AKG K702 - A classic open back headphone that is still great today

The AKG K702 is a classic studio reference headphone with a legendary soundstage which can be picked up at a very pragmatic price especially compared to competition. I purchased my K702 a few years ago specifically for its soundstage, and it does not disappoint. This was my goto ’evening’ listening experience before I got a pair of much more expensive Hifiman Edition XS for the same use-case. But it is still a goto headphone in my collection and I often use it to evaluate headphone amplifiers, so I thought I would share in this review some of my feeling for this headphone.



In the competitive landscape of high-fidelity headphones, the AKG K702 stands out for its commitment to professional-grade sound quality and comfort, though not without its quirks. Designed for the discerning audiophile and the meticulous studio engineer alike, these headphones offer an experience that leans heavily towards accuracy and detail, making them a compelling choice, albeit in the crowded market of sub $200 studio reference open back headphones that includes rivals like the Beyerdynamic DT900 Pro, Audio Technica ath-m50x and Sennheiser HD 560S.

What’s in the box

Upon unboxing, the K702 greets users with an elegant presentation, hinting at the premium journey ahead.

My box is a little ‘weathered’ and worn, but I hope you get the feel for what you can expect:

IMG_9588 Medium.jpeg

On opening the box you are nicely presented: IMG_9589 Medium.jpeg

The details on the back of the box: AKG-K702-Backofbox.jpg

Note: While the box has that well-used look - these are the newer “Made in China” models of K702 so this review should give you a feel for what you can expect with the latest models

The headphones themselves, with a distinctive matte black finish, velour padding, and leather accents, promise a blend of luxury and post-apocalyptic robustness. This design choice, while striking, positions the K702 in a peculiar niche that contrasts with the metal builds seen in slightly more expensive competitors such as the Sennheiser HD600. Side-view.jpg

The Cable and its connectors:

The K702 cable is interchangeable via a 3-pin mini-xlr connection typical of other AKG headphones: AKG-Connector.jpg and this connects to the left hand side of the headphone: IMG_9612 Medium.jpeg The cable quality is good and its length is 3m making it ideal for studio work or even just relaxing on the couch a few meters away from your headphone amplifier.
IMG_9613 Medium.jpeg

The Headphone:

Being a classic headphone has some great advantages compared to newer headphones. There are lots of third party customisations. For example, one I really like is the ability to turn the K702 into a fully balanced headphone: K702-Open Medium.jpeg Check out some videos by ‘Custom Cans’ for details of the exact procedure.

The other advantage with being a well known model is it is easy to fix and easy to find and fit replacement parts: replace-pads.jpg

Overall I really like the construction of the K702: IMG_9594 Medium.jpeg

Fit, Comfort and Feel

For my large head, the AKG K702 is an extremely comfortable headphone. The replaceable velour ear cushions are excellent and very comfortable for long sessions. Though Velour pads can also trap sweat and become dirty quicker than pleather pads, so it’s can be a good idea to have some replacement ear-pads.

Here are some comparisons of the ear-pads - first with an ’egg shaped’ Hifiman Edition XS ear-pad: IMG_9595 Medium.jpeg

And here with a similar sized pleather Hifiman HE400SE ear-pads. I thought the K702 velour pads where much more comfortable: K702-Hifiman-HE400SE.jpg

Swivel Mechanism and Suspension:

The suspension strap is a nice premium quality and does a good job of spreading the weight of the headphone across your head: IMG_9600 Medium.jpeg

The strap adjustment mechanism looks a little cheap, but I really appreciate that all these connectors can easily be replaced: akg-headband-connectr.jpg

Listening and Sound impressions

Sound-wise, the AKG K702 offers a clear, wide soundstage with dynamic stereo imaging, excelling in the reproduction of detailed highs and articulate mids. Yet, its mostly linear frequency response and restrained bass might leave listeners craving the warmth and depth offered by the Beyerdynamic DT900 Pro or the balanced yet engaging profile of the Sennheiser HD 560S.

The K702’s strength lies in its ability to deliver nuanced performances, particularly in genres that benefit from its transient detail and clarity. However, its cool, analytical presentation may not suit everyone, especially those who prefer the richer, more colored soundscapes produced by its competitors.

As you will see later in the review I can recommend some slight EQ tweaks to the sound to turn the K702 into a tremendous listening experience.

Bass Response

The AKG K702 headphones deliver a bass response that is accurate and controlled, excelling in tightness and clarity over raw power. This precision makes them ideal for listening to tracks where the authenticity of bass sounds is crucial, such as Miles Davis’s “So What” from the album Kind of Blue. The upright bass, with its subtle nuances, is reproduced with fidelity, capturing the essence of each note without exaggeration. However, for genres that thrive on pronounced bass lines like Hip-Hop or EDM, the K702 may not fully satisfy. Tracks known for their deep sub-bass, such as James Blake’s “Limit To Your Love,” may lack the visceral impact some listeners prefer.


The AKG K702 shines in the midrange, presenting vocals and instruments with exceptional clarity and detail. The natural tonality and precision here are especially suited for genres like classical and jazz. Listening to Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007: I. Prélude,” performed by Yo-Yo Ma, showcases the K702’s ability to render complex midrange textures with breathtaking accuracy. Each string’s resonance is distinctly heard, highlighting the headphone’s prowess in midrange reproduction. This clarity extends to vocals, where the nuanced performance of Norah Jones on “Don’t Know Why” is delivered with intimacy and subtlety, making the K702 a top choice for vocal-centric pieces.


The treble range of the K702 is articulated with a detailed and airy presentation, avoiding sibilance and harshness. This lends a sparkling quality to high-frequency sounds, enhancing the listening experience for tracks with intricate treble details. A classic track to appreciate this would be “Hotel California” by the Eagles from the live album Hell Freezes Over, where the crispness of the guitars and the clarity of the cymbals stand out in the mix. The AKG K702’s treble response allows these elements to shine without overshadowing the rest of the musical spectrum, providing a balanced and immersive listening experience.

Soundstage and Imaging

The open-back design of the AKG K702 headphones offers an expansive soundstage that excels in both width and depth, making it feel like you’re in the room with the musicians. This attribute is particularly evident on binaural recordings or those specifically mixed to showcase spatial effects, such as Pink Floyd’s “The Great Gig in the Sky” from The Dark Side of the Moon. The track’s immersive quality is enhanced, with vocal and instrumental positioning rendered with pinpoint accuracy, allowing listeners to close their eyes and virtually place each sound source in the room. This wide and accurate soundstage, combined with the K702’s excellent imaging, makes them ideal for complex orchestral pieces and live recordings where spatial cues are pivotal.

In summary, the AKG K702 headphones are a remarkable choice for audiophiles and professionals seeking a neutral and detailed sound. Their precise bass, clear midrange, and airy treble, alongside a spacious soundstage, make them particularly suited for classical, jazz, and acoustic music. While they may not cater to all preferences, especially for genres reliant on heavy bass, the K702’s fidelity to the original recording and exceptional positional accuracy across a wide range of genres and applications cements their status as a revered choice among critical listeners

Specifications and Measurements

Specification Detail
Type Open-back, over-ear
Driver Size 53 mm
Frequency Response 10 Hz - 39,800 Hz
Impedance 62 ohms
Sensitivity 105 dB SPL/V
Maximum Input Power 200 mW
Cable Detachable, 3 m
Connector 3.5 mm (1/8-inch) with 6.3 mm (1/4-inch) adapter
Weight 235 g (without cable)

Frequency Response

Note: I measured using REW on a Macbook Pro with my K702 connected to my kb501x ‘soft ear’ pinna with a 711 clone coupler. All my headphone measurements are available here

They have excellent channel balance but obviously that enhanced treble are will cause some sibilance issues for some, though does provide great ‘detail’ to the sound signature: graph-9 Medium.jpeg


Since it’s an open back headphone there will be more background distortion in these measurements, but it’s all kept to a minimum, so it’s a good headphone for EQ: L AKG K702 Medium.jpeg

FR Comparisons

Here is a frequency response comparison with some other open back headphones I have recently measured, as you can see the bass rolls and might need to be EQ to preference but the main feature is the enhanced treble compared to the HD600 or the Edition XS. This gives a great sense of detailed imaging in the soundstage and it good for mixing and for shorter listening sessions.

But for long term listening I would recommend reducing this treble considerable to avoid any issue with sibilance:
graph-10 Medium.jpeg

EQ Recommendation

As I mentioned earlier the underlying area of concern is really the treble region, so this EQ will focus on a slight increase in the bass and lowering that treble region (in as few PEQ filters as possible):

  • Preamp: -11.8 dB
  • Filter 1: ON PK Fc 27 Hz Gain 11.7 dB Q 0.500
  • Filter 2: ON PK Fc 100 Hz Gain 2.2 dB Q 2.000
  • Filter 3: ON PK Fc 880 Hz Gain 4.1 dB Q 0.900
  • Filter 4: ON PK Fc 2300 Hz Gain -5.8 dB Q 1.700

This results in this EQ: graph-11 Medium.jpeg

Some open back comparisons :

Comparing the K702 with some other open back headphones that I have recently reviewed. AKG-Open back-Comparison.jpg

Note: The Edition XS and HD600 are double the price of the K702 so this is an unfair comparison

Both the K702 and Edition XS have great sound stage but my preference is for egg shaped Edition XS as it provides.

Both the K702 and HD600 have excellent midrange but the HD600 is so well-balanced throughout the frequency range that it wins for a critical listening headphone.

But as a pragmatic choice with EQ added the K702 is still a good choice as a critical listening headphone with a great soundstage.


I gave the K702 a pragmatic rating of 4 stars, it is comfortable, sounds great and can be bought for a very reasonable price. I liked the fact that it is easy to take apart and customise, but the bass does roll off and therefore needs EQ and with my specific model the treble is a little emphasised for my tastes.


In a market teeming with options, the AKG K702 holds its ground as a solid choice for professional and home use, offering a detailed and honest audio reproduction that appeals to purists. Yet, when considering its position against the slightly more expensive headphones Beyerdynamic DT900 Pro, Sennheiser HD 560S or even the Hifiman Edition XS, potential buyers must weigh their priorities in sound signature and build quality against the K702’s offerings.