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AKG Q701 - Reference class premium headphones. The Review!

A glance at AKG Q-701's, and we see bright green color with combinations of white or black. These headphones feel like a fashion statement complementing the color codes of nikes these days. Also, these headphones are huge! and when I say huge I mean it. These headphones are the biggest in my collection. Did i mention that these headphones are endorsed by the legendary Quincy Jones. The Q701's are like equivalent to Jordans from Nike. They are premium class products from a huge brand and are backed by the supremes of their field.Beyond the aesthetics lies a very premium pair of headphones which excel in reproducing sounds as they are meant to be. 

Following are the Specifications:

Headphone Type: Dynamic, Open, Over the ear
Nominal Impedance: 62 ohm
Frequency Response: 10-39800 Hz 
Maximum input power: 200 mW.

However the real test of any product lies beyond its on paper specifications. So here is the review of AKG Q-701's:

The Goods:
1. Soundstage: The soundstage on these headphones is huge! It literally blows you away with its impeccable soundstage. It takes time to adjust to such wide soundstage, but it is lovely and the USP of this product.
2. Sub bass extension: Though the bass is not overpowering on these headphones but it is very accurate and has extension to the sub bass region. I personally like a balanced sound and these headphones produce the same, nothing is overpowering and nothing is lagging.
3. Detailing: These headphones are highly detailed. But it also comes as a shortcoming when we feed them with average quality input sound as they are not forgiving like the Sennheiser HD650s.
4. Balanced sound: As mentioned above, these headphones are absolutely balanced. While they are churning out thumping sub bass they never feel dull on the higher side of the spectrum. The Q701's are energetic headphones.
5. Comfort: The ear pads are very soft and comforting. The headband of these headphones is kind of spring loaded and self adjusting. The bumps on the headband may be uncomfortable to some, but to me it was not the issue. 
6. Build Quality: Build quality of AKG Q-701's is good. They are very lightweight. Though made mostly of plastic, they are very durable and can withstand rough handling.

The Bads:
1. Price point: These headphones are very expensive in india. AKG does not sell them here and only way to get these is through online retailers which may cost as much as Rs. 50,000.00. If you have a friend in USA, you can get these for as cheap as Rs. 15,000.00.
2. The Cables: Since these headphones are made as reference class for studio editing, they are provided with 3 meter long cable which is the worst part of this package. At times it gets very uncomfortable to handle the cable of these headphones and this may take away the fun the Q-701's have to offer.
3. Proprietary Connector: It is a common problem with every set of audiophile headphones. People in audio industry should try and standardise these connectors.

4. Imaging: These headphones may lack a bit in their imaging. Sometimes the Q-701's feel a little empty in the center of their sound.
5. Leaking Sound: Obviously they leak sound. One can not use these headphones to listen music in public places. 
6. Hard to drive: Though the Q-701's have a lower impedance as compared to other audiophile headphones, but they are power hungry and hard to drive. A decent amp helps drive them better. The Sennheiser HD598's are easy to drive as compared to Q-701's.

The verdict:

Get these headphones if you or your friend is living in USA, coz with that price point of Rs. 15,00.00 (USD 200.00) these headphones have no competition. The sound is very detailed and balanced. The sound stage is huge. And adding a good amp with make them shine. AKG (by Harman) has produced several premium headphones and the Q-701's stand in the same line. Also having a sense of fashion in their styling, they are worth a show off to your non audiophile friends too. For me these settle between my HD650's and HD598's.


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