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A question about the AKG Sound

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hi guys,

these are my first posts, so be patient with me.

I want to buy a new headphone since I want digging into this way of listening a bit more seriously.

I own an AKG K500 which has always been my headphone since 1992, she is like new and I enjoy it with a decent equipment.

 

I want to upgrade with a choice to couple the K500 that can be one of the two classics like HD650 or K701: my money can fit one of these.

The problem is to upgrade and making richer the way I listen to the music. I recognize my affection with my K500 and his limits

  • when sometimes she's harsh on the highs
  • when low frequencies does not extend and not hit my heart enough
  • when she doesn't forgive anything to a not serious recording...

 

But after all I love It and I'll never sell it.

I was searching for a choice to solve these limits and I haven't understood if the K701 is a real solution or I have to completely change the nature of the cans giving a shot to the sennheiser.

Since I haven't the opportunity to try the 2 babies I'm confused about the fact that the K701 does not represent a real quality upgrade like discussed in this post: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/522025/k-701-drivers-in-k-500-enclosure

In another 3 way review the K501 (I argue similar) is compared to Red Hood against the Big bad wolf: so no contest...

 

I listen electric Jazz (Pat Metheny), Jazz Rock (Donal Fagen too), swing, acid jazz (Incognito Jamiroquai), the 70/80 dance when I'm happy (Earth wind & Fire, Chic). Sometimes Classica and Lirica too (I'm Italian)

I never Listen Rock (as is), Metal, Hip Hop, Rap...

 

So...

It's better to couple a K701 or trying a radical change with a reliable workhorse Like the HD650?

I'm open to changes if that means upgrade.

thanks for your help.

 

biggrin.gif


Edited by farfilo - 11/25/10 at 10:52am
post #2 of 16

Choose something that differs from your K500, top choices are the HD600/650 or the DT880'600.

post #3 of 16


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by farfilo View Post


  • when sometimes she's harsh on the highs

 

confused.gifblink.gif

 

I'd not go Beyer then. if I understand what you are saying with harsh highs.  Are you adverse to HF sharpness?

 

HD650 would fit the bill.

post #4 of 16

The problem with us K500/501 owners - those who really appreciate this phone, that is - is the fact that what these AKGs do well they do very well. This is why any purchase that is more expensive but not much more expensive than them has good chances to represent not only an upgrade (in bass extension, for example) but also a downgrade (in mids purity and coherence, for example). I had the K500, sold them and bought the HD600, then sold the HD600 and bought the K501 because I was missing some things my AKGs were doing so well. So you have a few options IMO:

- buy a complimentary headphone as nickchen said, but accept from the start that it's not going to be an all around upgrade at all. The HD600 were a good choice for me from this point of view, I would have kept both but I couldn't afford at the time. They also fit your 3 requirements (the K500's limits), I just cannot see them as a decidedly better pair of phones.

- play on K500's strengths - some would say you could consider an amplifier upgrade and / or a recable; others would say buy a (theoretically) higher tier phone from the same company, but as you have already noticed it seems to be a matter of tastes whether the K601 and especially the K701 are better than your phones; the K1000 do have the same sound signature and are an improvement in almost all respects, but cost much more (used) and have very different amping requirements

- yet another option that does not depart so much from the K500 sound is, paradoxically, changing the technology, i.e. going Stax. Maybe a used 2020 or 2050 combo could fit into your budget, but prior listening to Stax phones with your source and if posible interconnects as well is mandatory IMO. Or buy used and sell at the same price if you don't like them.

- finally, if you really want something significantly better (and don't like the Stax) I'm afraid you have to extend your budget (or perhaps try unconventional solutions such as vintage orthos, I don't know). Personally, I haven't listened to many good or very good headphones, but from reading a lot on the forum I get a strong feeling that this is the way things are.There's a recent thread in this forum in which David Mahler compares and ranks 20 or so headphones, K501 included. On page 4 he says they are in the second tier along with some Sennheisers and I don't remember what else, and nominates 6 other headphones for the first tier (soundwise). All the first tier headphones are much more expensive than the K501.

post #5 of 16

I agree with the guys, taking a look at your musical tastes...Im sure you'll like the 650's sound. 

post #6 of 16

If you love the K-500, you are not going to enjoy the K-701.

 

There's considerable debate as to whether the K-701 is a good headphone, but everyone agrees that the K-701 is voiced differently from the old AKG models.  Some like the sound, but I can't stand it.  I found the K-501 I had considerably better than the K-701.

 

If you want an upgrade with better extension, maybe hunt down a K-1000.  They aren't particularly forgiving of bad recordings, but you'll get everything you love about the K-500 and more.  That's why I ended up selling my K-501.  I miss it terribly, but it helped pay for the HD-800.  Since I was keeping the K-1000, I figured that the K-501 was a little bit redundant.

 

By the way, you might enjoy the HD-800, though the price is a bit steep.

post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by holland View Post

 if I understand what you are saying with harsh highs.  Are you adverse to HF sharpness?

 

Yes, HF sharpness is what I did want to define...

Not always holland, but sometimes the K500 cause me a fatigue in listening: but it's also a kind of addiction, in which I stop for a while... and then I search for it again.

blink.gif

post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post

If you love the K-500, you are not going to enjoy the K-701.

 

There's considerable debate as to whether the K-701 is a good headphone, but everyone agrees that the K-701 is voiced differently from the old AKG models.  Some like the sound, but I can't stand it.  I found the K-501 I had considerably better than the K-701.


So just because you don't enjoy the k701 that automatically means he wouldn't either? And it's impossible to like two different sounding headphones?!?   rolleyes.gifrolleyes.gifrolleyes.gif

 

To the original poster, you might or might not enjoy the k701's, you should probably give them an audition. I have k500, k501, k701 and enjoy them all.

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post

If you love the K-500, you are not going to enjoy the K-701.

 

There's considerable debate as to whether the K-701 is a good headphone, but everyone agrees that the K-701 is voiced differently from the old AKG models.  Some like the sound, but I can't stand it.  I found the K-501 I had considerably better than the K-701.

 

If you want an upgrade with better extension, maybe hunt down a K-1000.  They aren't particularly forgiving of bad recordings, but you'll get everything you love about the K-500 and more.  That's why I ended up selling my K-501.  I miss it terribly, but it helped pay for the HD-800.  Since I was keeping the K-1000, I figured that the K-501 was a little bit redundant.

 

By the way, you might enjoy the HD-800, though the price is a bit steep.


Too steep for me... for now.

However thank you for having inspired my question with your opinion in that older post.

post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Quichotte View Post

The problem with us K500/501 owners - those who really appreciate this phone, that is - is the fact that what these AKGs do well they do very well. This is why any purchase that is more expensive but not much more expensive than them has good chances to represent not only an upgrade (in bass extension, for example) but also a downgrade (in mids purity and coherence, for example). I had the K500, sold them and bought the HD600, then sold the HD600 and bought the K501 because I was missing some things my AKGs were doing so well. So you have a few options IMO:

- buy a complimentary headphone as nickchen said, but accept from the start that it's not going to be an all around upgrade at all. The HD600 were a good choice for me from this point of view, I would have kept both but I couldn't afford at the time. They also fit your 3 requirements (the K500's limits), I just cannot see them as a decidedly better pair of phones.

- play on K500's strengths - some would say you could consider an amplifier upgrade and / or a recable; others would say buy a (theoretically) higher tier phone from the same company, but as you have already noticed it seems to be a matter of tastes whether the K601 and especially the K701 are better than your phones; the K1000 do have the same sound signature and are an improvement in almost all respects, but cost much more (used) and have very different amping requirements

- yet another option that does not depart so much from the K500 sound is, paradoxically, changing the technology, i.e. going Stax. Maybe a used 2020 or 2050 combo could fit into your budget, but prior listening to Stax phones with your source and if posible interconnects as well is mandatory IMO. Or buy used and sell at the same price if you don't like them.

- finally, if you really want something significantly better (and don't like the Stax) I'm afraid you have to extend your budget (or perhaps try unconventional solutions such as vintage orthos, I don't know). Personally, I haven't listened to many good or very good headphones, but from reading a lot on the forum I get a strong feeling that this is the way things are.There's a recent thread in this forum in which David Mahler compares and ranks 20 or so headphones, K501 included. On page 4 he says they are in the second tier along with some Sennheisers and I don't remember what else, and nominates 6 other headphones for the first tier (soundwise). All the first tier headphones are much more expensive than the K501.

I got the advantage to have one only full size headphone only....

I think that the best experience for me will be a complementary headphone that can help me to grow up in listening too.

At the end I'll save some money: I have understood that the real upgrade hit a completely different budget.
 

post #11 of 16

Something which is just at the beginning of being explored with the K70* is how tunable it is, and how easy and reversible that tuning is to do.

 

I always considered my K702 a genre specialist for electronica and classical that just didn't work for a lot of music. But since modding I'm finding it an all-rounder which has shot up my personal headphone pecking order, and I feel I haven't found the limits of it yet.

 

The only real filtering there is with the K70* is a very open thin foam ring, you can completely tune the sound signature by trying out different filtering schemes. 

 

More info here... I think the last page is really starting to get somewhere.

post #12 of 16
I think you might want to look into a new amp rather than a new headphone. K500s require alot of current for proper amplification so buying a more powerful tube amp should give you deeper extended bass and clear non silibant highs.
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdogzthmn View Post

I think you might want to look into a new amp rather than a new headphone. K500s require alot of current for proper amplification so buying a more powerful tube amp should give you deeper extended bass and clear non silibant highs.

 

Sound changes through amplification, somewhat disagree...


Edited by nickchen - 11/27/10 at 11:41am
post #14 of 16

Its not going to make your K500 sound like a different headphone but it would improve its sound quality in all the areas where the OP had complaints.  

post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by winma View Post

I agree with the guys, taking a look at your musical tastes...Im sure you'll like the 650's sound. 

 

You're Right.

A HD-650 with Silver Drivers is arrived home a couple of days ago.

I plugged her in the amplifier...

I took the courage, turned on the DAC and put The Earth Wind and Fire's Let's Groove in the CD Tray, waiting the critical moment, 5-7 seconds from 2:30 to 2:37, THAT bass sweep.

I'm still smiling biggrin.gif.

 

 

In the few hours I listened several genres I had the impression that one compensate the other, so I'm happy swapping headphone, to me a beautiful choice for the money.

I have to say that the sennheiser manages perfectly even tracks like Diana Krall's Devil may care. This surprised me a lot.


Edited by farfilo - 12/6/10 at 6:25am
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