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A cheap amp for akg k701 ?

hi,
the price of the high end akg k701, has decreased , and I'm tempted by this headphone. They are now currently significantly cheaper, than for instance a senn hd650.
Lot of people say , that there might be the hardest to drive headphones, but I believe these people  just don't like the k701, and prefer to blame the amp.
But , I still want to try the k701.

Despite the low impedance of k701,  (62 ohms), I  read that these headphone are hard to drive because of their low sensitivity: 105 db/mW .

Anyway, is the integrated amp of xonar stx, enough to drive the k701 ? (I  own the xonar stx).
Or can I  find a an amp for less than 50 euros, that would be better than this integrated amp (and enough to drive the k701) ?

Also , currently I  already use the two rca port of the xonar stx for the speakers (I  like to use both headphone & speakers),
so I  don't see how I  would connect a dedicated amp to the xonar stx by the way. People say that you need to use the rca ports for a dedicated amp, and I  guess the headphone
port is not adapted for speakers ....

thanks for any advice ...

A cheap amp for akg k701 ?

Reply #1
hi,
the price of the high end akg k701, has decreased , and I'm tempted by this headphone. They are now currently significantly cheaper, than for instance a senn hd650.
Lot of people say , that there might be the hardest to drive headphones, but I believe these people  just don't like the k701, and prefer to blame the amp.
But , I still want to try the k701.

Despite the low impedance of k701,  (62 ohms), I  read that these headphone are hard to drive because of their low sensitivity: 105 db/mW .

Anyway, is the integrated amp of xonar stx, enough to drive the k701 ? (I  own the xonar stx).
Or can I  find a an amp for less than 50 euros, that would be better than this integrated amp (and enough to drive the k701) ?

Also , currently I  already use the two rca port of the xonar stx for the speakers (I  like to use both headphone & speakers),
so I  don't see how I  would connect a dedicated amp to the xonar stx by the way. People say that you need to use the rca ports for a dedicated amp, and I  guess the headphone
port is not adapted for speakers ....
 
thanks for any advice ...

The impedance of the K 701 changes over the course of the frequency response.

EDIT: not true. The impedance is fairly linear. So it should be relatively easy to drive. I don´t know why I had so much problems on my headphone output of my Sony amp.

The Xonar STX is strong enough to drive both headphones. In my experience you won´t find a stronger headphone amp for less than 50,- Euros that doesn´t react to changing impedance as well as the Xonar STX (frequency response under load is very flat). So keep it and try the K 701 - regarding my edit the Xonar should have an easy time to drive the 701 . Still, I never liked it, I always preferred Sennheiser. But headphones depends a lot on ones personal taste... with their different response characteristics and such.
marlene-d.blogspot.com

A cheap amp for akg k701 ?

Reply #2
The impedance of the K 701 changes over the course of the frequency response. They are indeed hard to drive - but so is the HD-650.

My HD 650 are pretty easy to drive. Tested on onboard Realtek HD 192/24 and EMU Tracker Pre USB. HD 650 sound fabulous on both.

A cheap amp for akg k701 ?

Reply #3
@Cavaille
Thanks. I already  own two Senns (hd595 & IE7) , and want to change to something different. I hope I won't be disappointed. I know that the  k701 are very controversial.
At least, I'll use a crossfeed plugin (or a vst of that kind), since people seem to complain partly about the soundstage.

@IgorC
Currently :
k701  around 200 euros
hd650 around 300 euros
So we are not anymore in the same price range.

A cheap amp for akg k701 ?

Reply #4
@IgorC
Currently :
k701  around 200 euros
hd650 around 300 euros
So we are not anymore in the same price range.


It depends of county. In my country hd650 costs 500$ and k701/702 - 550$

A cheap amp for akg k701 ?

Reply #5
@IgorC
I'll buy them online. But I  know that  buying online is not possible in every country (unfortunately).

A cheap amp for akg k701 ?

Reply #6
I bought mine in official Sennheiser store here in Argentina (online)


A cheap amp for akg k701 ?

Reply #8
@SpiderJon
Lot of love and hate for the same headphone.
A moderator from head-fi gave a very bad  rating of 0.5/ 5. (or 1/10 if you prefer)
Some think that the hate is because of incorrect amp, or insufficient burn-in.
Or they  just not fit the taste of everyone.

A cheap amp for akg k701 ?

Reply #9
Everything said about amping the K701 is BS.  Their relatively low impedance and high sensitivity mean they are easy to drive.  105db/mw means that even if your music has an average RMS volume of  -30dbfs (e.g. classical music), this still means 85db is going into your ears at 1mw.

The "truth" about them is that they have a boost in the upper midrange and are not bass heavy.  When you combine these two factors the bass bass quantity and impact seem quite anemic.  A number of people end up increasing the volume (in comparison to some of their other phones) to get the feeling of increased bass, and this then results in ear pain.

Personally, I do not like the way they sound.  It took over a year for the audiophile community to accept that the K701 sound was not for everybody.  For that entire year a lot of people stated it was an "amping" problem, and spent ludicrous amounts of money to solve the problem either with placebo (solid state amps) or with euphonic harmonic distortion (tube amps).  The K701 fans could not simply admit it was possible for people to dislike the sound of it.  This resulted in people expressing very strong opinions on both sides - call it a war if you like.

Finally people just accepted the K701 was not a bass heavy phone and they moved on to complain about other headphones.  If things had started out this way the reviews of it would have been much more balanced instead of what you see.

I recommend you buy it and try it for yourself.  Buy an amp only if you cannot drive them to loud volumes with your existing hardware.  I suspect you will not need to buy a separate amp for them.

A cheap amp for akg k701 ?

Reply #10
@odigg
Quote
A number of people end up increasing the volume (in comparison to some of their other phones) to get the feeling of increased bass, and this then results in ear pain.

Would have been better to just use an eq.
I  see lot of discussion regarding k701 bass, it seems they have bass but... (well I'm  currently reading the endless discussions regarding k701 bass, until I  get them).

Quote
Buy an amp only if you cannot drive them to loud volumes with your existing hardware

People are commonly saying, that  amping does more than increasing loudness...

A cheap amp for akg k701 ?

Reply #11
ooops , post removed. Mistake (was intended for an other discussion).

A cheap amp for akg k701 ?

Reply #12
If you read more discussions you will see that some also say that the real problem is the stock K701 cable.  Others will say that the K701 is such a precise headphone that is reveals problems with "digital" music and so you need a DAC with a less "digital" sound.

The goal of a amplifier is to take a signal and amplify it.  It should not be changing the sound.  ABX testing has demonstrated that engineers are more than capable of making an amplifier that amplifies sound in a transparent manner.

Typically any claims about amplifiers changing sound are made when the amplifier is tested in sighted and uncontrolled settings.  There are exceptions, but if there really is a change in sound this means the amplifier is not working properly or has been intentionally designed to change the sound (e.g. via an EQ).

If you were to create a continuum of bass light to bass heavy headphones, the K701 would be closer to bass light than bass heavy.  However, everybody has their own preferences for bass quantity, so I cannot make and absolute claim as to how you will like the bass.  People can also adjust to vastly different sound signatures, so people who initially find the K701 as bass light may adjust (e.g. after a week of listening) find the bass to now be at their preferred level.

A cheap amp for akg k701 ?

Reply #13
@odigg
Quote
If you read more discussions you will see that some also say that the real problem is the stock K701 cable.

Yep, at least I  can't take seriously this story of cables.

Quote
Others will say that the K701 is such a precise headphone that is reveals problems with "digital" music and so you need a DAC with a less "digital" sound.

I'm thinking of adding a slight reverb on the dsp chain.  Should bypass perfectly such flaw ?

Quote
ABX testing has demonstrated that engineers are more than capable of making an amplifier that amplifies sound in a transparent manner

Great, so how much,  I  must spend to get "an amplifier that amplifies sound in a transparent manner" ?  I read from times to times , that what matters for an amp,  is the "voltage swing" , and "current". But there's no specifications on the k701 saying , that you must get an amp with "x voltage swing" and "x current". Neither there are clear specifications on the amp of the market, saying they provide "x voltage  swing" or "x current".

Quote
the K701 would be closer to bass light than bass heavy

Yes, but  the same for the Senn hd595 . However , I  don't see as much angry reactions for the hd595  (currently replaced by the hd598 model) . Probably, because it's not announced as a  "flagship" model.

Quote
People can also adjust to vastly different sound signatures, so people who initially find the K701 as bass light may adjust (e.g. after a week of listening) find the bass to now be at their preferred leve

I'm actually, counting on this. Most stuff I  listen to , are not bass heavy anyway.

A cheap amp for akg k701 ?

Reply #14
You don't need an amp.  Plug the K701 into your computer sound card, PMP, or whatever else.  If you want to check if there is any problem, perform an RMAA measurement with your output device loaded with your headphones.

If you feel there is distortion at your preferred volume level, or you cannot reach your desired volume level, then get an amp.  I suspect a Fiio E5 ($20) is more than capable of pushing the K701 to loud volumes without issue.

Quote
Others will say that the K701 is such a precise headphone that is reveals problems with "digital" music and so you need a DAC with a less "digital" sound.

I'm thinking of adding a slight reverb on the dsp chain.  Should bypass perfectly such flaw ?


I think you may have misunderstood my point.  There is no such thing as a "digital" sounding DAC.  Saying you need a DAC with less "digital" sound is nonsense.  If a DAC really has a "digital" sound the DAC is not working properly.

Quote
Yes, but the same for the Senn hd595 . However , I don't see as much angry reactions for the hd595 (currently replaced by the hd598 model) . Probably, because it's not announced as a "flagship" model.


People were willing to accept that others may not like the HD595 and the discussion on this headphone was civilized.  With the K701, some people felt that anybody who does not like it must be deaf, stupid, or wrong.  The end result was a big war, which is what you have seen.

A cheap amp for akg k701 ?

Reply #15
If you have you music digitized then you should use any digital output (usb, coax, optical) on your computer and use a dac and then an amp.
Please don't plug 701s into a a cheap or even worse built-in computer sound cards, nothing good will come out of it.

A cheap amp for akg k701 ?

Reply #16
I have 701s and I find them very easy to drive. You can plug them into any old mp3 player and get more than enough volume.

Typically though, I plugged directly into my Buffalo32S (no amp, digital volume control). It's beautiful.

 
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