Although originally an Austrian brand, and still designed and engineered in Vienna, AKG is a part of the Harman International group, putting it in the same business set up as brands such as JBL and Harman Kardon. However, AKG has a different brand positioning, focused more at the audiophile and professional audience. AKG earlier launched its K52 headphones in India, which was praised for its neutral approach to sound and excellent bang-for-your-buck. Also Read - Nokia 5310 Review: A heavy bet on XpressMusic nostalgia
The latest product from AKG is the K72. Priced at Rs 4,699, but available for under Rs 4,000 if you look around, this around-ear headset has the same neutral sonic signature and monitor-grade positioning as the K52, but with a bit more in terms of performance. Check out our review to find out just how the AKG K72 fares. Also Read - DxOMark has received offers of money to review cameras on many occasions
AKG K72 Design and Specifications
As was the case with the K52, the K72 features a rather nondescript design. The headphones have large driver casings with a circular grooved pattern on the outside. The casings are attached to the metal headband through a single point, which offers a bit of flex and adjustment, letting you comfortably put on and remove the headphones. There’s also a bit of padding around the ear, which makes the headset comfortable to wear for longer duration. While the K72 doesn’t look bad, it isn’t particularly attractive either and can be considered functional at best. Also Read - Xiaomi Redmi Y1 Review: Embracing the selfie
An interesting aspect of the headband is its self-adjusting mechanism. Although the frame of the headphones is metal, a portion just below that has a flexible ribbon and padding in place, which adjusts on its own to the shape of your head. This makes the headphones extremely easy and comfortable to wear. The 3-meter long cable is also considerably longer than we’re used to seeing. This can be good in some cases, but cable management can be a problem if you don’t need all of that length.
The headphones are powered by 40mm dynamic drivers, and have a frequency response range of 16-20,000Hz. Impedance is rated at 32Ohms, while sensitivity measures in at 112dB. At 200 grams, the headphones aren’t particularly heavy for the size either, and this ensures that they remain comfortable in use.
AKG K72 Performance
I tested the AKG K72 using my OnePlus 3 and a Windows laptop as source devices. Focus tracks for the review were Skrillex’s Leaving and Bruno Mars’ 24 Karat Magic.
Starting with the chillstep track Leaving, my first observation was how clean the sound is across the frequency range. From the start of the track, the sound has an incredible sense of width, thanks to the large drivers and nuanced delivery of the sound. Elements of the track resonate clearly, and the depth in the sound can be heard and felt distinctly. At no point did I feel that the sound was narrow or coming from headphones; there is a distinctly open feel to the sonic range, and this gives the headphones a refreshingly clean and strong sonic identity.
Moving on to 24 Karat Magic, the responses across the frequency range were practically equal, showing that the AKG K72 has the same neutral sonic signature and approach as the K52. Whether it’s the gentle and calculated bass, the clean vocals or the hints of sparkle at the top, there’s no doubt that it’s as flat as it gets. This ensures that every part of the frequency range gets its equal due.
However, this might not necessarily agree with many listeners who prefer the sound to be a bit biased towards bass and highs. As a result, the sound isn’t as exciting as similarly priced options from JBL, Sony and Sennheiser, but these headphones are meant to have a monitor-like neutral sound. And that’s not to say that bass is bad; it’s simply subtle and calculated, rather than straight-up punchy.
Where the AKG K72 improves over the K52 is in the openness and size of the soundstage. Music certainly sounds larger on the K72 headphones, with a more airy and detailed presentation. And considering that the price difference between the K72 and K52 isn’t much, this makes the K72 an attractive pair of headphones indeed, if you’re looking for a neutral sonic signature.
Just like the K52, AKG has a winner on its hands with the K72. The only complaint I have is that the headphones look a bit plain, but this doesn’t get in the way of build quality or comfort. On the whole, the K72 is a comfortable pair of headphones that sounds fantastic if you’re an audiophile on a budget, or prefer your music a bit laid back.
In this price range, the Audio Technica ATH-M30X offers a similarly neutral approach to sound, but the AKG’s fantastic comfort and open, airy sound are worth considering over the legacy and reputation of Audio Technica’s monitor range. The AKG K72 is definitely worth considering if you’re looking for a good pair of over-ear headphones with a clean sound.