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AKG k701 bass

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I just got the k701's this monday and have burned them in for approximately 60 hours (using music/white/pink noise with periods of rest). I'm running these from my laptop->fiio e7-> vintage kenwood ka6004 (1970's i think)-> k701's. The first thing i notice is the harsh treble out of the box (which is going away with burn in), the huge sound stage ,and clarity. Another thing i noticed is that the 701's had a ton of bass, ALMOST at the same level as my pair of m50's but the bass had no impact and little control. I was puzzled since the 701's are notorious for being bass light and all of my eq settings were flat (or off). Out of curiosity I plugged the 701's straight into the e7's and there it was, the treble heavy, base light sound signature I was expecting. So obviously the old kenwood solid state had a very colored sound and provided loads of power to the 701's (meaning that half of the criticisms of the 701's are based on incorrect or non synergistic amping).

 

 

I originally bought the 701 mainly for analytical listening and planned on using the m50's for regular listening. The amp made the 701's a lot more musical so I found that I was using them even for easy listening and not just analytical listening (although the huge sound stage, as many stated do hinder in its ability to pull you into the music). However this created a whole other problem. The shine, the sparkle, the liquid clarity of the treble, although still there, was being overshadowed due to the coloration of the bass added by the amp. Now I do notice a little as burn in continues that the control of the bass is being refined.

 

I was going go with a e9/e7 combo in the near future but for now I'm stuck with the kenwood amp. Is the e9 just as colored as the kenwood or does it have a much more nuetral/flat sound? And if i do pair it with a e9 will the bass be too thin or just right. I'm really looking for neutrality/clarity and to bring out the 701's full potential without breaking the bank (the 701's are said to be somewhat like 10% bass lean). Can anyone think of any immediate solutions (not buying an amp, no modding ,no recabling) ?

 

Mind you i'm a poor college student.

post #2 of 21

Will take some time to get used to the natural/flat sounds of the K701, on the other hand you still can enjoy the warm sound of the Kenwood amp.

post #3 of 21

If you're not getting enough bass with the E9 you can always do a forum search for 'friend or foe' mod. I'm getting great bass with that simple mod and the 'neutral' LD mkV amp.....but I'm not a bass head....I prefer 'neutral', balanced bass/mids/treble

post #4 of 21
Quote:

Originally Posted by saintyoo View Post


 Can anyone think of any immediate solutions (not buying an amp, no modding ,no recabling) ?

 

Mind you i'm a poor college student.


 EQ it to your liking.  If there's too much bass with the Kenwood, just turn the bass down until it sounds good. beyersmile.png 

 

If you use a bass light amp, simply EQ in the other direction...... it works for the treble too. 

 

You'll be surprised what you can accomplish with a little EQing.

 

USG

 

post #5 of 21

Quote:

Originally Posted by saintyoo View Post
I was going go with a e9/e7 combo....

 

Mind you i'm a poor college student.



I do have E9 + K701. It's a nice combo for its price. It's neutral than my Grado. If your on a budget, E9 will make your K701 smile.biggrin.gif

post #6 of 21

One thing I never understood is why EQing is so badly seen on this forum. I know it's not the perfect solution, since you're forcing a headphone with a certain sound signature to reproduce music which has had some parts of it emphasized or de-emphasized, thus fooling the signature. It's a lie yes. But does it sound bad? Do most headphones respond badly to EQing? Or is it just audio ethics?

 

And if you had to EQ, would a regular media-player EQ be ok, like foobar's, or would you need a specific EQin program?

 

Sorry for threadjacking, but EQ was brought up and my curiosity burst.

post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 

@ lizardking1

 

thats exactly what i wanted to know, right now i have the eq on the kenwood down to a bass almost all the way down but I'm a little wary of changing the eq on my media players (media monkey for flacks and itunes for mp3's). I know from past experience that cheaper speakers and headphones sq suffer from eqing which is why i haven't resorted to it yet. Another problem is that I want the 701's to sound the way they are supposed to sound (ambiguous i know) but i have no reference to eq it to.

post #8 of 21

People talk endlessly about the mechanical burn-in of the K701, but I think the mental burn-in is much more severe. Frankly, they're very difficult cans to both drive and adapt to. However, if you can manage to find things you like in them, you'll be richly rewarded. 

post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 

I try not to listen to them when I'm burning them in but I've used them about 6 times now (for at least an hour) so I'm not going to say that I am not immune to the mental burn in. I did notice the harsh sibilance has gone away (which i know for sure because I am very sensitive to sibilance and I never got used to the klipsch s4's sibilance although they are good in ears for the price) and the bass control is getting better. Some people say a 100 to 200 hours of burn in but I'm pretty sure I am going to start regularly using them soon.

 

What most people find lacking in the 701's I'm not seeing because of how well the kenwood pairs with the k701. I really want to compare it to other amps to see how it sounds.

post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by saintyoo View Post

@ lizardking1

 

thats exactly what i wanted to know, right now i have the eq on the kenwood down to a bass almost all the way down but I'm a little wary of changing the eq on my media players (media monkey for flacks and itunes for mp3's). I know from past experience that cheaper speakers and headphones sq suffer from eqing which is why i haven't resorted to it yet. Another problem is that I want the 701's to sound the way they are supposed to sound (ambiguous i know) but i have no reference to eq it to.

 

I agree with not EQing with media players.  Use Foobar or the amp...
Never mind how they're "supposed to sound", what ever that might be..... wink_face.gif   Make them sound the way you want them to sound. beerchug.gif 

 

Everyone EQs.

 

orig.jpg

 

post #11 of 21

 

Originally Posted by upstateguy View Post



 

I agree with not EQing with media players.  Use Foobar or the amp...
Never mind how they're "supposed to sound", what ever that might be..... wink_face.gif   Make them sound the way you want them to sound. beerchug.gif

 

Everyone EQs.

 

orig.jpg

 


I couldn't agree more.  People speak of a flat response as if it were a given.  It's not.  The recording, itself, has been EQ'd.  The equipment you're using has a bias, including your headphone.  If you had something you could plug the whole rig into, to get a readout of the presentation - and alter it according to the numbers - you could reach for a scientifically-determined flat.  Absent that, all you can do is isolate the spikes and try to work around them.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with adjusting the output.  Bear in mind that when you do, you're off the reservation and you could find yourself adjusting forever and ending up as lost as anyone could be.  That's why purists prefer not to make any adjustments.  But to assume that the source and rig are neutral - because nobody has messed with any dials - is naive.

 

Follow the sound.  

 

post #12 of 21

I've never even really understood the obsession with "Neutral" that I've seen. Of any "neutral" headphone I've ever heard, only the HP1000 and K1000 have been fun to listen to. I follow the path to fun.

post #13 of 21

Would you wear colored glasses when visiting an art gallery to make the Rembrandts look more 'fun'? ;-) If the music in itself is 'fun'/good then a 'neutral', transparent h/p is probably your best bet to hear all the 'fun' in the music. Do you want to hear the gear or the music?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mercuttio View Post

I've never even really understood the obsession with "Neutral" that I've seen. Of any "neutral" headphone I've ever heard, only the HP1000 and K1000 have been fun to listen to. I follow the path to fun.



 

post #14 of 21

I've heard this argument many times before, and find it incredibly lacking. You're comparing apples to oranges, for start. Our eyes are similarly calibrated. Our ears vary a great deal more.

 

Second, have you heard modern recordings? We're not just going from Artist -> Headphones -> Ears here. The "music in itself" doesn't exist; it's been produced, molded, and modified on countless bits of equipment often with pitiful monitoring equipment. It's rarely 'as intended' and seldom made for those with high end equipment. And I'm not talking about just pop music here; I'm talking about darn near everything these days. It's naive to the process (a process I now have to participate in occasionally for work) to think that whatever comes on the disc is "pure music" plain and simple.

 

Point: I'd rather hear my gear than their gear. 

 

 

EDIT: I'm frequently reminded of a particular story from Sound by Singer in NYC. 50 Cent was in the store, and heard their RS1 a number of years ago. He loved it, and bought a pair for himself and every record producer that he was working with. Now, what are the odds that this has happened in other situations, and other people are mixing and using something as colored as an RS1 for their monitoring? Frankly, in that case, we have absolutely no idea as to the initial intent of the production. Should we buy the headphone we know was involved in specific circumstances each time? I won't lie, it's partially why I own a 271 MK II variant: I know that every Radiohead album for the past several years has been used in their production and I like to know that I'm listening to it as they heard it in the studio. But other cases? I'll color the music how I like it. I'm a hypocrite, I know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lejaz View Post

Would you wear colored glasses when visiting an art gallery to make the Rembrandts look more 'fun'? ;-) If the music in itself is 'fun'/good then a 'neutral', transparent h/p is probably your best bet to hear all the 'fun' in the music. Do you want to hear the gear or the music?
 



 



 


Edited by Mercuttio - 4/3/11 at 9:26am
post #15 of 21

 

Originally Posted by lejaz View Post

Would you wear colored glasses when visiting an art gallery to make the Rembrandts look more 'fun'? ;-) If the music in itself is 'fun'/good then a 'neutral', transparent h/p is probably your best bet to hear all the 'fun' in the music. Do you want to hear the gear or the music?


Take a look at the following FR graph comparing the frequency responses of the very best of the fun cans (PS1000) and the "neutral" cans (HD800):

 

HD800vsPS1k.png

 

The HD800 has lower bass extension, due to its use of a larger coneless diaphragm (allowing it to be run harder without cone breakup).  The PS1000 clearly has the punchier (funner) kick at 100 Hz, which is kick drum territory.  For rock, this is spectacular; for classical, this is less appropriate.  When listening to symphonic tracks, I greatly prefer the HD800, with its larger soundstage and cleaner bass.  That said, the mids on the PS1000 are much more accurate than those on the HD800, even though the HD800 is supposed to be the more "neutral" of the two.  The PS1k gets to flat much faster - at the mids - and much earlier than the HD800.  And while the PS1000 sustains those flat mids longer, with only a slight recess in the mids from 2.5 to 3.5 kHz, the HD800 goes into a suckout from 1 - 6 kHz.  What's up with that?  How does a "neutral" headphone suck out the high mids like that and claim - with a straight face - to be following the music "neutrally?"  

 

To be sure, the PS1000 goes into treble spikes that are more fun than flat, but when I owned both cans, I greatly preferred the natural sound - at least in the high-mids area - on the PS1000 to the suckouts of the HD800.  The HD800 is faster and more revealing but sounds deader in this area.  What's more, the HD800 - for all of its soundstage and speed - puts a frame around the music.  The PS1000 - even with its exaggerated midbass and treble - melts that frame.  It's not a particularly good choice for symphonic recordings - which need to reproduce the artifacts of the chamber as much as the orchestra, itself - but for rock, blues, jazz, folk and small-group classical, the PS1000 was just so much more rewarding.  To this set of ears, it felt like being there.  I do love the HD800, especially on certain wondrous tracks, but the PS1000 feels more "real" to me - for everything except symphonic and large-room choral recordings.  

 

Going back to the painting analogy, I want to see the picture, not the frame.  What's more, if the PS1000 is sometimes too bright on the canvas, the HD800 is sometimes too dark.  I don't accept a headphone as "neutral" because it claims to be on the box.  I let my ears decide.

 

P.S.  Both cans have their flaws, as do any cans.  It's a basic principle of economics that every choice involves costs and benefits.  The PS1000's aluminum chamber is probably too large, as are its jumbo cushions.  The HD800's soundstage-intensive open cage is probably too transparent, forcing the headphones to rely on an artificial filter over the drivers to reduce the treble response.  The proof is always in the pudding.


Edited by Bilavideo - 4/3/11 at 9:49am
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