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tony3d
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AKG K701

I wasn't sure where to post this so here goes. I'm interested in the AKG K701 heaphones, and had a few questions. Will a Harman Kardon CDR-26 power them ok? I won't be able to afford a headphone pre-amp for a while. If you were going to spend $400.00 on phones which would you suggest? Would I be better off buying say a pair of Sennheiser - HD580 headphones, and a Antique Sound - HB1 Hybrid Tube Headphone Amp to go with it. I can do either one of those options.

Elk
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Re: AKG K701

You shouldn't have any problem driving the 701's. They take a little more power than some, but not much more.

I personally prefer the Sennheiser 600's and 650's over the AKG's. 580's have a sound similar to the newer Sennheisers but I haven't heard the 580's in a good while.

I just spent a weekend with the AKG's and the newer Sennheisers. I listened to them through my Single Power tubed headphone amp and my Grace m902 solid state DAC/headphone amp. I own the Sennheisers. The AKG's belong to a friend and are well broken in.

The AKG's have a *large* (~7-9dB) boost in the high presence region of 6kHz - 10kHz. The midrange is also somewhat recessed, both on its own as it is lower in level than the mid-bass and also because of the big boost in the highs. While it is east to hear detail, I I find this to be artificial detail. Sibilance is excessive, the sound is shiny and glaring overall. I might like the AKG's to listen for problems when editing my own recordings, but I this would be as a tool - not for musical enjoyment. Understand however this is in comparison to other excellent headphones - the AKG's are still good.

A good tube amp is a must. I think a pair of 580's coupled with a nice amp would be a great listenable combo. The 580's are very similar in sound to the 600's and 650's and are quite affordable. I personally would go this route.

I don't know the particular Antique Sound amp you reference. Be a bit careful; the quality control and construction of their equipment is down to a price. You may get a good one, you may not. Just be sure you can return it if you don't like it or it has any problem. Their stuff can sound very good however.

Check out headfi.com, do a lot of reading and ask a few questions. You'll get some wonderful ideas on how to proceed.

Happy listening.

P.S. What is that scary thing that is your avatar?

tony3d
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Re: AKG K701

Thanks for the reply. Does this amp look good? I can afford it. VAL E10 Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier. http://www.audio01.com/eng/product.htm I'm hoping it will drive the 580's ok.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: AKG K701

You need to get either WP or Jeff Wong to chime in here as they are the 701 Gurus.

If you buy anything less than the 701's you know what is going to happen weeks or at the most a few months from now!!!! Buyer's remorse.

tony3d
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Re: AKG K701

Ok, now I'm all confused. Someone else told me the senn 595's and a tube amp is the way to go. In the back of my mind I still see the AKG 701's taughting me. Trouble is I won't be able to drive them with nothing more than an H/K CDR-26 for now. If I buy the 595's or 580's I can afford the tube amp to drive them. I hate being poor.
Update: Ok, here's the deal. These are the two packages I can afford.

Package 1: AGK 701 $289.00 plus a Project Headbox MK2 amp $120.00.
Package 2: Sennheiser 595 plus V.A.L. e10 tube amp $299.00
Here is the link for the amp.......http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw/102-5291323-8674547?url=search-alia.... Which package would you pick?

Jeff Wong
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Re: AKG K701

Tony - Here are my two cents, for what they're worth. I use AKG 701s, Sennheiser 600s & 650s (with Equinox cables) with Grace 901 & m902 headphone amps. These days, I mainly use the AKGs for most of my listening. They seem more transparent than the Senns, which are veiled by comparison... this veiling seems endemic to these models of Sennheiser, though, and a common complaint (I still enjoy music through them.) The 701s need at least 300 hours of use to tame the initial, overly harsh treble. As I've asserted before, constant signal running through wires maintains burn-in (which is not something that one just does once and keeps.) While I mostly use the 701s, I must add that after a CD or two, I do feel a sense of relief when I take the AKGs off. This does make me wonder if their treble peak borders on fatiguing. I can listen to the Senns for longer stretches, but, they don't come across as transparent as I'd like.

I cannot comment on the combos you've described. I'm not sure I've heard them, though, it's possible I may have briefly checked them out at a headphone meet -- certainly not long enough to offer an informed opinion. If possible, you should try to audition these combos you're considering in person. What you hear and perceive will matter most.

Check over at Head-Fi if there are any local meets happening near you. That would give you a chance to try out all sorts of stuff.

jazzfan
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Re: AKG K701

Hi Tony,

Throwing my two cents in I would say to go with the K701s rather than the HD595s. The HD595s are not in the same league as the K701's, although the HD580 is much closer. Based on the prices you quoted it appears that you're able to get the K701s for a very good price so I would go with those headphones.

I have several pairs of headphones including the K701s and the HD650s and my only comment as far as the K701s go is that they do not have the greatest bass response but they are extremely detailed and very revealing so make sure you use a good source and a clean amp with them.

If you're going to be listening to a lot of bass rich music, e.g. rock, r&b, electric jazz or large orchestral works, I would not recommend the K701s because of their lightweight bass response. However but if you are listening to broad spectrum of music then the K701s are the way to go.

As far as amps go, none of the headphones you're interested in are particularly difficult to drive and all work quite well with even the most basic dedicated headphone amp. Of course with headphones as good as the K701s and the better model Sennheisers the better the amp the better the headphones will sound.

I do agree with what some of the others have stated in that you should at least visit head-fi and look in the "headphone" for more info.

Head-Fi

Elk
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Re: AKG K701

Great comments, guys.

Jeff, I also find the 701's fatiguing after a short while - perhaps it is indeed the peak in the treble.

I personally don't find the Sennheiser 600's or 650's veiled, although one can indeed hear more detail with the 701's. To me this detail is artificial and is a result of the boosted highs. This is all just a matter of taste however.

One clarification: I earlier wrote " A good tube amp is a must." I did not mean this. I meant to write "A good headphone amp is a must." There are excellent SS amps and excellent tube amps.

tony3d
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Re: AKG K701

Thanks for all this great input guys. What do you all think about this amp. http://shop.vacuumtube.com/product/B000L1PXIW/Merchant/VAL-E10-Vacuum-Tube-Headphone-.htm It looks interesting. Not a bad deal for $299.00. The output is 300mw into 100 ohms at .1% distortion.

Elk
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Re: AKG K701

Have you visited Head-Fi and spent some quality time there? Collectively those guys know a lot. Someone there probably knows the amp.

There are many amp and headphone reviews there for you to read and consider. Go look at your options - there are lots of them!

mikeymad
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Re: AKG K701


Quote:
Have you visited Head-Fi and spent some quality time there? Collectively those guys know a lot. Someone there probably knows the amp.

There are many amp and headphone reviews there for you to read and consider. Go look at your options - there are lots of them!

Be careful over there Tony, you can end up like me:

That would be:
Audio-technica ATH W5000 (Left)
Grado GS-1000 (Center)
STAX Omega II SR-007 (Right)

Then there are the extras:
Grado SR60
Sennheiser HD-650
STAX SR-404
Etymotic ER-4S

And yes all my money is gone (oh, yeah that does not include Amps)

Be careful, be very careful. :-)

But in reality there are a lot of advice about 'budget' systems over there that are very good.

tony3d
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Re: AKG K701

I'm afraid I'm half way there already. I have Etymotic ER-4, ER-6, and Ultimate Ears Super Fi 5 Pros. There's is no saving us.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: AKG K701

I can "see" why your cans sound so "goooooooood"!

tony3d
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Re: AKG K701

Well, I will pulled the trigger. It seems that the general concensus over at Head fi.org seems to be in favor of the AKGK701's. I also noticed that Wes Philips claims their the best phones he has heard. So tommorrow I'm going to order them along with the Val E10 Tube Headphone Amp. Here is the link to the amp.
http://shop.vacuumtube.com/product/B000L1PXIW/Merchant/VAL-E10-Vacuum-Tube-Headphone-.htm

mikeymad
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Re: AKG K701

Good luck Tony. Let us know how your new setup sounds.

Cheers

tony3d
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Re: AKG K701


Quote:
Good luck Tony. Let us know how your new setup sounds.

Cheers

Well, I ended up getting the AKG K701 headphones, and the Woo Audio WA6 tube headphone amp. The sound is superb! So far the Woo is a class act, and Jack is a wonderful, passionate, business man, who pays attention to the smallest details. I can't say enough about working with Jack. The amp is worth the price just based on the support alone. Their are very few products I have been this satisfied with, in a world where service, and quality are much to often a distant memory. As a business

Elk
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Re: AKG K701

What a gorgeous little amp!!!

Wonderful to hear that you are delighted with your purchases. You worked hard.

mikeymad
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Re: AKG K701

Good Job Tony,

I have been in touch with Jack many times. I am looking to have him build me a slightly custom amp for my STAX Omega II electrostatic cans. But the WA6 is very tempting in the meantime. His upgrades to the WA6 are suppose to be a very big leap in performance.

One the other hand there is the 300B amps... ouch

Cheers,

tony3d
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Re: AKG K701

Ya, there 300B amps are very expensive, plus very high to replace tubes. I think the WA6 is a great buy. I may consider having him do some of those upgrades to my amp. I remember when my amp arrived about 6 months ago it had a very small nick on the top rear edge of the transformer plate. In passing I mentioned it to Jack, and to my surprise 2 weeks later a new plate with the allen tool arrived at my house free of charge. Blew me away!

dcstep
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Re: AKG K701

I'll bump up this old thread since it was instrumental in leading me to a pairing of the K701s with a Woo Audio WA6, in black. Wow, that's a synergistic combination. The AKGs have the midrange smoothness and transparency equaling my old Stax electrostatics of the 1970s (forgot the model). The 701 surpass any cans I've tried in the bass and midbass.

I listen for hours on end, even with just 50-hours on the AKGs. I AM focusing on vinyl for now, but the little bit of digital listening I've done has been pleasant. I wonder if the people that find the AKGs tiring are listening entirely to digital, with SS amplification. I think that if you listen to digital you must have a really great front-end and a tube headphone amp will be a big plus.

Anyway, the AKG/Woo combination is very smooth, right out of the box. I'm really curious to see how the AKGs improve with a couple of hundred hours.

Dave

Elk
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Re: AKG K701

Excellent!

It's great to find a system that works this well.

I tried a pair of 701's with my Single Power tube headphone amp and with my SS Grace m902. They didn't do it for me, on either amp but I can appreciate others could really like them. And do!

Jeff Wong
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Re: AKG K701

Dave - With 300-400 hours on the 701s, they really open up. Initially, I found them to be too bright and harsh. They're a different animal later on. I recently switched to an experimental cable on my 650s and am now reburning in my 650s with my Equinox cable (having returned the experimental one); I still find the 701s to come across as more transparent, but, I still can wear the 650s longer. The 650s still give me the sense the sound is veiled, even with aftermarket cables, but, I do feel relieved when I pull the 701s off after several CDs.

dcstep
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Re: AKG K701


Quote:
The 650s still give me the sense the sound is veiled, even with aftermarket cables, but, I do feel relieved when I pull the 701s off after several CDs.

I have to try CDs in an all-CD session. I've been listening almost totally to vinyl, with no tiring. The vinyl and Woo may explain my happy experience so far.

I'll report back in a few days.

Dave

Elk
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Re: AKG K701


Quote:
Dave - With 300-400 hours on the 701s, they really open up.


Cool.

I need again to borrow the pair I heard a while back. I'm sure they have at least this much time on them now. Time to re-evaluate!

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