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Little Headphone review

headphones
#1

3 weeks ago, I looked into new headphones a little deeper. Thread here

Now that I had my newly aquired AKG K712 Pro for close to a week, I think I can write a review on them:

I have been using AudioTechnica ATH-AD500X‘s for a little over 3 years. Great headphones, some bass, mids are where you expect them, and they don´t screetch at you in the highs. Very comfortable in long sessions.

Why did I get new ones then?

Well, the comfortable on the 500X‘s is achieved by two flaps and low weight. After some time, they sag a bit and then sit on your ears. Then you have to take them off for a moment, massage your ears back into shape put them back on and continue.

Enter the AKG K-712 Pro‘s

Accessories
The usual bits for good reference headphones:
3.5mm to mini-XLR spiraled cable
3.5mm to mini-XLR straight cable
6.3mm to 3.5mm adapter
Velvet (?) protective bag
AKG sticker (very important :P)

The spiraled cable feels a bit odd. It got a rough-ish texture like there is some dust stuck to it. The straight one is a smooth as silk. I like the connector (XLR has a locking tap wich releases with a button).
Compared to the AudioTechnica M-40x and the ATH-AD500X the cables on the AKG feel flimsy.

Feel and comfort
Headband is nice, the auto-adjust works (however, I know from my fathers AKGs that will break in 20 to 30 years) and the cups swivel into place.
The cushions feel stiff at first. After a minute, they sit like they belong (memory foam is amazing).
Clamping factor, neither my AudioTechnica ATH-AD500X nor M40X remind me of the stupid shape of my glasses. The AKG however do. It is not AKG‘s fault, it is simply my glasses having a square plastic bit on the end of the earpieces…
Clamping factor is there, but not nearly as bad as the M40X (and nowhere as light as the 500X).

Ranked from most comfortable to least comfortable:
ATH-AD500X, K-400, K-712, M40X

Comfort Rant: AKG! You made a good headband on the K-400, at the current low end, the K-72 have a nice headband (without the stupid ruber band design) and those don´t clamp. So what happened on the K-712’s?! I dont understand!

Sound
The contenders:
AudioTechnica ATH-M40X
AudioTechnica ATH-AD500X
And the AKG K-712 Pro
AKG K-400

AudioTechnica delivers a bit more bass, AKG manages to differentiate the bass a slight bit better. For example in „London Grammar – Hey Now“, the 500X‘s mush the bass a bit. Not in a bad way, but the AKG‘s keep it all sorted.
Mids and Highs, the K712 Pro‘s are just better. They make it feel like siting in front of a stage.
Classic works amazingly well on the AKGs. For example Bach‘s Toccata and Fugue in d minor or Ludovico Einaudi „Life“ sound much better compared to the 500X‘s
Rock wise, tested with Deep Purples „To the Rising Sun: In Tokyo“, I like the AudioTechnicas a bit better. They make it sound a bit more deep. With Airbournes Breakin‘ Outta Hell, the AKGs win.
The AKG‘s don´t work for Blues. They try to clean up the songs too much making it sound a bit disconnected.

Clearest Sound award goes to the K-400’s. It is amazing how well they do. If only they had a bit more bass to round it all off.
Next best, tough one. The 500X manage “dirty” sounds much better, the K-712 however are broad and clear.
M40X can´t really compete in most genres (except Drum’n’Bass, K-712s still win).

Final note regarding sound, the K-712 will present ever little mistake the sound engineer made during recording. For example at the beginning of Nightwish “Storytime”, they serve the clipping like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Gaming
Yes, of course I was going to test this!
It is super easy to hear positions of everything, wich introduces a problem.
The problem is not with the headphones or my audio setup, the problem is that every little mistake the sound designer made is audible and presented.

Final verdict
The AKG K-712 Pro’s are really good with music that needs a stage and is recorded properly (when you can´t do it, get a compressor to do it for you). For gaming, get something that does not analyse the sound like the K-712’s do.

The headband… is okay, 6/10 oh-kay.


Note: When your setup introduces the slightest hiss into the audio stream, you will hear it! I got a friendly reminder my onboard sound is shit when I turned the respective channel up on the mixer a little too far.

Another important note: Get an headphone amplifier or DAC that has a dedicated headphone out. Had to postpone my order for one because of unforseen PC problems…


Some of the music I tested (don´t use youtube to test audio anything, sound is meh):

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#2

Nice review and good comparison.

The K712s got me into appreciating well mastered music. Movie soundtracks and classical music is where they shine, imo.
For music that requires some “fun”, like the bass in rock/metal and electronic, they lack that “oomph”. Made me understand why audiophiles buy headphones for specific genres.

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pinned #3

5 days

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