The AKG K-712 drivers are not the same as the previous K-Series headphones. I feel better having said that. Fhew. I don’t want to bore you with more specification information in the beginning of this review, so I will start off with the Conclusion first. You can read the details afterward. That is just how I roll…#likeaboss

The End Credits

AKG has created a mini masterpiece in my opinion. I enjoy this headphone a great deal and it will become my go to reference headphone for the time being. She is slick, sexy, well balanced and crazy comfortable. Top that off with an unpicky nature when it comes to amplification and you’ve got yourself a real winner. I consider this headphone one of the best multi-media headphones produced lately. I can’t believe I am saying this, but this AKG headphone can sound great with rock and moderately bassy tracks. If you are a fan of the Hifman HE-500 or HE-400 but are a bit troubled by their fatiguing sound and weight, grab yourself one of these K-712’s or at least attempt to demo one. You will not be disappointed. The K-712 is buttery smooth and soft on the low end with more quantity than the previous K-Series headphones in the past. AKG has done a great job and this headphone is a gorgeous testament to how well a headphone in the mid-tier price range can sound.

The Bass

I realize it is hard for people to accept the possibility that an AKG K-Series headphone can produce a solid low end. I know…crazy right? I was pleasantly surprised to hear the K-712 output very nice low end quantity with proper EQ functions in the mix. Certainly a few steps up in quantity over the K-701 or similar models. Don’t expect a Denon D-1100, D-5000 type low end or anything basshead worthy, but do expect a more than sufficient, well balanced and divinely executed low end. It seems the K-712 is a bit voracious when it comes to voltage despite its lowly 62ohm Impedance rating. I’ve noticed that with more power on a higher gain, the low end will reveal it’s true nature. Directly fed by my ALO International on High Gain, the experience is sufficient on the low end only with proper EQ of my portable source. Without it, the headphone sounds like a typical AKG headphone: lean on the low end and a bit thin overall. However, driven by my Burson Conductor SL the experience is exceedingly smooth and more than plentiful for me in sheer quantity so long as my source is capable of pushing solid low end. Broad and stark neutral, this headphone is a great contrast to something like the Audeze bass experience, which is much more focused and in your face, less broad sounding and much harder on the slam effect than the K-712’s softer tone.

K712-4

The Mids

No one quality in this headphone stands out from the rest. V-shape is totally absent from this headphone, which to me is a great thing. I hate recessed midrange or either of the three major quality factors ( Bass, Mids, Highs ) appearing more prominent than the other two in a physical sense. This is a very linear experience throughout the spectrum, very flat and well balanced sounding. Exceptional for multimedia usage and gaming in general. Dare I even say this is one of the best gaming and media headphones I’ve heard in many years.

Vocals seem a bit loose and panicked in their upper most areas, nothing serious and for the price I consider them very well set up. Not too relaxed but also not truly forward. This is not a common trait for a headphone with a stereo image that tall and wide, typically this type of sound stage experience results in a more relaxed and pushed back vocal experience. Somehow, AKG avoided that and pushed the mids upward just enough to blend seamlessly with the Bass and Highs.

Tracks like Jamie Foxx’s – Why off his album titled Intuition result in an unexpected smooth and balanced sound signature that I was not at all ready for. Upon first listen, I expected this headphone to be a clone of the K-701 with some minor tweaks, but was pleasantly surprised when that midrange and low end seemed more powerful and tonally balanced together. Certainly not as aired out or separated as the previous models before it, however the K-712 seems to produce exceptionally smooth and buttery bass along with the majority of the midrange. My only gripe is that the upper most area of the midrange seem a bit nasal to my ears, producing a little too much bite and hiss on notoriously sibilant tracks you might have in your collection. If the track is sibilant, the K-712 will sound sibilant. It is not at all a forgiving headphone when it comes to the upper midrange and above.

The Highs

The major flaw of this headphone is certainly the upper region. I find it too unforgiving and too true to the track. It will sound sibilant and harsh if your track happens to sound that way, so do not expect a forgiving experience and soft natured upper regions on his headphone. Despite that, the highs are very responsive and require an excellent amplifier to properly tame. Properly tamed by my Burson Conductor SL using the 9018 chip, a Dac Chip that is one of the most beautifully dynamic and forgiving on the upper regions piece of equipment I’ve ever experienced, the entire K-712 journey on the upper region ends up inverting itself into a relaxed presentation. Summed up, use an amplifier known for stereo imaging qualities and very smooth, forgiving highs and you will be rewarded with a highly dynamic and tonally balanced experience throughout the entire audio spectrum Beautiful. So beautiful in fact, I stopped using my Sennheiser HD700 completely. I have no desire to use it now, as I enjoy the flavor and overall balanced sound signature of the K-712 even more.

Bonus: Can’t do better than the Burson Conductor SL in my opinion, the amplifier literally made my ears melt with its sheer awesomness and ability to mesh with anything I tossed at it. From the LCD-3 to the K-712, the Conductor SL made everything sound great. Everything.

Click to next page for more sound impressions…

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  • LustEnvy

    Man… your thoughts echoed mine almost to the tee, though more in regards to the K702 Anniversary which should be very close to the K712 Pro’s sound judging by friends. I currently own the MA900 (my fave full sized headphone ever, if mostly because it’s comfort and non-existent weight, paired with well balanced, non-fatiguing sound just makes it hard NOT to love) and I agree with that part of your review most. It’s far from perfect, and there are better, but it does so much right, it made me ditch everything else and excuse the SQ loss for long term comfort.

    I can’t wait to get my hands on the K712 Pro to at least do my own review, though I’m sure most of everything I love about the K702 65th Anniversary will still stand.

    • headfonics

      I will wait for 24bit to chime in your comment since he wrote the review but I have an MA900 coming in early next year from the UK and quite excited to hear this fabled sound sig of the MA900.

      • LustEnvy

        For the low price of admission, you get nearly unrivalled comfort, truly impressive soundstage/imaging, and a general, all-purpose sound signature that works well with almost anything. It’s also not picky with amps. I think fledging audiophiles would do well to give the MA900 a go early on in their pursuit of audio bliss. They may just be surprised at what this <$200 headphone can do.

        I've heard better… and it won't beat the long time popular mid-fi cans overall, but they all have their caveats, aren't as comfy, need beefy amps, etc.

        • 24bit

          Lust speaks the truth. Whomever designed the MA900 didn’t care about style or symmetric lengths and widths of the pieces on the headphone. He cared about usability and I would like to buy that guy a drink if I ever met him. The MA900headband is very thin compared to the large diameter earcups, but the earcups and pads are very thin and about the size of just the K712’s earpads alone. This results in exceptionally lightweight design that can be worn indefinitely. Tackle on the lack of clamp and you have yourself one of the most comfortable and practical headphone designs ever.

          No doubt the K712 has more clarity everywhere and is more enjoyable to listen to, but the MA900 is certainly the wiser choice for multimedia usage and to this day remains my #1 pick for movies, tv and gaming.

          • headfonics

            I am drooling now on the pending MA900 and it is all your fault 24bit :) Been missing a nice budget movie set of cans since I sold my K702 a few years back.

          • 24bit

            You are in for a treat, sir.

          • headfonics

            Right now its the HD800 for movies but its pain to debox and setup for quick listening – so its more of a weekend can.

          • 24bit

            I think that HD800 is overkill. Of course, the MA900 and K712 are nowhere near as dynamic or clear, but that MA900 is so small and light that it is really hard to choose anything else for media in general. If I am playing a game that is non competitive, right now I’d choose the MA900. If it is competitive and i need some placement of sounds, I’d go for the K712.

          • headfonics

            The MA900 can take a leather headband like the beyer snap ons?

          • 24bit

            I doubt you will need it or even desire it once you put them on. The band material is very soft and breathable, adding weight and bulk to it would be detrimental to the already super light and comfy design.

      • donunus

        Have your MA900s shipped Marcus LOL. DOOOET! :D

        • headfonics

          Haha still fixed for March delivery sadly :)

    • 24bit

      Great minds think alike it seems! As for the MA900, there is no question the AKG is more clear across the board, however the Sony certainly had the more relaxed upper regions and was less fatiguing on the upper end. However, the bass has more physical slam and becomes more fatiguing than the AKG.

      The MA900 is my absolute #1 pick for the best media and gaming headphone of all time. Period. Despite being less clear everywhere than the AKG K712, nothing to date has sway me from using my MA900 as my primary movies, tv and gaming headphone.

  • donunus

    The 2khz peak may be why these have a nasal quality in the upper mids. And about the ma900… I’ve been drooling over those for a while now :D Cool review By the way!

    • 24bit

      Thanks!

  • Fastguitars

    The fatal flaw of the AKG 712s is the recessed treble that is probably a result of that extra db of low frequency that has been dialed into these cans…The engineers engineered the treble right out of the AKG712s such was there too obsessed pursuit of giving you “more bass”……So, you end up with a too warm sound, acerbated by the wide sound stage, and the result is that the articulation and precise trebles that AKGs phones are known for are missing……..You keep thinking, “wow these sound great , listen to that low end, but where is the treble”….And im using a Woo Audio Fireflies and a Concero HP, and neither of these $1000 headphone amps can find any treble in these cans.

  • Osjur

    “I often get kicked out of the game by the server owners who think I am hacking”

    Same has happened to me many times with my K701.

    “I consider the K-712 one of the best overall gaming headphones to date and have enjoyed every second of usage with it online”

    I don’t get it why people buy those “gaming grade headphones” when their stereo image is so narrow that you really can’t say where the enemy is coming. My friend who was playing cs:s on top level (many years ago) was using some shitty gaming phones. I loaned my K701 to him for a week but got them back the same day because he went and bought the same phones after couple of hours of playing.

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