When we talk with headphone connoisseurs and audiophiles about high-end headphones, some headphones see more popularity than others. Brands like Audeze, Sennheiser, Beyerdynamic, Hifiman, and Grado always seem to get their dues. But what about the AKG K812 Pro? At $1499, what is it good for? And how does it compare to other models around this price point?
AKG K812 Pro Review
The K812 Pro is packaged beautifully. Inside the box, there’s a wooden headphone stand, one removable cable, and a 1/4” adapter.
The build is predominantly made up of a lightweight metal, with a pleather-and-cloth-mesh headband, and deep leatherette padding on the earcups.
Comfort wise, I found this headphone to be exceedingly comfortable, even for very long listening sessions. Despite my big head and big ears, the adjustable headband and deep earcups were very accommodating.
The K812’s specifications reveal an open-back headphone that is very different than what we normally see for this design. There’s an expansive frequency range, a low nominal impedance (low enough to work just fine with a smartphone or a computer), and lots of volume, to boot.
The low end is rich and full. While not overpowered, the bass can seem strong at times. There’s not much in the way of impact – not much “oomph” – but there is some impressive control, thus minimizing bleed between low-frequency male vocals and backing low-frequency music.
The K812’s midrange is clean and accurate. While everything sounds much like it should, the mids seem a little relaxed in relation to the lows and highs, giving me the impression of a slightly v-shaped sound signature.
I was expecting the K812 to be a little too bright for my liking, but I was pleasantly surprised when I put it through my test tracks. While there is heaps of detail in that high end, the sound never becomes painful. There’s no screeching, ear-splitting peaks, or blunted edges. Violins sound heavenly. Female vocals (especially Stevie Nicks’) are velvet-smooth.
The sense of placement and depth on the K812 is enveloping. Closing my eyes, I’m almost tricked into thinking that the instruments are around me – and more so than most other headphones I’ve tried up until this point. There’s some amazing clarity and separation at play here, too, shedding more light on the nuances of the instrumentation and layering.
At $1499, the AKG K812 Pro is a relatively expensive headphone with a lot to offer. The sound remains universally clean and articulate, though the ever-so-slight sound signature is as much a product of human hearing as it is one of audio engineering. These are by far one of the more even-sounding open-back headphones I have ever tried, but they also offer a level of immersion that is downright intoxicating.
Does it kick the snot out of any other headphone out there? Hard to say. If you’re a basshead, there may be better options out there for you (the Hifiman Edition X and Audeze LCD-X come to mind). Or, if you want a more dynamic sound (and something that sounds less flat), the Beyerdynamic T1 or Grado GS2000e might be a better option. In comparison to the more popular Sennheiser HD800S, the K812 features a more relaxed sound. It doesn’t skimp so much on the details as it does the accentuated highs and lows: while the Sennheiser might offer richer treble and bass, the K812 seems to sport a flatter, more reference-y sound.