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When it comes to headphones, you may know of the “S” brands: Sennheiser, Sony, and Shure, but audiophiles have long been listening to Austrian-made AKG Acoustics. As a long time user of AKG headphones, we felt it worth our (and your) time to introduce you to a set that might not necessarily fly on your mainstream radar for headphones, but should.

Upfront, you should know the AKG K702 Headphones ($262) are an open-air set that delivers extraordinary balance across the entire audio spectrum with incredible midrange punch. The result is non-fatiguing sound, even after hundreds of hours of listening, as we’ve put on ours in the past month. Paired with a great tube amplifier like our Neuhous Labs T-2 unit, even high quality MP3 files delivered from your computer take on newfound life. The only equivalent way to describe it is saying that you’re listening in full and living color for the first time.

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Keep in mind, though, as we have over the past month, that a high-end set of headphones like the AKG K702s require break-in time, at least 50 hours – though we found that they really began to sing after about 75 hours. If you’re looking for Dre Beats-ish response, then you might want to consider looking elsewhere, but if you’re looking for clarity, brain-bending sound, and shimmering top-end response, then the AKG K702s should be near the top of your purchasing list.

The only equivalent way to describe it is saying you’re listening in full and living color for the first time.

The AKG K702 “Pro” headphones are similar to the AKG L701 “consumer” lineup, but differ in the finish and removable 10 ft headphone cord (with gold plated 3.5 stereo plug and 6.3mm adapter, included). The first thing you’ll notice when you put the AKG K702 headphones on is their extraordinary comfort. The design is meant to coddle your head and ears in plush materials (leather headband and velvet cushions). The fit and finish is also unparalleled as the K702’s are entirely hand assembled in the Austrain facility. Compared to another reference set we were supplied by Grado, the AKG’s really show how much you can get for your money. Whether played at low volumes are full-attenure, you can hear the sonic capabilities of the flat-wire voice coils and Laminate Varimotion diaphragms. The latter gives the AKG K702’s the ability to recreate sound as if it were further from your head. Upon listening to some audio samples that pan, we couldn’t help but look over our shoulders at times.

Listening to the AKG K702’s have one major downside though. You’ll never want to buy another pair of cheap headphones. The K702s spoil you, plain and simple. The attack of piano keys, the ambient noises of movies, and the presence of vocals all take on entirely new lives when recreated on a pair of these cans. Yes, there is a touch less bass then we’d like and AKG does not include a case, but you won’t find a better set for less than their $300 price ceiling. Even plugged into a cheap amplifier (like the one built into your iPhone) yields entirely new experiences. You’ll feel like you’re listening to your music collection for the very first time.

Buy Now: $262