We were starting to think that a musician's endorsement was something of a death knell for audio equipment, but the Q701's - the flagship product in AKG's Quincy Jones-sponsored line-up - proves that theory conclusively wrong. Where Jay-Z and Dr Dre's names on the packaging of the Skullcandy Aviators and Monster Beats respectively counts for no more than the assurance that you'll be paying over the odds for what lies within, even if they weren't available for a decent chunk under their £499 recommended price is the Q701s would be worthy of recommendation. At the sub-£360 they can be found for they are, if not a bargain, certainly a safe investment.
The design of the AKQ Q701 headphones is very similar to that of the less high-end K601 and K701, at least outwardly. That's no bad thing; the Q701s, like their predecessors, look very stylish, even if the lime green versions aren’t perhaps the most professional-looking - the white and black options look great. The plastic construction feels as solid and durable as a polycarbonate can. Interestingly AKG claims that the Q701's arches are unbreakable, a claim we didn't want to risk fully putting to the test, although the Q701's did survive being accidentally knocked off a desk a couple of times.
Definitely well-considered is the self-adjusting headband, from which the earcups are elastically suspended. The result is that as well as staying properly fitted in place no matter how you move the Q701s about on your head, with their weight evenly distributed. The band's padding isn't actually that soft, but it is leather-covered and distributed weight evenly. The earcups are large enough that they will completely encompass all but the mode Dumbo-like of ears, which we much prefer to the less-common alternative having the pads rest on the ear. In combination with the large earcups, the 'suspended' design makes the Q701s very comfortable; we had no problem wearing them for hours on end.
The AKG Q701s are definitely not headphones that you want to use in the presence of others. The open-back design means that they leak sound promiscuously, and offer next to no isolation from outside noise. Given the compromise to the openness of sound that a more isolating, closed design would have forced AKG to make, we don't consider this a problem, but simply a sensible decision; these are not headphones intended to be worn on the daily commute.