AKG K712 Pro by Enlightened Hand
I have used many different brands and models of headphone and I like the AKG sound the most when I'm monitoring playback during recording sessions. I found that it didn't lie to my ears. With that being the case for years my playback reference, aside from monitors, was the AKG K702. I know the 702 well. I know how to get a mix right on them quickly and easily and it didn't take much time for me to get to that point, maybe a few hours of practice, which was why I liked them so much.
In general people characterize the AKG family sound as bass light and treble emphasized. Maybe that's true to some ears. I found the AKG sound pretty true to life, with a restrained low end, at least in the case of the K702.
When I started to hear about the K712, that I'm reviewing here, I figured it wasn't necessary for me to try them. I knew my headphones. I didn't have a pressing need for something different. I also am not one to chase the latest and greatest monitoring tool. If the tool you have is useful then just because something is new (or new to you) doesn't mean that it's a better choice. It likely will just be different...but not always. I bought the K712 because after reading and viewing several reviews I wanted to know for myself.
-auditioned through a Grace Design m900, crossfeed on, DAC filter 2, high power mode
I'm not going to get into the construction and all of that. You can look at that on AKG's company site. But the sound you have to try. On that front I have to say that the 712 surprised me. For starters, the frequent complaint that people have with AKG is that they don't have enough bass. I can see that criticism as valid. To me it's not that the bass doesn't exist in the AKG family sound. I think their engineers just find it necessary not to over-emphasize the bass. It's enough.
With the K712 the bass is a whole lot more than "enough". It's a lot. I found it rich and enveloping and clear enough to hear the details of and still distinguish the individual bass notes, even in bass heavy music. But if you're coming from lesser AKG models you'll probably be a little overwhelmed by the abundance of bass. At first I thought it was too much until my mind adjusted after a few hours of use. The thing that surprised me is that the bass is enough to feel full and yet never overpowers the mids and treble. You can still hear everything, in detail.
For some perspective this isn't a bass head's first choice in headphone. It's definitely not overpowering. But if you're trying to mix a track with the right amount of bass and you want to know that without a lot of hassle listening to a bunch of different references then the K712 has the ability to allow you to have an easy time just mixing on them.
One thing I did notice about the K712 was that the low mid range was much more noticeable. It might be a fault in this design, or a preference of mine. But I found that the lower midrange was adding a bit of heft with vocals in that range that I hadn't noticed before. This bothered me. I feel that if I was consulted on the tuning of these I would have dialed that lower midrange back just a bit. Sometimes that extra lower midrange emphasis is appropriate but sometimes it just feels like it's doing too much and isn't true to life. Because of that I'd rather do with it dialed back a bit. It's a small thing. But if I was to advise anyone that mixes on these I'd tell them to be careful about that lower midrange emphasis. It's not extreme. But it's enough for someone who doesn't know to misjudge their EQ and make the vocal too thin in response.
The mids in general on the K712 are amazing. I had no problems judging the quality of male and female vocals. I had no problems knowing when and where to EQ. I could hear a well balanced track midrange with ease. It was a pleasure mixing with them. Nothing shouted that wasn't supposed to shout, nothing hid that wasn't intentionally tucked away.
The highs are excellent with the K712 as well. I heard reverb tails and room ambience just fine. It was easy to judge the right amount of delay or reverb. Everything felt very natural and spacious when dialed in that way. As a reference the 712 is a wonderful tool that I can trust.
The stereo presentation is wide and dimensional. There is a sense of front to back if that's what you capture or process in during tracking and mixing. Overall it's a great reference headphone. As a utility mixing tool and monitoring playback reference the K712 is excellent. Aside from a slight lower midrange emphasis I found it a very useful, comfortable, easy to work with tool. I highly recommend it.