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Guide to the Balanced AKG K701 recabling

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
People say that the AKG K701 headphone lacks bass, but the reason is because they are not using the right amp. This headphone needs a lot of power, and will impress you with her might when you make her happy.

Many people who have heard a balanced amp never go back to the single-ended version. Balanced amps really do sound much better to my ears. Take the example of the Dyna amps. The balanced Dynalo (Dynamid) sounds more detailed and has stronger bass slam than the unbalanced Dynalo. It is also warmer and more liquid. Why? It has double the slew rate and output, and slew rate induced distortion is the predominant form of distortion for these amps. The bass is deeper and tighter due to lower output impedance's effect on the Q of the headphone drivers. Then there's the Dynamight which is the balanced Dynahi, and it was wider soundstage, greater warmth and transparency, and insane bass slam. As you can see, balanced amps have great benefits, and the AKG K701 is a power-hungry monster of a headphone so she will make great use of the extra power. Besides, what's not to like about 4x the power output =)

Opening
=====
Opening the K701 is easy. Just use a pen or scissor or anything that is pointy, and poke it into a hole in the cap. Give a counterclockwise twist and the cap falls out:


This is a closeup of the cap.


Now unscrew these two screws and pull out the plastic thing.


Connecting the Balanced Cable
===================
The wiring scheme for the AKG K701 is:

orange = right +
white = right -
yellow = left +
black = left -

There are already four wires in the cable, so all you need to do is cut off the 1/4" phone plug and attach two XLR cables. XLR has three connections labeled "1", "2", "3". Only "2" and "3" will be used. The "2" is the positive and the "3" is the negative.

I prefer the Y-cable over the single-sided cable. It pulls down on both sides of your head with equal force. The cable is a lot more manageable since it's thicker. I also put together an adaptor for use with single-ended amps (yuck!). I didn't make it that nice since I don't plan on using it much.

Here is how I did mine. This cable is made from Mogami starquad, and is about 8 feet long. It has two gold plated Neutrik XLR's at each end:








I upgraded my source and amp at the same time I balanced my K701s, so while there is a massive improvement in sound quality, I don't know what is responsible for it. Perhaps it is all of them.
post #2 of 56
I concur with your assessment of the Dynamite
post #3 of 56
I would be interested in some details of making it dual-cabled, assuming you drilled into the other ear piece to fit the wire in.
post #4 of 56
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mb3k View Post
I would be interested in some details of making it dual-cabled, assuming you drilled into the other ear piece to fit the wire in.
You can open it by giving the silvery plastic cap a twist and it will fall right out. Unscrew the two screws and remove the plastic mold. Now you have access to the wires.
post #5 of 56
I bet they sound amazing. I wish I could afford a balanced amp. I guess I'll have to just enjoy my Jolida as much as I can with my K701's. I can't imagine them sounding much better than they do, must truely be amazing, stock I think they are better than my HD600's with Cardas cable.
post #6 of 56
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nandro View Post
I bet they sound amazing. I wish I could afford a balanced amp. I guess I'll have to just enjoy my Jolida as much as I can with my K701's. I can't imagine them sounding much better than they do, must truely be amazing, stock I think they are better than my HD600's with Cardas cable.
I've heard the K701s out of a Dynamight at a meet, and every note hits hard and with great weight. There is so much bass slam and bass extension. Also the transparency and detail was amazing. It was a whole new kind of experience! I'm currently building a Dynamight and they are really cheap. You can build one if you like DIY.

And they say that the balanced tube amps are every bit as amazing, with a flavor of their own. There is something special about balanced amps!
post #7 of 56
I dont know the first thing about DIY, so I would need to start with something alot simpler as a first project although I wish I could build one of them.
post #8 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by cotdt View Post
You can open it by giving the silvery plastic cap a twist and it will fall right out. Unscrew the two screws and remove the plastic mold. Now you have access to the wires.
Did you buy the Left-Side plastic piece with the cut-out for the wire and use it on the right side? Or did you 'chop' into the original to make way for the wire? (can't see it in the photos, looks unfinished there best I can tell)
post #9 of 56
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NiceCans View Post
Did you buy the Left-Side plastic piece with the cut-out for the wire and use it on the right side? Or did you 'chop' into the original to make way for the wire? (can't see it in the photos, looks unfinished there best I can tell)
either way works fine. i used my solder iron to melt a hole for the wiring.
post #10 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by cotdt View Post
either way works fine. i used my solder iron to melt a hole for the wiring.
Ahh, that's what my question was going at too. Thanks for the insight.
post #11 of 56
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mb3k View Post
Ahh, that's what my question was going at too. Thanks for the insight.
not the safest technique but it works =) don't smell the fumes.
post #12 of 56
good job cottage boy!
I'm about to get some wire off patrick to recable my 501s...
post #13 of 56
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hYdrociTy View Post
good job cottage boy!
I'm about to get some wire off patrick to recable my 501s...
i thought you sold yours! Well glad you still have it. i think i'll get one of these K501s and see how well they work balanced.
post #14 of 56
actually i had two, one with the blue dragon (though single entry). Sold that one. The one I have now is a stock wire but there are rips so im thinking of recabling them with some nordost solar wind cable (if patrick every responds to my pms).

Right now I'm torn between trying out a dynahi or β22... the pathetic looking lolmeta i built is quite unsatisfactory.. I dont know if I should finish making a steps for it or just leave a tread in and elpac that crap and use the money on some pcb boards and parts...
post #15 of 56
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hYdrociTy View Post

Right now I'm torn between trying out a dynahi or β22... the pathetic looking lolmeta i built is quite unsatisfactory.. I dont know if I should finish making a steps for it or just leave a tread in and elpac that crap and use the money on some pcb boards and parts...
lol! your pimeta looks awesome! here's an idea: build the dynahi, then finish your pimeta and use it to power LEDs that pulse with the music. Then you will have a Solid State/Opamp hybrid amp.
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