AKG Q701 Review

AKG Q701 Review

Celebrity endorsements of various products is a common marketing gimmick these days because, through this, the products can attract a large audience. Whether they are worth it or not is an open forum to talk about depending on the product.  

However, when it comes to AKG Q701, endorsed by Quincy Jones, it sure is a different thing altogether. Despite being one of the greatest music producers of his time with 79 Grammy Awards, you would hardly find him in any product endorsements- and- if he appears on AKG Q-series, then it is a huge sign of respect for the brand and its signature Q-series headphones. 

What is AKG Q701?

The AKG Q701 is the flagship of the company’s Quincy Jones series of premium Reference Class, high-fidelity headphones, and the signature audio gear of the music legend himself! This alone speaks a lot about this particular product’s capability. In this article, we are going to do a detailed AKG Q701 review covering all the aspects of this headphone including the AKG Q701 specs, its frequency response, performance, features, and more. But before heading to that, here’s a quick insight on what  AKG Q701 is used for, for those who are new to the headphones market. 

This pair of premium headphones are designed especially for the professional space and belongs to the ‘Reference Class’ of headphones. This means that the headsets are meant to offer the highest grade of sound, ideal for audiophile ears. These types of headphones have a flat frequency response and are designed to have a neutral sound presentation without altering the originality of the audio content. So you cannot expect an extra boosted bass line or an over-emphasized treble about headphones. 

What is it used for?

AKG Q701, like any other reference headphones, is used for sound mixing, monitoring, or recording. Since they are reference headphones, they are also used to detect the problems or study the sound of other headphones and audio devices by working as a reference. According to Quincy Jones, AKG Q701 is the only headphone that brings out the true sound. You might also want to check AKG Pro audio K712 from here.

The studio headphones need to be accurate because musicians, sound professionals, and recording artists depend on these headphones for success in their work. Any amount of sound alteration by these headphones can ruin the entire production work which is why most of these professional headphones are designed carefully for the highest grade of sound precision. 

Coming to the brand, AKG, just like some of the other reputed brands like Audio-Technica or Sennheiser, is well known for its studio’s great headphones and microphone systems. Some of their headphones are also designed for consumer use, making them a versatile option. AKG headphones are admired by the experts and users for their consistent overall performance, impressive acoustics, durable and comfortable build, and stylish designs. All these are available under various price ranges to suit everyone’s wallet. 

Let’s now move on to the AKG Q701 review along with the pros and cons of this product so you know whether this pair of headphones will suit your needs or not. 

AKG Q701 review: AKG Q701 specs and their significant features

Promoted by Quincy Jones-the producer of the iconic “Thriller” album by Michael Jackson, this pair of headphones comes in a beautiful box with his face on it. Being a premium reference class headphone, the sound signature and the design of the headphone is made to meet the professional needs in a studio or a production house. 

The product has received a lot of praise, including in this AKG Q701 review and recommendations from experts and music professionals across the world. 

Now, many people ask ‘is AKG Q701 discontinued?’. Yes, this product has been officially discontinued and is no longer available unless for the resale of the used ones that you will find in some of the eCommerce websites like Amazon, etc. You may also find a few leftover stocks in stores. 

AKG Q701 Review 1

AKG Q701 specs:

Connectivity TypeWired 
Audio cable Two 3.5 mm cord- one is 9.8 feet and the other 19.6 feet cord
Frequency Response 10 Hz to 39800 Hz
Impedance62 Ohm 
Driver size 2.95 in
Driver TypeNeodymium Drivers with AKG Varimotion dual layer diaphragm (superior precision) 
Max power output 200 mW
Sound output Stereo
Controls Volume buttons
Microphone No
Noise cancelationNo
Weight 253 g (excluding cable)
Accompanying accessory 3.5mm Screw adapter, one audio cable, and one additional cord so if one gets damaged, the other can be used. 
AKG Q701 replacement ear padsDoesn’t come with extra pair of ear pads 

AKG Q701 Review

Design and build: 

The headphone has a pretty unique design and even though it is not the best-looking headphone in the industry, that is not the headphone’s main focus at all. The main qualities of AKG Q701 are the performance of the headphones and its sonic signature that steals the show. 

Nevertheless, it does carry a good deal of poise with its minimalistic design approach. The overall make of the headphone is a combination of high-quality plastic and metal that makes them extremely lightweight to wear and increases their longevity. 

These retro-style wired headphones feature large round-shaped deep ear cups that are thickly padded for maximum comfort. The 3D-form padding on these cups is made of suede or velour type of material that accommodates the shape of your temple and the ears. It not only adds to the classy look but also absorbs all the clamping pressure while making it suitable for all day wear. The clamping force is not too high nor too less, it is just the accurate amount that will sit on the head comfortably while preventing it from sliding off. 

AKG Q701 review- Sound Quality and performance: 

This pair of headphones sound premium. They are best known for their incredible and high-fidelity acoustics and have received great AKG Q701 reviews from numerous professionals and experts around the globe. Designed to be a reference headphone, it has superlative sound accuracy, thanks to the open air style, AKG patented Varimotion Diaphragm with double layers, and the flat wire voice coil technology. The neodymium magnetic drivers ensure that the sound delivered is undistorted and maintains the originality of the content. 

The headphone has a wide soundstage that makes the sound lively and the elements in the audio content do not fight with each other for space. The drivers have a wide frequency response, the sound reproduced is spatial with ultimate precision at every frequency level. There is a lot of ventilation because of the openings on the earcups which reduces the pressure development in the ears allowing the sound waves to travel freely. So the sound that comes out is very natural. 

Now while there is sound leakage, if you are working with these headphones in a silent room you will not be able to make much difference in the sound quality. 

The Highs and The Lows

There is a good balance between the lows, mids, and highs. The bass response is clean and refined with just the right amount needed, the mid range may feel slightly distant but that depends on the soundtrack as well. The trebles are clean, well defined, and accurately thrown even at high volumes. 

Unlike the consumer headphones that usually have enhanced bass response, or over emphasized vocals or uppers, these ‘reference’ headphones sound neutral. This means that they do not have boosted up frequency at any given level so you will not get an extra thumping bass, etc. making it unsuitable for music or movies.  Nonetheless, the overall sonic presentation is impressive for a professional grade studio headphone that can be used for mixing sounds, editing, monitoring, etc. 

You will find several AKG Q701 reviews in the portals from the users who have detailed their experience on these headphones’ sound quality which might be helpful in case you want to know how they perform.  

AKG Q701 review- Price: 

The second-hand AKG Q701 is available on Amazon at $399.00. This is an expensive option but its use is limited to the professional market only where high-resolution, ultra high fidelity sound is paramount. 

AKG Q701 review- Pros and cons:

Now that you have good knowledge about this headphone, here’s a rundown of the various pros and cons of this headset. These have been derived from this article and several other trustworthy AKG Q701 reviews on various forums

A few points to note…

The headphones have a high impedance of 62 ohms which means that you will need a headphones amplifier to get the best results when the volume is turned up. This pair also works better in higher devices like PCs or laptops rather than smartphones. 

Also, be informed that these are high-fidelity headphones with superior sonic potential, so, they may not work well with low bit MP3 sound like that of iPods, or some lower end mobile phones or tablets. The headphones are meant to reproduce a high-resolution sound of 320 kbps to the least. 

Pros and Cons 

Pros Cons 
High quality build for extra endurance with the ability to hold up well against the extensive production use.
Lightweight and comfortable design curated for long hours of use.
Larger earpads for reducing pressure over and around the ears.
Stellar acoustics geared for studio use like monitoring or sound mixing.
Wide soundstage with accuracy and detail. 
Uniquely crafted headset.
Fits into most types and sizes of heads.
Detachable and replaceable cables.
Performance is worth the price.
Doesn’t come with a storage case which may make it hard to store or carry.
Not built to resist moisture and the open back design makes it even more susceptible to the damage of the delicate parts.
It may be a bit too large for some to wear. Few headphones from the competition have a more compact design.
Cannot expect passive noise isolation with this design and style.
Not for outdoor use.
Cannot enjoy music or movies with this pair.

How about AKG Q701 replacement ear pads?

In case you are wondering about AKG Q701 replacement ear pads, then you will not get them in the box with the headphones. However, if you need to change it you do get them online. There are also several tutorials online that can help you with the step-by-step process of how you can change them. For AKG Q701 replacement ear pads online click on the link here. Since the dimension of the Q701 is pretty similar to K701 or Q702, these ear paddings can be used for all the models or rather many others in the K series. 

Meanwhile, the ear cups’ open back design with metal finish grilles contributes to both breathability and performance. Other than open spatial acoustics (which we will talk about under the sound and performance) also lets the heat out making it more breathable. The open back designs in the headphones are more comfortable and cause lesser ear fatigue than the ones that have closed back. 

AKG Q701 Review 3

But What About Outdoor Usage?

One important thing about the headphones’ open back style is that the noise isolation isn’t as effective as it is in closed headphones. Although the ear cups are plush, the fabric that the padding is made of also cannot hold the headphones sound inside causing leakage or isn’t suitable for reducing the ambient noise. This combined with its big design makes it inconvenient for outdoor production or field use. Therefore, this best works in a studio type of ambiance where there isn’t much of a noise in the surrounding. 

The headband has a two layer design where the top suspension layer is the solid metallic frame that gives structural support to the ear cups while the bottom layer is a flat leather band with striped bumps given for better grip and padding. The leather headband adjusts itself according to the size and the shape of the head giving comfortable support. 

While the overall make of the headphone is pretty sturdy, the headband may be slightly weak because of its genuine leather make and no metallic or plastic support underneath. 

AKG Q701 comes with detachable cables that are long, which is also an indication that these headphones are not for outdoor use.

We have compared the AKG D112 and Shure Beta 52a here: AKG D112 vs shure beta 52a

Alternatives to AKG Q701: 

Since AKG Q701 is discontinued, you may find it a bit challenging to find a new piece. Although there are almost new-like products available online, there are a few great alternatives to the Q701 that you may want to consider- 

The closest of all would be AKG K701 or AKG K702 which are pretty similar to look at and as per several reviews, their sound quality is also pretty much the same as Q701. There is a difference in the price range between the two. AKG K702 carries a price tag almost half that of its 701 counterparts with a little difference in the acoustic presentation. 

A few more headphones that you can look into are- Hifiman HE400SE and Sennheiser HD 598

All these alternatives are currently available online and have good reviews and ratings from the users as well. 

A quick leap back into AKG’s history and success shows us that… 

AKG has been around for quite some time now and has a solid reputation in the industry for its headphones. Their business first started with loudspeakers, projectors, and light meters and later on moved to various other verticals. The very first headphones by this company were released into the market in 1949 and soon after that, this Austrian company (that later shifted its headquarters to California, USA) rapidly expanded to different parts of the globe. 

The company came to be known for various audio equipment including various types of microphones, headphones, integrated systems, and other accessories that cater to both professional and consumer markets. Their headphones were quite popular in radio stations, clubs, and other places where professional grade headphones were in high demand. 

A Forge of Innovation

AKG is a hub of innovations, and the new technologies that they integrated into the products gave them huge turnover in their business, and in 1984 they went public with greater heights in success. Acquisitions were a part of their expansion plan, and while they were growing bigger, they were expanding their products as well. During this time their popular, new generation K-series headphones took the market to storm. 

After becoming a part of Harman International Industries, Inc., during the nineties, they introduced to the world’s tiniest dual diaphragm system for mics, which delivered massive sound for their size. This was designed to target television, theatre, or film use and gained quite a lot of admiration. AKG gradually became a part of many professional studios and shared the stage with internationally famous musicians and artists. 

So, while this was a quick dive into the history of AKG, their success stories never stopped. The brand continues to grow in its professional microphones domains, the top quality headphones in the commercial audio world. Even today, after almost 75 years and still holding strong, be it for studio needs or consumer use, its professional grade headphones and other audio equipment hang around the top of the best headphones list everywhere. 


An exquisite pair of headphones with a unique design coupled with a snug build, AKG Q701 has been made to be long-standing. Rightly picked by the legendary Quincy Jones, this pair of premium headphones from the Quincy Jones Signature line has unmatchable sound quality that will make you want to listen for hours. As clean as it sounds, its audio profile extends superlative detailing and acoustic accuracy that can help every professional achieve the results and succeed in their studio monitoring or other production work. 

Therefore, critical listeners looking for super comfortable headphones with ultimate accuracy and neutral sound presentation can consider this an option. You might also want to take a look at our AKG c414 xlii review from here.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs):

Are the headbands of Q701 adjustable or have side sliders like the other studio headphones we get? 

The best part about these headphones is that you do not have to deal with metallic sliders, or twisting, clicking buttons to set the headphones to the size of your head. Their self adjusting flexible leather band automatically takes the shape of the head or adjusts according to the size of your head once you put them on. 

Are the ear pads of these headphones replaceable? Where can we find AKG Q701 replacement ear pads? 

Yes, the earpads of AKG Q701 can be replaced if needed but you do not get extra pieces in the box. You can, however, find the AKG Q701 replacement ear pads sold by different sellers online. 

Can we use AKG Q701 for DJing? 

Yes, AKG is a great option for DJing or any other project where you need to mix sound. The headphone’s accurate and flat frequency response enables you to mix sound effectively. The only issue is if you are in a crowded club for DJing, these headphones can take your focus away due to their poor noise isolation ability. In those cases, you may want to go for a closed-back headphone with a good noise canceling feature. 

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