As I write this I'm listening to the wonderful Peter Cooper release Opening Day through a pair of "refurbished" AKG K701 headphones that I bought for $190. New ones have a list price of $539, but new ones can be had for $278.30. That's quite a discount.
So, what's the deal? AKG K701 certainly don't suck, and it's not like their performance has been vastly overshadowed by newer models. The question is why are they being discounted a whopping 48% off of list?
In the AKG K701's case, the primary reason for the deep discounting is that they have been "on the market" for quite some time and other newer models, including the AKG K702 which has the same list price, similar design, AND a removable cable instead of the permanently-attached cable of the K701, have been released. On Amazon you'll pay slightly more than a $50 upcharge for the K702 over the K701.
Competition from other AKG models forced AKG to effectively lower the K701's price, not by lowering it's list price, but by decreasing its wholesale price to retailers so they can more deeply discount it. Is the AKG K701 a better value than the newer K702? Not really, especially if you are the kind of person who trips over, stomps on, and generally abuses headphone cables. Or if you need a headphone that can support both standard and balanced headphone connections, the K702 would be a far more valuable and flexible choice than the K701, and certainly worth the extra money.
Occasionally even a good product needs some discounting to make it fly off dealer's shelves. The AKG K 701 is a case in point.