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AMP and DAC for AKG K701 - Page 2

post #16 of 55

+1 amp first. If you're listening to mainly vocal/accoustic/lighter piano stuff, you might appreciate a DAC first, as the cans will still do the lighter stuff with great detail without too much juice, and the better representation from a good DAC might be better. But as soon as you want dynamic music, they're going to sound really flat without proper power, and no DAC will do for them what an amp will.


All comments say the Gilmore should be an excellent amp for them (hope to try one out myself soon, but already have something similar, so it's hard to justify).


That said, maybe get the cans first and have a listen before adding to the setup specifically to complement them. They're not to everyone's tastes. Properly powered, I don't think they're as bass light as people tend to say, but they are still very dry, and that does mean that the bass doesn't boom like it does with other phones. And the whole presentation is always very analytic and micro-detailed feeling.

Edited by PWilson - 7/11/10 at 7:54pm
post #17 of 55
Thread Starter 

So guys, give me some DAC Recommendations.

post #18 of 55
I was in a very similar situation to you about a week ago. I decided on running my 701s with a ps audio gcha. This is really a first class amp but it also has a decent usb dac built in that could bridge you until you have more $ for a high res dac. If you look hard you should be able to find one within your budget.
post #19 of 55

Swing by audiogon DAC section to see what may be in your budget. You could find a decent older dac for the money. If you don't want a tube/hybrid amp, get a tube output DAC. All solid state with a digital source can be a bit harsh with the 701s.


I agree with the amp first. Get as much as you can afford.

post #20 of 55

you could commission a mini3 and/or y1 DAC for about $200-250.  the mini3 will drive the K70x and sounds very good - i would recommend the "high-performance" version for the K70x.  the y1 is an excellent DAC as well.  get the custom face-plates for a professional look.



post #21 of 55

Amp first definately. Why don't you want tubes? I think a tube amp would be a ideal compliment to a headphone that is called somewhat analytical like the 701's. This is exactly what I have done. I've got the 702's and I bought a tube amp with lots of power. I'll post my findings when it's broken in. I went with the new Bellari HA540. Tons of juice for only $300. Though I haven't yet tried too many reference quality headphone amps, the Bellari is pretty sweet for the money. 

Edited by AudioGlow - 7/14/10 at 8:22am
post #22 of 55
Thread Starter 

I don't want a tube because I don't want to spend time maintaining the tube amps.

post #23 of 55

I see a spectrum of possible approaches.


If you want to get acceptable sound on the cheap until you have the time to research all the amps and DACs, which are legion, consider the Presonus hp4 amp. It is sold together with the 701 or 702 by at least one online vendor (Ebay). I use this amp to drive my new K702, which is technically the same as the 701. (The DAC is on my m-audio soundcard.) I don't have any complaints with the sound, though as yet I have no HQ amp to compare. I note that the volume must be turned past 12:00 before it gets close to normal listening level, so it may lack the power to get the most out of the K70x. You can score the hp4 used on Ebay for well under $100. Once you upgrade, sell it for almost as much as you paid. Lots of guys here buy and sell gear all the time just to have the chance to see if they like it.


At that price point the hp4 can't be optimal, but is not a dog. My personal next step is a high-powered, low-distortion DIY amp, the Sjostrom Audio QRV07. I'm not DIY-handy either, so I am just buying the parts now and will turn them over to a custom PCB assembly shop to do the soldering. It's still hundreds cheaper than springing for a Burson or Canamp.


This forum is superb for variety of advice, often excellent, but sometimes confusing. Ultimately you'll want to hear and compare yourself. Since you're in California, try to attend a head-fi meet in LA, SD or Bay Area. The rooms are loaded with amps to compare. Arrive early, there is so much gear, and it's very enlightening to hear all the phones and amps. 


PS Looking back at the previous posts, maybe go snag that Gilmore Lite mentioned by plaidplatypus if you can. I doubt you'd get a better amp at near the price.

Edited by renlute - 7/15/10 at 1:16am
post #24 of 55
Thread Starter 

Thanks renlute for the information. I will think about going to a head-fi meet when i have time.


I just received my 701 today, I have it connected to just my laptop without a DAC and AMP. obviously, I do hear some noise. But I still think these sound pretty good.


My question is, how much will a DAC and AMP improve the sound, sound stage etc.?

post #25 of 55

I'd recommend the M3 or GLite as a low cost way to get decent sound out of the 701s.  I guess you are planning on using your laptop as a source--is it Win7 and what are its outputs?  If you can get a spdif optical output and run standard XP a cheap M-Audio Transit should do you well while you save up for another DAC. Win7 or XP media edition I'd go with a gamma1 full.

post #26 of 55
Thread Starter 

I'm just using my laptop for now because my desktop is broken atm. I will fix that up and the headphones will be mainly used with my desktop. I will be running Windows 7 Ultimate on my desktop. as for outputs from the desktop, I will have whatever is on the motherboard.

Originally Posted by itsborken View Post

I'd recommend the M3 or GLite as a low cost way to get decent sound out of the 701s.  I guess you are planning on using your laptop as a source--is it Win7 and what are its outputs?  If you can get a spdif optical output and run standard XP a cheap M-Audio Transit should do you well while you save up for another DAC. Win7 or XP media edition I'd go with a gamma1 full.


post #27 of 55

If that Gilmore Lite is still for sale, grab it. Gilmore tends to get uniformly good reviews here.  Then worry about whether you need a DAC also. worst case is to stick a soundcard with DAC in your box. I use the M-Audio 192; the M-Audio 2496 is similar and half the price, may even use the same DAC chip. It's regarded as the most reasonably priced good soundcard. Motherboard sound chips are hardly ever any good for serious audio.

post #28 of 55


The BOM for my M^3 and σ11 excluding chassis is about $230 shipping included. Luckily I have my own chassis I salvaged and I only need a front panel; it'll look ugly, but as long as it functions as an amplifier, I'm ok with it. If a company were to build the M^3, it would sell for at least $450 or $500, and this is without the σ11. $230 excluding chassis for an M^3 and σ11 is hard to beat. If you can't or don't know how to build it, someone else can do it for you. If you have a friend that can, that's even better!

post #29 of 55
Thread Starter 

unfortunately i don't know how to build those things, and i don't know anyone that does. gilmore lite goes for around $250 here. If i add a little more I could get a m-stage. do you guys think i should go for the m-stage?

post #30 of 55

Holy crap, why do you new guys all make the exact same mistakes? Exact down to dollar amounts. Seriously, you're all the same. These are exactly like the "What are the best phones under $100" threads.


Here's something I just wrote a minute ago:



Edit: Actually, where the hell are those old sticky threads? They had good info. Ugh.

Edited by atothex - 7/16/10 at 2:10pm
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