This review page is supported in part by the sponsors whose ad banners are displayed below

This review first appeared in the February 2014 issue of hi-end hifi magazine of Germany. You can also read this review of AKG
in its original German version. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with the publishers. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of fairaudio or AKG - Ed.

Reviewer: Sebastian Eilzer
Sources: Sony SCD-XB790 and BDP-S790, Musical Fidelity X-DACv3 with PSU
Headphones: AKG 501, AKG 701, Audio Technica A900Ltd, Beyerdynamic DT880, Beyerdynamic T1, Denon D7000, Grado HF-1, Sennheiser HD650, Sennheiser HD800, UltimateEars Triple Fi Pro
Headphone amps: Ray Samuel Audio Emmeline The Hornet, Headamp GS-1 w/DACT, Musical Fidelity X-CANv3 (modified) with PSU, Meier Audio Corda HeadFive, Corda Swing
Review component retail in Europe: €1'590

The return. Over the years AKG have brought a number of headphones to market and few of us won't have heard of the outrageous K1000. One of the first high-end cans I ever listened to was their K501. And AKG's K271 is one of the oldest specimens in my collection.

The firm's last top model, the K701, underwent various evolutionary upgrades as the K702 and Q701 but over the last eight years has never been replaced by a distinctive successor. Yet time has marched on since and the market significantly changed. Established competitors introduced flagships. Think Sennheiser's HD800, Beyerdynamic's T1. Newcomers aimed high from the onset like Audeze with their LCD-2 and HifiMan with their HE-6. For AKG to mix it up in these leagues once again necessitated a new Austrian king. I was thus keen as beaver when their new range topper bowed.

Already during unpacking one knows without doubt that this is a flagship effort. The quality box closes magnetically to serve as storage during extended breaks. Inside—and this was utterly unexpected—I was greeted by a wooden Sieveking Omega stand.

Now the owner can stash away the headphones in style also outside the box. Already the K701 arrived accompanied by a small plastic stand but this swooping German solution is one of the classiest I've seen over many years into this hobby. AKG clearly went the extra mile for a comprehensive approach and the cable, warranty card and short owner's manual live in a separate drawer beneath the earspeakers.

Those sprouted the next surprise. AKG has moved away from their former mini XLR connector to opt for a locking 3-pole Lemo instead. These push/pull sockets are amongst the most reliable I know and the standard with high-performance scientific lab gear. I was thrilled to see one outside the laboratory now.