AKG K702 Reference
AKG K702 Headphones (62 Ω, 10.4 oz./295 g without cord, about $300). bigger. I got mine at B&H. My biggest source of support for this free website is when you use those or any of these links when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. It helps me keep adding to this free website when you get your things through these links — but I receive nothing for my efforts if you buy elsewhere. Thanks for your support! Ken.
September 2014 Headphone Reviews Audio Reviews All Reviews
The AKG K702 are completely neutral open-back reference headphones designed for professional mixing and mastering. They don't emphasize anything. Everything is exactly as it is on your recording. The AKG K702 are a tool for creating music; AKG has been a recording-studio standard for microphones and headphones for many decades.
The AKG K702 are ideal for mixing and mastering because what you hear is what you've got. When you get it to sound great in the K702, it will sound great everywhere. The K702 aren't necessarily the best for enjoying music because they don't boost the bass as do many headphones, which certainly makes the music more enjoyable — but also means that the music you create with the K702 won't be weak in the bass. Likewise the K702 aren't that great for monitoring because they aren't sealed, and they don't emphasize the midrange so you're less likely to hear noise.
Unlike once-great speaker makers and everyone else who are jumping on the bandwagon and suddenly selling Chinese-made headphones with their brand stamped on them, AKG has been the real thing in studios ever since their founding right after World War II. These K702 are made in Austria, of course. Austria has no kangaroos; Austria is just south of Germany and the birthplace of Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, Mahler, Strauss, and many more.
Anyone who's worked in radio or recording knows AKG microphones and headphones. I've been using them since the 1970s, and they've been on the scene since the 1940s.
The K702 are a very inexpensive way to get fantastic sound for a very long time to come. You'd have to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on loudspeakers and acoustic room treatments and refitments to get sound as smooth, clean, natural and revealing as these headphones give you for a tiny fraction of the price.
The K702 are not very sensitive, even with their 62 Ω impedance. These won't go very loud with an iPod or iPad; for similar sound with more sensitivity, get the 32 Ω version of the Beyer DT 880. For most uses when fed from a constant voltage, these 62 Ω K702 are only a couple of dB more sensitive than the 600 Ω DT 880 — which aren't very sensitive when used with portable devices.
Back of AKG K702 box. bigger.
Around-the-ear open-back dynamic headphones.
"Revolutionary" flat-wire voice coil. (I thought flat wire coils have been around for decades.)
Patented two-layer "Varimotion" diaphragm.
Driver, AKG K702 Headphones.
Fuzzy and medium soft/hard, very similar to the Beyer DT 880.
Cables and Connectors
3 meter (10 foot) straight cord.
3.5mm plug with 1/4" screw-in adapter (not shown).
Cable, AKG K702 Headphones. bigger.
The cable is removable for repair. I don't know of anyone who wastes money on fancy wire; if you want better sound, buy better headphones.
The headphone-end connector looks like a light-duty mini XLR, but I could be wrong.
Plug, AKG K702 cord.
Socket, AKG K702 Headphones. bigger.
10 Hz ~ 39 kHz, unqualified.
105 dB SPL at 1 V.
Since 1 V makes 16 mW into 62 Ω, 1 mW of input ought to return 93 dB SPL, which is how most headphones are rated and which confirms that these are very insensitive headphones.
Rated 62 Ω.
200 mW, which is 3.5 volts into 62 Ω.
10.390 oz. (294.6 g), measured without cord.
AKG specifies 8.3 oz. (235 g).
Headphones with cord.
1/4" screw-in adapter in gold.
September 2014: $299.
June 2013: $350.
AKG K702 Box.
I don't believe in break-in (and neither do my pals who earn their livings in recording; when I asked them about "burning in headphones" this they gave me a look like I had to be kidding), but since some people do, I ran-in my K702 for 114 continuous hours with every kind of commercially released CD played from a 3 Ω source impedance with a level of 1 V RMS at 0 dBFS RMS.
This means it ran by itself continuously day and night in a corner with an iPod plugged into the wall and set to MAX for a half a week before I listened to it.
The K702 have no peaks or resonances, just neutral sound. Compared to most consumer Hi-Fi headphones, the K702 therefore will sound weak in the bass and have more overall midrange.
Obviously nothing is boosted or hyped in the K702. If you prefer jacked bass or tweaked treble, you won't be impressed by the K702. If you want to hear what's actually in your mix, that's what you're hearing on the K702.
There is little variation in sound with changes in position on my head.
The K702 have a slightly more prominent overall midrange with less bass and slightly less treble compared to most Hi-Fi headphones, making them perfect for recording.
Other than this overall balance, there isn't any localized coloration.
Maybe they need 10,000 hours more break-in, but I never heard as much air or depth in the music space as I hear in the DT 880. It's subtle, but I always prefer the DT 880 for music enjoyment, as opposed to music recording.
The K702 have completely neutral bass. It's not boosted or bumped-up as in many ordinary headphones. Headphones that boost the deep bass like the Audio-Technica ATH-M50, Velodyne vPulse or Sony MDR-V6 will have more entertaining, but less accurate, bass.
There isn't much bass compared to other headphones which usually boost it, and that's the whole point of the K702: bass is natural and unboosted. The K702 are a professional tool for creating music. If AKG boosted the bass, the recordings you'd create with them would be too thin.
The bass of the K702 is as you want it for creating music. You can hear everything, tight and natural, and not boosted.
Everything has more bass when played louder because our ears' sensitivity to low frequencies is reduced at low levels, so, yes, played louder with a bigger amplifier you will hear more bass. That's nature, not anything unique to these headphones.
The K702 are a poor choice for direct use with an iPod or CD or SACD player. They have enough sensitivity for pop music, but won't go loud enough for music recorded with dynamics left intact. The K702 have more voltage sensitivity than the 600 Ω Beyer DT880, but not much.
The K702 deserve a great amplifier.
These are open headphones.
They offer a little muffling of high-frequency sounds from outside, but not much.
As open headphones, everyone else will hear your music, too.
In this K702, the headband is hard leather. I find the softer traditional bands more comfortable, but only if I'm thinking about it.
The adaptable 3.5mm plug has a narrow shank, making it an easy push-in to iPods and iPhones in cases.
I'd prefer a coiled cord; the K702 has a straight cord.
The harp is self-adjusting; the headband rides on elastic with the same pressure as the weight as the headphones. This means no one ever has to adjust the K702 as we do with other headphones — just put them on!
It's ordinary: all plastic, with metal springs. The headband is leather, but everything else is solid plastic — even the metal-look doodads that hold the leather band to the elastic cords.
iPods won't have enough output for many tastes, but the K702 sound fine on them — just not loud. Because they don't go very loud, our ears will hear less bass simply because our ears hear less bass at lower levels.
I only tried the K702 on one headphone output with larger output source impedance - the Sony SCD-X777ES player, and it didn't sound good. On the X777ES, the 600 Ω Beyer DT 880 sound great, but these 62 Ω K702 sound much worse. Stick with iPod/iPhone/iPad for portable use (usually less than 5Ω source impedance) and you'll do better.
I wouldn't waste money on any different cables. If you want better sound, man-up and get better headphones like the Audeze LCD-3 instead.
Compared to the Beyer DT-880
The Beyer DT-880 (600Ω) sound almost identical at first listen, or if you listen to either for a long period of time. Both are neutral and accurate, and their accuracy extends to the deepest bass.
Swapping quickly between them, the the K702 has more midrange and less bass.
The DT 880 are more enjoyable, while the K702 will probably help produce better recordings.
The differences are even more obvious when used with headphone jacks with higher output source impedances. For instance, plugged into the Sony SCD-X777ES' headphone output, the K702s sound almost nasal while the 600 Ω DT 880s sound much better.
Used with iPhone/iPod/iPad which have near-zero source impedances, the K702 sounds less different from the DT 880, and is a few dB louder, too.
The DT 880 feels more durable and better built with more metal; the K702 feels more floppy and delicate and are made of all-plastic. The DT 880 constantly shifts its size adjustment, demanding you readjust it again to your head every time you put it on, while the K702 automatically adjusts instantly every time you put them on.
Your choice between these two is simple since the sound and feel are similar: get the DT 880 for enjoying music, and possibly the K702 for creating it.
Compared to the Audeze LCD-3
The K702 have more midrange and less bass than the Audeze LCD-3. Each are about as detailed.
The LCD-3 are smooth and mellow, while the K702 will sound almost nasal for the first several seconds when swapped with the LCD-3.
The LCD-3 are for making recordings sound great, while the K702 are for making great-sounding recordings.
The AKG K702 are great for making music. When you get your recordings to sound great on the K702, they are going to sound great on anything.
For enjoying music, I prefer the very similar Beyer DT 880, which has slightly more apparent bass and slightly less midrange, and "just sounds better" to me. The differences are slight, but when I A/B them, the DT 880 does it for me. Either is great for when you want accuracy and clear open sound.
I only had 114 hours to burn-in these K702. I didn't have 300 or 1,000 hours. I don't believe that any more burn-in would change them. If the shoe doesn't fit, get different shoes, so don't expect these to break in if they don't sound as you want.
With well-produced music, the K702 sound fantastic. That's the whole point of the K702: to lead you into producing great-sounding recordings For actual music enjoyment, I prefer more bass and a little less midrange — but I would certainly prefer to hear music mastered with these headphones than mastered on something else.
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