The AKG K72 are affordable headphones of the type you're more likely to see in a music studio rather than out on the street.
Their giant ear pads are super-comfy, and the cable is longer than that of a street pair. The headphones are meant for use at home rather than on a commute. The sound isn’t perfect, but it is – like almost everything else about the pair – great for the money.
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When on, the AKG K72s sit above, rather than hugging, your head; the faux leather band actually keeps the pair in place.
This style isn’t practical if you’re looking for headphones to wear on the train – the protruding TV antenna poles aren’t exactly discreet – but means the headband can fully conform to your head. This is only one area that contributes to the AKG K72’s great comfort.
Very large ear cups with thick, pleather-topped foam pads ensure there are no odd pressure points, and since the K72s aren't particularly heavy anyway, a firm fit isn’t really necessary. These are among the most comfortable £40-odd headphones I've used.
The AKG K72 feel reasonably well made too. They’re not heavy-duty, but also aren't significantly creaky like some cheaper plastic headphones.
These headphones are one of three models in this series, with the other two bafflingly close in price to the K72s. The K52s cost around £10 less; the K92s £10 more.
There are some slight differences in sound quality between the three units, but the most noticeable are the design tweaks. The AKG K52s are all-black, losing the silver ear cup caps and also the ridged texture of the K72's cups.
The AKG K92s use gold highlights in place of silver ones for a more provocative style. These top two models are very similar in tone too, making the K72s a good bet if you want to save £10.
There are just a few practical issues to consider first, most of which are unlikely to be a problem for the right buyer.
First, the long and relatively thick cable isn't ideal for those looking for a set of headphones to wear while walking around town. It’s 3m long, and also non-removable.
Sound isolation is limited, too. The loose fit is better at providing comfort than blocking out sound, which makes sense when the AKG K72 are made for use at home – or at least indoors.
Look at AKG’s website and it appears the K72s are designed for musicians. However, they’ll do the job for movies, general music and gaming, too.
The AKG K72 have a flatter frequency response than most £40 sets of headphones. As you might expect, you don’t get ultra-refined reference-grade sound at the price, but you do avoid any huge bass or treble skews.
Bass emphasis is the norm in more affordable headphones, the audio equivalent of filling a ready meal full of sugar and salt to make it tasty. The AKG K72 are a little more serious, with an aim of getting a sort of budget version of the sound offered in the company’s excellent studio monitor headphones.
Wide, fairly detailed sound is part of this. As you’d hope given their size, they sound larger than in-ear headphones you might find at the price. There's great separation for the price; and being able to hear space between instruments gives the impression of a wide stereo effect.
The K72s aren't perfect, though. Mid-range colouration means vocals don’t sound entirely natural. Instead, they come across as boxed in and unrefined compared with most other areas of the K72 sound.
The result is that voices end up sounding compressed, and this effect makes it seem like the treble “fades out” as it reaches the higher frequencies. Listen closely and you’ll actually hear plenty of treble detail, but the odd mid-range stops this from being immediately evident.
Mid-range quality is the biggest difference I notice when switching between these and those headphones costing over £100. But at £40, you can’t have it all.
The AKG K72 are among the cheapest headphones AKG makes. You could probably convince people they cost twice the price, and they're comfortable enough to wear all day.
They're not made for outdoors use, however. For that you should consider the AKG Y50. They’re funkier, more portable, with a chunkier sound that will be far better at standing up in noisy environments.
On the other hand, the AKG K72s offer more neutral bass and greater imaging clarity.
An affordable and comfortable pair of full-size headphones for home use.