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AKG K701 vs. Audio Technica ATH-W5000 vs. Ultimate Ears Triple.fi 10 Pro vs. Vienna Acoustic Beethoven Baby Grands - Page 3

post #31 of 42
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Audio-Omega View Post
I suspected triple.fi was good but didn't know it could be rated above K701 and W5000. Did the amp make much difference to the sound of the triple.fi ?
While the 701s DEMAND a good amp with lots of power, the T.fis are happy with my iPhone. I use LossLess files on the iPhone, which are decent files, but through the Woo I was listening to vinyl and SACDs, which is much more transparent and open and dynamic. Since the review I've been listening to the UEs more and more, even at home. So, they're good with almost any source and not amplifier sensitive, but if you improve the sources and amp you'll be able to hear every detail of the improvement.

The W5000s don't need much power, BUT they're very sensitive to input impedance at the amp. The Woo has a hi/lo impedance switch and when I switched to Low the ATs improved dramatically. I'd say that the ATs are clearly the most finicky of the gang. I'll have to try them with the iPhone to see if that's an ok match. They ARE amp sensitive, I know that for certain.

post #32 of 42
Awesome review. I always wanted to read a comparison against good speaker system.
Yeah... $10K vs $1K is a big difference.
Thanks for the review.
post #33 of 42
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by dkpaul View Post
Awesome review. I always wanted to read a comparison against good speaker system.
Yeah... $10K vs $1K is a big difference.
Thanks for the review.
Yes, I think it is good to know that a true audiophile-quality set up is possible for $1000, excluding sources.

Of course, it's important to know that I spent $5000+ on sources. Still, I can say that a $200 Oppo gets you 90+% of the way there. So, $300+ for the UEs, $650 for the Woo and $200 for the Oppo and you've a very, very fine system that can be upgraded into the stratosphere as desired. Neither the Woo or the UEs will be a "weak link."

post #34 of 42
Thread Starter 
The prior owner just confirmed to me that the AT W5000s had less than 30-hours when I bought them. So, it took another 50-hours before they started sounding good to me. So I think it's safe to say that they need around 100-hours before their true sonic signature starts to show through and the glare goes totally away.

post #35 of 42
so what are your conclusions after let say 120 hours ???
post #36 of 42
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by piotr z View Post
so what are your conclusions after let say 120 hours ???
No change yet, but they've only gained a couple of hours since my review.

Maybe I'll by a cheap rectifier for my Woo and put a bunch more hours on the AKGs and the W5000s. I just don't like frying my Woo when I'm not listening to music and it's the only headphone amp that I have, or want.

post #37 of 42
Thread Starter 
Ok guys, I just received the 701s back from Soloz Audio which swapped out the stock cable for 12' of Cardas with dual leads into the cups (stock is only one) with a high quality 1/4" termination (gold plated Neutrik).

Here's the cost breakdown:
12' of Cardas $145
Replacement cup from AKG for the side without a hole $25
Labor $50
Total $220.

The headphones can be purchased for only a little more than that and represent one of the best headphone bargains out there. My Audio Technica W5000s cost me $620 USED.

I'm listening through my brand new Jeff Rowland phono stage that he installed in my Continuum 500 yesterday. So, the phono section and the new headphone cable have only minutes on them.

So that you don't have to read back up the thread I'll outline the weakness in the stock AKGs that caused me to rate them behind my Ultimate Ears Triple.fi 10 Pros by a good margin. Although I thought that my well broken in 701s had great overall balance, they lacked the transparency and detail that I heard UEs and my Vienna Acoustic speakers. Well, I can tell you right now that that's no longer an issue. They've jumped to the top of my headphone pile.

Getting rid of the tube phono stage and replacing it with the Rowland's ultra quiet phono stage is allowing me to listen deeper and deeper into the music. With the new cabling on the 701s, the resolution is right up there with my VA speakers.

Bass impact, slam and balance is incredible. I'm playing a GRP CD right now (switching sources of course), "a twist of motown". The second cut is "Pappa Was A Rollin' Stone" which has incredibly deep synth supporting the electric bass. Not only is the line low, but it's full of harmonic complexity and rich detail. Now, for the first time with the 701s, I'm hearing all those rich details and two instruments. At the same time the vocals and Chris Botti's trumpet obligatos pop right out of the mix, along with swish-cymbal sound, percussion, wah guitar, flute, other synth sounds. Versus my speakers, the only thing missing is the slam in my chest.

Imaging, such as it is with cans, has opened up, with sounds all around my head. The AKGs were good at this before, but now they're really giving my a spacial show, with almost nothing right in the center of my head and most of the sound to my sides and out front.

I don't know what I'll do if they get better with burn-in. Frankly I'd be happy if they don't improve anymore. I'm ordering a RIAA inverting attenuating card to put between my universal player and the phono input, so that I can leave the player on constantly and quickly get a couple of hundred hours on the phono cards. I'll keep the cans plugged also and let you know what I hear a couple of weeks from now.

Ciao amigos,

post #38 of 42

I have owned a Sennheiser PXC 450 and currently own a Sennheiser HD595, a UE TripleFi 10 and the Audio Technica ATH-W5000. Below you can find my comparison.


I find, by far, the W5000 the best headphone. The clarity and the detail are not met by the others.


- Clarity

- Detail (you hear everything, from pushing keys on instruments)

- Very detailed bass

- Sweet spot for voices (although it is more that the soundstage is so good, rather than amplification of the voices. Every sound is separated so well that you just hear everything better).



- Music is 'in your head' rather than airy

- Bass (although certainly not bad and very detailed) sometimes misses oemph.


Secondly I like the Sennheisers


- Quite analytical/ flat

- Airy



- Less detail then W5000

- Likes to be driven by a heavy amplifier (also the portable PXC450!)


I don't understand why everybody likes teh Triple-Fi 10's. Admittedly they have played less then one hour, so hopefully they get better over time, but I was very let down by them.


- Easily driven

- Good balance between airyness and 'in your head'



- High's are not that crisp/ bright

- The V-shaped audio curve makes the voices fall into the background. This irritates me the most.

- Very bassy (but not that detailed)



Concluding; the W5000 is the winner and I would certainly recommend them. I do not use a special headphone amplifier, and personally, seeing how it performs on my current amplifier, I don't feel the need to upgrade. All headphones were driven by either a Cambridge Audio amplifier or for the prtables by a Blackberry smartphone.


(PS. no headphone will come near to the oemph of my floor standing Monitor Audio gold series speakers)

Edited by AlbertoDN - 5/25/13 at 8:39am
post #39 of 42

Wow. well first, kudos for pulling a rather intereting thread out of oblivion.  It reminds a time when information on Head-Fi was flowing easier... 


Second, Having owned or heard all of the above that you've listed, bar the PCX450 (But the'yre suprarural NC phones so why even bother) i certainly concur that the W5000 is on a league of it's own in comparison. It makes the HD595 sound like oversized earbuds (of the bland and muffled variety)  and the TF10 like fart cannos IMHO. And although the upper-mids are ever present and do have a habit to get congested with inadequetly mastered or older materail, If you find the staging closed-in no matter what it could very well be an equipment issue, as was noted by OP wrt their finicky pairing demands. 


Despite some obviously questionable remarks (TF10 as "exceptionally natural") was entertaing to read of OP's impressions, Having had the same setup with W5000, K701 and WA6 at the time i'd make an exactly reversed ranking with the AT's at the top, folowed by 701 and TF10 firmly at the far end. I'll leave the speakers the benfit of the doubt tho. :)

Edited by Amarphael - 5/25/13 at 5:32am
post #40 of 42

Interesting read, I agree with you on the TF10, it's my favorite universal of all time.

post #41 of 42

Wow, strong old thread bump.

Yeah, W5000, still one of my favorites and truly a flagship.

Hard to make them sound right, but out of the right amp and with proper fit they are gorgeous. For proper fitting bending headband is almost a must and the trick is after positioning them over ears, rotate them forward until they "lock" on ears making the best seal. Pads can rotate on their own, I had best results with them in stock position when seam is aligned with the front screw on the cup. I also replaced stock pads with L3000, as they are a little bit thicker.

As I owned most current flagships along with W5000, I would rank them as following from best to worse:

- HD800

- W5000

- LCD-2.2

- T1


It's really astonishing that 10 year old design phones can keep up with the the current Sennheiser flagship. On some material I even prefer them over HD800 as they can sound more "romantic" esp. with female vocals, treble is also easier on ears.


And I really never liked K701, sounded "plasticky" to me.

Edited by Andrew_WOT - 5/25/13 at 8:15am
post #42 of 42

@ Amarphael

Mind you that the PXC 450 is a very good headphone! NC doesn't necessarily have to be turned on. Some think it has the same drivers as the HD595, although I hear differences (which could be tributed to closed vs. open).

Edited by AlbertoDN - 5/28/13 at 3:47am
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