DESIGN AND COMFORT
The AKG K7XX was designed with comfort in mind. As reference headphones designed with audio professionals in mind the AKG K7XX were designed to be comfortable during long listening sessions.
The headband uses a patented AKG design which automatically adjusts to the head while applying minimal pressure to the top of the head by using a pair of elastic cords connected to the headband and earcup which allows the headband to apply a little pressure to the top of the head. This in combination with the velour memory foam earpads make the AKG 7XX incredibly comfortable even after hours of use.
On the sliders of the headband shows the Massdrop logo and the serial number of the unit.
TECHNOLOGY X TESTING METHODOLOGY
To test the sound quality of the AKG K7XX we used them in various different setups to see how the AKG K7XX performs in different environments. The audiophile setup used was jRiver using ASIO output connected to the LH Labs Geek Pulse X Infinity. Other sources such as an iPhone 6 and amps like the Fiio E5 and the LH Labs Geek Out 1000 were also used to see how the K7XX performs. All of which used lossless formats such as FLAC, ALAC and DSD.
Being designed as reference headphones the AKG K7XX have a relatively neutral sound signature which allow them to replace studio monitors for audio professionals. The K7XX have a close and intimate sound that is incredibly fun and relaxing to listen to. In comparison to its predecessor, the K701 and the K702, the K7XX was given more bass presence which make them easier to listen to during long listening sessions as the treble has less presence and edge because of this compromise. The K7XX’s bass has a fun balance between speed and decay giving it a satisfying thump that doesn’t sound muddy or overwhelming. The midrange and vocals are incredibly well defined and has a nice mellow and rounded sound. The treble has a nice crisp sound that compliments the entire sound signature very well. Even though it lacks the sparkle and forward presence we would usually find on headphones with brighter sound signatures the treble is never overshadowed or drowned out by the other sound ranges. Overall this gives the AKG K7XX a sound that is slightly warmer then neutral but more enjoyable for the average consumer in comparison to the studio reference sound signature.
The AKG K7XX have an open back design which means the backs of the earcups are open exposing the drivers. This lets the sound leak out from the other side and reduces the sound isolation of the headphone which make them hard to use in a noisy environment or environments where silence is a must. This tradeoff however makes the sound a more speaker-like feel with the sound giving the impression that it is coming from an outside source.
The AKG K7XX has a 62ohm impedance rating which is above the impedance rating portable sources usually have. Portable headphones and in ear monitors usually have an impedance of 16 to 32 ohms. What a higher impedance rating means is the source needs to provide more power to the K7XX to provide the same amount of power to the headphones in comparison to sources with lower impedance. As the AKG K7XX was designed with studio use in mind this makes sense as studio equipment outputs more power then a portable device and the higher impedance helps protect the headphones from getting damaged from the extra power and makes volume more controllable in such a setup.
While this design is good for a studio setup it makes the AKG K7XX harder to use with portable sources which have difficulty providing the AKG K7XX with the power it needs to be used at its full potential so we recommend that the AKG K7XX is used together with a headphone amplifier to use the AKG K7XX to its full potential.
Even though we recommend the AKG K7XX is used together with an amplifier it is possible to use them without an amplifier though the sound quality will suffer a little as a result. When used without an amplifier the overall sound feels more hollow and less lush, the bass loses a bit of their authoritarian thump, vocals feel less dynamic and two dimensional and treble sounds less defined which gives it a grainier sound.
REPORT ANALYSIS AND FINAL THOUGHTS
Overall the AKG 7XX gives the user a very immersive experience and brings phenomenal value to the table. While it is not suitable for portable use because of its open back design, long cable and high impedance but it is relatively unrivaled for a stationary setup that has a strong source to provide them with enough power. At $199.99 USD the AKG K7XX is rather competitive in its price range when its closest competitors the Beyerdynamic DT880 which also fluctuates at the $200 retail mark and the Sennheiser HD600 which sits at around $260.