We’re taking a look at the AKG’s ear wrapping headphone, K7XX.
This one is the Massdrop special, “Red Limited Edition”
Specifications & Highlights
- Configured by Massdrop
- Manufactured by AKG
- Open-back construction
- Varimotion 2-layer diaphragm
- Frequency response: 10–39,800 Hz
- Sensitivity: 105 dB/V
- Maximum input power: 200 mW
- Rated impedance: 62 ohm
- Weight: 235 gr
- iFi Micro iDSD
- Chord Hugo
- Centrance DacPortable
- Sony Xperia Z & Xiaomi Redmi Note 4
Accessories | Box
7XX comes with a semi-hardened paper box that looks slick but low quality. I can literally hear you saying “Why should I care?”. Well, as a frequent traveller I tend to carry my audio equipment with me. For example, the same price Sennheiser HD6XX Massdrop Edition had a hardened, high quality box with metal joints. I can just put it into my bag and worry not, but I can’t do it with this one. If you’re thinking about carrying it, you’ll need to buy a third-party hard case for it.
Other than that, 7XX comes with a stock AKG cable and a 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter. The cable is nothing special except it’s very long.
Design | Build
The design itself looks very good and it’s smart. AKG trimmed out all the unnecessary weight and this resulted in a great weight ratio for a relatively big headphone. This “Red Edition” is one of the best looking headphones I’ve ever seen and also I can easily say that it is the most comfortable headphone I’ve ever auditioned to this date.
I only have one, single complaint about the design. Those strings, located each side of the headphone scares me. Yes you heard it right. They look kinda fragile and thin. Perhaps it’s just me, I don’t know. Hopefully they won’t cause trouble in the future. If they ever break off or something, I’ll update this section and write I KNEW IT in huge punto.
It has a thin sounding slightly V-shaped signature. Treble is more emphasised than bass, and the bass is more emphasised than mids, that gives the headphone a very energetic and dynamic sound. Especially listening RHCP albums are total joy with this headphone.
Source of the FR: Massdrop
The bass region can’t be described as tight or loose. It is just in the middle. Quality-wise it’s very much okay. Detail-wise bass gives you everything you can have from a sub-$300 headphone. Bass doesn’t have a roll-off if we’re not looking from a perspective of a bass-hunter. Bass also does not hit you hard, it does not vibrate your eardrum. It’s linear and it is snappy. This also gives the hp a better PRaT ratio.
Mids are less emphasized compared to treble or bass region that puts vocals a little behind in recordings. Mids, quality-wise are very good. When you look at the midrange, the first thing you’ll notice is the slightly digital/thin presentation which shows itself on mostly male vocals. It’s caused by 2-3 kHz peak. These kind of peaks generally are used to give the headphone slight clarity boost and airiness. I’ll be mentioning about this on the ‘Soundstage & Imaging’ section but you can just use a warmer/darker sounding source that will solve this issue and will be making improvements I’ll be mentioning on the ‘Highs’ section.
I also encountered with one or two sibilance issues with iDSD but since iDSD can be counted as a bright source I think sinergy is in play here.
7XX’s reproduction of acoustic tones have totally amazed me. Classic guitars are very enjoyable, detailed and refined. Electro guitar riffs also quite enjoyable.
Highs are the most emphasized region of all, but they tend to stay supple. I did half of my listenings with a bright source (iDSD Micro) and the highs did not cause any ear fatigue during my long listening session.
Highs are enjoyable, detailed and very much clear, but highs having a 6.5-8.5 kHz peak made the treble a little ‘lightweight’ which seemed like a problem at first. Then I realized that, this is only occurs when K7XX is paired with the iDSD. K7XX doesn’t like bright sources, people. Not only because of potential peaks, but also because of the note thickness of treble turning unnaturally thin. The treble is very enjoyable and satisfying. With the use of a darker sounding source, the FR becomes more balanced and also more realistic in many aspects. I definitely recommend you a non-bright source with this headphone. Or at least try shaving the 6.5-8.5kHZ hump a little with an EQ. That could also work.
Soundstage & Imaging | Instrument Separation | Dynamics & Speed
7XX has a big, spacious soundstage and same level of imaging accompanies that soundstage. We’re talking about a ‘warehouse big’ kinda stage. Huge, if I may say. Instrument separation is also very good. Its timing and attack-decay suffers a little bit on fast EDM and Rock/Metal tracks though.
vs. Sennheiser HD6XX Massdrop Edition ($200)
The first difference you’ll notice when you switch between is that 6XX is meaty and very much darker sounding. 6XX is emotional and it has an extraordinary vocal performance. 6XX’s vocals are smooth but they are not as detailed as the 7XX. 6XX is a mid-forward headphone whereas 7XX is brighter and slightly V-shaped that results in a dynamic signature. 6XX has a looser bass response which causes more impact but worse timing & speed, its treble is flatter and more realistic. Soundstage-wise 6XX sounds closer to you. Headroom is narrower. I can say I’ve tried many many bands with those two and enjoyed Radiohead, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Melody Gardot and Diana Krall better with 7XX because of it’s huge soundstage, better imaging, brighter and thin sounding signature. It’s more fun.
vs. Beyerdynamic DT770 250Ohm ($200)
7XX has a wider, more spacious soundstage, thinner sound, better imaging and definitely better mids. Bass quantity of DT770 is a lot more than 7XX and impact is better on the DT770. Instrument separation is lacking when you switch to DT770 from 7XX.
vs. Hifiman HE-400S ($300)
400S has a smoother mid presentation, a tighter, faster and less emphasized bass. 7XX has a wider soundstage, a better imaging and a thinner sound. 400S’ high frequencies are a little more ‘stingy’ and more emphasized. 7XX is a little bit more detailed on the mid section.
vs. Beyerdynamic Amiron Home (600€)
First thing you notice when you hold them both in your hands, is the build quality.
Amiron annihilates K7XX in robustness division. From finish to pads. Sound-wise both have almost equally wide soundstages. Resolution department is stronger in Amiron but it is also a potential victim to upper mid wildness. So say “NO” to bright sources with these two. Amiron sounds more realistic and airier.
7XX is a good pair if you want to listen jazz or soft rock with a wide soundstage and a slightly V-shaped sound signature, especially at this price range. It’s slick. It’s comfortable. It’s a great can for games, too. I’ve had much fun playing PUBG with it. Perhaps it’d be even more deadly when you pair with with something like Sennheiser’s GSX1200Pro.