AKG K-812

Reference Headphones

  • Open-back
  • Circumaural
  • Dynamic
  • Impedance: 36 ohms
  • SPL: 110 dB
  • Frequency range: 5-54000 Hz
  • Max. input level: 300 mW
  • Detachable cable, single cable guide
  • Cable length: 3 m
  • LEMO connector and gold-plated 3.5 mm jack
  • Weight with cable: 455 g
  • Weight without cable: 402 g
  • Incl. stand made of real wood

Further information

Design / Construction Over-Ear
System Open
Impedance 36 Ohms
Frequency range 5 Hz – 54000 Hz
Adapter Yes
Replaceable Cable Yes

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Superb quality mix without speakers!

Perfect sound. With the help of a good pre like the phonitor, and a mono button, you're ready to make tremendous mixes, without any speaker at all. People won't believe you.
Bank on it.
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Outstanding head for classical musicians

The AKG K812 has already written a lot of positive reviews. I therefore want to restrict myself to some - extremely positive - additional remarks from the standpoint of the technically savvy lover of classical music.

For comparison, I have the new Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO studios, in which Beyerdynamic uses the same "Tesla 2" technology as its top model T1, as well as the study unit Klein + Hummmel O 300D (the original expensive version with a transformer-balanced analogue input Entrance - from the time when Klein + Hummel was still independent and not liquidated by Sennheiser). I use only digital sources, D / A conversion via an external device (the player / recorder built-in D / A converters do not do anything, but usually generate the infamous digital sharpness). The headphone is controlled by an external professional headphone amplifier Palmer PHDA 02 (see my rating of this device).

To anticipate my verdict: The AKG K 812 surpasses my expectations, which are very high - after reading reviews. The Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO is out of class. Moreover, the AKG K 812 is the first headphone I prefer to the loudspeaker playback. (In the 70s, I had the famous Jecklin Float, a helmet-like headphone with giant electrostatic converters, but I preferred to play with my electrostatic speakers, Quad ESL.)

The main disadvantage of the headphone playback is the "in-head localization" (IKL). Literature: Jens Blauert: Spatial Listening, Hirzel-Verlag Stuttgart, 1974. Really convincing remedy can only be achieved with the art-head stereophony; But this is not compatible with loudspeakers and therefore there are no more artificial head recordings on the market. With the K812, AKG was not able to solve the problem of the IKL, but so far so as to mitigate it no longer disturbing. The sound sources do not seem to be in the head, but in a cloud around the head when playing with the K812.

In addition, the AKG K812 is the most neutral headphones I've heard in a long experience (I'm 70 years old). No part of the frequency spectrum is emphasized or attenuated. The K812 is not a nice color or blur, as you would with many hifi headphones. The characteristic sharpening of brassblowers or baroque violets (more below) are by no means alleviated.
(The critically acclaimed Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO has a clear bass and treble lift and resembles the notorious "sound of the sound" of the loudspeaker manufacturer Heco and Canton in the 70s).

I limit myself to two musical examples, in which I found the Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO to be particularly unsatisfying:

Brahms: The organ work, Georges Athanasiades at the organ of the Stiftbasilika Waldsassen (TUDOR, 1992). This organ is one of the world's largest and most sound church organizers, and the Stiftbasilika Waldsassen has such excellent acoustics that even orchestras like the Bamberg Symphonists play there.
The Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO produces a totally unnatural sound: the deep pedal registers are booming, the upper heights are sometimes so dominant that I am frightened and the lack of space is unmistakable. One can improve the spatial impression by very high volumes (the human ear feels very loud music as spatial), but the high volume seems very unnatural - as loud as the organ in the church is not. I have therefore experimented with a reverb device, but because you are on a very narrow ridge between sound improvement and deterioration. (The lack of space in the Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO is not only due to the fact that it is a closed headphone, but the open Beyerdynamic DT 990 does not sound more spatial.)
Completely different the AKG K812: The spatial impression is so striking, that I temporarily forget that I have a headphone, and concentrate completely on the music. The deep basses are clearly audible, but no longer boom; And when a high register is drawn, I am no longer frightened by the Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO.

Vivaldi: Concerti della natura, Sonatori de la Giosa Marca, Giuliano Carmignola, baroque violin (Erato, 2000). The chamber orchestra consists of just seven musicians (including the harpsichordist); The soloist - Giuliano Carmignola - plays a baroque violine that has never been altered. (The celebrated masterminds of the Amati, Guarneri and Stradivari have been adapted over the centuries to the increasing need for more volume, although they still sound very good, but quite different from the time of their formation). The baroque violine has a special timbre, more graceful and sharper than the converted violins (Nicolaus Harnoncourt has helped the baroque violine to new popularity in the 70s.)
With the Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO, the mini chamber orchestra is puffed up to double the size and Giulianos Barockvioline sounds like a modern one.
With the AKG K812 the intimacy of the small orchestra returns and Giulano's Baroque Violine has its characteristic timbre.

I could add many other musical examples, but I do not want to overwhelm the reader.

Summary: The AKG K812 is the ideal headphone for the classic lover (Pop lovers are surely well served with the half-expensive Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO, I do not want to talk about it badly.) The AKG engineers, who designed this masterpiece, Regularly attend the Vienna Musikvereinssaal to listen to the Vienna Philharmonic.
For sound engineers who do not have an insulated studio, AKG recently presented a closed version of this headphone.
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