AKG K712

Discussion in 'Headphone Measurements' started by purr1n, Oct 11, 2015.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    AKG K712

    This is probably a headphone that few people care about, but I thought the measurements would be interesting. AKG has been cranking out K701 variants (Q701, K7XX, some mystery anniversary edition, etc.) for a while now and it's difficult to know the what the slight differences are.

    [​IMG]

    The K712 headphone is quite attractive in black with orange accents. AKG's spiel on this variant is "Mastering/Reference". The cable is detachable. Unfortunately it's a three pin, so converting this to accept balanced outputs would be difficult. We kind of wish AKG would have gotten it by now. These units are supposedly made in Austria, so we can expect better consistency and quality control.

    I'm not going to say much about the K712 since I am sure most of you are familiar with the K/Q7xx variants. Compared to the Sennheiser HD650, the K712 does seem to have slightly higher quality bass: more articulate, less woolly. Overall blackness and clarity might be a tad better, but the HD650 is more resolving and has smoother frequency response. Out of the box, the K712 is quite comfortable with light clamping force and a suspension headband. I get asked which one to go for often, the K/Q7xx or the HD6x0, and honestly, they have different strengths. My preference is for the HD6x0.

    The K712's impedance is a nominal 62 ohms. I had no issues driving these (there was no softness or bloated bass) from my EC ZDS which has ~20ohm output impedance. These cans do need quite a bit of juice though. They sound under-powered from most portable units.

    Figure 1: Frequency Response and Distortions of the K712 (0dBr = 100dbSPL)
    K712FR.png
    K712 L HD.jpg
    K712 R HD.jpg



    Figure 2: CSD of the K712

    K712 left.jpg
    K712 right.jpg

    Figure 3: K712 Frequency Response and CSD
    (0dBr = 100dbSPL) Foam Coupler "Free-Air"

    These are measurements on a foam coupler to simulate sort of a "free-air" response. Because there is no seal, bass measurements could be lower than the solid plate coupler. It depends on the electrical and mechanical characteristics of the driver and radiation pattern of the headphone. OJ recommended that these be brought back because it shows the behavior of the driver while minimizing the influence of the pads and the cup design. Note that this measurement can sometimes result more ringing in the CSDs because of less damping (no internal air spring).
    K712OP.gif

    Figure 4: Massdrop AKG K7XX Frequency Response for Comparison
    K7XX L.gif

     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2015
  2. fishski13

    fishski13 Friend

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    measurements look pretty much identical to the K7XX posted at the old place. i might start a modding thread. i'm not a huge fan of the stock K7XX but have them sounding excellent now for my preferences.
     
  3. spoony

    spoony Spooky

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    I'm interested in your mods :)
     
  4. fishski13

    fishski13 Friend

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    i'll post something.
     
  5. Deep Funk

    Deep Funk Deep thoughts - Friend

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    I looks as if it does not have that midrange weirdness the K701 had. I put the K701 down and detested that weirdness.

    Looks good.

    Edit: I tried to check the measurement of the K701 on Changstar but it was not there so I went to "Golden Ears" and yes, AKG did do something about that 2K peak.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2015
  6. spoony

    spoony Spooky

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    Apparently it has to do with backwave damping, when Hands removed the foam inside the 'nipple section' of the cup the hump came back.
     
  7. Quart Bernstein

    Quart Bernstein New

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    Not sure whether to post impressions here or keep it in the headphones subsection.

    I used to own these about a year ago. Here's Tyll's measurement of mine: http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/AKGK712.pdf
    In contrast, here's a measurement of the K7xx: http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/AKGK7XX.pdf
    Not much difference, a bit of a stronger bass, I recall, and more of a driver imbalance.
    I really enjoyed these for video games, and I believed they would have done really well for cinematics as well.
    The comfort was on par with the hd6x0. 4/5, where after many hours, the clamp would become slightly too strong, pushing inward, sort of like the HE560 did to me, but lesser of an extent.
    Their sound signature also reminded me of the HD700. HD700 had more excitement and detail, similar soundstage, but very amp sensitive, way more expensive, and a spiraling upper range (perhaps yin/yang is a better word).
    Going with what Purrin said, and similar to the HD700, some of the voicing felt unrepresented, when compared to the HD6x0.
    Without more experience, I wouldn't have noticed it. It's definitely a good job at being a comfortable crowd pleaser, and again, using the word cinematic.
    The HD600 is always, "juuuust right", type of porridge, whereas the K712 tries to stake at something interesting, which can leave some genres not working in the same way.

    I sold it because I didn't want to own a model I thought was going to be replaced every year.
     
  8. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    These measure like AKGs.

    Was the Harman made in Austria build and qc better than the current, made in China K7XX? The Harman Austrian made K240/271 never last particularly long in my friend's studio while an ancient pair of AKG made K240s (sextet or diffuse field) he found still work.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2015
  9. Deep Funk

    Deep Funk Deep thoughts - Friend

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    The old AKGs, especially the old studio series survive more than most consumer headphones. Need a new part? Replace it.
     
  10. 8man

    8man Acquaintance

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    What kind of pairings did you guys try them with ? Would Vali2+Gungnir2 sound silly/insane/stupid/overkill ? :D
     
  11. ipm

    ipm Acquaintance

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    True enough. I like mine quite a bit.

    The treble is not really what I expected from a product that is marketed as 'Pro'. They seem to have something missing at about 10kHz to 11kHz or so where they seem to roll/drop off. For me, they are a good companion to the HD650 or HD600 with a wider sound stage. The sound stage can be a bit distracting on some jazz recordings I have where the K712 comes off bit too wide and separated where the placement sounds odd. Imaging is better on the HD650 for me, perhaps because I am used to that headphone, I'm not sure. To my ears, the K712 bass is perhaps a bit tighter than on the HD650 as well but the bass still rolls off too quickly for me after about 125Hz or so. I seem to complain about that roll off on most headphones though, and not just this one. The K712 certainly does have bass though. The K712 comes off as a bit hollow around 1.6kHz and 3kHz or so for me, with more energy at 2kHz than the HD650 but not drastically more. In that, the 3kHz region bothers me the most but its generally OK relative to the rest of the mix the cans present.

    Overall the K712 is pretty good. I am keeping mine but I would not get rid of my HD650 or HD600 for them.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017
  12. ipm

    ipm Acquaintance

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    I use my GS1 headphone amp with all of my headphones, K712 included. This is fed from a CD player via its built-in DAC.

    Also, my novation audio hub also works when coupled with a Artcessories headamp4 or with the GS1. This is not bad for computer-based audio but you could probably do better with a different DAC.
     
  13. señorhifi

    señorhifi Friend

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    Thought I might chime in with a quick HD 650/6XX comparison, since I owned the K712 for quite some time before getting the Senns.

    Bass: Clearly the K712. The extension is quite better as well as the articulation. Quantity remains what I would call a hair above a flat line. Very nice and deep bass response, very uncommon for open dynamics drivers of this price (or any price really).

    Mids: Senns are better here. The AKGs lack grunt and body. The mids sound thinned out and lost in space compared to the HD6X0 line up. Guitars lack grunt and voices their warmth. Still okay, but I wouldn't pick this if mids are one's priority.

    Treble: Senns win again and big time. The K712 treble basically consists of a bunch of very narrow spikes, so it lacks realism. The treble as a whole is only a hair (maybe 2db to my ears) above the rest of the FR, so no major annoyances, but still a hair peaky compared to the Senns. There's no sibilance on this headphone (thanks god!).

    Imaging: I am really not sure on this one. It's hard to tell. The Senns have that typical 3 blob imaging, while the K712 creates more of a 180° soundscape in front of you, but instrument placement isn't the most precise. The Senns despite the left/right/front image, are very precise within those spaces, the in betweens though are almost non existent. I will leave this one on a draw. It's a pick your poison kinda deal.

    Soundstage: AKG by a long shot. This is by far the widest soundstage I have ever heard. I auditioned the HD800 and that one was a bit wider I think, but I would say the K line up as a whole lands in the same ballpark. It's very wide and coupled with the deep bass response of the K712, can be very fun to listen to. Awesome for movie soundtracks or orchestral music as a whole.

    Detail retrieval: Senns, but the K712 isn't far behind either. It's almost there, but not quite as the Sennheisers manage to retrieve just a hair more plankton. I am not quite sure why this is, but I think it's due to the uneven treble and mid FR. The driver itself seems to be very capable and in fact response faster than the Sennheiser to my ears.

    TLDR, it's a toss-up between the two. If one's priority is a realistic and true to life mids and treble response, the Sennheiser are the way to go (HD600 or HD650/6XX). If one wants better immersion into his music, with great bass response and a super wide soundstage, but at the expense of a worse midrange and treble response, the K712 is the clear winner. In EU the K712 is also cheaper (+-220€ vs the +300€ of the Senns).
    I personally think the K712 is at the very least worth a shot before going Sennheiser for newcomers. It has no major annoyances (it's no Beyer) and is super engaging with that headstage and bass. Some might find it comfier too. The pads are great on the K712 (velour + memory foam) and last forever.
     
  14. señorhifi

    señorhifi Friend

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    I am gonna do an update to the above post. I started to miss the headstage of the K712 and bought it again. Now I could directly A/B against a KISS modded HD650.

    Surprisingly enough, and although I just compared them above from memory, I do still agree with everything I said. I only want to make a few points from above clear (I couldn't remember this stuff anymore as well back then).

    K712 is definitely faster. No doubt at all about this. During busy music passages, things are way easier to make out. Couple this with the bass, imaging and the width of the soundstage, and there you, you get a very engaging experience.

    Sadly, the K712's 60-something-Ohms driver, just isn't as resolving as the one of the Senns. It hits me quickly when doing an A/B comparision, this really stands out. The fact that you have a flat headphone going VS a diffuse field one, makes the Senns also sound way fuller. Honestly, it's worse than I remembered it to be. This just kinda sounds empty compared to the Senns. This feels like drinking a light Spanish lager beer, vs a thick Irish one.

    K712's bass, yes definitely better. Less wolly, better extended and defined. It still lacks extension though, but yeah, nicer than on the Senns. I really like hearing music on these that have deep bass and wide open staging. So far Queen's intro to "Innuendo" is the most fantastic thing on these for me. That song uses all of the stronger points of the K712 to its advantage (deep bass, wide stage, and the zippy drivers).

    Voices actually don't sound as bad compared to the Senns. Still, they do lack some body and can almost be sibilant at times, but it's not as bad as I remembered. I could listen to voices on this and not be too bothered after the Senns. I also totally forgot how well these manage to layer them in space. Listening to the intro choir in Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls" is awesome. It separates and layers each singers voice better than the Senns do.

    This is definitely not sibilant. Even on Eric Clapton's "Pilgrim" (they really seem to have overpushed his voice during masterisation), it still is not sibilant. It starts to get a bit rough, it's almost crossing the line, but no, it remains listenable. Call me impressed, because many other headphones I tried failed on this song. BTW, on a DT770 80Ohms, this song wasn't just sibilant, but painful. I literally couldn't take it and had to stop the music.

    After 1 year with the Senns, the treble is way more bothersome than I remembered it to be. It's unrealistic, it's peaky, it hurts after listening to treble heavy music. "Long Away" from Queen gets hard to listen to. Get this though, I would never call this headphone bright. This is actually warm, with slightly elevated bass, but when anything in the treble region starts to play, there you go, there you'll have the main reason why I got rid of it back in 2018 (or was it 2019 idk). This is just too much for me. Still no Beyer though, but is that really saying much?

    IDK, you know what? I am keeping this. The way it makes me "wow" at times, is addicting. The treble bothers me, yes it does, and the lack of Sennheiser German TM Resoluzshion too, but, c'mon, it's fun :p Super wide stage, fast driver, decent imaging and deep bass, are fun. Queen's Innuendo on these is fun. Senns can be boring.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2021
  15. Gracchus Janus

    Gracchus Janus New

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    Using your own image to clarify what I also feel for the Senns: a man can't drink Guiness everyday of the week without getting fed up with it after a while, but a man absolutely can drink an Estrella Galicia everyday and still enjoy it; further, the latter man can sip something else and feel the differences for what they are, whereas the former one will be so used to the bitterness that he'll feel that everything else is water.

    Imagery aside, I share your feelings with all the other gear I've had over the years. I've never had a K712, and I hold myself tight financially whenever one pops up in the used market here, but I do have a DT 880 and a X00, and with them I can tell 100% what you feel when alternating.

    The beyer sounds like treble murder at first and rich afterwards, while the X00 brings out the lower end I didn't knew existed in the track. They're both awesome in their own rights but I always, almost subconsciously, treat them as "eventual side headphones", in contrast to the full "main experience headphones" that the HD 650s are.
     
  16. señorhifi

    señorhifi Friend

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    [QUOTE="eventual side headphones", in contrast to the full "main experience headphones" that the HD 650s are.[/QUOTE]

    Yes, this makes a lot of sense to me. Basically the way I treat this right now is to listen to any new album on the Senns first. Should I hear any song that could benefit from the stronger sides of the K712, I will relisten to it on those.

    For a good beer comparison, K712 is a Warsteiner. It has body, it's bitter, but that bitterness doesn't linger around your mouth forever. It won't bother you too much. HD650 is a beer milkshake, a Guiness. Super smooth, but might be boring after a Warsteiner. DT770 is a damn Cruzcampo, a San Miguel, or a green Mahou (Spanish mass produced pilsners). No body, no taste, and bitter like a mf :D. Hey, it can refreshing at times.
     
  17. Raimei Templar

    Raimei Templar Friend

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    So I have finally gotten around to writing my thoughts on the very underrated AKG K712 and the K712 Yaxi pads, which I think I are great but wont be for everybody.

    K712 Stock Pads

    In stock configuration the K712 has a FR which can only be classified as strange. I like to imagine that the tuning process for the K712 was printing out a big poster of the Q701/K702 FR then inviting Arnold Schwarzenegger to come fire a shotgun at the poster. The shells blew a whole in the area from 1-2k, and around 3k while shaving the top off the are 5k-8k range. They then looked at this new bullet ridden FR and said, ITS GREAT but....there is something missing, at which point one of them remarked, 3DB MORE BASS and they all yelled PERFECTION.

    That is basically what the K712 sounds like. It sounds like a reasonable neutral headphone that has big holes from 1-2k, and a sizable 3k dipm with a slightly bright lower treble and a whole lot of air along with a good chunk of upper bass/lower mid warmth. The treble extention on the K712 is kind of nuts, it has a crazy amount of air and seems to go on forever. THe bass extention is also crazy good for a open backed dynamic, its easily one of the best extentions you will find in this price range, gets very close to planar magnetic levels of extention. Not only is it well extended its very clean bass, very low distortion as long as you dont go nuts with the volume (GOTTA HIT THAT 115DB EAR DRUM POP BABY). You can crank the bass with EQ quite a bit with minimal distortion.

    Overall the sound is quite warm, airy and mostly pleasant to listen to, though the holes in FR do make it sound less clear and a little muddy or odd at times. It has the trademark AKG house sound of excess 2.3k energy that you will either love or hate, though its actually toned down here compared to the rest of the k7xx series. I enjoyed it without EQ which is a rarity. Sibilance can be an issue, I didnt find it added any, but that brightness in treble didnt do bad recordings any favors, occasionally got some whistle stab. Your choice of amplifier should account for this, for instance the stab factor was much worse on the TEAC HA-501 than the Geshelli Archel 2.5 (which I prefered in nearly every circumstance with the K712).
    Its a quite laid back relaxing, airy sound signature, perfect for late night low volume listening. Its definately on the 650, chill out side of things rather than the GRADO SPAZ side.

    Even though it is open backed, the sound leak is actually not that bad so long as you dont crank it. There is actually a decent bit of isolation as well, the memory foam pads for a seal after a while and there is some attentiation of outside sounds, obviously not a huge amount but more than say the 650.

    The star of the show is unquestionably its soundstaging ability, which is CRAZY wide. The K712 has massive earcups and the driver capsule protrudes out of the cups a bit, this combined with its earpads that give some distance from the driver results in crazy big soundstage. The wonky FR also aids in this, in that those holes make many elements seem further away than normal. However even if you EQ it to a more normal FR your still left with a very wide stage that few others headphones can match. I think these likely have nearly the biggest stage until HD800, its certainly the biggest of any headphone I have tried. The only one wider in my experience is its cheaper and no longer sold cousin the AKG Q701 (which is supposedly the same as the k702 but I cant confirm that). The Q701 has angled earpads (K712s are flat) along with a brighter FR which combined together make for a even wider airier experience.

    Unfortunately this big soundstage does come at a cost, and that cost in the imaging abilities which are lacking on the stockpads. The main issue is that the center image is very diffuse and pushed off to the sides. It typically sounds like its some distance away from your ear, and then other things are positioned based on that. This leads to some inaccuracies and a somewhat strange presentation that is difficult to work with in games IMO. You could get used to it of course, but its probably going to throw you off a bit when trying to locate enemies. I didn't find this to matter much when listening to music though, as I was just kind of blown away by how huge it sounded so I didn't notice that much. Well recorded live tracks sound amazeballs on the K712, you can easily be convinced you are in a stadium at times.

    Detail retrieval is very good at its price point, it probably misses the 6xx in pure resolution but, the separation is crazy good. It does have the somewhat dipped upper mids especially compared to a 6xx so some microdetail its a little blurry because of that, fixed with EQ. The driver is extremely capable, the best of the K7xx series IMO in terms of detail, nuance bass performance and natural sound.

    Comfort is stellar as well, the memory foam earpads are awesome even with glasses, and its a very light headphone. It uses the standard AKG suspension system and it has a flat leather headband (no BUMPS) which is better imo. THe 3 pin mini xlr cable is removable and they give you 2 cables in the box, a long straight orange ones and a black coiled one. I like the coiled one as I sit close to my amp so the orange one is too freaking long. It sucks that its 3 pin though, using these balanced needs modding.

    This is not really a concern for most of the audience here, but you need an amp for these, and a decent one at that. THey are very insensitive, espicially once you start EQing them you will need a good chunk of power. If you try to run this off a shitty dongle or some such, it will not be a great experience.

    I would absolutely recommend these in their stock configuration to anyone looking for a chill listening experience with a giant stage, they are amazing and go on sale for super cheap at times. I heard Adorama dropped them to 200 bucks at one point which is crazy. You do need to be aware that the earpads are ridiculously pricey though, its around 100 bucks a pair which is stupid.



    Enter the Yaxi

    The Yaxi pads completely transform the K712 into a different beast entirely. It is funny reading certain "objectivist" oddballs talk about how earpads dont really matter, I would love for them to try the Yaxi pads compared to the stock, because my goodness they are different.

    The Yaxi pads are quite cleverly designed, they are made from protien leather and Alcantara filled with some type of urethane foam. They are angled and more shallow than the stock pads, the goal being to put your ear right next to the driver at an angle an aim which they accomplish!

    The impact on the FR is very significant. The dips from 1-2k and 3k get filled in quite a bit, to the point of just being tasteful relaxation rather than holes like the stock pads. The brightness in the lower and upper treble gets cut down a bit, particularly from 7-8k which reduces the sharp character a bit.

    The lower mids and upper/mid bass also get flattened out some, which makes the tonality go from fairly warm to just slightly warm and causes the bass to sound almost planar like. There is no typical dynamic midbass hump anymore which causes the deep and subbass to stand out more. The bass presentation is actually fascinating with these pads, the bass kind of slams in the background rather than punches in the foreground, even when I crank it up some with EQ and it starts to sound huge it doesn't muddy up the rest of the FR or mask detail, its really quite magic. Its just back there being awesome. I have a hard time describing it really, it sounds planar like is best I can come up with. I think the amount is a little light, but EQ it up and its pure joy.

    Unfortunately all this comes at a price, and that price is that before mentioned 2.3k akg energy decides to take a page out of Grados book and become turbo charged. There is a huge peak from 2.1-2.3k with the Yaxi pads and it stands out more because the treble got smoothed over. Its actually kind of fun...for a little while but its a little grating and keeps you from turning up the volume as much as you would want. Fortunately its pretty easy to cut with EQ and can be cut with it without any issues. The air frequencies also get quite a bit stronger, for some this will be a positive I suppose, for me it meant I needed to cut them EQ as they were aggressive for my taste.

    They become a more exciting listen overall, the driver being so close to your ear gives a little more in your face energetic quality and the deep/subbass gets to come out to play a little more now that its not masked by the warmth.

    The soundstage gets dramatically effected as well, basically you trade in a good chunk of it in exchange for FAR FAR better imaging. It is still quite wide, wider than typical open backs, but its not quite the giant stadium it was with stock pads. But damn the imaging is good, that diffuse center image I complained about disappears, you get one nearly as strong a 6xx, just slightly outside your head, and the imaging becomes DAMN good. You can pick out sounds with the Yaxi pads so easily. Sweeping around in Cyberpunk 2077 is a great expeirence, can easily tell where enemies are or people who are talking are. I love these for gaming now. They stage wide enough to immerse you and position well enough to make all but the most picky happy.

    I prefer the Yaxi pads to the stock pads with a little EQ magic. They are comfortable and I am very happy with trading in some stage size for accuracy. I liked the K712 with stock pads but the Yaxi pads I LOVE em and they have become my daily driver.

    I am basically cutting down my collection as much as possible, so I will only have 3 headphones, a gaming/movies/general pc use headphone, a music headphone and a closed back. The Yaxi K712 is the winner for the first one, its an amazing headphone for games and general entertainment. It replaced the Audio Technica R70x which I really liked, but was a little let down by lack of detail. Yaxi AKG has more detail, comfort and soundstage ability.

    The main caveat here is that beefy 2.1- 2.3k peak will bother some people to the point they will rip the pads off and burn them. I am not sure if I could recommend the Yaxi pads without EQ for that reason. People who love the stock earpads sound should stick to them, the Yaxi pads are a different beast.



    My EQ for the Yaxi pads is this:
    Preamp -5db
    26hz PEAK Q2 +2DB
    50hz Low Shelf +1DB
    105hz Low Shelf +1DB
    2200hz Peak Q3.9 -3.8db
    18500hz High Shelf -3.8db

    You should of course adjust to taste, I played around with the values till I found one that made me mostly happy, though I may change the bass values a bit later.


    I also tried the Yaxi pads with a Austrian Q701 I was lucky enough to find, and I do not like them near as much with the Q701. There are loads of people out there claiming that the Q701/K702 share the same driver with the K712 and that you can just buy one of those cheap and the K712 earpads to get the exact same headphone. I am here to say they are dead wrong, the K712 and Q701 do not sound the same even with the same earpads. The k712 still has a little 1-2k dip and is less bright/bassier than the Q701 both Yaxied.

    The k712 sounds more natural, the Q701 has more aggressive treble with the Yaxi pads and applies a annoying airy sheen over voices, was very noticeable in Cyberpunk, everyone had a annoying slight TCHHHHH crackly echo effect going on that the K712 doesn't have. I truly do not know how anyone who had tried both would think they are the same. While they have a lot in common, the brightness and less natural tone of the Q701 is easy to notice. K712 is also better extended in both bass and air.

    I do not think the drivers are the same, AKG even has different SKUs for the K712 drivers compared to the others, so if you are interested in the K712 buy the k712 not one of the lower end models. The k712 is as far as I know still made in Slovakia not China like the lower end models, which is another plus, I would guess the Slovakian QC is superior. The one I have now is a recent model and was still made there.
     
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  18. señorhifi

    señorhifi Friend

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    Oh just to make this clear too, I had the K702. Compared to the K712, they sound brighter, but less resolving. Also wider, but more "2D". The perception of depth and instrument placement is significantly worse, which is the main attraction of the K712. Also the build quality is cheaper (lighter plastic and simple velour pads with no memory foam). Highly not recommended.

    About the K712, in a nutshell I see it as a great headphone for 3D sound on a budget. Maybe some newcomers will like it over the HD600 or 650. The real deal is the HD800, great K712 upgrade.
     
  19. Hark01

    Hark01 New

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    One more great thing about K712 is its weight. These are feather light and can be worn for 8 hours straight without noticing.
     

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