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K702 / K701 Amp / DAC Suggestions Budget: $300-$400 total - Page 4

post #46 of 51
Thread Starter 

So I got the HD650's today.  I really like them so far and they have like 5 hours on them, so I can't imagine what they are going to sound like.  I've decided that my new approach to listening will be directly from the CD with ASIO4ALL and Foobar 2000.


The bass has so much more punch in the HD650's than the K702's at least for Dave Matthews so far out of all the configurations I've tried.  I am not yet an experienced audiophile but I could bet a lot of money I could tell the headphones I have apart from each other at this point even if they all used the same casing.  That isn't as impressive as people telling apart cables but its a step in the direction of non-placebo.


My wife checked them all out tonight and liked the HD438's compared to the 650's, she thought the 650's smoothed things together.  I'd say if she was comparing the K702's to the 650's I could understand that but the 438's are no where near the 650's for anything.  The 438's have no airiness, sound like they are 10% underwater and instruments are not anywhere near as distinct - they just sound inferior to me no matter what amp/dac they are plugged into.  But obviously this is not something anyone on head-fi would care about - knowone is going to say the 438's are better sounding than the 650s!


So on second run of the grados, I like the sound for rock better than the K702's however the 650's have a punchier low end.  The grados seem to be muffling acoustic guitar and mids when there is other instruments playing, at least compared to everything else I have.  Bass guitar is easier to pull out during a listening session on the K702's compared to the grados.  However with the K702's the highs are fatiguing with a lot of cymbal heavy music.  


I realize I am not a good writer - I have multiple thoughts in each paragraph and I need to work on that, I'm kinda rambling in these last couple posts, but I've got a bunch of new equipment and am just trying to brain dump for now until I get my handle on everything.


To sum up....


I think I'm going to let the HD650's burn in a bit with the EF2A as they sound good together currently and neither have a ton of time on them.  I've really grown to love the K702's with classical / acoustic music and I think I'm going to have a hard time giving them up - I may have to have two cans and try to figure out a good amp/dac that they both have synergy with.


After adding up all the equipment I've recently bought (>$2000), I realize I really need to cut down to a basic setup so I don't lose my manhood.  So basically I'm going to try to keep everything under $750.


I really like the sound of the Xiang Sheng DAC->Tube Preamp->Heed Canamp->HD650 / K702 but that combination is over $1000.  I really hope after some more burn in, I will have a hard time telling apart the Xiang Sheng setup $(~$1100) from the EF2A (~$750).  However the price difference may not be enough to throw out the potential of all the connections from the Xiang Sheng which definitely beat out the HiFiMan EF2 (SPDIF in / Coax), tube pre amp / SS amp).  I would however say that I like the EF2's tube sound better than the SS amp of the Xiang Sheng, so I can't see keeping the Xiang Sheng by itself without something else being driven by the tube preamp.  However the SS amp hasn't had much of any burn in time since I've had it on the low end of my list.


Anyway so thats my update... oh and I just sent in my broken Bose AE's for the AE2's for $60.  I'm curious how the new bose headphones fair against anything - can it at least beat the HD438's?

post #47 of 51

I appreciate this updates. I was completely underwhelmed by the Grado sr60's myself...but then, it is the lower end of Grado. I'd like to hear the sr225's or the R1's.


It's funny that the thread title is  Amp / DAC Suggestions Budget: $300-$400 total and here you are trying to dwindle 2000 dollars worth down to ~700. Funny how this audio stuff works, huh? These companies make a killing.


Glad to hear the EF2 is hanging in with the big boys. Makes me want to test it even more myself. I actually ended up ordering the Little Dot I+ with some extra tubes and opamps to roll and test with my K702's. It's got plenty of current for those cans, and I only spent ~160 smily_headphones1.gif


I may put up some of my impressions on a new thread about the little dot/K702. Tubes are a whole new can of worms...

post #48 of 51
Originally Posted by dxanex View Post

I appreciate this updates. I was completely underwhelmed by the Grado sr60's myself...but then, it is the lower end of Grado. I'd like to hear the sr225's or the R1's.

i'd also recommend looking into hf-1s, hhf-1s, hf-2s and rs-2s, all of which are capable of getting the toes tapping , the head bopping, and the smiles grinning for ~$400.

post #49 of 51

I miss Tim's update. Hope he's well and come back sometime to update us soon. I'm still waiting for Tim's final setup so I can copy his. :D


Just got my AKG702 last week and had about 70 hours of burn in with white/pink noise, frequency sweep, and lots of Beethoven symphonies. AB between D10, CDA-04 (A friend who lend me this nice Marantz pre-amp) and hands down this baby needs a desktop amp. I had to turn up my D10 volume to 75% volume to get acceptable level listening. (On HD238 my volume is below 40%). Still frying my cans on CDA-04 until my friend wants it back: P


DA&T had some good DAC AMP and it seems available in Singapore and Taiwan with some good success. Waiting to audit U1 and HA-2 and I might go that route.


P.S.: These cans really need some good burn-in. After 70 hours they turned from no bass to "okay" bass. The Mids and Highs are however are the best I have ever heard. Also the sound seems to loosen up with more burn in. Great can for classical. Uncolored and great clarity

Edited by OneSec - 12/10/10 at 4:51pm
post #50 of 51
Thread Starter 

Hey guys, I've been SUPER busy with android and ios development.


Just a quick update - 


I've sold the 438's which are just not as good at the hd555's which were not that much more at the time for me (lightning deal @ $69).  I've sold my Bose AE2, which were not as good as the AE1, which means they were not good....  I was using them at work but switched them out for some Sennheiser HD555's that I modded by removing the foam to sound apparently more like the 595's.  I have not had my hands on the 595's but will say they sound better without the foam.  They definitely beat out the AE2's in every regard.  


I bought a pair of IE8's for portable listening, but I'm having trouble keeping a seal and I just don't think my ears like in ear headphones - always get headaches from them.  So I might sell them and instead find something else for portable listening


My current work setup is thus:

NuForce Icon Mobile -> Sennheiser HD555


I believe I will end up swapping out the nuforce with the HiFiMan EF2A


At home I have two setups depending on what i am listening to:


Classical/Instrumental/Acoustic Guitar:

       HP HDX 18 -> Xiang Sheng DAC->Tube Preamp->Heed Canamp->K702 


       HP HDX 18 -> Xiang Sheng DAC->SS Amp->HD650


I've been primarily using the rock configuration which sounds wonderful.  I think I like the HD650's as my current favorite.  However when I compare the two setups during say symphonic works the K702's blow the HD650's out of the water in clarity of highs and mids.  


To sum up, so far it looks like my budget has been smashed, I still need to whittle it down:

Heed Canamp

Xiang Sheng  Dac 01

Hifiman EF2A

Sennheiser HD555 (amazon lightning deal)

Sennheiser IE8 (didn't see that coming did you!!)

Sennheiser HD650

AKG K702


I'm just under $1500 right now.  Dang you internets!


I'm probably going to bring the AKG setup to work so I don't feel like I've spent so much cash on one setup.  However if I sell the 555's and the nuforce It'll only bring the cost down $100-$150, and that total is probably more than the cost of my computer equipment which is a quad core beast, so its been one heck of a journey, its just time to be more realistic at this point.


My recommendation for people waiting for it....


If you like rock or anything where you want to listen all day long and not get a headache, buy the HD650's and yes they pair great with the xiang sheng through only the ss amp.  I take back my earlier review of the ss amp, which has really started to sound on par with the ef2a and definitely better than the nuforce.  I really liked the sound of the matrix with the k702's but the heed beats it although it is very much more expensive.  So if you already have a dac that you love and are looking to pair it with some K702's pick up the matrix on a budget or the heed canamp if you've got some cash.  If you love tubes, don't have a dac and don't want to spend  a fortune the EF2A is most definitely a good deal.  It sounds nice and looks nice too.  

post #51 of 51

What a long journey! I hope your setup will last you a while before you start to get itchy again :)

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