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Pico - can it drive AKG 701s well?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I have a Pico on order and will be using it on the go with my Shure SE-530. However, I have a very nice stereo upstairs that I'm finding harder and harder to listen to due to the horrible accoustics of the room.
What I plan to do is hook up the Pico to my amp's tape out and listen to my CD player and turntable that way. I want a good set of cans as the Shures - whilst great on the go - aren't all that comfortable for long stretches at a time especially as I'll be hunched over painting/drawing for hours on end.

The 701s have caught my eyes (ears?) and I plan to get one with an after-market cable, very likely the ALO 18awg Cryo cable.

I've heard mixed reports on the ease of driving the 701s. Is it viable? I doubt I'll be able to get a proper desktop amp for a good long while so I want to make sure this is right.

If it helps, this is what I'll be running them into as well as the music I prefer and the sound I'm after:

Densen B-400XS CD Player (HDCD)

Thorens TD-850 Turntable with Rega RB-300 arm

Ortofon Kontrapunkt C MC Cartridge

Thorens TP-302 Phonostage

Nordost cabling

Music: Mostly Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Rock, Classical, Jazz, Blues, Soundtracks

Sound I'm after: Detailed, analytical, neutral, fast

I really appreciate any light you can shed on the subject.
post #2 of 22
Well, first off, Shure E530 and the AKG K701 are completely different beats in sound signature.

And second, I personally find it weird that you're planning to run all that nice equipment, and finally power the signal with a Pico? A portable amp compared to a home amp at the same price, it's a difference of a few planets, imo.
post #3 of 22
The Pico can drive the K701 fine, but you'd get even better sound with most home amps (and the Pico is a little too small to use with a typical standalone CD player), and an aftermarket headphone cable would just not make sense with it either as it's on the lower-end scale of amps - it's certainly a fine amp, but HeadAmp's higher-end amps, for example, are far more revealing. And if you really want to re-cable your K701 there are cheaper options, like APureSound and S2 Audio.
post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
I'd love a better amp but that's not on the cards at the moment. Still, my source components are of a very high calibur in my opinion and I want to get the most out of them with what I have.
post #5 of 22
What are you considering a "proper" desktop amp? My limited experience has it that with a desktop amp, you gain a useful amount of soundstage with the 701's.
post #6 of 22
I'd suggest using the money a Pico would cost along with the cost of the fancy K701 cable that won't do anything into a solid home amp.

You'll certainly be able to get a "proper" home amp with that kind of money, likely even less.
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by monolith View Post
I'd suggest using the money a Pico would cost along with the cost of the fancy K701 cable that won't do anything into a solid home amp.

You'll certainly be able to get a "proper" home amp with that kind of money, likely even less.
Exactly what I was thinking while reading through this thread. This is the most logical way to approach it.
post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post
The Pico can drive the K701 fine, but you'd get even better sound with most home amps (and the Pico is a little too small to use with a typical standalone CD player), and an aftermarket headphone cable would just not make sense with it either as it's on the lower-end scale of amps - it's certainly a fine amp, but HeadAmp's higher-end amps, for example, are far more revealing. And if you really want to re-cable your K701 there are cheaper options, like APureSound and S2 Audio.
First time I've heard that.
post #9 of 22
No. My Equinoxed k701 sounds so ugly with Pico (If you ever try to plug k701 into home amps like Lisa III, grace m902, DA10, HP100, Singlepowers, etc, You'll know why.)
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaron313 View Post
First time I've heard that.
Here are the facts which anyone can observe: ALO Audio sells stock K701s for $399. They sell re-cabled K701 w/ the 18AWG Cryo at $850. The length of the single-ended cable is not mentioned but if you compare the copy with the page for the 18AWG Cryo balanced K701, it can be induced that the single-ended cable is probably 7 feet. Hence, the cost of the cable (for a 7' length) and installation service is probably approximately $450.

APureSound charges $245 ($220 base for 7' plus $25 for the Furutech FP-704 which ALO is clearly using in the pic on their site) for a V3 re-cabled K701, minus shipping and fees. APureSound also gives you the option of 3 different sleeving colors to pick from at no extra cost.

Which would you rather buy? 18AWG Cryo wire is also not very flexible, as I've personally used it in an interconnect that was made for me by a cable DIY-er on Head-Fi last year.

I'll also add that Moon Audio is also a dealer for AKG (as is ALO Audio), and they sell new K701s re-cabled with their Black Dragon in a 10' length for...$575, also with the Furutech FP-704 (add $25 for dual-entry).

Draw your own conclusions from this information.
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post
Here are the facts which anyone can observe: ALO Audio sells stock K701s for $399. They sell re-cabled K701 w/ the 18AWG Cryo at $850. The length of the single-ended cable is not mentioned but if you compare the copy with the page for the 18AWG Cryo balanced K701, it can be induced that the single-ended cable is probably 7 feet. Hence, the cost of the cable (for a 7' length) and installation service is probably approximately $450.

APureSound charges $245 ($220 base for 7' plus $25 for the Furutech FP-704 which ALO is clearly using in the pic on their site) for a V3 re-cabled K701, minus shipping and fees. APureSound also gives you the option of 3 different sleeving colors to pick from at no extra cost.

Which would you rather buy? 18AWG Cryo wire is also not very flexible, as I've personally used it in an interconnect that was made for me by a cable DIY-er on Head-Fi last year.
Another thing to add is there is more microphonics on the 18AWG cable as I had one on a can, the cable is very, very stiff and if you are going to use the K701 further away from the amp it will be a pain since the cable is very stiff. I think in your situation I would use it toward a good home amp instead of a good cable.

This is what I've done for this hobby in regards to upgrades:

cans - source - amp - cables

But I do agree with ASR as well as the other in regards to upgrading the cable on the K701 vs getting a home amp.
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Hmmmm, the Moon Audio Silver Dragon upgrade seems a better option for me at this point.
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazza View Post
Hmmmm, the Moon Audio Silver Dragon upgrade seems a better option for me at this point.
An even better option is buying a stock K701 and using the cable money on an amp, as I said previously.

Or even another pair of headphones to have a different flavour. Something that'll have an effect, at least.
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by monolith View Post
An even better option is buying a stock K701 and using the cable money on an amp, as I said previously.

Or even another pair of headphones to have a different flavour. Something that'll have an effect, at least.
That's okay monolith. I don't understand it as well :shrugs:.

Gazza, what is a desktop amplifier that you can't afford or as you said in the cards right now? Are you getting the pico with a DAC in it? Also as ASR mentioned a cable is gonna cost you over $250 more. Assuming that you get only the Pico with the DAC and add the money you would've spent on a aftermarket cable for the K701, you still could get a decent desktop amp. Also are you looking for SS or tube desktop amp? Not sure why you are hooked on getting a aftermarket cable, without upgrading to a desktop amp instead and getting the cable later or as Monolith mentioned another can?
post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
The reason I'm spurning the notion of putting the money I would save from not upgrading the cable towards a desktop amp of equal value is that I want an amp that matches the quality of the rest of my system.

The Pico is mainly for 'on the go' audio but I need something to plug in to my stereo. I would like to get a decent desktop amp at the end of the year (circa $500 - $1000) and thus want a very good pair of headphones that will scale up accordingly.
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