AKG Acoustics K 701 headphones John Marks, December 2007

Well, I finally got a chance to try out these excellent 'phones, and the virtues that have made Sam Tellig and Wes Phillips confirmed fans were immediately apparent. Driven by Grace Design's m902 DAC-linestage-headphone amplifier, the 701s exhibited clarity and detail in abundance, as well as bass that was powerful and well defined. Mechanical noises and stray buzzes and rattles deep within my organ recording Pipes Rhode Island (RIAGO CD 101) were annoyingly apparent, while the majesty of Master Tallis's Testament was gratifyingly present.

The 701s' appearance and build quality are first-rate, and I found them easy to wear. They really are "open-ear" headphones, by the way. Sounds from the outside world could be heard to a degree I can't recall with any other headphones. Perhaps this is related to design features that give them their clarity and agility.

The 701s come at a price advantage over the professional-market fave Sennheiser siblings, the 600 and 650, but to my view the AKG 701s are on the same level of quality—though with a distinctly different sound. Which of the three will appeal most strongly to you will be a result of personal preference and associated equipment. Relying on auditory memory, I'd say that the Sennheiser 650s have the most subtle treble, the 600s have more pronounced treble, and the 701s the most pronounced treble. Highly recommended.—John Marks

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AKG Acoustics US
914 Airpark Center Drive
Nashville, TN 37217
(614) 620-3800
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