Updated: Nov 16, 2020
Not a prodigy, but competitive - AKG's closed flagship in deutsch
frequency range: 5 - 54000 Hz | sound pressure level: 112 dB | impedance: 36 Ohm | dynamic
One thing you should keep in mind with the K872. It probably won't convince you at first impression, but you should definitely take some time to familiarize yourself with its signature and sound presentation.
Bass Mids Trebles Stage Imaging
8.5 8 8.5 8.5 9
Processing Comfort Earpads Headband Weight
10 7 6 8 390 grams
Price 975 €
Pro Contra - isolation - Mid Peak
- good separation - fit of the earpads
- detail rendition - some missing extension at both ends
- warm, neutral sound - tonal fluctuations
That the transformation of an open headphone into a closed one is not so easy is shown by AKG with its K872, which follows the K812. I certainly can't judge whether this is the same driver, but I strongly suspect it is.
The K872 can't inspire me right away, even though I wished for a bit more warmth and a more potent bass on the K812, which I get on the K872. Still, for my taste, it has the drawback when it comes to sound quality. But it is without question a good headphone.
The design is similar to that of the K812, with the main difference being the closed auricles. This also gives the K872 a very noble and above all robust appearance. The materials used are absolutely harmonious and create a very pleasing overall appearance.
The headband is comfortable and can be intuitively adjusted on the sides to fit the shape of the head. It is made of leather, but has an air-permeable fabric sewn into it, which makes sense especially for longer use.
The K872 uses basically the same ear pads as the K812, but they are lined slightly differently, i.e. thicker in some places (under the ear). One problem that can be noticed here is the variation of the bass depending on how well the pads fit. With frequent use (quick and rough putting on and taking off) the "housing" can bend and thus not fit tight enough. This can severely affect the sound and may need to be brought back into shape. With the K812 this is less of a problem due to its open construction. I also find the K872 less comfortable to wear than the K812 due to the slightly modified thickness of the ear pads and the heat development.
The weight of the K872 is not a big criterion for me personally, but surely there are other opinions, especially if you want to use it on the road, which is possible even on a cell phone with a corresponding DAC (even without) due to its low impedance.
The detachable cable measures a good 3m and has a 3-pin LEMO connector towards the headphones, as well as a gold-plated 3.5mm jack plug, for which a 6.3mm adapter is of course also included.
In contrast to the K812, the isolation is of course much better due to the closed construction. But sometimes I have the feeling of a vacuum and it gets warm under the K872 too. Because of the somewhat questionable earpads, or rather the possible deformation of the case, there can be strong fluctuations.
Instead of the nice wooden headphone holder (K812) we get a storage case for the K872, which is certainly not an eye-catcher. It serves its purpose and makes the K872 more mobile, but it is not very aesthetic.
I was looking forward to the K872 a little bit, because I thought it would fulfill my wish for deeper and punchier bass compared to the K812. Well, it has more quantity and gives the signature much more warmth, but it doesn't have an extended bass and leaves me a bit disappointed in this respect. Nevertheless, the bass has class, as it has a good texture and a natural response. The dynamic driver of the K872 lives up to its name here. It has authenticity and stands out in all genres, even if I lack that certain something. But it is by no means to be understood as a bass cannon, as it is more neutral, with a mid-bass emphasis. The only shortcomings are the sub-bass and the fluctuation of the bass performance in connection with the fit of the earpads. Even wearing glasses ensures a low bass quantity here, which also has a negative effect on the sound for me.
The mids are probably the bigger compromise to be made with the K872. I find voices a bit nasal from time to time, but most of all there's a "shrill" peak playing into them, which is quite random, but can get really unpleasant (example: Linkin Park - Wasteland). I didn't notice that with the K812.
The additional warmth is good for the mids, as it gives them a bit more fullness, liveliness and "authenticity". Nevertheless, they are flatter/neutral, have a very pleasant presence and the K872 can certainly not be called V-Shaped. This would not do justice to its own claim as a tool for monitoring and mixing.
But all in all, the mids are sometimes a bit irritating, as they do not always show the desired consistency when it comes to the absolute high-end standard. Technically very high quality, but tonal variations can occur here and there. In addition, the more in the mix positioned voice presentation does not completely suit me. Grumbling on a high level.
The high frequencies of the AKG K872 are very good in my opinion. They don't have the slight sharpness of the K812, but despite the more relaxed playing style they can bring out details very well. However, the airiness and the transparency is a bit lost. But I accept this as a compromise because of the better audibility. Sibilants are no longer an issue due to the lowered 6 kHz peak of the K812. A round and only in very rare cases demanding high tone with a remarkable resolution. In the top end, however, the K812 has the upper hand and is also more detailed.
The stage is no competition to the K812, but it is certainly also one of the most spacious I have heard, when it comes to closed headphones. This certainly has something to do with the fact that the drivers, as with the K812, have a relatively large distance to the ear.
The K872 sounds more organic and musical than the K812. The bass is probably the decisive criterion here, but so is the closed construction.
The K812 knows how to give absolutely every instrument its own space and has an impressive three-dimensionality. The K872, on the other hand, focuses more on a harmonious sound, which appears more natural and also offers a welcome intimacy for voices. Nevertheless, I miss the openness and absolute overview of the K812, no matter how hectic it gets. However, the K872 has strong technical qualities for closed headphones in terms of imaging.
One thing you should keep in mind with the K872. It probably won't convince you at first impression, but you should definitely take some time to familiarize yourself with its signature and sound presentation. Especially if you have heard other AKG representatives before, like the Q/K701, K702, or K812, you will be a bit irritated at the beginning.
The K872 is more full-bodied and not as bright as those mentioned. Nevertheless, you will quickly hear yourself into the headphones and recognize the AKG house signature.
You won't get a K812 in closed design. Also the K872 is not an absolute allrounder for me because of the midrange presentation and the bass dependence in connection with the sealing is a problem for me because I wear glasses.
Thanks to Sattler Electronic Showtronic AG for providing the test headphones.