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Comparison of components for driving an AKG K1000 headphone

post #1 of 109
Thread Starter 
I compared an ASL AQ-1005DT amp (costing over $1,600) with a pair of ASL Wave monoblock amps (costing about $240 a pair) for driving an AKG K1000 headphone. I used a Stefan AudioArt k1000 cable with the AS-1005DT amp, and the stock AKG K1000 cable with the Wave amps. I equipped the AQ-1005DT amp with substantially upgraded tubes, while the tubes in the Wave amps were the ones shipped with them. I used a Marantz SA8260 SACD player as the source, and I output the program signal of the SA8260 through an ASL TIDT passive preamp. Additional volume control for the Wave amps was provided by passing the signal from the TIDT preamp through a Creek OBH-10 Remote Volume Control. As for interconnects, I used the following cables between the units: Dimarizio M-Path 3 ft. Interconnect Cables between the SA8260 SACD player and the TIDT preamp, and between this preamp and the AQ-1005DT amp. And I used Radio Shack shielded audio cables with gold RCA plugs between the TIDT preamp and the OBH-10 volume control, and between this volume control and the Wave amps. As for the music that I used in this comparison, I used the following CDs: Buena Vista Social Club; Beethoven Piano Sonatas; and Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D Major. The results of my listening tests were that I could hear absolutely no difference between these amplifiers. Therefore, my conclusion is that the inexpensive Wave amplifiers equal the performance of the very expensive AQ-1005DT amplifier for driving an AKG K1000 headphone. And, that the expensive Dimarzio interconnects, and Stefan AudioArt K1000 cable, provide no advantage when compared to the stock cable of the K1000 headphone, and the Radio Shack interconnects. Also, that the expensive ASL TIDT passive preamp offers no advantage over the Creek OBH-10 Remote Volume Control. So, according to my tests, head-fi members can save lots of money on amps and cables when using a K1000 headphone.
post #2 of 109
Very interesting Mike, thanks for posting this. I should be getting my K1000s in a week or so. A fellow Head-Fi'er (knowing what I spent on the K1000s and a new source) stepped up to the plate big time and sent me a vintage Marantz receiver to power them. He's using one in that role presently and is very happy with it. I'm hoping for the same result. He might be upgrading the the Norh sometime soon, and eventually I'd like to try the ASL Waves if I still have the Ear + to use as a preamp at that time. The Paramour 2A3 monoblock kits aeberbach was selling recently look like another good alternative, if one was considering DIY. Check the site at www.bottlehead.com As I've just spent a bit with the holidays coming, the Marantz should hold me just fine for a while. But the ASL Waves look very tempting.
post #3 of 109
Thread Starter 
HighwayStar - As for the ASL Waves versus the Paramour 2A3's versus the Marantz, I'm not sure that you'll hear any difference between them. What my tests show, at least to my satisfaction, is that we Head-Fi'ers spend lots of money for electronics and cables that probably yield absolutely no improvement, despite the fact that we convince each other, and ourselves, that they do. BTW, I repeated the tests today, using Reference Recording's Showcase Eijo Oue disk, and found today's results to be the same as yesterdays results. I could not hear any difference between the systems, despite all the fancy cables and the far more expensive amplifier.
post #4 of 109
Quote:
What my tests show, at least to my satisfaction, is that we Head-Fi'ers spend lots of money for electronics and cables that probably yield absolutely no improvement, despite the fact that we convince each other, and ourselves, that they do.
Get your flame-proof suit out of the closet!
post #5 of 109

yup

do you hear about the same level of noise comparing the Waves and the 1005DT?--i was thinking of getting some Waves too (now that I don't have to hate ASL anymore.) ...do you hear any hum in either?--i mean, besides the hum that's in your system as a whole?

i'm glad you had the guts to put this thread up... you know someone's getting ready to rip you...

...i wonder though how the Wave's measured performance compares to the 1005DT. is it possible that you have some hearing loss?--i noticed that you claim to be into hi-fi since the 50's. perhaps it is possible that it's just the performance of your own ears that are limiting your hearing experience?

but then again... i agree with you... i do not question the fact that there might be huge differences in measured performance between various amps (that's definately a fact)... but i think hearing the difference is much much harder than one might think, given just the numbers...
post #6 of 109
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by joelongwood
Get your flame-proof suit out of the closet!
Actually, I'm standing near a powerful emergency water shower. BTW joelongwood, it's you who lead me to this wonderful head-fi group. Thanks.
post #7 of 109
Thread Starter 

Re: yup

Quote:
Originally posted by Orpheus
do you hear about the same level of noise comparing the Waves and the 1005DT?--i was thinking of getting some Waves too (now that I don't have to hate ASL anymore.) ...do you hear any hum in either?--i mean, besides the hum that's in your system as a whole?

i'm glad you had the guts to put this thread up... you know someone's getting ready to rip you...

...i wonder though how the Wave's measured performance compares to the 1005DT. is it possible that you have some hearing loss?--i noticed that you claim to be into hi-fi since the 50's. perhaps it is possible that it's just the performance of your own ears that are limiting your hearing experience?

but then again... i agree with you... i do not question the fact that there might be huge differences in measured performance between various amps (that's definately a fact)... but i think hearing the difference is much much harder than one might think, given just the numbers...
Using the K1000 headphone, I hear no noise or hum coming from either system. As for putting this thread up, I don't mean to offend, but am only reporting the results that I found. As for the quality of my hearing, I'm 64 and have a small amount of hearing loss in one ear. It's quite possible that I missed some slight difference between the systems, so perhaps others can report their findings. I do want to emphasize that the sound of both systems through the K1000 headphone is glorious, and that the Waves are certainly fine amps.
post #8 of 109

Re: Comparison of amps and cables for AKG K1000 headphone

Quote:
Originally posted by mikeg
So, according to my tests, head-fi members can save lots of money on amps and cables when using a K1000 headphone.

I can't and won't argue with what you have heard with your ears, but I would like to ask if you have tried out someone's Virtual Dynamics higher end power cables?? Like their Reference series or above?? I would like to see if a trio of these would make any difference in your system. From what many others have said they made significant improvements to their sound, but never made that comment about anything else they have owned making that much of a difference. They could have returned their cables for a full refund if they made little to no noticable difference, but they kept them and bought higher and more expensive models until they ended up with their "keeper" set of cables - the Nite series.

Thanks for your review of these amps!! That alone will save some people lots of money if they buy the ASL mono blocks!!
post #9 of 109
Thread Starter 

Re: Re: Comparison of amps and cables for AKG K1000 headphone

Quote:
Originally posted by ServinginEcuador
I can't and won't argue with what you have heard with your ears, but I would like to ask if you have tried out someone's Virtual Dynamics higher end power cables?? Like their Reference series or above??
I haven't tried any alternate power cables, and I'm now really satisfied with the sound of both systems. I think that at this point I'll stick with the hardware that I have, and begin to concentrate mostly on the music.
post #10 of 109

Re: Re: Re: Comparison of amps and cables for AKG K1000 headphone

Quote:
Originally posted by mikeg
I haven't tried any alternate power cables, and I'm now really satisfied with the sound of both systems. I think that at this point I'll stick with the hardware that I have, and begin to concentrate mostly on the music.
Endgame! That's what it's all about. Enjoy the music !


post #11 of 109
I own the K1000's and a noHr SE9. I have always liked this amp with the AKG's, but I love it since I added the Stephan AudioArt cable.

The cable has easily doubled the bass response. When I first got the K1000 I used a powered subwoofer to get the needed bass. I have read that others do the same. Since adding the Stephan cable I have better bass response than on all of my other cans (check my profile, I am blessed with some great 'phones). I wouldn't think of using a subwoofer any longer.

The cable had to be broken in. I have never noticed as much difference with breaking in any other audio equipment and with this cable
post #12 of 109
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Kevin
I own the K1000's and a noHr SE9. I have always liked this amp with the AKG's, but I love it since I added the Stephan AudioArt cable.

The cable has easily doubled the bass response. When I first got the K1000 I used a powered subwoofer to get the needed bass. I have read that others do the same. Since adding the Stephan cable I have better bass response than on all of my other cans (check my profile, I am blessed with some great 'phones). I wouldn't think of using a subwoofer any longer.

The cable had to be broken in. I have never noticed as much difference with breaking in any other audio equipment and with this cable
I agree that break in of the Stefan cable made a big difference. But, after the 72 hour break in period I heard no difference between the Stefan cable, and the stock cable that came with the K1000 headphone. I also agree that the K1000 base response is better than some other cans. I compared it mostly to Grado SR325 cans. With my current systems I normally no longer need to use a subwoofer, although sometimes I still do (i.e., mostly for movies). What I'd like to know is whether the dramatic improvement in base that you report happened when you switched from the stock K1000 cable to the Stefan cable? If you noticed such a difference, I certainly did not.
post #13 of 109

Re: Re: Re: Comparison of amps and cables for AKG K1000 headphone

Quote:
Originally posted by mikeg
I haven't tried any alternate power cables, and I'm now really satisfied with the sound of both systems. I think that at this point I'll stick with the hardware that I have, and begin to concentrate mostly on the music.
MikeG,

Sorry about that, but I think I misunderstood your post about cables. Were you referring to the cable replacement for the headphones?? After rereading the post I think that's what you meant. I wanted to ask about power cables and ICs since you made a very broad statement about saving head-fi members money on cables, I wanted to see what cables you had tried.

Again, sorry for the misunderstanding!!

And yes, I agree that we should focus more on enjoying what we have instead of the endless pursuit of audio nirvana!! Once I get a new IC to replace the one I'm selling I'm done for a long while!!
post #14 of 109
Thread Starter 

Re: Re: Re: Re: Comparison of amps and cables for AKG K1000 headphone

Quote:
Originally posted by ServinginEcuador
MikeG,

Were you referring to the cable replacement for the headphones??
Yes, I was referring to the cable which connects the headphone to the speaker posts of the amp.
post #15 of 109
My choice for K1000 amp is the Crown D60. It has high damping (should provide tighter bass), low TIM, separate power supplies (should provide clear transients), >25v slew rate, s/n 106dB, 40wpc class AB & B, is directly coupled (no dc caps), and the headphone jack is directly wired to the speaker output circuitry (no intermediary opamp). I should therefore be able to use the headphone jack with all my many varied impedence headphones.

The average price on a used D60 is $110.

Let's hope the upgrade bug doesn't bite me.
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