I got a pair of the famous AKG K702 (manufacturer refurbished for $210) fullsize headphones, and well, here’s my review. Previously, I was using the Nuforce NE600M (purchased new December 2012 for $30) earbuds. Comparing these two is unfair, because they are not really designed to compete with each other; however, I must say that I was shocked by how much better the K702s sounded. As a side note, I only use these headphones for my laptop/PC, and I always use the Total Bithead headphone amp/DAC.
- Made in Austria.
- The K702s have a very large soundstage. This is probably because of the open back design — the earcups have holes and allow some of the sound to leak out. I listen to a lot of classical music and this makes piano sonatas sound absolutely divine.
- The highs and mids are very sharp and well-defined, allowing for good sound separation (I can hear different instruments much more easily in the same song).
- The headphone cable is detachable.
- The big earpads are comfortable, and also detachable for cleaning.
- The headband feels a little tight, and I can feel it pressing down on my head a little too much. Also, there is a clear plastic headband part on each side to secure the leather headband, but this component feels cheap and is prone to breakage down the line.
- It’s not really a con, but the impedance is 62 ohms, which means you will need a dedicated headhpone amp/DAC (unless you want to turn the volume way up to get these headphones to really sing). If you are using a $200-$300 pair of headphones though, you probably already know about the need for a good amp/DAC combo, so that’s that.
I love my K702s. Interestingly, I have gotten used to a much louder volume with this pair of headphones than with my 600Ms. Let me explain. I usually listen to music on medium/low, but I can now listen to loud pop songs on high volume without any discomfort. I think it has something to do with the bigger sound stage (open back design, plus the way the speakers are physically further away from my eardrums).
My 600Ms don’t sound as clean and awesome as they used to; for one, they have too much bass and the sound feels very muddied, as if the sound is coming from another room with the door closed. I had no idea that a simple headphone upgrade could change my attitude to computer audio so much. Unfortunately, as much as I loved the 600Ms when I first got them, I can’t really stand them now…
I strongly recommend these headphones, or another similarly-priced model (the Beyerdynamic DT-770 is a longtime competitor) to anyone who has never invested more than $50 on a pair of headphones. You will definitely hear the difference, given a decent amp/DAC.