If you are looking for professional reference headphones for mixing and mastering audio in the studio for a price that doesn’t break the bank, the AKG K701 and AKG K702 are great tools to have a look at.
Before you read further, though, you should know that these are not consumer headphones for everyday use with your phone and devices. If that’s the kind of thing you’re looking for, check out an option like the Bose 700 instead.
In summary, both AKG K701 and K702 offer fantastic value for critical listening and studio purposes. They're also almost identical. That being said, the AKG K702 lets you detach its cable and is a little lighter, hence giving it some added convenience.
While the jury’s still out on whether mixing audio completely on headphones is legit or not, having a good pair handy around your studio is a must.
Especially for some of the more subtle adjustments for your mix like panning, stereo image, and depth. These could potentially make or break your mix.
So choosing the right set is an important decision. Let’s look at these two contenders for that role and see how they add up against each other.
Design and Comfort
Both headphones come with a retro design somewhat signature to AKG by now, which strikes a pretty neat balance between utility and comfort.
The grey and white make the aesthetics of the AKG K701 a little more interesting than the AKG K702, which is more conservative and discreet with its black and steel combo.
The AKG K701 can be a little too much plastic for some tastes, though. And will probably tend to get dirty sooner.
For a gadget that can literally get to your head, comfort is not something you want to make any compromises on. Something that AKG seems to have considered carefully. The headband is self-adjusting.
The large earcups incorporate suede-like cushioned padding, which leaves ample space for your ears to settle in under. For extended periods of usage, this will help prevent exhaustion.
Furthermore, the earcups are replaceable, making this a worthwhile investment you can keep using for years to come.
The comfort comes with a trade-off, though: they’re both bulky!
The AKG K701 weighs a little lighter (362g with cable) than the AKG K702 (371g with cables). And while that may seem like a minimal difference, it tends to be the kind of tiny detail that could make a difference in those longer mixing sessions.
The option of detaching the cable on the AKG K702 is a big plus. Apart from the obvious convenience it lends to packing; it also helps in damage prevention (I don’t know about you, but I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve stepped on my headphone cables).
One noteworthy point is the packaging on the AKG K702. This is so well done that it qualifies as a carrying case. It also gives you a stand. These are nicely added touches that add major value to your buy. The AKG K701, on the other hand, while not packaged as slickly, does come with a carrying pouch.
Check out the complete specifications of AKG K702 on Harman's website.
The specs on both phones are very similar, and both offer high-quality monitoring, which is neutral, well-balanced, and reliable. The three most important qualities for a pair of studio headphones.
The flat wire coil technology gives you brilliant highs and defined basses. That being said, the AKG K702 seemed to do a better job of churning out the sub-bass frequencies. Additionally, the lower mids are a little clearer as well, making it a great tool to handle those dreaded ‘mud’ frequencies. The AKG K701, on the other hand, seemed to have a higher response in the treble-mids.
Small Caveat: neither of these can offer any form of noise isolation. These headphones are clearly made for a quiet, studio-like environment with minimal noise around you.
AKG K701 & K702 Specs:
- Impedance: 62 Ohm
- Sound pressure level: 105 dB
- Frequency range: 10 - 39800 Hz
- Max. input level: 200 mW
- Frequency range: 10 Hz – 39800 Hz
As you can see, both look identical on paper!
Both the AKG K701 and K702 come with 3m long cables that plug into your audio system via a standard 3.5 mm stereo jack connector which transforms to 6.3 mm via the included adapter.
And that’s pretty much it. These are old-school, albeit high-quality studio headphones and don’t pretend to be anything else.
Neither offers any form of wireless connectivity. While this might feel like a deal-breaker at first glance to some, do keep in mind that the high audio quality you are getting is partially due to the special coiled wires used on these headphones. So at the end of the day, the trade-off seems fair.
Any mic, USB connectivity, or remote controls are absent as well.
AKG’s official site lists the K701 at $400 and the K702 at $409. While street prices might differ depending on your dealer, the difference in price between the two will probably be minimal either way.
Harman also offers refurbished AKG products which are restored to factory specifications and includes the original warranty protection.
In conclusion, this is how the AKG K701 and AKG K702 stack up against each other:
- Design and Comfort: The AKG K702 wins primarily due to detachable cable.
- Sound: Again, the AKG K702 wins by a narrow margin due to higher clarity in bass and low-mids
- Connectivity: A clear tie.
- Packaging/Portability: AKG K702 wins again.
- Price: The AKG K702 looks like a better bargain.
Do remember, though, in all of the above; the wins are by a very narrow margin. Both of these headphones are really great buys.