AKG K1000 Earspeaker Headphone Measurements

We're in for a real treat this week. Head-Fi member yaluen has most graciously shipped a treasure trove of vintage headphones for me to measure and share with InnerFidelity readers. We'll get to the sweet cache of Stax cans in short order, but I figured I'd offer up this sweet set of measurements as an appetizer.

Man, it's been years since I had a pair of AKG K1000s on my head...I guess I'm surprised at how good they sound. I think I expected them to be worse than I remember given the decades of headphone development since. But no, they seem to be as I remember: bass light, a little hard, and a bit rolled-off in the top octave; but none the less pleasant and somewhat more spacious than normal headphones. The amp I used was pretty plain-Jane, but as I recall from years ago, the K1000 responds very well to better amplification. The best I've heard them was on a First Watt F1.

Yaluen tells me this is a "bass heavy" set, but there really isn't much sub-bass going on here. I used to listen with a subwoofer in the room.

The thing I was most curious about is how the frequency response would change with the earspeaker angle. Curiosity assuaged!


Hm. As I recall I seemed to prefer the sound when slightly more than half way open, and upon relistening I think that preference stands.

Boy, what a cool headphone. If there were ever a headphone I wish would go back in production, I'd want a new Sony R10. But the AKG K1000 would be solidly in second place.

Measurements here!

Vintage Stax coming soon. Thanks, Yaluen!

Maybe's picture

The isolation plot looks funny. Seems like the free-hanging cups/drivers resonate with the speaker at low frequencies causing short circuiting.
Interesting to see that such a fully open headphone can have more isolation at 100Hz than most sealed over-ears.

I'm also surprised the bass stays constant among all levels of opening the cup. I assumed the "closed" would have the most bass but actually the opposite seems to be the case.

I hope the MySphere 3.1 which the K1000 developers are currently working on turns out well. Especially since AKG is dead now.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
Yeah, I'm not sure what's up with the isolation. I actually measured it twice. I'll give it another go tomorrow and see if it remains the same.
GNagus's picture


hugo450r's picture

Tyll, any chance of you reviewing the Sony X1-R, ideally with the matching DAC/amp?

hugo450r's picture

I meant Z1 not X1.

luvmusik's picture

Would like to see -

-Stax sets next upcoming as written, eagerly anticipating, yaluen rocks for supplying them

-Sony MDR-R10 Bass Heavy full review & measurements (please someone lend Tyll a vintage mint set)

-ZMF Eikon Padauk full review & measurements ( ? in process soon ? ) which also is reminiscent of the R10

-LB-Acoustics MySphere 3.1 full review & measurements, which is likened to a "modern" version of the AKG-K1000 developed by some of the same AKG guys that actually created the K1000. Said to now have better bass with a "modernized" sound, yet retaining the overall K1000 attributes (also was posted by member Maybe in 1st post here)

Tyll Hertsens's picture
That MySphere stuff is cool. I'll keep an eye on it.
Jazz Casual's picture

Fascinating! Looking forward to the vintage Stax measurements. Any chance of getting your hands on a Grado HP1?

sacredgates's picture

hi Tyll, i don´t know if you are aware that two of the main original developers of the AKG K1000 are working on a new headphone with a similar concept. It most probably will be available soon. Heinz Renner and Helmut Ryback seem to go all the way to create a very innovative and high tech TOTL headphone. Of course we will have to wait how this translates in musical enjoyment...
There is just a small homepage for now: www.mysphere.at
In Germany the headphone is discussed extensively at:
with all kinds of information on the development (sorry, this is all in German...). Some have heard prototypes and it seems extremely promising.

Chiumeister's picture

K1000 charts look much the same with your measurements of the ED10 which you mocked harshly, yet here you love the vintage AKG.

markus's picture

The impulse respone and the treble response from >6 kHz of the AKG K1000 are clearly better. Plus, measurements don't present transient speed, dynamics and soundstage.

thefitz's picture

Those measurements have nothing in common. Are you an Ultrasone fanboy that is bitter over the review?

yaluen's picture

Copy-paste from an email I sent Tyll:

About the "bass heavy" designation HFers have given to older sets of the K1000, it's to do with the primary resonance frequency of the drivers. People noticed that early production K1000s seemed to have more bass than later ones, especially those with >10000 serial numbers, and Mr Heinz Renner, one of the chief K1000 engineers, confirmed that at various points of production f0 was bumped up to improve yield (http://www.head-fi.org/t/57805/history-of-the-akg-k1000/30#post_8755962).

IIRC the serial number for this particular pair is in the 2000 range.

yaluen's picture

Oh, and I wanted to mention another point of reference on how the K1000 measures: http://sonove.angry.jp/sony_MDR_MA900.html

Binhyen's picture

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ustone123's picture

The thing I was most curious about is how the frequency response would change with the earspeaker angle. Curiosity assuaged!
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