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K701 amp suggestions?

post #1 of 66
Thread Starter 
Thanks to the amazing generosity of the forum member Afrikane, a pair of K701's are being shipped my way. So now I need an amp!

I would prefer it to be portable, since I want to use it in college as well. My budget is around $150 tops, though I'd prefer around $100. I was considering the Xenos OHA-REP, the LDM+, or maybe the Go-Vibe.
I like the Xenos, due to the positive remarks that I've heard about it, and I like the LDM+ for the incredible battery life. I know nothing about the go-vibe, other than the fact that it doesn't come with a battery, AC adapter, etc...

The amp will be used with through my X-fi XtremeMusic, my Zen Micro, and a laptop when I'm in college. I also do some gaming. Are some amps better with that? I know absolutely nothing about amps.

So, I ask you guys for suggestions and opinions. I haven't seen much about the K701 with amps in my budget. Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 66
Have you looked into the portable amps that Headroom carry? I have heard some good things about them and they should be within your budget.
post #3 of 66
Thread Starter 
I was looking at the bithead, but $200 is not really what I wanted to spend. I don't hear much about the airhead around here.
post #4 of 66
What about the PA2V2? It can be had for quite cheap and I'm pretty sure the k701s would benefit from them even though the amp isn't 150 dollars.
post #5 of 66
Thread Starter 
Although I've heard very nice things about the PA2v2, I've also read that it's a piece of garbage in multiple places. I also read the the Xenos is the best <$100 portable amp.
post #6 of 66
I'd exclude the LDM+ from the list, for the K701. I had that combo until I sold the LDM+. It has enough power for them, it's just not very synergistic. How about a used Little Dot II? You can get one for $132 shipped, I think that would be the best option - it's small for a tube amp, and the K701 loves tubes, you can't go wrong.

I haven't heard any other of the cheap portable amps but you might want to tack on the Portaphile X3 for consideration.
post #7 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by PYROphonez
Although I've heard very nice things about the PA2v2, I've also read that it's a piece of garbage in multiple places. I also read the the Xenos is the best <$100 portable amp.
I think garbage is a bit steep..for its pricepoint the PA2V2 is great in driving most low imp cans..

By the way, the K701s do superb running off of tubes as well as SS..so perhaps consider a Little Dot, or used Ear Max.

I used my 701's with these, and the Ear Max (mine modded for some PS-1's, so the operability is more keen as compared to the Pro model)

You can find these used for a great sum if lucky and if searching. ..the K701's are swell cans, you will enjoy them. If you have a vintage SS receiver, Sansui, Rotel, Marantz, Luxman etc..the K's do awesome from these too..
I used to run mine from my Marantz 2230 with great results, and especially for FM power and Phono input.. (real nice)
hope this helps
post #8 of 66
Although the PA2V2 is super-budget priced and great bang-for-buck for an entry-level amp, it will not properly drive the 701s. It will drive it to loud levels and may sound okay, but you just won't hear the gorgeous sound it's capable of.

One caveat -- the 701 literally needs 350+ hours of burn in to settle in and really sound great. It's fun at the outset, with a kind of "holographic" sound space, but it's got a lot of weird deficiencies until fully-matured. Some owners say it needs 400 or more hours.

The pair I burned in suddenly sounded wonderfully musical with stable and focused imaging sometime after 350 hours -- but by all means enjoy them along the way (and experience some of the weird twists and turns of headphone burn in).

In the budget arena of amps, owners of the GoVibe 5 has been raving about it, but I won't get to hear one for at least another month so I can't personally comment on how it might match with the K701.

The amps I've heard that sound great with the 701s are way over your budget: M-Hornet is tight/quick/punchy/extended/very spacious/musical/focused, Portaphile PV2^2-LT1210 Maxxed is very HF extended/very fast/super detailed/textured/layered/defined/very dimensional/focused imaging, Ray Samuels Audio HP2 is a very sweet-sounding solid stage home amp, Audiovalve RKV-MkII+EddieCurrent EC/DC is simply the most delicious sound I've yet heard with the 701s but at a high price (big tube/"hybrid" amp). Ear Max Pro is a very nice tiny tube amp, but it's also well beyond your budget. I'm a great fan of the Portaphile (Maxxed), and the X3 is a nice budget amp, but I don't think it's the right amp for the 701s. The Total Bithead is very nice, particularly if you need a USB DAC in the same case as your amp -- and it has lots of features and flexibility, but again the 701s are demanding of superb amplification for great sound quality rather than just loud volume and pleasant sound.

Perhaps some GoVibe 5/K701 owners can chime in with comments?!?
post #9 of 66
PA2v2 is an excellent little amp for what it does (and at the price) but doesn't do anything for the K701 (IMHO). The gain is too low for it to add any real play in the drivers, and the amp itself starts showing distortion at around 70% volume. I would not personally recommended it for this Headphone.
post #10 of 66
Yeah...after trying it out I must say I was a little disappointed at the amp. Cant wait to see which one you get for the k701s though
post #11 of 66
i have both a practical devices xm3, which is within your budget, and a total bithead. both are nice amps with good features, but the xm3 generally sounds better. i haven't tried it with 701s yet, but i have tried it with a variety of different phones including several akgs and i'm betting it'll do a nice job with the 701s. they give you a 30 day money back guarantee with it, so there's little to lose here. this isn't a unit that's gotten a lot of attention here, but i think it deserves it. see:
http://www.practicaldevices.com/
post #12 of 66
With regard to Romanee's caveat, the pair winging it's way to you has at least 400+ hours on them. I did try them with a TBH'06 on high gain but it was for kicks so I didn't listen too critically to the setup but if memory serves the K701 sounded ok with TBH feeding it.
post #13 of 66
Thread Starter 
I did hear that the K701 is fond of tubes.

Thanks for bringing up the X3. I don't know anything about it, but it adds to my list of choices.

I would really prefer portable, due to the college factor, but I'll definitely take the LD 2 into consideration. Is there a worthwhile difference between the 2+ and the 2? Because, the 2 seems to be at an already fair price. A bit more than I truly want to spend, but if it's worth it, I'll trust you guys.

Hmmm. For some reason I suddenly crave the idea of tubes, and now that I think about it, the amplifier won't be going with me anywhere really. I'd be too scared to lose these new headphones.
Is this going to make my 128-200 kb/s mp3s sound bad? Uh oh.
post #14 of 66
Total Bithead is also nice since you can connect it to PC or MAC and use with whatever tunes library you may have on desktop or laptop HD and et very enjoyable sound. The transparent case version looks very neat.

Didn't see any currently available in our For Sale Forum. There's one on ebay, but it's already a $110 with 3 days to go (not promising).

There's a Portpahile Maxxed ("4 months old") in the FS Forum (by tnmike) @ $175 including wall wart & shipping. I'm listening to mine with K701 now at work at it's great. It's a really good price, but a bit over your budget.

Another question is your preference of sound signature and features. Do you like lots of detail, texture, dimension and speed (Portaphile Maxxed)? Do you prefer to have the USB DAC, etc., and a good (though not spectacular) sound? Do you prefer as cheap as humanly possible with passable sound (various choices)?

I guess you'll have to rule out the punchy-yet-liquid sound of the M-Hornet, unless there's another generous member giving one away -- and you get it.

We still have to hear from other 701 owners with different budget amps (GoVibe5, etc.).

There's also the Laconic Lunchbox (Russian) 3-tube Class-A amp at about $160 (haven't heard it yet) -- made in several colors. They're being sold by Eddie Current for about $160 (I think) -- but some have noted that it may not have great synergy with the K701.

The K701 is sensitive to amp synergy or lack thereof, so just saying "I want tubes" doesn't cover the issue. Do lots of research. Most of the tube amps that will serve these phones well will be more costly than you like, even used. There might some budget tube amps that work with the 701s -- I just don't know which ones might do well.
post #15 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Romanee
Total Bithead is also nice since you can connect it to PC or MAC and use with whatever tunes library you may have on desktop or laptop HD and et very enjoyable sound. The transparent case version looks very neat.

Didn't see any currently available in our For Sale Forum. There's one on ebay, but it's already a $110 with 3 days to go (not promising).

There's a Portpahile Maxxed ("4 months old") in the FS Forum (by tnmike) @ $175 including wall wart & shipping. I'm listening to mine with K701 now at work at it's great. It's a really good price, but a bit over your budget.

Another question is your preference of sound signature and features. Do you like lots of detail, texture, dimension and speed (Portaphile Maxxed)? Do you prefer to have the USB DAC, etc., and a good (though not spectacular) sound? Do you prefer as cheap as humanly possible with passable sound (various choices)?

I guess you'll have to rule out the punchy-yet-liquid sound of the M-Hornet, unless there's another generous member giving one away -- and you get it.

We still have to hear from other 701 owners with different budget amps (GoVibe5, etc.).

There's also the Laconic Lunchbox (Russian) 3-tube amp at about $160 (haven't heard it yet).
I don't really need a DAC, since I have my sound card now, and I'll probably just buy a TBAAM for college, or something like that. I think I may stick to the tubes from what I've heard people say about the 701 and tubes. I don't know anything about them, though.

I saw the portaphile maxxed in the FS section.

I really want to know what the deal is with amplifiers and gaming.
So.... What's the deal?
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