MnG Reviews - AKGK701s: The best headphones for DIY producers

A practical look into AKG’s K701 headphones - and how they hold up for day to day practical audio and production use.

By Eimear O SullivanMusicngear Editor

Article photo - MnG Reviews - AKGK701s: The best headphones for DIY producers

Light Specs Overview

Adjustable, cushioned, open back studio reference headphones A ¼ Jack connector (a ¼ - ⅛ adapter comes with them) 
Cable length of 3 metres. Audio frequency bandwidth of 10 - 39800 Hz

 

Does this piece of gear work for home producers?

I know the feeling - trawling through the internet trying to find the best possible pair of high-end headphones on a very limited budget so you can produce commercially viable mixes. These are currently priced at 111 Euro on Thomann - I got these 3 years ago and they have been used every single day

I work as a freelance producer and audio engineer; and I can confirm that these headphones work for a vast variety of genres and projects - I use them on a daily basis for producing and mixing commercial, radio ready tracks - all from my home studio.

 

For the beat makers and producers

Practicality: These tasks generally require a lot of time, and long periods of wearing headphones (especially in the evening time when speakers may not be an option) which means comfort has to be taken into account. Many studio headphones I would have used in the past would have been of a much tighter, closed back build; however this caused a lot of discomfort after a while in the jaw area (even when loosened) which would steer my concentration away from what I was doing. This has never happened with the AKG K701s, this being due to the specially shaped 3D formed ear pads making them extremely comfortable to wear for long periods of time. The open back design ensures that the sound retains a nice level of clarity and doesn’t become muffled -reducing ear fatigue ( this is especially useful for marathon sessions for projects with close deadlines) 

Trap & Hip-Hop: I produce a lot of Trap and Hip-hop, which are genres that rely heavily on having a very strong low end with a heavy emphasis on sub bass. These headphones do not disappoint in the bass range (especially for shaping kicks) - and will overall help you with shaping a balanced low end in your productions and mixes. However, bear in mind that due to the open back design -( although you can still hear the sub-bass quite well) some of these frequencies will leak out. 

For reference listen to Vince Staples Blue Suede, Bas - Tribe with J.Cole and Princess Nokia G.O.A.T

Soul/Neo-Soul and RnB: All of the genres mentioned here also rely on a tight low end; however a lot of their appeal and character leans more towards mid-higher range elements ( rhodes, guitars, backing vocals etc). These headphones have excellent clarity for the high end, and capture the warmth and glitter of the mid- high range frequencies. For bass reference for this genre listen to Erykah Badu’s On & On, and for referencing the more mid-highs listen to Back in The Day (also Erykah Badu) and Kendrick Lamar’s These Walls.

 

ProsCons
+ Excellent Sound Quality- If you enjoy making beats or mixing your tracks in relatively noisy coffee shops or other busy spaces these are not for you - this being intentional due to their open back design ( so it isn’t a really a con, just if this is what you want to do then these are just not suitable for you)
+ Nice, balanced frequency range - a lot of clarity without anything being too harsh
+ Extremely comfortable
+ Highly durable  (especially the headphone cable -  my god what it has suffered) - These can be transported, however due to their large design this can be difficult - these are best kept indoors or in one place.
+ Comes with a headphone stand
+ Also comes with an adapter which comes in very useful

 

Price9/10
Comfort10/10
Overall10/10

 

Let us know your thoughts in the comments - and what your experiences have been!

About Eimear O Sullivan

Eimear Ann O Sullivan is a multi-genre music producer, audio engineer and vocalist. After receiving a Masters in Music Technology from the CIT Cork School of Music, she went on to operate as a producer under the name Blakkheart. Her releases have received critical acclaim from Ireland's biggest music publications, such as District Magazine and Nialler9, alongside receiving heavy commercial radio airplay. She currently works in Cork recording studio Flashpoint CC. Previous clients of hers include the likes of Comedy Central’s Dragony Aunt star Candy Warhol, rapper Darce and Outsider YP. (Photo credit @Fabian Boros)

Contact Eimear O Sullivan at eimear.o.sullivan@musicngear.com

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