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K1000 - 1 week later

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
I've had my K1000s for about a week and thought I'd post my impressions (because yeah, we haven't heard enough of those ).

Ever since I got my ER4s 6 months ago I've been looking for a full-sized version of them. It isn't that they're uncomfortable; they're not. But they are inconvenient compared to full-sized cans and their treble extension is lacking. It is quite pronounced moving between my SR-325i and the ER4s. Even though the ER4s offer a much higher quality treble, the Grados do extend higher. It's particularly noticeable on slightly sibilant tracks like Portishead - Dummy. It just sounds better on the Grados; there is something missing at the extreme top end on the ER4s and it sounds harsh, not sweet.

So after reading for months about the AKG K1000, I set out to acquire one. Unfortunately this was after they were discontinued and as everyone knows, they are difficult to find. It was by a stroke of luck that I have a fellow audiophile at work who just so happened to have a pair.. in mint condition! He also has a very nice horn-loaded electrostatic speaker setup at home, and said that as the K1000's sound signature was so close to it he didn't find many opportunities to use them. I made him an offer, he accepted, and shortly thereafter I had them in my possession.

Though I knew it was a bad idea at the time, I couldn't help trying them out on my work setup (where they arrived). I twisted wires together in a horrible crime against audio, running them straight out of my Lavry through a headphone jack I hacked off a $10 pair of earbuds. I didn't have the positioning right. Not that it mattered - the amp barely had enough steam to keep the bass notes together and at some points there was even (mild) distortion. It became apparent that they really DO need a high quality, powerful amp.

I gave up after 10 minutes and mentally wrote it off as a "DOA test."

Later that night I wired them up to my H/K using a Stefan Audio Art end cable.

At first I was confused. I started with a track that I know very well: Opeth - Windowpane. The cymbals sounded funny. I went back to my Grados. Then my ER4s.. then back to the K1000. Then I realized - wait. This is how they're supposed to sound!

They were sustained and had a metallic timbre that although digitally fuzzy, was much more accurate. They made sound until they stopped resonating.

Then I moved on to Metallica - The Shortest Straw, the ultimate cymbal and guitar texture test track. They had the ER4-ish distorted guitar texture I was hoping for, and the cymbals were again brilliant. However it was at this point I began to encounter a weakness. Though the bass is tight, fast and bright, it does not extend deeply. It has the opposite problem of the ER4. I fired up my Velodyne 10" sub and after a few minutes of adjustment, all was well. What an amazing experience: headphone clarity and intimacy, and visceral speaker bass.

Next was Rachmaninov - Piano Concerto No. 3 (Lang Lang, Temirkanov). This is what hooked me for good.

What the K1000 does better than *any* other system I've heard is reveal the most subtle details in the recording. It's almost as if the sound is compressed... but it's not compressed; rather the opposite. They're incredibly dynamic (earpiercingly so), and yet the most tiny, insignificant and normally inaudible details are brought to the forefront. A perfect example is piano hammers, or crowd noises. Tapping on violins, page flipping, etc. The K1000s played Sergei like I've never heard before.

This may be the secret as to why cymbals sound so real (aside from more proper timbre). You can follow them into oblivion as they fade away linearly. They aren't lost in the wash of sound from the rest of the instruments.

The ear-filling mids are better than anything I've heard short of Monitor Audio towers through a Creek Destiny amp. Certainly the best I've heard from headphones. They can get become unlistenably grainy on bad recordings, but on good recordings they are truly outstanding. The Eagles - Hell Freezes Over - Hotel California sounds so real it's scary.

On symphonic tracks, the brass is aggressive and stabby when it needs to be, strings are textured and horns are smooth and soft. Pronounced piano hammers are followed by a rich and realistic tonality, which like cymbals, fades away naturally.

As I sit here now listening to Concerto no. 2, I've really come to appreciate what the K1000 offers. It wasn't quite the ER4 replacement I was searching for because the extension fails (albeit gracefully) on the other end of the spectrum.

However in other ways it is so much more. It offers brilliant, detailed presentation that, dynamically speaking, is truly in another league. Razor sharp but not sibilant. Excellent sound stage and decent imaging (though not quite up to the ER4).

All in all a superb phone.
post #2 of 30
Yep, they are very special headphones.

Of all of the headphones I have owned or heard to date, the AKG K1000/Aleph 3 is still my favorite combo.
post #3 of 30
Metallica's MFSL of Ride the Lightnight or Master Puppets or Guns N Roses Use Your Illusion I & 2 (MFSL as well) are all very good for judging cymbals. But I agree the K1000 is the most accurate reproduction I've heard to date.

Man it would be nice if more rock music was so well produced.
post #4 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lmilhan
Yep, they are very special headphones.

Of all of the headphones I have owned or heard to date, the AKG K1000/Aleph 3 is still my favorite combo.
That Aleph 3 looks awfully tempting. It seems half the K1000 owners on head-fi have one.

I've seen a few kits for clones on ebay. Anyone had experience with them? Or anyone know where I might find an Aleph 3 used?
post #5 of 30
....Excellent sound stage and decent imaging (though not quite up to the ER4).

decent imaging?what source do you have?when pair with GREAT source I don't think ER4 will have a better imaging than k1000.
post #6 of 30
@nightfire:

Aleph 3s show up on Audiogon on occasion; it's not frequent, but not nearly as rare as some of the really rare items.
post #7 of 30
From what I've seen, somewhere from $800 to ~$1000
post #8 of 30
how much do aleph 3's run for?
post #9 of 30
another option is flying mole ca-s3,from what I have read,I think it fall somewhere between f1 and sig 30,detail,warm presentation,somewhat organic sound.VERY tight,fast and focused bass,wide and deep 3D sound stage.(when paired with wavelength brick silver version,MIT IC and equinox cable)
post #10 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tyloh73
....Excellent sound stage and decent imaging (though not quite up to the ER4).

decent imaging?what source do you have?when pair with GREAT source I don't think ER4 will have a better imaging than k1000.
Well I'm only talking about instrument separation. On my setup there's more space between instruments and they're slightly better defined on my ER4s even though the stage is physically deeper on the K1000s.

I don't think my source is at fault (Lavry DA10/HK AVR75 from a Transit, bitperfect, playing flacs) although my amp probably is. It's not very clean.. very noisy and I have a ground loop problem somewhere. I've been running my K1000s through my Gilmore Lite which sounds excellent but doesn't have enough power. Hopefully soon I will have a First Watt F1 to remedy the situation.
post #11 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by nightfire
Hopefully soon I will have a First Watt F1 to remedy the situation.
that's the spirit! and if the real deal is a bit tough to come by, you can always make it yourself! anything to feed the k1k hunger
post #12 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by choariwap
that's the spirit! and if the real deal is a bit tough to come by, you can always make it yourself! anything to feed the k1k hunger
Actually it's interesting you mention that. I'm quite capable with a soldering iron and the thought crossed my mind. But do you know where I'd find circuit diagrams?
post #13 of 30
circuit diagrams are over at the firstwatt website, just download the service manual.

also do a search over at www.diyaudio.com for some more information on the parts to use.

it'll run you about 800 - 1000 dollars to make your own, depending on how resourceful youare when it comes to sourcing the parts.

good luck!
post #14 of 30
Thread Starter 
Holy crap!

I think I've just discovered what everyone was talking about when they say breathtaking soundstage. I hooked a pair of 221ohm resistors between each channel and my amp to try to eliminate the buzzing (which worked perfectly), and the higher voltages running through them completely changed their characteristics.

On the downside they're more strident than they should be, and bass has slightly recessed (though is far better controlled than from my Gilmore Lite), but on the upside, the soundstage just exploded! I swear it doubled in size.

There's no way to tell where the dance music in Bjork - There
s More to Life Than This is coming from! It sounds all around.

And the microdynamics/detail have become more present as well. I'm actually hearing new things on several recordings.

Everyone says these are amp-sensitive. Now in my experience this is an understatement.....
post #15 of 30
So it's sort of like a full-sized ER4, only better? I must have one! Somehow...
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