on 12 June 2012
I was upgrading from a pair of Senheiser HD595, decent cans worth £160. Comparing the two was night and day. Through the AKGs it was as if all the characteristics of the Senheisers had been lifted to reveal the source material underneath. The sound was more open, instruments had room to breath, vocals were crystal clear, and detail levels superb. Build quality is excellent, the two leads supplied are detachable and different lengths to suit your listening requirements, the headband real leather, and the quality of the white finish is very classy. Yes you'll look like a plonker wearing these but as they're opened backed and so very leaky you'll not be wearing them on the bus. It's worth investing in a dedicated headphone amp to get the best results, this kind of gear is wasted on the poor quality headphone amps that are built in to most integrated amplifiers. I use these with the Pro-Ject Headbox ii which is a good match for quality and budget. Also these headphones arrived a few days ahead of the expected delivery date so happy days.
on 15 July 2012
If, like me, you love true sound reproduction, then these headphones are for you. As you would expect from reference standard headphones, they provide crystal clear clarity that lets you hear every detail. The bass is solid without the exaggerated boom of many other headphones. Spatial separation is excellent bringing the music to life. Whether you like rock, pop or classical, these headphones perform brilliantly. Sit back, relax and enjoy. You will not be disappointed.
But beware, these headphones are opened backed, so listening to them whilst you wife is watching the television or on the daily commute won't win you any friends (unless they like your music too!) Likewise, they will not mask out the background noise.
They work fine on an iPad, but for an iPod you really need a headphone amplifier such as the FiiO E17 Alpen to drive them.
Pros: Excellent sound reproduction. Good build quality. Separate and replaceable cables.
Cons: Cable length of 3m is a little impractical; the headphone size is on the larger side so you couldn't claim them as a fashion accessory (I wouldn't wear them out of the house unless you want to get noticed).
And by the way, the green is a vivid lime green colour - so you won't misplace them - but they do make a change from the traditional black.
on 7 January 2013
As a very serious audiophile, I invested my hours of research when considering my headphone purchase. Among other brands were Audeze, Hifiman, Audio Technica, Sennheiser and Grados, but finally opted for the AKG's as repeatedly they come up trumps in the reviews and were under my £400 budget. The Hifiman and Grados latest incarnation of the 325i came a close second, but I was put off by some of the reviewers comments, notably the Grados repeated poor reports of quality finish and comfort issues.
In truth the AKG's are lovely headphones. They are very well made, extremely comfortable and deliver superlative sound. The sound balance is perfect for my listening preferences - mostly classical - offering excellent dynamic range. The high frequencies are delivered with precise clarity, the mid range sweet and warm, rounded off with perfectly balanced bass, delivering just enough oomph, yet never overpowering unlike many headphones which have overcompensated modulation in this area.
The imagery is very good, with clear transparency, yet like 99% of headphones, the AKG's are not able to overcome proper sound staging since one feels the music more inside one's head rather than all around as one would hear in a concert or delivered through top of the line speakers.
As many other users have commented, the AKG's do require a long break in period. I have owned these for just over a month now and there is no doubt the sound has steadily improved over time; they need time to settle in.
I have awarded the AKG's a four star rating, and indeed would place them at 4.5 stars, not because they are deficient in any specific area or under perform in their ability to deliver quality sound. These are very fine headphones indeed and I heartily recommend them to any audiophile who takes their music seriously and is in search of beautifully crafted headphones capable of delivering an excellent sound with transparent beautifully balanced performance, and extremely comfortable to wear over long periods.
The four star rating is because like most headphones, the AKG's just can't quite replicate proper sound-staging. Although this is a blatantly obvious statement, you get the feeling is you ARE listening to music through headphones! Yet, there is one brand which does manage to overcome this problem. Stax. The Stax SRS4170 Signature system, not their top of the line product by the way, which I auditioned some time ago are beyond incredible. Not only do they have the finest sound, but the sound staging and imagery are beyond belief. In my experience no other brand can match Stax for these characteristics. You have to hear them to believe them! Alas, this is like comparing apples and oranges since the Stax run at £1,695. Hence my four star rating is purely subjective and from a personal experience. As "normal reference" headphones go, when comparing to the best I've ever heard, the Quincy Jones Reference Class AKG's are very fine headphones indeed and can be heartily recommended.
on 2 January 2012
As a broadcaster and music producer, accuracy and quality of sound is everything to me. I had previously owned a set of AKG studio monitors for 23 years which were starting to fall apart and was wondering whether or not to take the plunge for these headphones based on the excellent reviews and endorsements I have read.
I knew the Q701 could be imported from America for less than £200, but did the calculation of import duty and VAT to discover that the real cost would be around £260. So, finding a pair under £300 with the full UK guarantee would be a bargain.
Having taken the gamble of buying without hearing them, would they be as good as I hoped?
The sound is every bit as perfect as the hype would have you believe. I'm in the lucky position of having produced my own CD and therefore know exactly how it should sound on a pair of headphones. The AKG Q701 accurately reproduces what I recorded; the AKG high end has always been excellent and these are no exception. However, I was concerned by reviews which suggested the bottom end is poor, but this has not been my experience. It is tight, beautifully rounded and in my opinion, could not be better.
Quite simply, these headphones are the best I have ever heard. If you need any reassurance, let me remind you of the comments by Quincy Jones. Yes, he may have been paid to endorse them, but I totally agree with his summing up of the product.
If you care about quality, I doubt you will find better - although I am frustrated to have bought them before Chritsmas and now find them cheaper in the New Year. But truthfully, anything below £300 is a bargain - and if you don't mind the black or white (with a green cable), there's a phenomenal deal to be had.
Finally, a few words of warning about the green colour - I think they are very funky, but they won't be to everyone's liking. It is quite a powerful (almost luminous) lime green.
That apart, they are truly magnificent ... a Rolls Royce among headphones.
on 20 December 2011
I bought a Colorfly C4 earlier this month on Amazon. I decided to buy some new headphones to realise its full potential. I listened to quite a few, I do not buy this sort of thing without an audition, firstly the popular ones on dem at HMV in Oxford, Dr Dre, Skull Kandy and so forth. These sounded vey contrived with astonishingly boosted one-note bass and quite raucous treble, disappointing.
Then I went to Oxford Audio Consultants and listened to Sennheiser and AKG phones. I was looking for a combination of quality and comfort. The top model Sennheisers sounded great but were not as comfortable as, and more expensive than, these AKG Q701s. They sound really superb with magnificent clarity, deep clear accurate non-boomy bass and are super comfortable.
The only down side? Paying list price for the privilege of listening for myself, I usually feel this is worth the extra but in this case the Amazon price is almost half what I paid :-(
Strongly recommended if High Fidelity and comfort are the goal, perhaps not if you prefer the bass-up-to-maximum type of 'phones.
on 9 October 2013
Great headphones for music production, absolutely true monitoring. The part open design means they are not really suited to live room use, but as a supplement to near-field monitors they are essential. The main difference between these and the K701 (the difference not often shown on shop sites) is that the Q version is half open, and the K version fully open. I really recommend the Q version, for that reason, and for the fact that you don't get more cool than Quincy Jones.... :-) There are some lovely features other than the amazing flat sound, such as detachable cable with two supplied (one very long) and three colour options. Yes. I really bought the green ones. Fab! Finally..... these are really for music production. For most domestic use the bass response wouldn't be peaky enough I think (if you are one of the many who likes pumped (pimped?) bass). But if you are into music production of any kind, just buy them.
Okay, lets be honest here, these do look a bit 'Early Learning Center,' and I would have preferred a more restrained look. However, these were knocked down in price (probably because of the colour) and as it's about sound not looks I can live with the visuals. As for Quincy Jones - no idea who he is but I assume he is a well known jazz musician with a good set of ears. Whoever he is and marketing move or not, he nailed the sound.
Firstly lets get another important issue out of the way - comfort. These are. The cups of course are large and encompass the ears with space left over. That means you have no physical pressure on the ears at all which is much nicer to live with. The pressure is gentle but firm and the weight is surprisingly light. For some reason I expected something that weighed in like a set of helicopter pilot headphones. They are not much heavier in reality than a set of portable on ear items.
Build quality is exceptional. To be fair, given their premium marketing one should expect that as a given. It's nice to know that your wedge has bought something that matches the cost however, and these do.
Now the sound. Sublime. Properly sublime. I like rock and heavy metal so perhaps not the target audience for this particular version of AKG's headphones, however for my kind of music they are terrific. Clarity is incredible with a sharpness that defines each nuance and instrument. Soundstage is something that I had read about but never really noted. Now I know what it means, because with a good recording these headphones open up the music like nothing I've owned before. It's like having a blocked nose with a cold then waking up to find it's cleared and you can breath again. Wonderful to be honest.
Bass is tight and deep. Not overwhelming at all but enough to ensure that with a good modern reproduction you get that almost explosive beat that knocks you flat.
Overall, these headphones present superb value for money when combined with high bitrate lossless music and decent hifi equipment. You can listen to your favourite music at concert levels without disturbing the neighbours or the wife in the next room. Obviously if she is sat next to you there would be a point where you are strangled with the spare chord that offers a different connection size......
on 27 February 2014
I'd been toying with the idea of getting a pair of high quality audio headphones for a while, so I did my research and there is quite a bit of competition in the £200 - £300 price range; audio quality is one of those things where you notice increasingly diminishing returns in relation to the price, so this was the maximum I wanted to pay.
Although I wasn't able to preview them prior to purchasing, the AKG Q701 headphones have received extremely positive reviews from press and users alike. Since I'd owned a pair of AKG K141M headphones in the past and found them to be excellent, I decided to take the plunge with the AKG Q701.
First impressions on opening the box were very positive. The headphones are surprisingly light and build quality feels good, but I would advise anyone to take care of these; you certainly wouldn't want to drop them on a hard surface as I imagine the earpieces would shatter or crack quite easily.
The cable that connects the Q701's to your audio source is detachable, so if the cable breaks then you can simply buy a new one and you're not left with an expensive paperweight. In fact, the box contains two separate cables: one with a 3.5mm jack and another with a 6.35mm, so you already have a potential spare. The cables themselves are reasonably thick and have good moulded shielding around the ends, so fractured cables shouldn't be a problem as long as you look after them.
In terms of comfort, these are some of the best headphones I've worn. As already mentioned, they're very light and have a retention system that should automatically adjust the size to the wearers head. The headband has cushioned ridges on the underside that rest on top of the wearers head, which adds a measure of comfort to wearing them for prolonged periods.
One of the things I hate most about headphones is they tend to my make my ears hot and itchy after wearing them for a while, but I'm pleased to say that this doesn't happen with the Q701s; I've worn them all day and I've experienced no discomfort at all. The ear-cups are made of a cushioned velour-style material and rest nicely on the side of my head and my ears go right inside.
As for the sound quality, considering I'd bought these without previewing them first, I am extremely impressed with them. I use them hooked up to a an amplifier, which in turn is fed by a high-end consumer-level soundcard in a PC. Having tried a wide range of high quality audio files across a number of different genres, from electronic to rock, the Q701s have a great soundstage. All of the instruments are laid out so that the listener can hear each and every one of them, plus additional detail that you perhaps never noticed was there.
I'd seen some reviewers comment that they felt they lacked bass, and while I'd agree these aren't for bass-heads, they certainly low frequencies in style; the bass is tight, punchy and distinctive.
I suppose that, ultimately, the mark of a good set of headphones is how much they make you smile when you listen to them, and the Q701s had me grinning from ear to ear!
on 26 September 2013
These open back headphones sound fantastic. I am not one of those audiophiles as they call themselves, but I have got the Sennheiser HD650 Reference Headphones also, and I would have to say, for me personally, I prefer the sound quality from these headphones any day. It really shines when you are playing properly recorded orchestrated music with clean pure sounds coming out of it. I am using the FiiO E17 Portable Headphone Amplifier with it on the go, and at home I use the Audiolab 8200 M-DAC. It will also show up, how bad popular music is. It is very good with THX Blu-ray movies, and great with high end PC games.
I can wear the headphone for hour on end. It is very comfortable on my ears, but unfortunately, and this is a BIG downside, the cap part the sits on my bold head digs into the top of my head, hurting over time, and eventually leaving a dent in my head, to the shape of the underside of that black cap. I have had these headphones for 6 weeks now. The last 4 weeks, I have been using them virtually every day, so hopefully my head will get use to the cap. If not, then I am afraid that I will have to tape some kind of padding under the cap, to protect the top of my head from it.
Don't let that put you off, because I will sort out this problem without any difficulty, I know it is just a pity I have to do something like this. My Sennheiser HD650 Reference Headphones don't give me any sort of comfort problems at all except the headphone feels too tight on my ears, a problem I know will go in time, but I still prefer these AKG Q701 Quincy Jones Reference Class Premium Headphones for cleaner, purer sound quality.
They are on the cheap now, and I would definitely recommend, if you are looking for a high end headphone, to buy one of these. Be warned though, you will need a good headphone amp to get the most out of it.
on 30 May 2013
I bought the akg 550 before these, I didn't think the Quincy jones would be that much better, how wrong I was. You can hear every bit of the recordings, everything is on one level, bass can dig deep, depending on what your listening to. Some people say these are just for classic music, easy listening. Rubbish, I listen to hard house, techno, trance, hip hop, and pink floyd. And it all sounds mint, well they would being that colour. For £250 these are something of a bargain. Buy them now, you won't regret it. And my set haven't even been worn in yet. Can only get better. These are harder to run than most headphones, I have to have these louder than my 550's. little amp would be good with these. Excellent,