Listening to the T1 for awhile and then switching to the T90, I get an immediate impression that I’m hearing a lower-quality headphone, and it isn’t subtle. Comparing the T90 to the K812 isn’t as useful, since the K812 has a much more impressive soundstage and sense of detail, albeit that some of that detail is exaggerated. However, the T90 and K812 do make a good comparison in terms of sonic tradeoffs, despite the large price difference. The T90 seems a little smoother, but the K812 has more detail. The K812 has the big sonic presentation, but the T90 is potentially less fatiguing (just an impression). In spite of all this, I find the K812 to be more exciting, or more interesting than either Beyer headphone, and that may be due to its peculiar colorations, or the sonic roughness that I usually assume is a negative quality.
The K812 earcups are huge and the sonics are equally large – most decent stereo recordings should present a great soundstage, although if the slightly forward character of the sound coincides with music tracks that are recorded close-up or have been remastered for the ‘Loudness Wars’, that combination may have users turning the volume down to compensate. The earcup adjustments will fit heads that are only slightly larger than my average head. Going the other direction, the adjustments to smaller heads are at most 10mm on each side. The good news is that very large ears should fit the K812 just fine.
I read somewhere where the K812 cable was described as thin or very slender, and while it’s certainly thinner than the Beyer T1 cable, it’s also much, much thicker than cables with many portable headphones such as the Bose models, or the B&W P3 or P5. The K812 cable is also nearly twice as thick as the Beyer DT1350 cable. The connection to the left earcup is a ‘LEMO’ connector, with 3 internal pins that remind me of XLR’s (but smaller).
The K812’s earpads are covered in what looks and feels like a nice soft pleather, and AKG’s unique design has the bottom of each earpad at least 5mm thicker than the upper part, which should help them seal better to heads that taper off rapidly below the ears. Why exactly these earpads need to seal, given that the K812 is open-back – I don’t know.
The K812 headband has a separate mesh piece underneath, which is wide enough to disperse a lot of the weight, although in my case the earcups seem to carry most of the weight, so the headband/mesh pressure is much less noticeable for me than the earcup/earpad pressure. For experienced headphone users, I think they will find the K812 very comfortable, but users whose experience is with lightweight plastic headphones only may find the size and feel of the K812 somewhat intimidating.
Thank you Dale for the review. The AKG K812 is starting to show up in shops all over the world. The Amazon price for the moment is $1499 USD. Yes, that’s a reference price. My personal favorite of the three headphones Dale mentions is the T90, although I have to say I’m growing more fond of the HD800 each time I listen to it. People change, tastes change. Who knows I even might start liking the K812. You never know.