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AKG K701 with Macbook Pro

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
Hi, I'm interested in purchasing the AKG K701s and I'm getting some conflicting information on various review sites. Some say to power these headphones on a laptop or iPod I need an amplifier... others say it's fine without it. I'm interested in hearing from someone who owns these if I can listen to my laptop or iPod without an amplifier. I'm no "audio expert" meaning I don't need perfect range etc... I'm just looking for exceptional sound quality without paying 1000$...

If I do need an amp, what am I getting myself into in terms of price?

Thanks!
post #2 of 34
Amplification is a must.
post #3 of 34
I have not tried myself, but headamp Pico is an excellent DAC/amp for your K701s and macbook pro. Those run up to 500$, but if you're not ready to spend that much, Meier 2MOVE should be good enough at 255$ or so.
EDIT: you probably get better response if you post this in amp section
post #4 of 34
You will be able to get sufficient volume (and then some) out of a MBP, I just tested it.

An amp and dac down the line will improve on it, of course, but the MBP will work for the short term.
post #5 of 34
I will agree that amplification is the way to go with the k701s. Using them without a decent amp is like driving a supercar at 30mph. You could be getting so much more of the experience.

I have a Macbook Pro and have listened to the K701s. I actually prefer Sennheisers, but I think that the K701s are excellent. As far as what to spend, you really have to figure out how much is too much for you to spend. What other sources might you be using if any? Are you using only one pair of headphones ro do you have any others? Would you like a solid state amp or tubes?

Personally, I prefer to spend anywhere from the value of my headphones to twice that amount for an amp. Your milage may vary. Both my DAC and Amp are about twice what I paid for my cans, but this is due to several trials with equipment and careful consideration of my needs.

One recommendation I can give you is to try some equipment from Headroom. You can purchase and audition their merchandise for 30 days before deciding to keep or return it. This is how I got started with amps. I tried the least expensive amp that fit my needs (HR Total BitHead). When I did a bit more research, I purchased a second DAC/Amp with slightly more features and flexibility (iBasso D1) and went from there. You can get an idea of your needs once you start using various equipment.

Many moons and many dollars later, I settled on a desktop setup with a Headroom Ultra Micro DAC and a Graham Slee Solo amplifier. I couldn't be happier. I even received my RSA PRedator today. More toys to play with.

post #6 of 34
If you don't amplify the 701s then you are setting fire to 300 dollars. The suggestions above are good, however I would also consider the Pico by headamp as well as the Predator. They are both portable and both include a Digital audio converter that you will need to get the best sound out of your laptop. They are both portable and that is handy when your on the move with your laptop. Ibasso D1 is also nice but it is larger than the other two. Good luck and enjoy the 701s.
post #7 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorito123 View Post
If you don't amplify the 701s then you are setting fire to 300 dollars.


This is true only if:
1) a $300 headphone/amp combo out of a MBP beats the k701 direct from a MBP,

2) The OP isn't buying the headphone now and the amp in a few months, and worried over whether or not they can 'get by' in the meantime.

Also, the k701 can be had for ~$233 new, so now we're talking a $233 headphone/amp combo.


I don't have any ~$150 open phones or I'd run a comparison with an 0404 USB.


You'd be surprised what some of the "hard to drive" headphones actually sound like out of humdrum sources.


The OP will, however, want to pick up a flexible 1/4" to 1/8" adapter, the barrel type the k701 comes with is trouble waiting to happen.
post #8 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ph0rk View Post
This is true only if:
1) a $300 headphone/amp combo out of a MBP beats the k701 direct from a MBP,
To go a step further, the OP should only make this jump if the improvement is significant to HIS/HER ears. Don't ever take anyone's word for it. Not even mine.

Quote:
You'd be surprised what some of the "hard to drive" headphones actually sound like out of humdrum sources.
This is true. I had a pair of HD580s for quite a while. I was using them with my laptop and iPod with fairly decent results. However, one day I realized that I had the volume pumped up as high as it could go and I still wanted more. After my first amp, there was no turning back.


Quote:
The OP will, however, want to pick up a flexible 1/4" to 1/8" adapter, the barrel type the k701 comes with is trouble waiting to happen.
This would indeed be wise.
post #9 of 34
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply guys... Yeah I'm only spending 250 on these headphones (ebay) so 500$ for an amp is out of the question for now... I just want extremely high quality headphones that have potential... If I can get by without an amp that would be ideal and maybe I'd consider an amp down the road.

And for those who have this combo how much power did the macbook pro put out... Its hard for me to understand what you guys are comparing this too. I don't need enough power to blow my ear drums, just enough to go "loud".

Thanks again!
post #10 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaNkKnD View Post
Thanks for the reply guys... Yeah I'm only spending 250 on these headphones (ebay) so 500$ for an amp is out of the question for now... I just want extremely high quality headphones that have potential... If I can get by without an amp that would be ideal and maybe I'd consider an amp down the road.

And for those who have this combo how much power did the macbook pro put out... Its hard for me to understand what you guys are comparing this too. I don't need enough power to blow my ear drums, just enough to go "loud".

Thanks again!
I doubt many others regularly use the combo, as people who'd buy the k701 would likely also buy amps of some kind. From my quick listen, the last.fm player could get very very loud.

It could well be that some other cheaper headphone would work better for you (ampless). Will there be ambient noise around when you listen? Fans, pets, children? If so, I'd suggest looking at the Beyerdynamic DT-250 (80 ohm) or the AKG K271. In the long run it is better to use a sealed headphone and listen at lower volumes than an open headphone at loud volume.
post #11 of 34
You will probably need an amp. Many sources can drive most dynamic headphones loud. The only problem is quality. A good amp can allow you to listen to your music with better clarity at lower volumes. Your ears will appreciate that many years down the line.
post #12 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by pedxing View Post
You will probably need an amp. Many sources can drive most dynamic headphones loud. The only problem is quality. A good amp can allow you to listen to your music with better clarity at lower volumes. Your ears will appreciate that many years down the line.
X2
post #13 of 34
Thread Starter 
So a HR Total BitHead would fit the needs of a AKG K701? Just how much power do I need to get these headphones going on my macbook pro?
post #14 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaNkKnD View Post
So a HR Total BitHead would fit the needs of a AKG K701? Just how much power do I need to get these headphones going on my macbook pro?
That's debatable. But if you're sure you want the headphones, go ahead and get them and listen through your MBP. If you're not satisfied with the sound at that point, maybe you should think about amping them.

I was able to power my HD580s with a HR Total BitHead after suffering through some very tame playback of music. After amping, the experience became much more enjoyable. Your experience may be different.
post #15 of 34
also i would say depends on what you are upgrading from. when i got my d2000's (phone reported to sound better amped) running just out a zune or just my audigy4 it sounded like a damn good upgrade from my previous cans, but amping them was almost the same difference.

You might really enjoy the sound, but amping them cans should take them to another level.
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