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In love with AKG K501's

post #1 of 62
Thread Starter 
I just got these today...and am somewhat impressed. Out of my D-25S they are the rather detailed. Moreso than hd600's the imaging and instrument separation is nice. I mean....the construction is not as impressive as my HD600's....the price is lower too.. Also...i don't know where this "bass lacking" talk has come from...but it is not true. The bass is exactly as you would hear it live in concert. These are the only cans i've experienced that don't have that "in-head" feeling. The only bad thing that i can think of with these is how much sound they leak. (just as much as grados) I don't know why these sound so awesome...must be that austrian precision.
post #2 of 62
tim -

Glad to hear you like the 501's. I had them for a while and agree that the imaging and soundstage are great. So much so that the crossfeed circuit on my Headroom amp did not have an appreciable effect on them! And those mids are so accurate I occasionally found myself turning my head to see the singer to my left or right. Very comfortable to wear and non-fatiguing to listen. But...

After a while I found myself wishing for that extra octave or two in the lower range. I knew it was in the music but the 501's just seemed to say "I can't go that low and do it well, so I just won't go there", and they stop. I soon found that this desire became a fatiguing factor in my listening of alot of music, if that makes any sense. Not all music necessarily. There is some music, particularly genres that highlight female vocals, with which the 501's just shine. But the rest, I was just wishing to have the mid-to-upper's of the 501's with just a bit more low-end "oomph" to round it out.

I was looking for a single-headphone solution, so I sold my AKG's and got a pair of Senn 580's (at almost twice the money). Now the Senn's are not as accurate in the midrange but I find that I just listen to the music and forget about the rest with these 580's. They are just a bit more "fun" for me. If I was able to keep multiple pairs of cans around and had the desire to switch phones depending on what music I listened to, then I would wish to still have the 501's. But I don't do that, so...

Maybe in the future I'll try one of the after-market cables or something.

Again, glad to hear you like'em though. Don't listen to me or anyone else for that matter. Do you plan to get an amp for them? If so what one(s)?
post #3 of 62

Re: In love with AKG K501's

Quote:
Originally posted by TimSchirmer
Also...i don't know where this "bass lacking" talk has come from...but it is not true.
Exactly! I'm glad to hear you're enjoying them. They're definitely good headphones, and they improve in a big way with a high-quality amplifier.

Quote:
These are the only cans i've experienced that don't have that "in-head" feeling. The only bad thing that i can think of with these is how much sound they leak. (just as much as grados) I don't know why these sound so awesome...must be that austrian precision.
That's the sound of accuracy my friend
post #4 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by jpelg


I found myself wishing for that extra octave or two in the lower range. I knew it was in the music but the 501's just seemed to say "I can't go that low and do it well, so I just won't go there", and they stop. I soon found that this desire became a fatiguing factor in my listening of alot of music, if that makes any sense.

Again, glad to hear you like'em though. Don't listen to me or anyone else for that matter. Do you plan to get an amp for them? If so what one(s)?
Back when I had my MG Head...that "oomph" in the low end was just too laid back for my taste. I prefer a tonally even response...with equal mids, highs, and lows. I've discovered that I do not like sound to be too laid back, or too foreward like grados. I do not hear the "laid back" or "foreward" sound at concerts at all. (depending on the type of the concert) I still do prefer the HD600 for stuff like female vocals and pipe organs...but the 501 for pretty much everything else. I suppose I could just be an aficinado of analytical sound. As for an amp....I currently have a diy mosfet with upgraded caps and resistors.etc.

What I really need is a more powerfull digital source. That will be worthy of this amp. The Denon 370 is artifically warm. I may go with an AMC redbook cdp or maybe an older pioneer elite. For some reason I believe that the source makes slightly more difference in the sound than the amplification (as long as it is decent amplification...not apex or ratshack...or other mainstream crap for that matter) So, basically, for now...i will worry about a better source. Should i decide on one of those larger headphone amps...what would you recommend for both the K501's and the HD600 (I was thinking maybe a corda or headroom little or OBH-11SE) I've discovered i prefer the accuracy of solid state to the warmth of tubes.

Anyway...I am not planning to sell my HD600's anytime soon (since I do prefer them with vinyl). I am just loving the sound of these K501's right now. Oddly...they sound better straight out of my D-25S than my Denon 370 + Mosfet.
post #5 of 62

Re: Re: In love with AKG K501's

Quote:
Originally posted by Neruda
Quote:
Originally posted by TimSchirmer
Also...i don't know where this "bass lacking" talk has come from...but it is not true.
Exactly! I'm glad to hear you're enjoying them. They're definitely good headphones, and they improve in a big way with a high-quality amplifier.
I agree with Neruda that they're great headphones, and get better the better your amp. On the other hand, it's still funny to me when people claim that they don't lack bass...
post #6 of 62
and it's funny to me when people say the HD600s have accurate bass. but that's head-fi!
post #7 of 62
When I was purchasing the 580's, I was more than a bit worried about them being too laid back", as many describe. Funny, I don't understand that. While I don't think I would want to make them sound any warmer by pairing them with a tube amp, they sound "forward" enough for me. LOL!

I'll just have to listen to them a bit more. I still think the 501's are lacking in the bass deparment though.
post #8 of 62
for me, and for most people who feel the same way, the laid-back sound of the HD600 comes from a dip between 6 and 8 kHz, not from the warm bass.
post #9 of 62
Quote:
Originally posted by Neruda
and it's funny to me when people say the HD600s have accurate bass. but that's head-fi!
Well, I wouldn't say the bass on the HD 600 is accurate unless you're using a high-end amp like the Max. With lesser amps, it's not quite as tight and not quite as extended. However, with the Max, I think only someone with tin ears could claim that the K 501 bass was more (or even as) accurate and just as extended. On a midrange amp, HD 600 bass is a bit more muddy, but even then it's still clearly more extended and flatter than the K 501. What you're talking about here is a trade-off: with a lesser amp, the K 501 give you cleaner upper bass, but little extension; the HD 600 give you much more extension, but a bit of a hump in the upper bass. Which is "better" is largely a matter of taste. However, once you get to a high-end system, the HD 600 is clearly better in the bass department. That said, some people still prefer the K 501 because of their clear mids and treble.

As for the bass issue, if you don't listen to music that extends that low, you may NEVER care that the K 501 don't extend as low or as flat. But that's a lot different than saying that people who point this objective fact out must be crazy
post #10 of 62
Very Interesting..................
looks like another set of cans coming up....
anyone selling and prepared to send to Australia ????
post #11 of 62
Deja Vu all over again.........many posts about the AKG 501 here available for search. My preferences are similar to Mac, even though I got the 501 new for under $100 from Musian's Friend a while ago with discount and coupons (that was a great deal!) I returned them because of the bass issue.

It is a personal preference issue as in all audio equipment, and also depends on system used in.
post #12 of 62
I'm a new AKG501 owner as well. And like my HD600, I found the 501 really benefit from a powerful headphone amp. In fact, I think the 501 are harder to drive than the HD600.
post #13 of 62

Re: In love with AKG K501's

Quote:
Originally posted by TimSchirmer
Out of my D-25S they are the most accurate headphones I've ever heard. They are just sooooo clear....and the imaging and instrument separation are amazing. Right now I am listening to siouxie and the banshees like i've never heard them before. Also...i don't know where this "bass lacking" talk has come from...but it is not true. The bass is exactly as you would hear it live in concert. These are the only cans i've experienced that don't have that "in-head" feeling. The only bad thing that i can think of with these is how much sound they leak.
Hmmm, this is exactly the way I feel about the K501, almost point for point.

Please, let's not go through the AKG bass/HD600 thing yet again and turn a positive thread into a negative one. Just let the guy enjoy his headphones.
post #14 of 62
Thread Starter 
Hey dean...how do the K501's sound from those uber-headroom amps? I think after I complete a good vinyl combination...I will look into getting a larger headphone amp. I still do love my MOSFET though.
post #15 of 62
Quote:
Originally posted by DeanA
I'm a new AKG501 owner as well. And like my HD600, I found the 501 really benefit from a powerful headphone amp. In fact, I think the 501 are harder to drive than the HD600.
Dean: I agree -- while I think that the K 501 are clearer than the HD 600 with lesser amps, I think it takes "more" of an amp for the K 501 to reach their potential.

Quote:
Originally posted by TimSchirmer
Hey dean...how do the K501's sound from those uber-headroom amps? I think after I complete a good vinyl combination...I will look into getting a larger headphone amp. I still do love my MOSFET though.
Tim: the difference between the K 501 out of a lower-range or midrange amp and out of something like the Max is very significant. My comments about the lower bass region notwithstanding, out of the Max the K 501 are some of the best headphones I've heard, despite their low price!
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