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New with K701's...amp suggestions

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
Hey, I just registered but have lurked here for about a month so I've gotten a few ideas of what to get. Yes, my wallet is much lighter and will continue to be for a little while

Right now I have a HeadRoom Total AirHead amp, which definitely doesn't power my AKG K701's enough (I can hear distortion during high bass quite a bit), so I'm looking for one to buy, budget being 500-650ish. I listen to rock (slow all the way to metal, big spectrum), rap and hip-hop, and some electronic music. I also like the occasional other genres, but am looking for an increase amount and quality of bass, and of course all the other good things that come with a quality amp

I've read that tube amps work well with K701's, and that people seem to really like the Bada PH-12 amp, so that is definitely a consideration. I'm also looking at the HeadRoom Millet Desktop Hybrid amp. It cost's more, but I like how it's a very knowledgeable, helpful, and available company. It also seems to have more things I can play around with and is a lot more aesthetically pleasing, and it really seems like they know what they are doing. I'm willing to pay the extra money for it if it's really worth it. Are there suggestions (others are completely welcome of course) in what I should get? It seems really hard to get info on amps anywhere other than here really, and it's overwhelming with the available options, so it's hard to really find a place to start.

Also, might as well throw these in here:

DACs - I'll be playing my music from my laptop, and I've read DACs can help improve quality. Again, I've been looking at HeadRoom since they have such a large amount of info - I'm looking at the Micro DAC...is that fine for a college student on a budget? No, I don't need the best, just an adequate amount of improvement.

Power supplies - is the Astrodyne Switching power supply good on a budget? HeadRoom suggests their $400 power supply for desktop amps, but I don't have that much money to throw around on power supplies Would I need one for both the amp and DAC?

Sorry if it was a long post, I'm just trying to get a lot out of the way in one post. Thanks for the help in advance
post #2 of 32
I'm going to be doing a semi-formal review but I will give you an inside scoop. I recently purchased a Shanling PH-100 SS amp and the match with the K701s is terrific. However, the soundstage on the Shanling is not what I would call wide. I'm hoping with some burn-in this will change. If it does this amp is a terrific bargain! It already is a wonderful lush sounding amp.
post #3 of 32
I'm very happy with my K701 and Little Dot MKIII combination, especially now that I've started tube rolling and can tune the sound depending on the music I'm listening to (can't do that with SS!).

A DAC makes a huge difference. In my experience amping the headphone output of my laptop just sounds roughly the same but with more volume. The DAC helps clean up the sound significantly.

I'd put rank the power supply lowest on the amp, DAC, power supply list. And if you get a switching power supply, make sure others have tested it. Switching supplies can actually introduce noise into the system from the switching action.
post #4 of 32
Err... how to say this.
I own Heed Canamp before, I buy it because many people here says this amp is perfectly synergies with K701, I do agree for couple aspects, this amp give K701 a taste of big bass, and crystal clear high/mid, but nothing is special for me, they're good amp but I just feel I need something different so I try something else...

OMZ headamp, claimed to be similar with Headamp GS-1, the amp paired with the DAC it self produce a natural sound, with detailed sounding, fatigue free (comparing to Heed Canamp), bigger soundstage but less bass than Heed.. I personally love it... I really do, but there is a problem with high volume listening so at the end I return it and get the DAC instead...

Lisa III, my newest amp... just got it 2 days ago..
I wanted to get a tubes amp, but my budget doesn't allow me to get what I wanted (WA6 max), so I guess rather than buying cheaper tubes amp who doesn't do the justice amping K701... I better off buying another SS amp but has bigger "wow" factor over my previous amps... so here it is...

Overall from my initial impression, this amp sound really similar to OMZ headamp, and they got similar problem as well... distortions on high volume. PPL (Lisa's designer) said there is something wrong with my cans... I don't think so, because my little Xin amp able to drive the K701 to high volume (nearly bleed my ears) without any distortions... I guess this because I haven't charged the amp, I listen to it straight out of box... we will see later...
but right now it does sound fine... and keep getting better and better.... maybe this is the perfect amp for my k701
post #5 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Capunk View Post
Err... how to say this.
I own Heed Canamp before, I buy it because many people here says this amp is perfectly synergies with K701, I do agree for couple aspects, this amp give K701 a taste of big bass, and crystal clear high/mid, but nothing is special for me, they're good amp but I just feel I need something different so I try something else...

OMZ headamp, claimed to be similar with Headamp GS-1, the amp paired with the DAC it self produce a natural sound, with detailed sounding, fatigue free (comparing to Heed Canamp), bigger soundstage but less bass than Heed.. I personally love it... I really do, but there is a problem with high volume listening so at the end I return it and get the DAC instead...

Lisa III, my newest amp... just got it 2 days ago..
I wanted to get a tubes amp, but my budget doesn't allow me to get what I wanted (WA6 max), so I guess rather than buying cheaper tubes amp who doesn't do the justice amping K701... I better off buying another SS amp but has bigger "wow" factor over my previous amps... so here it is...

Overall from my initial impression, this amp sound really similar to OMZ headamp, and they got similar problem as well... distortions on high volume. PPL (Lisa's designer) said there is something wrong with my cans... I don't think so, because my little Xin amp able to drive the K701 to high volume (nearly bleed my ears) without any distortions... I guess this because I haven't charged the amp, I listen to it straight out of box... we will see later...
but right now it does sound fine... and keep getting better and better.... maybe this is the perfect amp for my k701

Thanks for that info, it seems the K701s are a real pain to drive properly and it also seems that very few amps can deliver the current they need. Why are all these designers skimping on current delivery? It's very frustrating and then they blame your phones. Yeah right. Please someone make an amp that can drive these headphones well. We live in a world where 1000W RMS amplifiers are easily available. Can we please have something that can supply a watt or two over here?
post #6 of 32
With my respect to the designer, in this case, PPL
I tried to explain my problems on this page
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f5/lis...85/index2.html

All the amps that I've owned are good and doing great job with their respectful area, it just they aren't giving me a good "WOW" or in informal term of eargasm
Or perhaps K701 is the most difficult headphone to find it's matched amp...and I really wanted to try tubes amp tho...
post #7 of 32
It seems like it's so difficult to find an affordable and acceptable amp for a lot of people with the 701s. I wonder if I should've just gone with the 650s and kept things easier.
post #8 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by saintalfonzo View Post
It seems like it's so difficult to find an affordable and acceptable amp for a lot of people with the 701s. I wonder if I should've just gone with the 650s and kept things easier.
Maybe,
but depending on your taste... some like HD650 sonic characteristic,
while others (inc me) love K701 sound... but I don't mind getting another HD650
post #9 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by xFih2 View Post
Right now I have a HeadRoom Total AirHead amp, which definitely doesn't power my AKG K701's enough (I can hear distortion during high bass quite a bit), so I'm looking for one to buy, budget being 500-650ish. I listen to rock (slow all the way to metal, big spectrum), rap and hip-hop, and some electronic music. I also like the occasional other genres, but am looking for an increase amount and quality of bass, and of course all the other good things that come with a quality amp

I've read that tube amps work well with K701's, and that people seem to really like the Bada PH-12 amp, so that is definitely a consideration. I'm also looking at the HeadRoom Millet Desktop Hybrid amp. It cost's more, but I like how it's a very knowledgeable, helpful, and available company. It also seems to have more things I can play around with and is a lot more aesthetically pleasing, and it really seems like they know what they are doing. I'm willing to pay the extra money for it if it's really worth it. Are there suggestions (others are completely welcome of course) in what I should get? It seems really hard to get info on amps anywhere other than here really, and it's overwhelming with the available options, so it's hard to really find a place to start.

Power supplies - is the Astrodyne Switching power supply good on a budget? HeadRoom suggests their $400 power supply for desktop amps, but I don't have that much money to throw around on power supplies Would I need one for both the amp and DAC?
Based on the music you listen to, a solid state amp might be a better choice for you. Tubes are cool, but they're much better when you're focused on the mids. If you were listening to vocals, acoustic music, jazz, and similar, tubes might be the better choice. For me, nothing gets the vocals as "right" as tubes do. With good damping and enough power, tubes are alright for bass. But it's rare to find a tube amp that can hit hard and low like solid state does.

If you're listening to hard rock, electronica, rap, and similar, you're probably going to want the control and authority at the low end from solid state. Solid state might not light up and look cool, but it can sound very, very good. The best ones will sound liquid and beautiful, too. Different from tubes, but good in its own special solid state way. I'll admit to listening to transistors now and then... I'm not completely analog.

The good news is that there are a whole lot of amps available in that range. For commercial offerings, there's the Eddie Current EC/SS, Gilmore Lite, Heed Can Amp, and several offerings from Meier Corda, and HeadRoom.

You should also consider a custom DIY amp from a builder. There are several people here who will build one for you. The Beta 22 is awfully good, so is the CK2III, and you might be especially interested in the M^3. The M^3 can be built with a nifty bass boost circuit. I don't know the going rates for customs, but you should be able to swing one of these. If you're up for an adventure, you could build your own, as well.

A switching power supply for audio? I am not familiar with this product, but switching supplies are generally a no-no in audio. Then again, I don't think Tyll would offer a bad product. Still, I plan to stick with overbuilt, regulated linear supplies.
post #10 of 32
I've been burning in my K701s since I bought them 4 days ago, and I've taken a listen a couple of times each day so far. There has been a decent change already in the definition and punch of the bass and a reduction of harshness in the
highs. I can tell there is really something special about these cans even though they are presently plugged straight into my amp/receiver's headphone jack and are lacking in overall power. What I want to find is the best amp deal for under/around $500. Ultimately I want to have enough power to blow my ears with crisp, clean and clear overall sound and punchy bass. I've read hundreds of threads on here about the k701s synergy with different amps in my price range ( mostly heed canamp, darkvoice 336i, different little dots, and bada ph-12 ) and every time I come to a decision on one of them, I read something that changes my mind. I'm hoping for some good advice in this thread.
post #11 of 32
Heed Canamp
post #12 of 32
Take this to your account,
it would be wise if you have Audition it by yourself, otherwise you won't know this amp or that amp would suit your taste or not, you just blindly testing with your perceptions and thoughts.

I'm personally has been through this, and most of the times it hurt my heart to know that you've been choosing the wrong equipments... just because people in here said it good, doesn't mean it good for you. However that won't change me into skeptical person, I do trust a couple member judgment on their impression, review or critics, all you need to do is research, summarize and formulate it inside your head, so at least you have an image what kind of amp this would be.

I believe you have your own preference, don't just let people select it for you and you just buy them.
post #13 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the help so far.

About the switching power supply, it's the only power supply that headroom offers other than their own. This is the link to it - Astrodyne Switching Power Supply @ HeadRoom - Right Between Your Ears . They say it works well for people on a budget.

This is what headroom says about their tube amp: "This is a superb headphone amp choice for your older rock and jazz recordings, as well as for a lot of the more modern dance, hip-hop and remix tracks that sometimes have a tendency towards a harsh, sharp-edged sound in the treble ranges." That's one of the things that helped me point to that amp, as it seems to be in my music range.

I don't know of any places where I can audition amps unfortunately That would be awesome if I did though, it'd probably help a lot. I wish there weren't so many choices in a way because it makes it really hard to choose, especially since there probably aren't many people out there that have tried out a lot of amps just for the K701's.

Is there anyone that have tried them with the 2 amps I mentioned, just so I can get an idea one how well they work together? Whatever I get I'm sure there will be something that'll work better, but that's inevitable, but my questions is can I really go wrong with buying either of them, and is there an idea of which one might be better over the other?

Thanks for all the help
post #14 of 32
I've had very success with the Darkvoice 336i, and even better with the Bada PH-12. : )
post #15 of 32
The HeadRoom Micro would be a great amp to get. $400, plenty of power, and crossfeed. If you can't afford them both get the amp for now and the DAC later. To answer your other question you would only need one DPS for both the amp and the DAC, it has several power ports on the back of it. 6 or 8 I believe?
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