Two headphones from two of the biggest powerhouse headphone companies. At first, this might seem like an odd pairing, however, whilst pricing might not be so close in other territories outside of Europe, both retail for between £150 – £200 in the UK. Which one will come out on top? Let’s get into it!
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On the left I have the Sennheiser HD599 and on the right the AKG K712 Pro. I’m going put both headphones head to head on price, build, comfort and sound. The one with the most points at the end wins. This is mostly a bit of fun, they are both great headphones, but they both have their strength and weaknesses. Only one will come out of this victorious. Which one will it be?
Let’s start out with weight. A lighter headphone is always more comfortable. The HD599 is a lightweight headphone that comes in at 250g but the K712 Pro comes in at a svelte 235g. That means that the K712 Pro gets the first point.
The HD599 has a soft and comfortable pleather headband and the K712 Pro has a suspended leather headband. As noted in my individual reviews for these, the K712 Pro headband is a bit hit and miss as the leather out of the box is extremely stiff. I am going to have to give this point to the HD599.
Both headphones have excellent earpads that are both very comfortable and replaceable. However one of them has big deep memory foam pads that are definitely much more comfortable. The point goes to the AKG K712 Pro.
A lower clamping force is always more comfortable. Both have a very light clamping force and are excellently comfortable for all-day use. However, the AKG K712 Pro is definitely lighter than the HD599. The K712 gets the point
Overall build is pretty good on both, they are both constructed almost entirely of plastic. However only one has a proven super-durable construction and the other doesn’t really inspire confidence in its durability. Of course, the HD599 gets the point here, but when you go toe to toe with a Sennheiser you better bring your A-game and the K712 pro just can’t match the HD599 here.
Cables and accessories
I’m going to give a point for every cable supplied as long as it isn’t trash. As you might know, I’m a stickler for quality cables and it is good that both have removable cables.
Both come with a 3m straight cable. The one with the K712 Pro terminates in a 3.5mm jack with a screw-on ¼” adapter. However, the HD599 terminates in a fixed ¼” plug with bulky 3.5mm adapter.
The K712 Pro gets a point but it’s a no Bueno for the HD599
The HD599 also comes with a 1.2 meter cable with 3.5mm adapter, whilst not a particularly good cable it is good for portable use.
The K712 Pro has a coiled cable with a 3.5mm connector and screw on 1/4 “ adapter. Looking good so far. But the rubber is very stiff and plasticky. Not a nice cable at all.
The HD599 gets a point for its second cable but its no bueno for the K712 pro.
However, I’m going to award the K712 Pro a bonus point for having a mini XLR connector which makes it much easier to find aftermarket replacements.
The HD599 comes with no other accessories. The K712 Pro comes with a carrying pouch. It ain’t the best carrying pouch around but its better than nothing. Another point to the K712 Pro.
Price and Value
The HD599 RRP’s for £180 whereas the K712 Pro RRP’s for £220. However in the UK at least, the prices are never like this. Amazon currently has the HD599 for £180 and the K712 Pro for £185. A £5 difference is small but the HD599 wins here. However, the HD599 is often on sale for sub £150 and often as low at £90. I have rarely ever seen the K712 Pro go on sale. Therefore the HD599 gets a bonus point here.
Now we move on to the sound section of this head to head
Both have good soundstage. But one is simply excellent. A big wide soundstage without being spacy and disorientating. The K712 Pro is simply fantastic and gets the point.
Both image very well but again but I think in terms of musicality the K712 Pro edges it here.
Related to soundstage and imaging lets talk gaming performance and I’ll break that down to casual titles such as MMO’s, RPGs, open world games and similar where an immersive soundstage is king and also competitive games such as first-person shooters where accurate positional audio is king.
This one should be obvious based on the previous soundstage results. Both headphones have a decent soundstage and are great for casual gaming. However, the AKG K712 Pro really stands out, I’ve been playing a lot of Division 2 recently and the K712 Pro is really fantastic for such open-world games.
For competitive gaming soundstage is desired too but it is far less important than imaging which gives you that positional audio effect. Whilst both headphones image well often a super-wide soundstage can throw off the image accuracy or ability to focus on positional queues. Whilst I prefer the K712 Pro for casual games, the HD599 takes it for competitive titles.
Neither headphone is especially bassy, both roll off about as much as you would expect for an open backed dynamic. The low bass on the HD599 rolls off a little less and is a touch closer to target than the K712. However, in terms of upper bass the HD599 is a little bit overboosted. But in terms of bass quality, the K712 Pro is simply that much better and gets another point.
Both headphones have an interesting mid-range that is both excellent and yet also a little bit coloured in places. However, the rather warm low mids of the HD599 is just that bit more coloured and can be a little too warm for some peoples tastes. The K712 Pro gets the point here again.
Both have a slightly brighter edge than the HD650. The K712 Pro is perhaps slightly more detailed but it’s also a bit lumpier and the HD599 is a bit more even. It’s hard to call it so I’m going to give this a tie.
If you’ve been keeping score, you know which one is the winner. Whilst for build and comfort the HD599 and K712 Pro trade blows evenly. When it comes to sound the K712 Pro pulls away leaving the HD599 behind. Both are fantastic headphones with their own strengths and weaknesses. It’s also true that when the HD599 goes on sale it becomes an absolute bargain. However, there can be only one winner and that’s the AKG K712 Pro.