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bobb's picture
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 16 2005 - 5:59pm
Headphone Amp - Why?

I am thinking of picking up the AKG K701 'phones. What is the advantage of using a headphone amp vs. the headphone jack on my Yamaha amp? Would I realize an improvement in sound considering a headphone amp budget of $300-$400? I'm not at all knowledgable about headphone amps so I appreciate any guidance on this.

BTW, if it matters, 90% of my listening is classical music.

Thanks for sharing your experience.


dcstep's picture
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 16 2007 - 4:59pm
Re: Headphone Amp - Why?

I use the 701s with a Woo Audio WA6. The 701s will work with most headphone jacks but they'll just sound way better with a purpose-built amp. The 701s, more than most headphones require a good bit of power and a really high quality amp; otherwise, they can sound harsh. Even an inexpensive headphone amp can sound poor with the 701s. If you want to try your Yamaha's jack you might consider the 501s or the Sennheiser 600s or 650s, which are way more forgiving than the AKGs. Another option is to buy a used Woo off or so that you can get your money back out if you don't like it.


Elk's picture
Last seen: 2 years 1 month ago
Joined: Dec 26 2006 - 6:32am
Re: Headphone Amp - Why?

It is absolutely worth getting a dedicated amp. There are quite a few less expensive good amps. Go take a look at Head-Fi - lots of good info.

One to consider is Ray Samuels Audio Emmeline SR-71. Very nice.

I disagree with Dave that the Sennheisers are more forgiving - but they are different.

I, too, listen primarily to classical.

Music's picture
Last seen: 5 years 8 months ago
Joined: Feb 19 2007 - 10:39am
Re: Headphone Amp - Why?

Like yourself, 90% of my listening is to orchestral music also. I just picked up a new pair of the AKG K701's. I thought they sounded good right out of the box. I'm using the headphone output on my Denon DRA-395 Stereo receiver. I am having excellent results with this combination. These K701's like my K240S seem like an easy load to drive. In the past, with difficult to drive headphones, I'd use the headphone output from my NAD preamp. This preamp sends it's full power to it's line outputs and headphone jack as well. I think it is something like 15v. That NAD sounded better than most headphone amps I tried.
Try your Yamaha first, you may decide that's all you need.
Good Luck, and let me know what you think of the K701's.

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