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The AKG K72 centered with music gear and the long cable shown.
Jasper Lastoria / SoundGuys

AKG K72 review

Sometimes you get what you pay for.
February 22, 2023
The bottom line
AKG cuts too many corners with the AKG K72. It doesn't sound very good, and it feels pretty cheap with stiff cushioning. That AKG retains the tension based headband and light clamp force are the main good points here.


AKG cuts too many corners with the AKG K72. It doesn't sound very good, and it feels pretty cheap with stiff cushioning. That AKG retains the tension based headband and light clamp force are the main good points here.
Release date



40 x 40 mm (ear cup diameter)


200 grams (headset only)

Model Number




Noise isolation


What we like
Comfortable headband
What we don't like
Wonky sound quality
Mediocre isolation
Stiff padding
SoundGuys Rating
User Rating
Rating Metric
Our Rating
User Rating
Sound Quality
Isolation / Attenuation
Durability / Build Quality

Stalwart audio company AKG has a plethora of highly respected and genuinely good studio headphones, with models endorsed by producers like Quincy Jones. Moreover, AKG has tuned some well liked Samsung earbuds too. So when we saw there’s a cheap set of closed back headphones—the AKG K72—we had to give it a shot, and put it through its paces.

Editor’s note: this is the first version of the article. Updates will follow as the market changes.

About this AKG K72 review: We tested the AKG K72 over a period of 6 days. SoundGuys purchased the unit for this review.

If you wanted the signature AKG light clamping fit, this is about the cheapest access point.

What’s it like to use AKG K72?

The AKG K72 rests on a wood desk surrounded by music equipment.
Jasper Lastoria / SoundGuys
Build quality here is plastic, flexible, and probably not terribly robust.

What stands out about the AKG K72 is the headset’s light weight at 200g. The cable adds an additional 50 (or so) grams, but your head won’t feel that, so long as nothing tugs on the left side where the cable connects. It does not fold down, and you get some movement where the ear cup housings meets the arms to adjust your fit. Thanks to the suspension headband found on most AKG headphones, it’s comfortable along the crown and automatically sizes itself.

The large, round ear cups have stiff vinyl covered padding. The padding is stiff and it does not conform around glasses particularly well, which negatively affects the sound and isolating properties of the K72. At least the light clamping force means the AKG K72 doesn’t press on any nerves along the jaw when having a snack.

A hand tugs at the AKG K72 tension headband.
Jasper Lastoria / SoundGuys
The headband adjusts to size using an elasticized band.

Weirdly, the ear pads almost feel like they’re on backwards. The padding is thicker towards the front, particularly the left side. There’s 60mm of height and width between the inside edges of the ear pads, so most ears will fit the K72, but that much space also means you need to pay attention to how the headphones are worn. If your K72 sits too far forward or back, the sound perceivably alters. Lastly, temperature is not an issue except where the vinyl directly touches your skin, as the K72 heats up, but no more than the average closed back studio headphones.

How does the AKG K72 connect?

The AKG K72 rests on a desk and mini amp.
Jasper Lastoria / SoundGuys
There are still reasons to buy headphones with jacks, for example playing instruments that plug in.

The AKG K72 comes with the 3 meter cable permanently affixed, terminating in a 3.5mm jack. You also get a 1/4 inch adapter. The length of the cable is fine for at home use, but definitely too long for use outside.

No, the headphones are pretty sensitive (at 112dB SPL/V at 1 kHz) and an impedance of 32Ω. You’ll have no need for a headphone amp with the AKG K72.

How well does the AKG K72 block out noise?

The isolating properties of the AKG K72 shown on a chart are not impressive.
That light and loose fit of the K72 is one of the reasons it does not isolate well.

As a set of closed-back headphones the AKG K72 isolates somewhat poorly. This is the result of a few elements, namely the stiff ear padding that does not create a good seal around the ear. For example, I can fit my smallest finger easily between where my jaw and the K72 meet.

The just shy of 30dB noise attenuation between 4kHz and 8kHz means people speaking in real life will be harder to make out. It’ll dull some clanging sounds like dishes, but anything lower pitched will come through unabated.

It helps that the AKG K72 is a pair of over-ear headphones and that the ear cups articulate to attempt an even application of pressure. Although, it wouldn’t hurt to be able to articulate even more, because I max out the adjustability towards the back of the ear cups.

How does the AKG K72 sound?

This chart shows our target frequency response compared to the AKG K72 results.
This frequency response serves as a reminder why it’s good to test headphones.

Rather surprisingly, the 40mm dynamic drivers inside the AKG K72 project an unusual and not especially good-sounding frequency response. It’s not “neutral” like you might expect of studio headphones, and it’s not really pleasing for average listeners either. In essence, frequencies between 200 and 1000Hz are mostly too loud relative to everything else. Lower pitch frequencies see a steep volume roll off, and where the headphones should have the most volume peaking at 3kHz, the K72 under-emphasizes by nearly 15dB.

This seems a little odd when considering that AKG is currently under the Samsung umbrella, along with Harman International, known for its target curve, which bares resemblance to our own target curve at SoundGuys. In other words, AKG knows how good headphones sound, but made the K72 this way regardless.

Lows, mids, highs

The AKG K72 as worn on a person facing away from the camera wearing a hat.
Jasper Lastoria / SoundGuys
It’s pretty inaccurate sounding, but it’s lightweight.

Listening to Bones by Radiohead, the AKG K72 offers what sounds like a worse alternate reality version of the song. Thom Yorke’s vocals sound extremely quiet and distant compared to the guitars, especially during the first verse. The bass guitar completely lacks oomph and plays quietly compared to the guitars, noticeably so at the choruses.

In fact, the running theme of the AKG K72 playing this song is that the guitar grabs all of the attention, because it’s loud. Initially it seems kind of cool when the song begins with the prominent quick stereo panning tremolo effect on the distorted guitar, until the other instruments come in at low volumes. Lastly, the snare sounds inaccurate and surprisingly hard to differentiate from the cymbals with this frequency response. Essentially, it only sounds good if you listen to guitar by itself.

A chart shows the rather messy EQ needed to make the AKG K72 sound better.
This chart illustrates how not every headset is the ideal candidate for equalizing.

You can EQ the AKG K72 if you have a set already and want to make it better. Manually equalizing it may prove difficult with some apps or hardware because you’re not dealing with a smooth or consistent curve. It has a lot of dips and peaks, which especially challenges some of the more rudimentary equalizers. However, the above chart gives a sense of where to start.

Should you buy the AKG K72?

A close up of the ear cup of the AKG K72 with music gear in the background.
Jasper Lastoria / SoundGuys
The AKG K72 looks like a set of studio headphones, but doesn’t sound like studio headphones.

If you’re looking for a set of studio grade headphones at a cut rate and you found the AKG K72, keep looking. AKG has a lot of good products under its belt, but the AKG K72 is not one of them. Ruining its potential, the AKG K72 has a weird frequency response; it’s neither suitable for studio use, nor consumer audio. What’s worse, the K72 is not really an easy headset to EQ either.

Frankly, the K72 does not do much exceptionally well except sit over your ears with a light clamping force. Even then, the ear padding has different thicknesses on each ear.

These days it’s difficult to recommend the AKG K72 for anyone, unless you want to make sure your latest track sounds good on every conceivable frequency response, including wonky ones.

Studio style • Lightweight • Inexpensive

How does AKG K72 compare to AKG K92?

A photo of the AKG K92 held in a hand, with a pegboard backdrop.
Just because the AKG K92 comes in gold does not make it objectively better.

The AKG K92 costs a little more than the AKG K72, and comes in black with gold, rather than black with silver. Both headsets have very similar specs, including 40mm dynamic drivers and closed back housings.

Rather surprising is that both the AKG K72 and K92 sound quite alike and isolate similarly. As you can see, the K92 has more emphasis between 4kHz and 9kHz. This gives the K92 a more trebly sound than the AKG K72. Unfortunately, both pairs retain this odd and difficult-to-equalize frequency response.

A chart maps the AKG K72 and AKG K92 against each other and the target curve.
Both AKG models sound almost identical.

You can definitely do better than both the AKG K92 and AKG K72. It’s not worth paying the premium for the bigger number, because it’s not effectively any better than the K72. Do not mix with either the AKG K92 or K72 if you can help it. So, should you get the AKG K92 or AKG K72? You should get neither. Get one of the suggestions below.

Light-weight headphones • 40mm drivers
Light-weight and affordable wired headphones
The AKG K92 studio headphones are designed to be light-weight and comfortable, balancing a low price point with high-end features.

What should you get instead of the AKG K72?

A hand holds the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x in front of a window and an aloe plant.
The ATH-M30x balances cost cutting measures.

Sure it costs a bit more ($157.97 at Amazon), but you’ll thank me if you get the AKG K371 rather than AKG K72. Unlike the AKG K72, the AKG K371 has really pleasant frequency response, and aligns closely with our target curve. Besides better sound, the K371 is simply better built, with articulating ear cups, and detachable cabling. Additionally, the AKG K240 Studio is still a standard starter headset for mixers, albeit it has open backs, and is a bit light on bass.

The MDR-7506 headphones lying on a table
The Sony MDR-7506 even folds up and has a thick coiled cable.

You can’t go too wrong with the Sony MDR-7506, which has been around for decades. It not quite as comfortable as the AKG K72, but it sounds way better, and it still feels good enough that you can wear it for stretches while editing audio. The robust build dwarfs the plasticky build of the AKG K72.

For a similar price, the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x is imperfect, but it imparts a notably better and easier to EQ frequency response than the AKG K72. It lacks the comfort of the suspension headband of the AKG K72, implementing a more conventional sliding headband. Even so, it’s a better pick for recording and tracking for $79 at Amazon. Now if you’re really going for cheap ($49 at Amazon), try the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x, which skimps on luxuries, but sounds quite a bit better than the AKG K72, so it’s still useable.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, you can swap out the ear pads on the AKG K72. However, because the headset is inexpensive to begin with, and for reasons outlined in the sound quality section, it’s probably not worth investing additional money into the AKG K72. Furthermore, changing ear pads changes the acoustic properties of a given set of headphones, so we can’t tell you precisely how it’ll sound.