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Best amp for the AKG701 - Page 4

post #46 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by John_M View Post
Ugh. Why are people still uncritically accepting that amps make a difference to sound quality? This is a highly contentious claim but you'd never realise it to read some of these threads...
I heard a quite noticeable difference when I unplugged my headphones from soundcard (A2ZS) and plugged them in my average M-Audio Studiophile MX4 speakers' headphone jack. This happened a couple years ago when I didn't know anything about dedicated headphone amps and I wasn't expecting a difference at all. I just did it to get more comfort. The change was there and I was really surprised.

If even that makes a difference, how do you explain dedicated amps wouldn't do anything?
post #47 of 90
Thread Starter 
All thanks for the many recommendations. As I'm in Europe and in a different timezone, it was a bit difficult to reply directly but I'm not scared off that easily.

On the budget question, around 1000 Euro's, which is about the same in US$ after import taxes.

So summarizing the recommended amps I see mostly tube amps as being a good match to the K701.

- XCan V3
- Singlepower PPX (did not see the SLAM or Extreme on their webpage though!)
- Darkvoice 336
- Jolida JD2A
- Bada PH12
- HEED can

How should these be ranked in sound quality?

Also, did anyone tried ever a balanced amp with the K701?

On the remark of using the Benchmark as headphone amp, I sure will do that initially (maybe even using the balanced output).
However, I would like to go to a more involving sound quality if possible within my budget and also be capable of using this rig with my turntable.
post #48 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by nightfire View Post
Please tell me you're joking.

**EDIT**

Oh, ok. I guess you were trolling. On the offchance you weren't, let me just say this.

I've now built 3 amplifiers from scratch, so I have a reasonably good idea how they work, and how to measure them.

It is true that many amps sound very similar. However, this is not true for all amps. For a practical example, take a ****** chip amp without enough capacitance, like something you'd find in an ipod. Driving full sized headphones with them produces a highly distorted sound with floppy bass, because the power source simply cannot produce enough current to satisfy the demand.

Take a tube amp, which tends to add both odd and even order harmonics, and compare that with a bipolar transistor amp which does not.

As a final example, take a constant-current source amplifier like one of Nelson Pass's designs, and compare it to a standard voltage amplifier. Not only do they sound downright awful on any multiway speaker that uses a crossover (due to design), they can quite literally damage speakers.

If you honestly can't hear the differences, I don't know why you're hanging out on this site.
I would say that cut him some slack and let him live a boring monotone life....
post #49 of 90
Wheres the Troll??? Probably realized he was in the wrong website for those comments
post #50 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigEar View Post
All thanks for the many recommendations. As I'm in Europe and in a different timezone, it was a bit difficult to reply directly but I'm not scared off that easily.

On the budget question, around 1000 Euro's, which is about the same in US$ after import taxes.

So summarizing the recommended amps I see mostly tube amps as being a good match to the K701.

- XCan V3
- Singlepower PPX (did not see the SLAM or Extreme on their webpage though!)
- Darkvoice 336
- Jolida JD2A
- Bada PH12
- HEED can

How should these be ranked in sound quality?

Also, did anyone tried ever a balanced amp with the K701?

On the remark of using the Benchmark as headphone amp, I sure will do that initially (maybe even using the balanced output).
However, I would like to go to a more involving sound quality if possible within my budget and also be capable of using this rig with my turntable.
BigEar,
I can't recommend much since I have no experience with the K701, but where in Europe are you located? If it's Belgium or Holland it would be worthwile to come to the Benelux meet, as we'll have 4 of the amps listed there.
post #51 of 90
Thread Starter 
Hi Digitalmind,

yes I live in the Netherlands so this seems an interesting opportunity to hear a couple of these amps.

Now just make sure the AKG701 's have a 300 playing hour on them before that time....
post #52 of 90
AHHhh...... post #2 answered....That is helpful information.....

1000 eu...

Amongst those you list;

- XCan V3
- Singlepower PPX (did not see the SLAM or Extreme on their webpage though!)
- Darkvoice 336
- Jolida JD2A
- Bada PH12
- HEED can

Perhaps the Mapletree was omited for a reason; However, Digitalmind should have one at the upcoming meet; And as always, you can only decide by listening for yourself, as to which sounds best and weigh (quite literally in some cases) the many other factors one must, to conclude which one is best for your application.

Perhaps SinglePower would send a PPX slam balanced, to the Benelux meet along with the best tubes for the application (701s) and sound quality and a price for sale. That would be best surely!

How should these be ranked in sound quality?

Well yes; That would be nice to know... However, it is a wickedly loaded question to ask of a board made up of pasionate owners of each with their own very good reasons to be proponents of each and fails to address the many other variable factors which certainly make up a prudent decision to purchace.

You ultimatly need to read reviews and comparisons (as i have), hear for yourself either at a meet as offered, or buying new and used (as I have), to compare and decide.

Least you tempt more of the same type of responses, in the ranges you've witnessed, to your very good questions, only now somewhat narrowed by the price generally under 1000eu. Although, that budget nearly includes anything, other than a balanced amplifier custom built from the one manufacture mentioned perhaps. Or DIY of course. Again, I refer you to call the manufacturer to persue specifics.

Usually, you do get what you pay for this being a capatalist principal based marketplace endevor which brings us back to post question #2...

You must know all this already by looking at your signature... But I do thank you for providing the genesis for the lively discussion...

Good luck~
post #53 of 90
For Single Power, it seems they haven't updated their website in ages: they have different models, so it's best to give them a call and tell them that you have a k701 and would like to spend 1k in Euros.

And as Hi-Finthen has pointed out, there's no such thing as the "best" in headphone amps. If you get a chance to listen to all the amps mentioned, they'll all sound good and have different sound signatures (hope the troll doesn't pop up now ). The reason why people feel pasionately about a particular amp is that it sounds good to their ears, probably was the amp that made them go "wow" over, and there's probably a sense about whether it's a good value. Now having said all that, I'll only defend the SLAM on its reliability. I bought mine used from another Head-fier (not SACDlover), yet it seems brand new. It seems to mate really well with my DAC1. Giving it slightly more soundstage, a lot more resolution, and there be PRAT.

I don't think people are as passionate about their amps as they are their headphones.....but I may be wrong! I know some headphones I've tried are the "flavor of the month" ones that everyone seems to rave over. For a few, I thought they were cold and distant....and would have completely different perceptions about them then other head-fiers. So just an example of "whatever floats YOUR boat"
post #54 of 90
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for your inputs.

I initially excluded Mapletree as I thought it was a DIY kit, but I see you can also buy it assembled so it should be on the list.

Although I agree with Hi-Finthen that ranking amps is a highly subjective matter and listening yourself is the final judgement, I still think some (objective) ranking could be made on technical basis. As already have been pointed out by I believe Davesrose, the K701's seem to be relative power hungry and the right choice on output tubes should be made to driver them properly.

Also the way the amplifier has been builded up (circuit choice, quality of used components, craftmanship etc) is clearly making a difference. Unfortunally, these are the things you do not see from an internet picture easily. This kind of information you only learn by seeing the products yourself (so you have to buy / trade them all or see/hear them at shows) or by sharing user experiences (which I think headfi is a great forum for).

Anyway, I think already some good info on this has been shared between the lines and I will have a good look at the various datasheets of the suggested amps as a first selector. Next step is then to try to hear them, preferably with a high-end source / cabling I know well.
post #55 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigEar View Post
Hi Digitalmind,

yes I live in the Netherlands so this seems an interesting opportunity to hear a couple of these amps.

Now just make sure the AKG701 's have a 300 playing hour on them before that time....
They do.
post #56 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigEar View Post
yes I live in the Netherlands so this seems an interesting opportunity to hear a couple of these amps.
And bring that Stax, goldangit!
post #57 of 90
Darkvoice 336i, I have one and it pairs with the K701's fantastically.
post #58 of 90
I'm not "trolling." I was accused of the same thing on the thread querying the importance of amps, where I dared to suggest that they weren't in fact especially important at all. I know it's off topic on this thread but the other one got closed down before I got a chance to reply to some of the posts. FYI I did not agree with the way the other guy, vai77, went off on one in that thread and I certainly don't agree with his view that you can hear a difference between CD files and lossless audio files.

My point is that I find it surprising, to say the least, that so many people on here take it as given that amps have a large impact on sound quality, when both measurements and double-blind tests suggest that they have little if any impact. Maybe it's because I'm quite new to the forum and don't really have a sense of the prevailing "orthodoxies" on here. I was also extremely surprised to hear people suggest that subjective listening experience was a better guide to whether or not there is a difference between amps than either measuring instruments or DBTs. Given the prevalence of what I'd describe as "strange" claims, I can't help but feel that people in the audio industry may have been spreading views which they know full well to be false (not necessarily on this forum).

Of course, if everyone here is quite happy to go out and buy their uber-expensive amps, and feels that these amps really do make a difference, then fine. It's really none of my business. But this is a large forum and unsuspecting people coming on here will use it as a source of information - I think that brings a responsibility to show at least a semblance of balance in what's posted. EG not making spurious claims like "everyone in the know believes amps make a massive difference" - as I understand, the majority of people with relevant technical expertise most certainly do not believe this.

FYI even a cynic like me makes some concession to the placebo effect. I found a double-blind test which proved (listening on Sennheiser Orpheus) that even the most sophisticated listeners couldn't tell CD from 256kbps MP3. But I rip to lossless anyway - just in case!
post #59 of 90
Thread Starter 
John_M,

for more information on the "audible" effects of compression, please see the link. I never heard the HE90 but I can guarantee you that I hear the difference between MP3 and CD/lossless clearly on my Stax rig.

http://members.chello.nl/~m.heijlige...mpression.html

With 20+ year experience as an active audiophile, I can not agree with your claim that there is no audible difference between amps. It might be true in a perfect world of physics, but unfortunally electrical components are normally not exactly behaving as described in their datasheets, there are lot's of interfering sources (RF) available etc, what makes a good design (on paper) not sounding identical to a outstanding design.
Typical sonical difference is for instance S/N ratio (responsible for blackness of background, harsh HF sounds especially with digital sources for solid state designs) ,impedance matching ( soundstage, dynamics, frequency behavior) etc.

These things (and probably more what I forget here or don't know ) are responsible for hearing the difference between a cheap consumer amp and a high end amp.
However, you always need a good source, as garbage in = garbage out in audioworld
post #60 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by John_M View Post
I'm not "trolling."
.......

My point is that I find it surprising, to say the least, that so many people on here take it as given that amps have a large impact on sound quality, when both measurements and double-blind tests suggest that they have little if any impact. Maybe it's because I'm quite new to the forum and don't really have a sense of the prevailing "orthodoxies" on here. I was also extremely surprised to hear people suggest that subjective listening experience was a better guide to whether or not there is a difference between amps than either measuring instruments or DBTs. Given the prevalence of what I'd describe as "strange" claims, I can't help but feel that people in the audio industry may have been spreading views which they know full well to be false (not necessarily on this forum).

Of course, if everyone here is quite happy to go out and buy their uber-expensive amps, and feels that these amps really do make a difference, then fine. It's really none of my business. But this is a large forum and unsuspecting people coming on here will use it as a source of information - I think that brings a responsibility to show at least a semblance of balance in what's posted. EG not making spurious claims like "everyone in the know believes amps make a massive difference" - as I understand, the majority of people with relevant technical expertise most certainly do not believe this.

FYI even a cynic like me makes some concession to the placebo effect. I found a double-blind test which proved (listening on Sennheiser Orpheus) that even the most sophisticated listeners couldn't tell CD from 256kbps MP3. But I rip to lossless anyway - just in case!
I am not part of the audio industry.
I hear a BIG difference between different amplifiers.
Any measurements that do not relate to my real world listening experience have no value for me.
Measurements that do relate can be used to choose / tweak amplifiers to better fit what my ears like to hear.
Measurements can never proof that I did not hear something that I do hear.
The only DBT that could possibly have any value for me is one I do (- is performed on -) myself.
If you don't hear some difference, it does not mean it is not there. It just means you don't hear it. I and other people here do. And we like to talk about it.
I am truly sorry for you that you obviously miss some ability to join us in this discussion.
Please don't come here tell me I am crazy because you (or I-don't care-how-many other people) can't hear what I obviously can.
Thanks.

Btw. If you want to discuss this in a civil way: that's ok with me. Start a thread and I'll join the discussion as long as I think it could be fruitfull.
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