AKG K702 Review: Overview
AKG K702 Headphones
- Impedance: 62 Ohm
- Sound pressure level: 105 dB
- Frequency range: 10 – 39800 Hz
- Sensitivity: 105 dB SPL/V @ 1 kHz
- Weight: 235 grams
- Cable length: 3 meters
- Great Price
- Artfully balanced frequency response with an exciting, natural sound.
- Nice definition in the upper mids
- Very comfortable
- For those who like extra hyped bass, these are not your cans
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Introducing the AKG K702
The AKG K702 entered into the Pro line of AKG reference headphones as a follow up to the oft-praised K701 headphones.
The AKG K702 are reference headphones made for critical listening, mixing, and mastering. The open-back design allows for a more pleasant, natural resonance that is not stopped at the ear-cup.
They are priced surprisingly low these days. We were especially curious to see how they matched up to the competition.
See here for other reviews of audio equipment.
Who are the AKG K702 headphones for?
Designed as open-back reference headphones, the AKG K702s are well suited for listeners in the following applications:
- mixing and mastering
- critical listening
- guitar practice
They can also work well for casual listening but given the wide array of consumer headphones available, there are better options out there.
Who are the AKG K702 headphones NOT for?
Due to an open-back design, the AKG K702s are NOT suited for anyone in the market for a pair of headphones with good sound isolation or active noise-canceling.
As stated, the open-back design allows the sound to travel past the ear cup, resulting in a more natural resonance. But in noisy environments or in applications where you cannot tolerate sound leakage (such as tracking), these are not your cans.
These are not consumer headphones. For casual listeners who like headphones with an extra boost in the bass frequencies, you won’t like these.
As true reference headphones, they deliver neutral frequency response. The bass might sound weaker than what the ear is accustomed to.
What’s in the Box?
The box includes the headphones, and a 3-meter (9.8 foot) detachable cable. The cable is a mini-XLR to 3.5mm jack and comes with a 1/4 inch adaptor.
Check out our Unboxing Video below to get the full picture:
AKG K702: Unboxing Video
Build / Comfort: AKG K702
Most heads will find these cans extremely comfortable. For mixing and mastering, or any time-consuming application, the comfort of these cans is a real plus.
I was in the midst of testing a wide array of headphones for different reviews and these were at the top of the list in terms of comfort.
The AKG K702 headphones have a lightweight build (235 grams) with gentle pressure on the ears and even weight distribution.
The leather head strap is very comfortable and can adjust to the size of all heads, even big ones.
The velour ear cups give ample room in all directions to avoid ear contact with the inner-ear cup. This tiny but important amount of space gives the listener the sensation that the sound arrives at your ears rather than simply existing in your head.
In general, all the parts feel built to last. The velour cups might need replacing in future years after heavy use, but everything else feels very durable.
Sound of the AKG K702
AKG K702 Frequency Response Chart
In general, my ears adjusted quite quickly to the sonic world of the K702. Although their frequency response has some eccentricities, it is artfully balanced, delivering a natural, exciting experience.
The only fault that you might find is the rather early roll off of the bass starting around 150 Hz. The bass presence is not on the level of something like the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro, but I found it to be adequate for critical listening.
There is real definition in the upper mids and highs (owing mostly to the boost around 6 kHz). For me it is an exciting, brilliant sound, but never overdone. And this boost never caused problems with sibilance in our tests.
The very top is gently rolled off in a way that allows you to tell the difference between a sibilant ’S’ and a cymbal crash.
The detail resolution could be described as having HD 720-1080p definition but not quite the 4K definition of something like the Neumann NDH 30 for example.
Speaking of cymbal crashes, the transient response of these headphones is also artfully controlled. They aren’t as quick as more expensive rivals but distortion was not a problem in our tests.
The AKG marketing on these headphones emphasizes the fancy flat wire ‘Variomotion’ dynamic drivers which are supposed to reduce distortion and improve performance. In terms of transient clarity, it seems to be working.
The soundstage is wide and satisfying with one small drawback.
The overall space or the distortion of the soundstage can give character to a song. Sometimes I can’t hear the general ambiance of tracks as well.
For example, the repeated snare and tambourine hit in Fade Into You by Mazzy Starr normally falls into the drunken landscape of the upright piano and acoustic guitar in the feel of a large club reverb.
With these headphones, I can pick up each instrument maybe too easily. (and maybe this is owing to that 6 kHz boost) Perhaps this is a case where I would want it all to distort.
The art of the AKG K702 headphones is the way the definition comes clear in the high mids, which gives a little extra contrast and definition to the sound. Unfortunately this means some ambience is lost.
You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
For Guitar Amps
These were our top choice of headphones for electric guitar if you need to be kind to your neighbors.
With an impedance of 62Ω, the headroom is sufficient. They can handle your loud amp. The comfort, neutral frequency response, transient clarity, and rocking quality of the mids all made them our top choice for electric guitar practice.
AKG K701 vs K702
The AKG K702 headphones are the follow up to the K701 cans.
In terms of the build, the only difference is the driver size (K701 has 50mm drivers, K702 has 45mm drivers)
There are slight adjustments to the build that make the K702s a little nicer. The color is less likely to show grime. The cable is detachable, which should extend the life of the headphones.
The sound of these is very similar, the K702s are slightly better in overall balance, giving the bass and mids more discernable clarity.
Alternatives to the AKG K702
The precursor to the K702. Very similar in quality and sound.
Sennheiser HD 600
Excellent natural sounding reference headphones. Very neutral frequency response.
Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro
Price-wise comparable to the K702 with excellent balance. A little less clarity with more bass.
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro
An excellent pair of reference cans with strong bass presence and unrivalled soundstage.
Neumann NDH 20
If you need sound isolation and can afford to splurge, these are the best closed-back option.
Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro
A great set of closed-back cans with a satisfying soundstage. Ideal for tracking.
Conclusion: Are they Worth it?
In our book, if you’re in the market for reference headphones for mixing an mastering, these are a real bargain.
If bass presence is an important factor for you in a reference headphone, then you might consider the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro instead of these. And if you need an absolutely ‘neutral’ frequency response, consider the Sennheiser HD 600 or Shure SRH1840.
But considering the overall performance, comfort and build, you’d be hard pressed to get better reference headphones at this price.
Full Spec Sheet for the AKG K702 Headphones.
Frequently Asked Questions about the AKG K702
What if I have a big head? Will these fit?
They are great for medium to big size heads. If you complain about not being able to find a set of cans for your big head, you will like these.
Conversely, if you have a relatively small head, they will fit, but the weight will be supported by the ear cups rather than the headband. In which case, they aren’t ideal.
Do I need an amplifier for these?
In most cases, no. If you’re connecting these directly into your computer or phone without an audio interface or amp, the volume level might not be enough. A very basic, recommended amp in that case would be the Objective2 + ODAC.
How we rated the AKG K702 headphones
As a reminder, we test everything on this site ourselves.
These headphones were tested under controlled conditions in a sound treated room and also in a noisy household environment.
The shape of your head and ears will have a significant effect on the sound results. Therefore, all headphone reviews are subjective, this one being no exception.
Our comparisons for the AKG K702 headphones were limited primarily to other open-back reference headphones in the same class. Although we did directly compare a few closed-back and consumer headphones just to keep our ears honest.
In addition to testing these headphones on music of all styles, we conduct extensive clinical tests on frequency response, dynamic range, driver matching, harmonic distortion, binaural tests, wiring, and stereo imaging.
Our rating assumes that you value sound quality above all other factors, followed by comfort/build, then price.
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