AKG is one of the world’s premier acoustics engineering and manufacturing companies. They have a stellar reputation for producing high-quality microphones and headphones with a history dating back over 75 years. In that time, they have developed some of the most iconic and industry-defining headphones to ever grace the market. In this comparison, we explore the very best this legendary brand offers.
AKG has an extensive lineup of headphones that cover the entire gamut of application potential. From open-back headphones with spacious and airy sound to high-quality closed-back headphones that offer premium sound and maximum isolation. Below, we closely examine the best offerings in each category.
AKG Open Back Headphones
Open-back headphones offer a wider soundstage, more accurate audio representation, and better breathability. These are all traits that both casual listeners and industry professionals seek. This combination of features results in a more immersive and natural listening experience. Below, we check out the leading open-back options in AKG’s product lineup.
AKG K701 Review
- Impeccable Neutrality – The K701 epitomizes accurate and reliable sound with a highly neutral response. A must-have feature for a professional setting.
- Outstanding Comfort – The large earpads feature a plush and inviting feel. The headband also adjusts to your head shape and perfectly distributes weight.
- Eye-Catching Design – Studio headphones can look dull, but the distinct combination of colors and textures gives the K701 a stylish and professional appearance that bucks this trend.
- Reliable Quality – Excellent component quality and a solid feel despite the extensive use of plastic and the low weight.
- Non-Detachable Cable – The hard-wired cable is a potential point of failure and prevents you from exploring alternate cable options.
The AKG K701 is a superb set of open-back headphones with an established reputation as among the best. The spacious sound is fantastic for casual listening sessions, while the balanced sound makes it an excellent set of studio headphones.
High-quality components, including dynamic drivers that feature revolutionary flat-wire voice coil technology and the patented AKG Varimotion ultra-precision two-layer diaphragm. If you want high comfort but also demand audiophile accuracy, the K701 is one of the best AKG headphones you can buy.
Read our full AKG K701 review for more detailed information.
AKG K712 Pro Review
- Excellent Clarity – The K712 offers exceptional clarity across the entire frequency range: clear and punchy lows, defined mid-range, and a sparkling top end.
- Balanced Sound – These headphones offer a highly accurate sound signature that is ideally suited for serious studio work, including music production and mastering.
- Lightweight Frame – The lightweight frame offers exceptional comfort and good stability. Comfortable fit despite the lack of dedicated headband padding.
- Attractive Styling – The orange and black design gives these headphones a unique aesthetic. Modern design with just the right amount of character to set it apart from the competition.
- Sharp Top End – While the top end is exceptionally clear and accurate, some might find it a little too sharp. It can be a little fatiguing, depending on the source material.
The K712 from AKG is another excellent set of headphones with a distinct focus on supreme accuracy and clarity. A true workhorse in the studio with a generous and spacious soundstage and impressive imaging.
The analytical nature of these headphones might be a little bland if you are coming from consumer cans, but if you want to make informed decisions when creating music or mixing and mastering, these are among the best AKG headphones available.
Read our full AKG K712 Pro review for more detailed information.
AKG K712 Pro
AKG K702 Review
- Well-Defined Mids And Highs – The K702 excels in the mid-range and high frequencies. The mid-range offers ample body and definition, while the highs are precise and clear.
- Breathable Design – The open-back design ensures high comfort levels with excellent airflow to keep your ears cool even across longer sessions.
- Robust Construction – These headphones are light and nimble but also offer excellent durability. Flexible components that don’t creak and crumble.
- Detachable Cable – The detachable cable opens up the opportunity to switch to different options. Extra flexibility to adapt these headphones to your specific scenario.
- Underwhelming Lows – The low end is a little weak and unsatisfying. The lows are accurate but could use a little extra definition.
The sound profile of the AKG K702 is defined and clear, with ample headroom. Accuracy is also impressive, making it a solid choice for professional settings. But for causal listening, the lackluster bass response is not ideal, especially for bass-heavy music.
The iconic AKG design with headphone rails and thick headband strip does result in a bulky appearance, but the fit is superb. It also features plush velour pads, which help elevate the comfort level even further. Perfect for long listening sessions.
Read our full AKG K702 review for more detailed information.
AKG Closed Back Headphones
Closed-back headphones are the exact opposite of open-back headphones. They offer better noise isolation, prevent sound leakage, and provide an immersive and focused listening experience. These traits have made them a staple in recording studios, DJ booths, and any situation where you want a distraction-free listening experience. AKG offers an impressive lineup of closed-back options, with the below options rating as among our favorites.
AKG K271 MKII Review
- Detailed Midrange – The midrange response is outstanding, with high definition and accuracy. Ideal for analyzing vocals and instrumental compositions.
- Impressive Soundstage – Closed-back headphones often suffer from a cramped soundstage, but these manage to buck this trend and provide excellent dimensionality.
- High Comfort Level – Like most AKG headphones, these offer a comfortable fit. The self-adjusting headband ensures these can adapt to any head shape.
- Auto Mute Feature – A nifty feature that will automatically mute the headphones when you take them off your head. Ideal for recording studios.
- Weak Bass – The small 30mm drivers struggle to bring life into the lower frequencies. If you love deep bass, these are not the headphones for you.
The AKG K271 MKII is a refined set of headphones that will appeal to certain people. The high isolation, restrained bass, and auto-mute functionality are superb for studio-specific tasks like recording sessions.
The midrange is another highlight, but the overall sound signature lacks balance. It’s not the best choice for playing music, but it is an excellent option for specific studio tasks. These headphones also feel flimsy but are much more durable than you might initially think.
Read our full AKG K271 MKII review for more detailed information.
AKG K271 MKII
AKG K371 Review
- Pleasing Sound Signature – The AKG K371 features an engaging sound signature that offers clarity and precision. It has better sound quality than you would expect at this price.
- Balanced Response – The frequency response is very accurate with defined lows, smooth mids, and crisp highs, though some might find that they lean a little bright.
- Excellent Value – Exceptional value for money. While not strictly a pair of budget headphones, they are noticeably cheaper than many comparable headphones.
- Relaxed Grip – The K371 features a loose clamping force that ensures a comfortable fit. Stability is still decent despite the relaxed grip.
- Low Isolation – These headphones don’t offer a tight seal and, as a result, leak sound. Ambient noise also finds its way in.
The AKG K371 is perhaps one of the most popular AKG headphones on the market. A staple for professional production settings and home studios. The excellent midrange and balanced response make these a perfect set of reference headphones.
The comfort level is also very high, and the over-ear design is especially forgiving for people who wear glasses. While you can experience better sound quality with other AKG headphones, the value proposition these offer is unparalleled.
Read our full AKG K371 review for more detailed information.
AKG K92 Review
- Punchy Sound Signature – The AKG K92 features a more consumer-focused sound profile with generous bass, engaging mids, and crisp treble response. A fun pair of headphones for music lovers.
- Easy To Drive – The low impedance ensures these will work comfortably with a broad range of devices, including a mobile device or laptop.
- Striking Design – The gold accent color catches the eye and gives these a unique look compared to other AKG headphones.
- Budget-Friendly Option – These feature an affordable price while retaining a decent level of build quality. Superb value for money.
- Unbalanced Profile – While these AKG headphones offer great sound, the balance across the frequency spectrum is not ideal for serious studio work.
The AKG K92 showcases AKG’s ability to produce headphones that will appeal to the casual consumer. The eye-catching design and lively sound quality make these an excellent choice for casual listening. The build quality is also impressive for headphones in this price bracket.
While they sound good, the frequency response is less neutral than some people might desire. But if you want a set of headphones that look great, are comfortable, and cheap, the AKG K92 is an excellent option.
Read our full AKG K92 review for more detailed information.
AKG K553 MKII Review
- Accurate Frequency Response – The whole frequency spectrum is exceptionally detailed and neutral. A solid pair of headphones that represent the sound source with precision.
- Spacious Soundstage – For a closed-back pair of headphones, these feature a surprisingly open and airy soundstage with excellent dynamics and spatial positioning.
- High Isolation – The snug fit provides a tight seal that prevents leakage. While not as powerful as noise-cancelling headphones, the passive noise cancellation is fantastic.
- Super Tough Construction – These AKG headphones feature a robust, tough frame with steel components. These are more durable than other popular headphones.
- Shallow Ear Cups – The ear cups are large but very shallow. If you have prominent ears, you might find these a little uncomfortable.
The AKG K553 MKII offers great sound quality. The neutrality is high, making them an appropriate choice for a studio setting. The tough frame will also appeal to people who might be a little rough with their headphones.
The ear cup padding is a little lackluster, and the coating is prone to flaking sooner rather than later, but replacement pads are readily available. These are among the best AKG headphones for high isolation and accurate frequency response.
Read our full AKG K553 MKII review for more detailed information.
AKG K553 MKII
AKG Semi-Open Headphones
The final headphone category I want to highlight is AKG’s selection of semi-open headphones. Semi-open headphones balance sound quality and environmental awareness, offering a more natural soundstage and reduced sound leakage compared to fully open headphones. It’s a classic jack of all trades but master of none approach that makes these headphones a versatile option.
AKG K240 MKII Review
- Unbiased Sound Signature – The K240 MKII offers a neutral frequency response that doesn’t favor specific frequencies over others. Excellent for detailed studio work.
- Satisfying Fit – The wide self-adjusting headband distributes weight evenly and ensures a comfortable fit. The memory foam padding adds to the comfort level.
- Spacious Sound – The semi-open design delivers a spacious and airy sound quality, which assists with dimensionality and comfort levels.
- Multiple Accessories – You’ll have the choice between a coiled and straight cable for maximum flexibility. An extra pair of velour pads is also a good addition.
- Powerless Bass – The high focus on neutrality does lead to a flat bass response that is accurate but a little lifeless.
The K240 MKII is another popular pair of AKG headphones. These semi-open cans offer accurate sound quality and high comfort levels without an excessive price. A perfect balance between functionality and value.
The over-ear design compliments the open design to provide a pleasant and engaging listening experience. But the flat bass makes them a poor choice for playing music with a heavy bass emphasis. Despite a few shortcomings, the K240 MKII is still one of the best AKG headphones out there.
Read our full AKG K240 MKII review for more detailed information.
AKG K240 MKII
AKG K240 Review
- Authentic Sound Quality – The K240 retains the neutral response of the newer MKII set of headphones. Dependable sound that retains authenticity.
- Lightweight Design – The low weight and comfortable memory foam on the ear cups make the AKG K240 a comfortable pair of studio headphones.
- Replaceable Components – You’ll have the flexibility to change the cable and the ear cup padding. This can save you money by preventing you from having to buy a whole new set of cans.
- Low Price Point – Speaking of saving you money, these headphones offer excellent value. If you are on a tight budget, these are a great choice.
- Small Drivers – The small 30mm drivers struggle to provide a satisfying bass response. You’ll need to look elsewhere if you want more significant punch and definition.
The AKG K240 is cheaper than the MKII while retaining everything that makes that pair of AKG headphones so popular. Impressive build quality, considering the low price and highly neutral sound.
The passive noise cancellation is also decent, considering the relatively relaxed fit. Better headphones are available in the AKG lineup, but none provide as much bang for your buck as these. It is one of the best AKG headphones for people with a limited budget.
Read our full AKG K240 review for more detailed information.
Our Guide To AKG Headphones
A detailed understanding of what a company offers is critical to making an informed purchasing decision. Below, I take you on a tour through AKG’s history. I’ll also explore how their headphones stack up against the competition, their defining traits, and what they offer across their extensive lineup.
AKG has a long history that dates back to 1947 when a physicist and engineer decided to team up and form the company in Vienna, Austria.
Rudolf Görike and Ernst Pless started out selling technical equipment for cinemas, which is where the company name originates from. It’s a shortened version of Akustische und Kino-Geräte Gesellschaft m.b.H, translating to Acoustic and Cinema Equipment L.L.C.
From those humble beginnings, the company expanded into moving coil technology and developed groundbreaking microphones and headphones that would become staples in studios worldwide.
AKG has a long history of making high-quality audio products.
After going public in 1984, the company was eventually purchased by Harman International Industries in 1994. It was an excellent addition to an already impressive lineup of companies, including Bang & Olufsen Automotive and JBL.
In more recent times, Samsung acquired Harman as part of its Samsung Electronics division. AKG now operates from its headquarters in California in the United States.
AKG headphones remain one of the most popular and reliable options on the market. The combination of high build quality, engaging sound, and iconic design has cemented them as one of the go-to brands in the space.
Why Choose AKG Headphones
AKG is one of the leading headphone brands in the world, but they are not the only ones in the market. Below, I explore how AKG headphones compare and contrast against some of the other major brands in the space.
AKG Vs. Audio-Technica
Audio-Technica manufactures an extensive range of high-quality headphones, but their focus is distinctly different from AKG.
Audio-Technica offers a small selection of purely studio-focused options. Most of the best Audio-Technica headphones consist of options aimed at the consumer and DJ markets. Their headphones provide rich and dynamic sound while offering convenience features like collapsible designs and a more extensive range of Bluetooth-based headphones.
AKG, on the other hand, offers a comprehensive lineup of studio-focused headphones with an extensive range of open-back offerings. AKG also places extra emphasis on delivering headphones with a neutral response.
AKG Vs. Sennheiser
Sennheiser is another premium headphone brand with an established reputation in the market. Like AKG, they offer a broad selection of studio-focused headphones but also dabble in consumer and DJ-orientated gear.
Sennheiser has a foothold in multiple areas but is perhaps best known for its lineup of open-back headphones. They feature excellent sound quality and utilize high-quality materials throughout their diverse lineup of headphones.
AKG and Sennheiser offer excellent headphones, and the difference will primarily come down to your aesthetic preferences and individual needs.
AKG Vs. Beyerdynamic
Along with Sennheiser and AKG, Beyerdynamic completes what most people consider to be the world’s three major studio and reference headphone manufacturers. Beyerdynamic has an excellent reputation, and their headphones are a popular choice.
Much like Sennheiser, Beyerdynamic has a broad selection of headphones with compelling open-back and closed-back choices. Perhaps their focus is not as refined as AKG, but their closed-back headphones are regarded as some of the best in the industry.
As you would expect from a major brand, they offer excellent options on par with what AKG provides. Once again, the differences will come down to budget, design preference, and intended use.
AKG Vs. Shure
Shure is another fantastic brand with a track record of high-quality products. Their selection of headphones isn’t as extensive as AKG, but they are growing in popularity, especially due to their budget-conscious offerings.
The Shure lineup features some outstanding choices, but they lack the diversity that AKG offers. Some might argue there might be some overlap within the AKG lineup, but it is hard to deny that AKG has something for everyone at nearly every price point.
Shure’s higher-end headphones are certainly up there with the best, but when it comes to lower-cost offerings, AKG has, in my opinion, some more enticing options.
AKG headphones are among the most trusted and respected headphones on the market, and much of that is due to some key traits that nearly all of their headphones share. Below, I take a quick look at these features and why they are fundamental to AKG’s ongoing success.
AKH headphones have a superb reputation for high sound quality across its entire lineup of headphones. The best AKG headphones will feature exceptional clarity and high attention to detail throughout the frequency spectrum.
Some are better than others, as is natural across such a broad range of offerings. Still, there is not a single AKG headphone that I would classify as sounding bad.
AKG headphones are an excellent choice for studio work.
AKG headphones have a rich history as a studio and production-focused offering. As a result, many of their headphones will offer a neutral response. This flat approach ensures that their headphones are an excellent choice for studio work.
Need headphones for music production? AKG has you covered. Want a solid pair of analytical headphones for mixing and mastering? Once again, AKG has you covered.
Another defining trait of AKG headphones is the iconic design principles on offer. While there are variations across its lineup, the majority stay true to an iconic look that has graced studios and homes worldwide for decades.
The guiding rails are an iconic feature of many AKG headphones.
The large and predominantly circular earcups combine effortlessly with two guiding rails and a leather headband strap. This combination gives them a unique and instantly recognizable look while also providing excellent comfort.
While everyone has a personal design preference, there is no denying that the design of AKG headphones is popular and iconic.
The final key feature I want to highlight of AKG headphones is the high level of comfort that the vast majority of their headphones offer. Most feature a relaxed and comfortable fit with excellent weight distribution.
Even the headphones with a tighter clamping force retain high comfort thanks to high-quality memory foam padding with either a leatherette covering or velour pads.
Premium AKG headphones offer excellent ear cup padding.
But by far, the most outstanding component is the headband. This leather strap doesn’t initially imbue a sense of comfort, but once you slip a pair of AKG headphones on your head, you’ll instantly realize how remarkable it is.
The self-adjusting headband embraces your head without excess pressure, and the weight distribution is superb. Combine this with excellent padding, and you have a winner on your hands.
AKG differentiates its product lineup via the model number sequence with a range that extends from the K72 all the way to the K872.
The lower model numbers generally represent AKG’s budget-conscious offerings. In comparison, higher numbers represent their studio-focused options, with the K3XX series showcasing their oval earcup selection. As you move toward the upper end, you’ll discover the K7XX series, which highlights their critical listening lineup.
AKG offers a comprehensive range of headphones for a variety of applications.
AKG also offers a full range of styles with a comprehensive selection of closed-back and open-back choices. They also have a semi-open choice, which not all manufacturers pursue.
Overall, it’s an extensive lineup with notable differences between the various headphones. Irrespective of what you are looking to use your headphones for, there is a high chance that AKG has a suitable offering in its lineup.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is AKG a Good Brand For Headphones?
AKG has an established reputation as one of the premier headphone brands. With over 75 years of industry experience, their headphones offer excellent sound and dependable build quality.
Are AKG Headphones Good For Music Production?
AKG headphones feature highly accurate sound profiles, ideal for music production and other studio tasks. They utilize high-quality components and sound engineering principles to deliver exceptionally capable music production headphones.
Is AKG a Premium Brand?
AKG manufactures an extensive range of premium quality headphones across a wide range of price points. Their reputation for high-quality products cements their status as a premium brand in the headphone market.
Who is AKG Owned By?
AKG Acoustics is a subsidiary of Harman International Industries, which itself is a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics.
When Did AKG Headphones Come Out?
The first AKG headphone was the K120 DYN, which was released in 1949 and became a highly successful product that set the stage for AKG to expand further into headphones and microphones.
Which One Should You Buy?
AKG offers an extensive selection of headphones, and the right one for you will depend on your individual needs. But from a purely holistic standpoint, the K701 stands out as one of the best AKG headphones on the market.
The AKG K701 perfectly illustrates the defining traits of AKG headphones. The exceptional neutrality and clarity make using these headphones in a professional setting a joy. But equally, these headphones can allow you to fully explore the richness and depth of detail in your favorite music in a casual environment.
The iconic design combines with the superb comfort level for all-day listening capability. As with all AKG headphones, the K701 is also a reliable set of headphones that can go the distance and be a part of your studio for years to come.
An excellent combination of design, function, and style makes it our choice for the best AKG headphones you can buy today.