AKG Acoustics in Austria brought their considerable audio engineering skills into sharp focus with their classic dynamic K701 model. Undoubtedly, they have produced an astonishingly superb-sounding pair of reference cans.
Getting it absolutely right at this demanding level of audio performance is tough and we think the 701 gets pretty darn near perfection. It's especially impressive given the K701's nicely within-reach price versus other headphones offering this level of sound quality.
The AKG K701 delivers a supremely clean and punchy sound, articulate and clear with a deep-field imaging prowess that directly competes with $1,000+ headphones. Accurate musical detail aficionados should appreciate the tightly focused bottom-end control of these headphones while classical, orchestral and acoustic music listeners will likewise love the fact that the dynamic control moves right up the frequency range to distinctly articulate every finger pluck and rosin-on-gut string texture in the mix.
About the only untoward thing we can possibly say about these headphones is that music lovers seeking a very laid-back, mellow-sounding or heavy bass presentation may want to look elsewhere since these are highly refined, analytical headphones with a textural detail and liquid immediacy that wholly demands your attention. And what a lovely musical demand it is!
We highly appreciate when a headphone manufacturer does a nice job evolving their products and in this case AKG has done more than just a nice job. The K 701 has a number of unique features that create a pretty dramatic audio improvement over previous AKG headphones.
The K-701 audio response is powered by a proprietary 'VariMotion' diaphragm that is designed to provide better pistonic motion and firm acoustic control. More importantly, a revolutionary flat-wound voice coil allows for very intense concentrations of the magnetic field within the transducer, thus driving the element diaphragm with better authority and resulting in a pristine ultra-articulate tone.
The K-701's ergonomically shaped earcup earpads are a soft velour fabric material (very comfortable) and designed to point the drivers rearward towards the ears for a more correct spatial listening angle. The non-detachable (hard wired) oxygen-free copper headphone cable is bi-wired, indicating the return channel for each driver remains separate until it reaches the common ground connection on the 1/4" stereo plug.
We think the AKG K701 throwback 'iPod White' color scheme remains pretty striking. And if you don't particularly love the color, you'll still love how amazingly light and comfortable these headphones feel on the head with an extremely well-designed, albeit slightly oversize fit style. We think the AKG K701 is an absolutely world-class, well-priced audiophile headphone that totally earns our hearty Headphone.com staff recommendation.
AKG K 701 and Headphone Amplifiers: For listeners wishing to use the AKG K701 with portable devices like a smartphone or tablet, a headphone amp is key for maximized audio performance due to the K701 low sensitivity (despite its fairly efficient 62 Ohm impedance). Of course, there's no harm using the K701 headphone sans amp, but it may sound a bit thin or dynamically flat from low-power portable sources.
Our Headphone.com experience with the K-701 echoes the common notion that it requires some extensive time to sonically 'open up' and sound its very best, so allow a few hundred hours of play before the real goodness of these headphones is fully realized.
What's In The Box:
AKG K 701 Frequency Response
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