Since I began my descent into Audiophiledom, I’ve listened to a lot of headphones. Some are really horrible and some are so beautiful it hurts. But I have a soft spot for reference headphones because of the low distortion and fantastic separation. So when I tried the AKG K712 Pro, I was prepared to be amazed, just not this amazed.
The AKG K712 Pro is an amazing headphone. If you can get past that $499 pricetag, the rest is just gravy. And what a tasty gravy it is, my friends. The packaging is a work of art, but not in an overly ostentatious way. The whole thing is about the size a shoebox. Break it open and you find your headphones, a velvet drawstring-style case, and a straight and coiled cord. Yowza!
The only real thing that was missing, was an amp. Not that AKG usually includes amps in their boxes, but you WILL need one unless you want the sound to SUCK. In which case, FINE.
The impedance on the AKG K712 Pro is relatively high at 62 ohms. Of course, once you do start feeding this monster the juice it craves, you get a pretty rewarding listening experience, thanks to that wide frequency range 10-39800 hertz.
Overall, it doesn’t sound completely unlistenable on a lower-output device (like, say, my iPhone 4) but the sound isn’t one I would pay $500 for. So, enter the amp. Even a cheapo $50 amp will make all the difference on this headphone.
Once you get over that impedance, choose your music, and settle in for a listening session, you’ll soon forget the headphones are even on your head. Comfort is through the roof on these babies. Stemming, no doubt, from the AKG commitment to quality build.
Which might seem odd, as the headphones seem to be made entirely from plastic (as opposed to the aluminum, plastic, and wood in Grado’s reference models). Regardless, the lack of any distortion, paired with that solid feel, just goes to show that you don’t need novel materials to get a gold standard sound.
All in all, are these headphones for everyone? No, but almost. Just about anyone could benefit from this clean sound, if they really want to hear music clearly. And who doesn’t? But the nominal impedance of 60-some ohms may deter mobile listeners, in which case…Grado. But if you can stomach that impedance, or you already have the amp ready to go, then the AKG K712 Pro deserves your adoration.