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Amp for K701

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I have a pair of K701s that I currently power with an Earmax Pro.

 

Has anyone compared the Earmax Pro with the Earmax Silver Edition in the context of K701s? The Brocksieper website suggests that the Eamax SE would be better suited to the K701's lowish impedance.

 

Or should I consider a solid state alternative? The A.N.T. Amber has caught my eye; has anyone used this with K701s?

 

Thanks in advance...

post #2 of 11

Friendly bump. I'd also like to know about solid state amps that perform well with the K701. I'm currently using the E7/E9 combo, but searching for that little bit more.

post #3 of 11

I drive my K701 through a Cantate 2 (mid price range Meier SS amp) and the sound is simply superb.  They are bass light in comparison to my more bass focused headphones (Ultrasone Pro900 and Ed8) but have enough tight, controlled bass impact to deliver the goods.  With acoustic, Indie and folk type genres, the wide sound stage, detailed mids (vocals), sublime high end (no excessive sibilance to my ears), and clear nuances, together with enough bass impact, make it just perfect.  I don't want for, nor do I expect significant improvement from any other headphone.  Having said that, I feel a T1 coming in the not too distant horizon will put my K701/Meier amp combo to the test.

post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by cider glider View Post

Or should I consider a solid state alternative? 

 

I have two comments.

 

1. Always consider a solid state alternative

 

There are some excellent valve (tube in US) amplifiers but there are also superb solid state amps. The 100% Class A solid state headphone amplifiers can be a revelation.

 

2. Look at the second-hand market

 

For a given sum you can usually do superbly well with the second-hand market. Fortunately there are "audiophiles" who just buy new things regularly and then sell them six months later for half the price. 

post #5 of 11

I'm on the same boat as you , about to purchase a K701 but in need of an amp... I've been doing some reading on here and i've heard the Matrix M Stage is good? What else?  Need some more answers before i make the purchase

post #6 of 11

M3, Dynalo

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks to all for your suggestions. I do have an urge to scratch the solid state itch, just to see how the OTL Earmax compares.

 

Are the K701s as difficult to drive as they are reputed to be? The review in Stereophile suggested they presented a benign load to an amp.

post #8 of 11

In my opinion, the 701 is not that difficult to drive; it seems to me that a lot of people (not all--don't get me wrong) try to change something about its sound signature through amping, so they go through several amplifiers to see if any one of them can change the headphones' sound to their liking.

 

Thing is, amping a headphone doesn't change a headphone's character much, if at all.  If anything, a good amp will only provide slight refinements to the sound--barely noticeable to most people.  For example, Uncle Erik has stated that he has tried the 701 connected to many different high-end amplifiers, but he still dislikes it, noting that they sound off no matter what.

 

One day, as an experiment, I connected my 702 to my laptop and turned the volume up to 100%, which was way too loud for normal listening.  I then played some bass-heavy hip hop and electronic tunes and was pleasantly surprised at how deep the 702 could go and I heard absolutely no distortion or clipping...  As far as I'm concerned, my laptop handled the 702 admirably, and I lived happily with that setup for over a year and a half.  I'm not claiming that dedicated amplifiers are useless, but I am saying that for most headphones, their importance is overstated.

 

Point is, try the 701 without a dedicated amp.  If you don't like it, chances are amping it will not change that.  Just remember, when it comes to high end headphones, the quality of sound one headphone puts out is only determined by your ears and your preferences.

 

Anyway, if you do decide to purchase an amp, the M-Stage, M3, Heed CanAmp, and Dynalo have all been highly recommended for use with the 701/2.

post #9 of 11

ktsai1283 writes:

In my opinion, the 701 is not that difficult to drive

Not too bad imho.

ktsai1283 continues:

it seems to me that a lot of people (not all--don't get me wrong) try to change something about its sound signature through amping, so they go through several amplifiers to see if any one of them can change the headphones' sound to their liking.

I think people should stop using amplifiers as ways of changing or effecting the sound. Simply get good transparent amplifiers that do a good job of amplifying the signal. Avoid "warm" sounding amplifiers and other amplifiers that apply sound effects.

ktsai1283 continues:

One day, as an experiment, I connected my 702 to my laptop and turned the volume up to 100%, which was way too loud for normal listening. I then played some bass-heavy hip hop and electronic tunes and was pleasantly surprised at how deep the 702 could go and I heard absolutely no distortion or clipping... As far as I'm concerned, my laptop handled the 702 admirably, and I lived happily with that setup for over a year and a half. I'm not claiming that dedicated amplifiers are useless, but I am saying that for most headphones, their importance is overstated.

It is in this "amps don't matter very much" line you adopt that I differ. The audio requirements of creating that bass-heavy sound you describe are not great. Creating a lot of bass is not what good amplifiers are about.

With a good amplifier the sound quality of the majority of decent headphones will improve very much. It is about sound quality and not about making a lot of bass or what-have-you.

I think that unfortunately people tend to use good headphones with mediocre amplifiers. If hi-fidelity sound is required then it is good to use high quality amplifiers.

The K 702/1s, for example are capable of stunning levels of resolution with good amplifiers. It is in these areas that good amps really show their metal. It isn't about some apparent "power" or "bass" or clipping or not clipping.

 

post #10 of 11

The HA-160 its also well regarded for driving AKG hp's. 

post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by BChizzle View Post

I'm on the same boat as you , about to purchase a K701 but in need of an amp... I've been doing some reading on here and i've heard the Matrix M Stage is good? What else?  Need some more answers before i make the purchase



Here is my new set up,

 

 I was in the same boat as you a month ago but I'm complete newbie without any prior experience to headphone amps. I'm a musician and I appreciate good audio - and just wanted a quality system for once. After reading posts here, I bought a K702 - for my listening needs. (i listen to classical and jazz mostly). First,  I was listening to the 702s directly through my Apoogee Duet, and I liked it - it was very clear and accurate- I could finally hear cymbals with clarity!. Unfortunately head-fi.org is an evil evil place, so after many nights of reading what amp would be good for 702s, I bought a woo audio 6se with upgrades. So now my system is Apple Lossless to Apogee Duet to Woo 6se to 702. It was costly, but even without the  full burn in, I can hear details in the music that was not there before. Would a solid state be better- should I get a different dac-should I buy pure gold cables made by virgins on a pale moonlight? NO, because after this point I don't think I could hear a difference. or - the music is not missing anything - for my ears.

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