AKG K 701 & Purity Audio K.I.C.A.S Caliente
The AKG is a headphone that attracted my attention for no particular reason. It looks very clean in white with silver trimmings. The elegance of it is in the simplicity and classy design. The AKG Leather Headband is a Ferrari-like appeal. Yet, the microphone look of the open ear design reminds me of a Porsche Turbo’s mean intakes.The fit of the headphone when wearing is perfect. There is no substitute. These headphones have a gentle clamp. As soon as I opened the box and actually saw them in person, I immediately noticed how “large” and “light”—I soon realized why they are made exactly this way.
The AKG and the Caliente are similar: You get what you pay for. I absolutely think the KICAS is a gorgeous amplifer. A beautiful piece of metal to look at, really. The feeling of the knob is firm and smooth, just like the finish on the amp. I like their approach to keep it clean & simple.
The sound signature of the AKG 701’s is definitely not of a sharp or shrill headphone. Of course, it doesn’t have that studio room bass. I think the word neutral is the best description. I love all types of music and the AKG always give a high-fidelity sound. Perhaps it is an acquired taste, or what I expected in a headphone. Obviously, expectations and experiences both are completely subjective. Yet, you can always form a good idea or opinion from others. Case in point, how I actually like listening to the subtleness of the bass in the music. A very realistic perspective; I can tell how hard the person is hitting the string and the noise evaporating just before another note. Acoustic guitar immediately lets you know you’re listening to something special. That is why listening to Pink Floyd is great. The “unrealistic” soundstage of the AKG makes the music very interesting and real. I call it "trippy"; and undoubtedly deserves at least a listen. “Hey You” is a great example of all this….the strings, and the drums sound powerful, and when the electric guitar kicks in just as good. I remember when I first got the headphones I would tell myself, “I feel like I’m in a large room and I’m standing right in the center…and there is speakers all around the walls.” It is these characteristics that make me really like these headphones. “Comfortably Numb” gives you that enveloping sound in your mind. “Wishful Sinful” is amazing. The violins sound so good, and all the instruments wonderful. “Touch Me”, also by the Doors, lets the trumpets sing. What the Caliente does is make the music just a bit more smooth with a hint of luke-warmth. A subtle flavor with which music never really feels fatiguing, unless it really should. The AKG’s can get loud but never distorted, it is a tempting crave. Whenever I felt the AKG’s distant or uninvolving I simply turned up the volume. I listen at about 3 o' clock, and sometimes down to 11 o' clock. The flatness of these headphones make you critique and tailor your individual sound. I think this is an awesome pair of headphones that I really can’t get mad at anything for. As the head time increased, the bass felt more textured and I learned to discern it more. I did 90% or burn-in on my head from the first day. I know that break-in was a factor with this amplifier. I can truly tell a difference in the bass now in comparison to the initial impressions, and it makes that small change very significant. The deep, deep bass is there with plenty of texture. It is articulate. And prominent, when need be. I think the amp slightly, and I emphasize slightly, rolls off the very extreme highs; which is something I appreciated. I also do not want to underestimate the transparency this amp brings. The highs are not intervened with or hindered (by other frequencies). The mids are always clear and present. The amp brings this unique lushness to the sound. I think the amp may seat you back an extra row, just in case. I think that extra row, the smoothness, beautfiul bass, and imminently, musicality is what makes the Caliente special. I would describe this setup as smooth, yet neutral and accurate, with a great soundstage for all real music. Songs like “A Brick in the Wall” have a nice weight and smooth sound, and Jim Morrison’s voice sounds exactly as he wants to give it to you. So if you are wondering what my source is… L.A. Woman, The Wall & Dark Side of the Moon are a must.
Headphones and amps are truly a wonderful thing. It is a piece of art and craftsmanship. I enjoy the engineering and the concept of even wearing a pair of headphones. It truly lets you hear the pinnacle of the modern electronics. It is amazing what $500 can buy you. Each to his own really. I simply love to listen to Pink Floyd, the Doors, the Rolling Stones, Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, Jazz, Live, sometimes I just listen to classical to imagine what actually experiencing Beethoven must be like. I love to listen to music, lie back on my amazing leather couch, and close my eyes.
…..and imagine a pair of Beyerdynamic T1’s singing with tubes.
Edited by jeust0999 - 3/19/11 at 8:54pm