The AKG K701 is a very impressive headphone and one of the most comfortable studio headphones ever made.
If you’re annoyed by ear pain and sweating limiting the quality time you get to spend with your music, you have got to give the AKG K701 headphones a try.
The fact that they have been in production for well over a decade is a testament to their quality and popularity.
The sound quality is very impressive, just as you’d expect from headphones that are beloved by professional musicians and recording studio technicians worldwide, but what truly sets them apart from the competition is the unprecedented level of comfort they provide.
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|Dimensions||4.4 x 7.8 x 8.3 inches (11.3 x 19.9 x 21.2 cm)|
|Weight||0.51 pounds (0.235 kg)|
|Driver size||45 mm|
|Frequency range||10 Hz – 39800 Hz|
Visually speaking, the AKG K701 headphones have a very peculiar design. The large earcups and leather headband give it somewhat of a retro vibe.
Also, despite the metallic look of the earcups, they’re made entirely of plastic. This may be discouraging at first; plastic certainly doesn’t radiate with that premium-quality glow of most other materials, but here’s the thing:
Heavier does not necessarily mean better.
Many knock-off manufacturers make their headphones unnecessarily heavy just because this spells ‘quality build’ in the eyes of the unsuspecting consumers. Don’t be too hasty to equate weight with quality.
AKG Acoustics are renowned veterans in this field and the fact that they opted to use plastic works entirely to the K701’s advantage. At only 235 grams, they’re one of the lightest studio headphones we’ve seen. And this goes a long way to ensure comfort.
Comfort really is the name of the game with the K701, and the lightweight plastic build is only the beginning. In addition to this, these headphones feature a self-adjusting leather headband with very light resistance.
The earcups are padded with 3D foam for the most ergonomic fit and wrapped in a layer of fine velour. On top of that, the amount of pressure the earcups exert is rather minimal, just enough for the headphones to stay on your head without slipping off.
Add all of these features up, and you’re left with headphones that you can use for hours without any pain or sweating. However enticing as this may be for, say, gamers, these headphones have a very niche audience in that they’re not suitable for all audiophiles.
All of this stems from one key feature of the K701: the open-back earcups.
It may seem obvious, but let’s just put it on the record to be sure: whenever you opt for open-back headphones, you can throw noise-canceling capabilities out the window.
Not only will this make the headphones unfit for use in any environment riddled with outside noises because you’ll hear everything louder than a whisper, but also because everyone else will hear whatever it is you’re listening to.
These Are Indoor Headphones
This fact renders them effectively unusable in office environments, during commutes, etc. You could use them for gaming if you have a quiet gaming den just for yourself.
The fact that they’re wired isn’t a problem at home.
However, they’re useless during workouts, not only because the cable’s a problem but also because they’ll fall right off. The low clamping force is great for comfort, but it does demand a rather static approach.
And just to drive home the point that these are first and foremost studio headphones, they don’t have any additional buttons or convenient in-line volume controls, giving you very little incentive to connect them to your smartphone.
Of course, these extra features aren’t to be expected in studio headphones – sound quality is where the money is really at. Unsurprisingly, the K701 doesn’t disappoint.
In fact, the term ‘hi-fi’ may as well have been coined to describe these headphones. They boast a full frequency range with decent bass, a great mid, and an out-of-this-world treble.
The crystal clear highs and smooth lows make the K701 fit for a whole range of genres, from classical to metal. However, it may not be the best choice for modern, bass-heavy genres, especially since they have a 300-hour break-in time.
But boy, is the clarity unmatched after that! The analytical capabilities of the headphones are nothing short of astounding. Each note is distinct, and you’ll hear even the slightest recording error. If this is the kind of performance you require, the K701 won’t leave you wanting.
Especially when we take price into consideration!
The AKG K701 sits at a rather hefty price tag of $450 on AGK’s website. Frankly, this isn’t unreasonable for such a fine example of mid-range studio-grade headphones, although the fact that they’re plastic makes the fear of accidentally breaking them very real.
Seeing as you should have no trouble finding the K701 headphones for half the price on various reseller sites, they really are a steal. At times, they even pop up for less than $200.
All in all, the AKG K701 headphones are nothing short of excellent, so long as you fit their target demographic. You won’t find a better product if you’re looking for comfortable open-back headphones for long sedentary sessions, even just as a simple audiophile.
But ‘sedentary’ is the key here.
They’re not suitable for use in any other manner, nor do we suggest leaving the house with them, especially seeing as they don’t come with a carrying case. And, of course, while the bass is very serviceable for most genres, don’t expect it to rattle you.
Nevertheless, even if we don’t consider the unmatched levels of comfort, the amazing sound quality alone justifies the price.
1 thought on “AKG K701 Review”
Great work in reviewing these classic cans. They are probably the least popular of the “Classic Mid-Fi Trio” (I own HD600, 650, DT880 600 & 250 also) so are ignored these days. In truth, when fed lossless files and used with high quality upstream gear, they trade off strengths and weaknesses well in this group. For me they have natural timbre and texture, great spatial presentation (I believe the off center drivers and steeply angled pads contribute), and are neutral, not bright on their own. Though they lack some bass punch, the bass I’m hearing is tonally real.
If one can find an original Austrian version at today’s street price (under $200) they are a staggering value for those folks not traumatized by owning an “out of fashion” headphone.
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