02 Jun 08  04:03
Individual review
Bass Extension7
Bass Impact8
Bass Quality8
Mids Quality8
Highs Quality8

These popular all-arounders emphasize detail that shows off pop and classical especially well. Jazz is fine, but best served by the sultry sound of something like a Senn HD650. The K701 comes with their own plastic headphone stand. Among the K701's more notable features:

- The K701 boast fine sound quality, though especially strong with well-recorded tracks, thanks to its revealing, "speaker-like" sound. The soundstage is appealing, with an accuracy that's very close to my floor system. The K701 sounds best with well-recorded tracks that show off some amount of stereo separation - not as much with monaural recordings. At their most typical, the K701 sounds "laid-back," but well-detailed. After comparing them back-to-back with other phones, they just sound better and better.

- The velour pads are almost as comfortable as the DT880; on many times, I've left them on long after the music is done. On hot days, however, your ears may need some air-conditioning. The phones have an innovative, self-adjusting mechanism that sustains an agreeable ear pressure (presuming our head isn't really big). I leave them on - even with the music off.

- The white plastic casing contrasts with the dignified, somber look of the K601; at least one user has changed the color, with surprsing results. Otherwise, it's attractive (albeit a bit large), and the wide leather strap classes up the act. The supplied plastic headphone rack keeps your K701 accessible.

- Many, myself included, have commented on the entended break-in period. For most, the major changes occur by the 300-hour mark - increased headroom and a more relaxed high range being the main changes.

- Given reduced online prices (or online sales), the K701 has emerged as one of the better values. Used, prices can are a steal.

Review by Senior Member ijan on 11 Apr 07  22:38
Individual review
Bass Extension7
Bass Impact9
Bass Quality7
Mids Quality9
Highs Quality7

First thing first, the K701 sounded very cheap new, but improves a lot over time. There was two bumps of noticeable sound difference at sumwhere 150 hours and 400 hours. I'm the first to give a review, will edit after more ppl give more opinion on the K701. I don't think I will be getting any other headphones anymore, except maybe the K1000.

Bass Extension
Good, extends deep enough, but not deep enough. Almost hit the spot.

Bass Impact
Still cannot beat the impact of a RS1, however the K701 has a more different approach to the bass impact, u can feel the reverbration of the bass. I really like the impact of the K701 bass compared to the RS1.

Bass Quality
Theres a noticeable roll-off, kinda synthetic sound to the lower lower end of the audio spectrum, sumwhere 30Hz-ish. But doesnt bother the song much and still the detail of the bass is very nice, withe very drum beat and the snare reverbration is audible. Very full sound.

Mids Quality
The typical higher end AKG mids sound signature, lush full airy and everything nice. Just nice..

High Quality
Almost reaching the brightness that I was aiming for. RS1 is too bright, K701 is perfect in highs compared to a HD595.

One of the K701 strong point, absolutely amazing soundstaging compared with what i have experienced before (and my experience is puny by standard, so please excuse me).

Detail wise, superb. But I do know that some other headphones haf much better detail. I have yet to listen to them.

The K701 doesnt exert much clamping force, bend ur head and the K701 will flop down. Move your head around and it swivels a bit out of place.

Depends, after 1-2 hours of usage, the 4th bump on the headband would kill. Before the bump starts hurting, its very comfortable, but since the bump issue is there, overal comfortability is below average to average.

Doesnt look durable..but since the release of the K701, no defect complaint (crack, broken, etc) whatsoever on the build quality. Guess they are OK. But doesnt look OK.

Improvement with Amplification
Just don't bother to use the K701 unamped, they again sound cheap. Eventhough rated at 62ohms, they seemed to be be requiring more power than the average headphone with the same load impedance.

Value for Money
I rate these as Good since for a reasonable price (factoring the sound quality), u can get very nice sound experience..

Review by Member CraneyR on 09 Aug 08  15:16
Individual review
Bass Extension9
Bass Impact8
Bass Quality10
Mids Quality10
Highs Quality10

For many of listeners, AKG K701 could be the best headphones in the world. Just think, everyone has its own particular test and demand toward the music performance and audio set-up. For example, if you are the person who avoids having mechanical ear damage, and prefers large sound picture, you wouldnÂ’t choose budding or canal headphones, but concentrate your attention on supra-aural and circumaural ones. Then, if you like me care for ergonomics and outstanding comfort, you most probably find that AKG K701 has it. Thier sound is neutral, sweet and smooth providing long non-fatiguing listening sessions. The bass is lovely but its impact is not that powerful as in Grado, but not everybody likes powerful bass impact. If the person likes New Age and Classical Music, powerful bass impact would be simply undesirable for him or for her. Keep in mind that bass impact could make sound unpleasant and even cause hearing impair on long listening sessions. While listening to AKG K701, pay attention to the non-piercing and crystal highs, that is where AKG K701 show themselves as masterpieces. It feels like that even the slightest dot of sound can be caught in those cans. Therefore, the details of those headphones are simply outstanding. The look and the audio performance of AKG K701 tells that they are great in sound monitoring and instrument playing, other than just music listening for pleasure. The headphones look and feel quite durable. So, for those who cares about ergonomic, durable headphones, which provide smooth and highly detailed sound on long sessions I would definitely suggest AKG K701. Especially if you are musician or audio engineer. STRONG RECOMMENDATION!

AKG K701
AKG K701