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Three-way Review: K501 vs K601 vs K701 - Page 2

post #16 of 82
Nice review Asr,
thank you for your time and effort, and for helping curb my K601 curiosity.
I am much more content with my choice of K701 after reading this.
post #17 of 82
All well and good then. The difference of opinion isn't the music choice then. Somehow, this can the flagship of the AKG line up other than K-340s and K-1000 somehow now will be tagged without having a midrange, no bass to speak of and shrill high frequencys. Those are both comical and obviously erroneous conclusions; In my experience having both the 501s and 701s!

Yes, I do believe you have a malfunctioning pair of 501s to have reached these conclusions! My music and equipment just doesn't present these abnormalitys to the 501s presentation. If they did present as you state, I wouldn't have kept them as being highly enjoyable, high resoulution instruments.
I am listening right now to my 501s/MAD amp/ CDP/ Paul Simon Graceland, and I just do not understand anyone describing what I am experiencing in these words which you have choosen sir. That needs to be stated as a counterweight for those readers who follow this archived thread!

Best regards~
post #18 of 82
I also suspect some kind of anomaly with the K501 review unit. As good as the K701 is, I don't think its midrange is so superior to the K501's to make the K501 sound so lacking.

If there's any aspect of the K501's frequency range that's good, it is the midrange. I don't believe this is a subjective assessment.
post #19 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr
Not that I'm taking offense to this, but my CD selection isn't varied enough? I've got bluegrass, folk, rock, prog rock, trip-hop, breakbeat electronic, abstract electronic, film soundtracks, classical, acoustic piano, new age/orchestral, industrial, pseudo-metal, and ensemble acoustic. There's nothing there you don't listen to?
I guess it's a question of terminology. What you call rock, prog rock, trip hop, breakbeat electronic, abstract electronic, industrial, pseudo-metal, I regroup into one category called "modern stuff a lot of people listen to nowadays". I don't make much distinction between those genres because I don't know them well enough to appreciate them.

You, on the other hand, regroup all the stuff I listen to into one category you call "anything that's 100% acoustic and on the simplistic side". I would call all that, Flamenco, Latino guitar, classical guitar, country, classic blues, african percussions, etc.

Neither of us is right or wrong, it's just that we tend to detail the stuff we know about and overly simplify and tone down the importance of the stuff we don't know quite as well. That's why I felt you were putting down the K501 too much by saying "yeah, pretty much only any good on 100% pure acoustic stuff" as if to say it only works on a very rare and specific kind of music. But then again, you may not have meant it that way when you wrote it. It's just the impression I got when I read your review. So, sorry if I misunderstood you.

If you wanted to test headphones on truely objectively varied types of music, you'd spend a lifetime collecting even before starting testing. Aside from that fact, I think it would be better to classify music by instruments instead of by genre.
post #20 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post
I'm certainly not going to dissent with you that the K501 sounds closer to the "real thing" than the K601 and K701, as I wasn't listening for that in this review. I was only trying to do a comparative assessment between the three here, nothing more. However, of all the headphones I've heard so far, the one that gets closest to the real thing for me has been the HD600. Not in terms of bass, but overall sound.
Being in the Sennheiser camp, I'll aggree with your accessment! Actually, on my current setup the HD650 is the closest thing to "real thing" as it gets. It's not bass heavy: it has more pronounced bass then the HD600, but still not as much bass as speakers/ room dynamics. The other interesting thing I find with the HD650 is it has more treble extension then the 600.....so I don't find it "dark".

I decided to jump on the k501 deal when everyone was screaming about it here on Head-fi. It left me unimpressed....too much of a contrived soundstage. Lower bass was there, but lower mids weren't there.....and not much treble extension either. Well on my new setup, the k501 is sounding better...more believable soundstage..but still doesn't have the tonality I would equate for jazz or accoustic. To my ears, Sennheiser will always be better because of its natural soundstage and bass that you need for percussions. Eventually I'll have to listen to the k701, but have elected not to fool with any other AKGs monetarily. Getting so many mixed impressions of the k501 vs k701 only confirms that my ears probably will just be wishing for a Sennheiser over the k701 To each his own is quite correct on this site
post #21 of 82
listining to my refrence setup right now, which is still k501s, I can tell you that the mids are smooth as silk and if anythign they are more top light than bottom light. I am using a sylvania set of tubes, which are pretty bright and have sloppier bass, to make up for the short comings of the 501, but midrange is not one of them. IMO
-greg
post #22 of 82
Reviews are nothing more than opinions and personal tastes on how the reproduced music "should" sound to that reviewer.

If I were to take everything everyone has said about the K701 to hart, then I probably wouldn't have bought them. According to one person on here somewhere, they said "no highs, no lows, must be Bose" about the K701's!! Obviously, that is nowhere near what anyone else has ever said, EVER!

My personal experiences with the K701's so far are mostly different from what others have been saying, such as little bass output, rolled off at about 40Hz, no bass kick or punch, especially with the LDM+ due to not enough current, etc, etc.. In my case, I AM getting more bass output, down to at least 20-25Hz, have decent kick/punch in the lower registers, and all of this through an LDM+.

It could be my cables, it could be my CDP, but most importantly, it could be my ears and the way my brain processes it all.

You know that old saying... "Different strokes for different folks".
post #23 of 82
Well no matter what tubes I use with my Single Power (Sylvania, Tung Sol, RCA, now have a Hytron 6SN7), the k501 doesn't have a bass slam the way any Sennheiser has. It seems to have lower bass, but is missing some upper bass/ lower mids. This is why I don't really like them for classical music either....they seem to have less of a presence. Having a huge soundstage, but weak bass seems very schizophrenic to me. Bass is what resonates when you have an auditorium, so it's far from "concert hall" like to me.
post #24 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Davesrose View Post
Well no matter what tubes I use with my Single Power (Sylvania, Tung Sol, RCA, now have a Hytron 6SN7), the k501 doesn't have a bass slam the way any Sennheiser has. It seems to have lower bass, but is missing some upper bass/ lower mids. This is why I don't really like them for classical music either....they seem to have less of a presence. Having a huge soundstage, but weak bass seems very schizophrenic to me. Bass is what resonates when you have an auditorium, so it's far from "concert hall" like to me.
thats actually one thing that i really notice, and is the limitation to my fav headphone. the low bass is there pretty well, but the kick isnt there. You might want to try some thing known for really good dynamics. You can hear my setup for the 501s at the meet, its as good as iv been able to get for the 501s.
But back to the review. Im glad you went through the time and all the paces to make a good review. And my not agreeing with some parts of it far from discount that it is a great review.
good job
-greg
post #25 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by phergus_25 View Post
thats actually one thing that i really notice, and is the limitation to my fav headphone. the low bass is there pretty well, but the kick isnt there. You might want to try some thing known for really good dynamics. You can hear my setup for the 501s at the meet, its as good as iv been able to get for the 501s.
Looking forward to the ATL meet! You'll have to check out my HD650 on my setup Greg It could be that my setup isn't synergizing as well with the 501.....I do notice the SP amp is really good with Sennheiser and Grado. It gives bass and soundstage to the Grado, and gives Sennheisers speed and detail. It does shrink the soundstage of the 501 to a believable level (on my old MicroAmp, it was WAY too big). But there's still that mid bass recession. Well I guess we'll see how much of this is difference in ears vs difference in hardware setups
post #26 of 82
I'm looking forward to hearing a properly amped HD650. I havent heard one in a LONG time and when i did I didnt know a thing to listen for.
-greg

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davesrose View Post
Looking forward to the ATL meet! You'll have to check out my HD650 on my setup Greg It could be that my setup isn't synergizing as well with the 501.....I do notice the SP amp is really good with Sennheiser and Grado. It gives bass and soundstage to the Grado, and gives Sennheisers speed and detail. It does shrink the soundstage of the 501 to a believable level (on my old MicroAmp, it was WAY too big). But there's still that mid bass recession. Well I guess we'll see how much of this is difference in ears vs difference in hardware setups
post #27 of 82
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hi-Finthen View Post
Yes, I do believe you have a malfunctioning pair of 501s to have reached these conclusions! My music and equipment just doesn't present these abnormalitys to the 501s presentation. If they did present as you state, I wouldn't have kept them as being highly enjoyable, high resoulution instruments.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elephas View Post
I also suspect some kind of anomaly with the K501 review unit. As good as the K701 is, I don't think its midrange is so superior to the K501's to make the K501 sound so lacking.
Er...I didn't mean to state that something is necessarily wrong with my K501, but that the one I own is the bass-light variation, as it seems like there are two variations of the K501 out in circulation (which I found out from reading the huge K501 thread).

Regardless, I suspect my perception of my K501 has mostly to do with that when I listen for mid-range, I expect fullness, lushness, body, warmth, etc - i.e., that you can feel like you could reach out and grab an instrument. And also that sense of power and soul from the human voice. I don't hear those with my K501 as much as I try to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Piffles View Post
You, on the other hand, regroup all the stuff I listen to into one category you call "anything that's 100% acoustic and on the simplistic side". I would call all that, Flamenco, Latino guitar, classical guitar, country, classic blues, african percussions, etc.
I can agree with you that the K501 would sound great with the kind of music you mention there, as I don't listen to those. I'm always up for expanding my musical horizons though, so I would appreciate any great CDs that you own in those areas. I love world music even though I barely own any CDs in that area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chops View Post
My personal experiences with the K701's so far are mostly different from what others have been saying, such as little bass output, rolled off at about 40Hz, no bass kick or punch, especially with the LDM+ due to not enough current, etc, etc.. In my case, I AM getting more bass output, down to at least 20-25Hz, have decent kick/punch in the lower registers, and all of this through an LDM+.
I'm wondering, how are you measuring down to 20-25 Hz? Frequency tests? Because I do the same and I don't get that result from my K701. I also have a hard time believing that any headphone can go that low, as even the 6.5" subwoofer I have pretty much stops at 25-27 Hz.
post #28 of 82
Based on some of the remarks, one would think that AKG couldn't possibly have built a better phone than the K501. In reading this review, even if there is a "best", I cannot determine if one series is better than the other, each has its positives/negatives. IMO, the way that Asr has broken things down, may allow an interested listener to use Asr's perceived attributes "right/wrong", to get an incling of what to look out for in sampling these phones for themselves.
post #29 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post
I'm wondering, how are you measuring down to 20-25 Hz? Frequency tests? Because I do the same and I don't get that result from my K701. I also have a hard time believing that any headphone can go that low, as even the 6.5" subwoofer I have pretty much stops at 25-27 Hz.

Eventhough I listen to a bunch of everything, the staple of my music diet it classical music, pipe organ music to be exact. These are CDs that I've owned and listened to, some for well over 15 years now. I know the pipe organs, I know the music, and I know what they can and can't do, and I also know what to expect in those recordings. I've listened to them on my home stereo speaker setup with a DIY subwoofer that's more than capable of reaching 10Hz with very usable output to pressurize and rattle the entire house.

IOW, I know what the pedal notes sound like, and what freq they are speaking at. For example, I know that Low C on a stopped 16' Bourdon is 16Hz (which is the same as a 32' Open Bourdon), and I know that the last note I can hear through these cans are a few notes above Low C, probably around G or A.

Plus, after listening to the recordings of our very own pipe organ that we used to have in the garage, I know where these cans leave off from the original instrument.

Now don't get me wrong. I hear the bass coming from the K701's, but it's not earth-shattering or anything. It's there, but not up to the level it should be to match up with the rest of the music. But I think that I am being limited not by the cans, but by the LDM+ simply because it doesn't have the current to open these cans up effectively enough in the lower registers.

I feel they have to potential of reproducing the 20Hz tone, if not lower, but they just need the proper amplification to get there.
post #30 of 82
Wow asr thanks for your review! Check out the fs forum, so many 501s for sale.. this thread has been my saviour..Now I can see how many it takes to dig out a bass heavy one...
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