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Discussion Starter #1
I am condsidering a pair of AKG K272, K702, or K701 headphones. What are the advantages and disadvantages to each one? Which is the better of the three?

The K702's are targeted at studios and the K701 is for the home user. Besides the removable cord, color, and said durability upgrades, how are they different sonically?

Would you choose K702/K701 over K272 HD?


Let the Debate Begin.
 

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No idea on the differences, but I saw a review either in atereophile or absolute sound on the 701 saying it was the best that the reviewer had ever heard.

Expensive, but compared to stax they aren't that bad.
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No idea on the differences, but I saw a review either in atereophile or absolute sound on the 701 saying it was the best that the reviewer had ever heard.

Expensive, but compared to stax they aren't that bad.
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Many people say that about them, but I am sure that review was a few years old and the K272 HD just came out a few months ago; so that's semi-irrelevant.
 

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From what I know, which isn't a lot, here's what's the skinny..

272 HD -- Closed back headphones so you won't have as much ambient noise leaking in, or sound leaking out.

AKG 701 & 702 are both open, so sound can leak in and out much more easily. My understanding is that the 701's and 702's sound the same.

As a general rule of thumb, open over the ear headphones "typically" sound better than closed. At least when you're looking at the same price point.

I have the 701's and think they're the cat's meow. I haven't had a chance to compare them to the 272's, but even though the cost ~$100 more (based on some quick internet searches), I think the 701/702 is going to sound "better". However, if you're going to be in a noisy environment when you use them, then I'd lean towards the 272's, or some other closed system.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
From what I know, which isn't a lot, here's what's the skinny..

272 HD -- Closed back headphones so you won't have as much ambient noise leaking in, or sound leaking out.

AKG 701 & 702 are both open, so sound can leak in and out much more easily. My understanding is that the 701's and 702's sound the same.

As a general rule of thumb, open over the ear headphones "typically" sound better than closed. At least when you're looking at the same price point.

I have the 701's and think they're the cat's meow. I haven't had a chance to compare them to the 272's, but even though the cost ~$100 more (based on some quick internet searches), I think the 701/702 is going to sound "better". However, if you're going to be in a noisy environment when you use them, then I'd lean towards the 272's, or some other closed system.

I will be using them at home and don't need to worry about sound leakage.
 

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If these are for home use and you don't anticipate much ambient noise, I'd stick with either the 701 or 702's. I think they're going to sound better -- based soley on the closed vs open -- and they're cheaper by ~$100.

Again, not an expert, but I believe both the 701 and 702 have the same guts. The differences, other than the color, are:

701 -- includes a headphone stand
702 -- has a detachable cord

Some people will SWEAR that you NEED to upgrade the cord for optimum sound performance. I'm not one of them, but it might be nice to know that if my dog chewed through the cord, I could easily replace the cord. On the flip side, it's another connection you have to make sure stays secure and undamaged.

And the headphone stand is convenient, but fairly low tech.

In the end, I'd probably end up buying the one that had the color I preferred.

One other thing, if you start talking to a real headphone junkie, they'll say you'll need a dedicated headphone amp. It'd certainly help if your driving this straight from an iPod or computer, but less so from most receiver's headphone output. Headphone amps are also amazingly expensive -- often more expensive than a regular audio amp. I read somewhere that the Presonus HP-4 is supposed to be great for very little $$ (~$100). Someone I know went to one of those electronic expos. Virtually all of the headphone displays used it. When he asked about it, the engineer said that it was the best HP amp for less than $4000. That being said, I've had the 701's for a couple of years now and still haven't bought an amp. I must admit that I am tempted by the HP-4 though.

Let us know what you end up doing.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If these are for home use and you don't anticipate much ambient noise, I'd stick with either the 701 or 702's. I think they're going to sound better -- based soley on the closed vs open -- and they're cheaper by ~$100.

Again, not an expert, but I believe both the 701 and 702 have the same guts. The differences, other than the color, are:

701 -- includes a headphone stand
702 -- has a detachable cord

Some people will SWEAR that you NEED to upgrade the cord for optimum sound performance. I'm not one of them, but it might be nice to know that if my dog chewed through the cord, I could easily replace the cord. On the flip side, it's another connection you have to make sure stays secure and undamaged.

And the headphone stand is convenient, but fairly low tech.

In the end, I'd probably end up buying the one that had the color I preferred.

One other thing, if you start talking to a real headphone junkie, they'll say you'll need a dedicated headphone amp. It'd certainly help if your driving this straight from an iPod or computer, but less so from most receiver's headphone output. Headphone amps are also amazingly expensive -- often more expensive than a regular audio amp. I read somewhere that the Presonus HP-4 is supposed to be great for very little $$ (~$100). Someone I know went to one of those electronic expos. Virtually all of the headphone displays used it. When he asked about it, the engineer said that it was the best HP amp for less than $4000. That being said, I've had the 701's for a couple of years now and still haven't bought an amp. I must admit that I am tempted by the HP-4 though.

Let us know what you end up doing.
I have an integra dtr-5.5 connected directly to the computer and a small drive bay i/o device with a small amp that came with my soundblaster x-fi.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
If you look around a little the 701's can be had new for a steal
The K701 and K702 can be had for roughly the same price in new condition. I'd really love to know what people think of the K272 and how they compare to the 701/702 and others of that class (Sennheiser HD 650)
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Aesthetically, I like the K-701 better. But I ended up getting a pair of K-702 due to its replaceable headphone cable. Which is great, because I ruined my old Sennheisers when I tripped over it's hard wired non-replaceable cord. It's been about 3 years of day to day use now and I don't regret this purchase that much.


The only gripes are the Clear plastic headband slides and the stretchy cords that keep the headphones suspended tend to wear out. However AKG will stand behind and service their products, so It's not all that bad; however they still need a minor design revision with better materials. Carbon fiber (or ABS plastic) in place of clear plastic. Spider silk thin stainless coiled steel cables instead of elastic.
 

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Replaceable cables is a must for my next phones. I am tired of cracking open driver housings and soldering those itty bitty wires.

Love AKG, by the way, the good 'ole K-240's still rock after all these years.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Replaceable cables is a must for my next phones. I am tired of cracking open driver housings and soldering those itty bitty wires.

Love AKG, by the way, the good 'ole K-240's still rock after all these years.
I have tripped hard quite a few times on my K-702s and I'm still using the same cable after all this time; the Mini-XLR connector is solid.

Sennheiser offers replaceable cables on their better models, the HD650 and HD800 are worth looking at. A few other brands do as well, but I don't know which is what. I like the Beyerdynamic T1 but unfortunatly, it appears they only come in hard wired.
 

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I know this is a semi-ancient thread, but I'm going to throw in my thoughts anyway.

I bought the K 701's a couple of years ago and am extremely happy with them. I believe they come the closest to having flat frequency response of any headphones available. And they are great in every category I can think to classify them in. Clarity, sound stage, imaging, comfort, overall listenability.

The detachable cord on the 702's is definitely nice. Some purchase the 702's specifically so they can upgrade the cabling. I'm not quite certain about this, but I wonder if the 701's might be better with standard cabling than the 702's even with upgraded cabling, the reason being that the cable for the 701's has four conductors, with two conductors going all the way from the plug on the end of the cable up to each earpiece with no common conductors or connections between the two channels. With the 702's, and their three conductor plug at the earpiece, there is a common ground point there, so the left and right ground paths are not totally separate all the way down to the plug at the end of the cable as with the 701's.

I should probably put on my Mr. Wizard hat one of these days and do an analysis as to how much of a difference that actually makes, how much interaction between channels can be introduced by the common ground point at the earpiece on the 702's. On the surface, however, when I made my purchase choice, the possibility of that interaction was enough to lead me toward the 701s. I have been totally happy with them. A replaceable cable would be nice, no doubt, if it had a four conductor connector keeping those signal paths totally separate.

I have listened to other pretty nice headphones but the 701's are still my favorites.

By the way, to my knowledge the cabling and the color are the only differences between the 701's and 702's.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I know this is a semi-ancient thread, but I'm going to throw in my thoughts anyway.

I bought the K 701's a couple of years ago and am extremely happy with them. I believe they come the closest to having flat frequency response of any headphones available. And they are great in every category I can think to classify them in. Clarity, sound stage, imaging, comfort, overall listenability.

The detachable cord on the 702's is definitely nice. Some purchase the 702's specifically so they can upgrade the cabling. I'm not quite certain about this, but I wonder if the 701's might be better with standard cabling than the 702's even with upgraded cabling, the reason being that the cable for the 701's has four conductors, with two conductors going all the way from the plug on the end of the cable up to each earpiece with no common conductors or connections between the two channels. With the 702's, and their three conductor plug at the earpiece, there is a common ground point there, so the left and right ground paths are not totally separate all the way down to the plug at the end of the cable as with the 701's.

I should probably put on my Mr. Wizard hat one of these days and do an analysis as to how much of a difference that actually makes, how much interaction between channels can be introduced by the common ground point at the earpiece on the 702's. On the surface, however, when I made my purchase choice, the possibility of that interaction was enough to lead me toward the 701s. I have been totally happy with them. A replaceable cable would be nice, no doubt, if it had a four conductor connector keeping those signal paths totally separate.

I have listened to other pretty nice headphones but the 701's are still my favorites.

By the way, to my knowledge the cabling and the color are the only differences between the 701's and 702's.
I had no idea the 701 had 4 individual wires and I don't quite understand how this can be when the 1/4 inch plug has only 3 contacts. Can someone explain or clarify this?

edit: It maybe an old thread, but the information is always relevant to anyone who finds it. Keep it alive and contribute new details as if it were a wiki. :)
 

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The K701's have four wires, two from each earpiece driver all the way down to the end of the cable, where the two ground, or common wires tie together at the TRS plug. So yes there is a common point there, but this ends up being close to the point where the grounds are tied together inside the amplifier anyway. So the common ground point ends up much closer to the signal source than with the K702's, where that common ground point is at the left earpiece of the headphones, at the three-conductor mini XLR connector. The K702's may have four wires from there down to the TRS plug as well, I'm not sure about that, but having the common ground point at the earpiece at the detachable plug point introduces the possibility of greater interaction between the two ground paths from there on down to the end of the cable.

Without doing some detailed analysis - I used to do that kind of thing for fun, but it's Sunday and I'm a lot lazier than I used to be - it is hard to say how much of a difference that actually makes, but in theory the K701's seem to have an edge in having completely separate signal paths clear down to the TRS plug.

If anyone sees a flaw in this thinking, please speak up, I am just saying it the way that seems to make sense to me. I have seen photos of the internal wiring, the earpiece wiring that is, for the K701s, and am quite certain about the way they are wired. I may even have AKG photos downloaded from somewhere, if I run across them I will add them to the thread.

Hope that helps.
 

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Here is an AKG photo showing the wiring for the K701s. It shows the two wires from the right earpiece passing through the left earpiece, and the four wires going into the external cable. According to AKG literature, the four wires stay separate until the two ground wires are tied together at the common ground point inside the quarter-inch connector. Click to see the full-size photo:



As previously posted, the reason for doing this is to minimize interaction between the two ground wires, giving better soundstage and imaging.
 
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