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AKG Q701 disappointing? Help on deciding please

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

 

this is my first post so I'll hope this is the right section - and that this is a good place to ask this! :)

 

 

So... I'm a hardcore music listener (meaning I listen to music for at least 8 hours per day) but when it comes to the technical side I'm very ignorant.

 

 

I used to have the Bose around ear model 

http://www.bose.co.uk/GB/en/home-and-personal-audio/headphones-and-headsets/audio-and-mobile-headphones/bose-around-ear-headphones/

 

last month they stopped working after 2 years of service so it was time to upgrade

 

 

I had a higher budget this time so the guy in the shop told me he had a great deal.

Long story short, I walked out of the store with a pair of AKG Q701.

 

I own no amps, nothing fancy, I just plug them into my macbook pro... and honestly?

I was so disappointed!

 

I don't know if technically these headphones are so much better than my previous pair, but they sound empty to me, the bose gave me a richer, stronger sound, and sometimes with these AKG I can hear little distortions that I never heard while using the bose (I only have FLAC music in case you were wondering)

 

 

Now... I am sure this problem comes from mistakes I am doing because I refuse to think a pair of heaphones worth 400 pounds can be inferior to a pair worth 4 times less.

 

 

So any advice, links of stuff to read, missing pieces of equipment I need, everything is welcome really.

 

 

I wanna be able to get the best out of these headphones and see if they are for me...

 

 

Many thanks for reading!

post #2 of 32

Q701 are headphones that require headphone amps that are even more expensive that Q701 price. If your using Macbook, DAC is also mandatory for audiophile level realism. Q701 needs serious equipment around not just Macbook.biggrin.gif

 

Try this one: http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/schiit/9.html


Edited by VALIENTE - 6/17/11 at 11:16pm
post #3 of 32
Thread Starter 

Hey, thanks for your reply man

 

I was browsing the forum and yes, I realised I needed more equipment.

 

But what I expecting in terms of results was:

 

average headphones + macbook pro = decent results

great headphones + macbook pro = good results

great headphones + amp = incredible results

 

What I seem to be getting on the other hand is 

 

 

average headphones + macbook pro = decent results

great headphones + macbook pro = weird / bad results

great headphones + amp = hopefully incredible results???

 

 

Am I right or are my ears just not used to this kind of audio? :(

post #4 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by thejoker69 View Post

Hi everyone,

 

this is my first post so I'll hope this is the right section - and that this is a good place to ask this! :)

 

 

So... I'm a hardcore music listener (meaning I listen to music for at least 8 hours per day) but when it comes to the technical side I'm very ignorant.

 

 

I used to have the Bose around ear model 

http://www.bose.co.uk/GB/en/home-and-personal-audio/headphones-and-headsets/audio-and-mobile-headphones/bose-around-ear-headphones/

 

last month they stopped working after 2 years of service so it was time to upgrade

 

 

I had a higher budget this time so the guy in the shop told me he had a great deal.

Long story short, I walked out of the store with a pair of AKG Q701.

 

I own no amps, nothing fancy, I just plug them into my macbook pro... and honestly?

I was so disappointed!

 

I don't know if technically these headphones are so much better than my previous pair, but they sound empty to me, the bose gave me a richer, stronger sound, and sometimes with these AKG I can hear little distortions that I never heard while using the bose (I only have FLAC music in case you were wondering)

 

 

Now... I am sure this problem comes from mistakes I am doing because I refuse to think a pair of heaphones worth 400 pounds can be inferior to a pair worth 4 times less.

 

 

So any advice, links of stuff to read, missing pieces of equipment I need, everything is welcome really.

 

 

I wanna be able to get the best out of these headphones and see if they are for me...

 

 

Many thanks for reading!


Yes, running them through the onboard sound of a Macbook.

 

post #5 of 32

Quote:

Originally Posted by thejoker69 View Post

average headphones + macbook pro = decent results

great headphones + macbook pro = weird / bad results

great headphones + amp = hopefully incredible results???

 

 

Am I right or are my ears just not used to this kind of audio? :(

 


Yes that is right experience. For example, I tried Grado SR60 with my PC onboard, it sounds greater than my K701. But try K701 with an amp, it will sound greater than SR60.biggrin.gif So you now see the difference of owning audiophile equipments.

 

post #6 of 32
Thread Starter 

Hey,

 

thanks again.

 

So I shouldn't even worry for the distortions I ear every now and then?

 

For instance I played Thunderstruck by ACDC at a decent volume (not too high!) and I heard distortion at the beginning of the song

 

I thought it might have been the file itself, so I replayed the part where I heard the distortion a couple of times, and at the third or the fourth play

I couldn't hear the distortion anymore.

 

I don't even know if distortion is the right word - you know, that noise your hear when, for instance, a cable isn't well connected or is a bit broken? That was the kind of noise I heard

post #7 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by thejoker69 View Post

Hey,

 

thanks again.

 

So I shouldn't even worry for the distortions I ear every now and then?

 

For instance I played Thunderstruck by ACDC at a decent volume (not too high!) and I heard distortion at the beginning of the song

 

I thought it might have been the file itself, so I replayed the part where I heard the distortion a couple of times, and at the third or the fourth play

I couldn't hear the distortion anymore.

 

I don't even know if distortion is the right word - you know, that noise your hear when, for instance, a cable isn't well connected or is a bit broken? That was the kind of noise I heard

Your Macbook's onboard sound is struggling to provide sufficient power to the headphones and is causing distortion.
 

 

post #8 of 32
Thread Starter 

Ok,

 

last question I promise!

 

So if I buy and external DAC + Amp I won't need anything like an external soundcard?

If for other reasons I needed to buy an external soundcard line an apogee duet, would that work well with these headphones too?

post #9 of 32

That might be your source that's causing the distortion.

 

An external DAC/amp essentially serves the same function as a soundcard - in fact, that's basically an external soundcard. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the Duet was more of an audio interface rather than a device designed for music listening.

 

To be honest, it's pretty naive to buy a pair of headphones such as the Q701s without doing any prior research.

The Q701s (and their non-lime-green counterparts, the K701s and K702s) are great headphones when you feed them enough power. But when there's not enough juice, the sound is rather unremarkable. In fact, the Q701s may not even be suited for the genres you listen to. I would recommend you return the Q701s and buy a headphone that suits your music interests and equipment on hand. I'm sure if you post what genres you prefer and your budget, people will be more than happy to give you recommendations. Finally, audition the headphones first if possible, so you can avoid these kinds of situations. wink.gif

 

 


Edited by 12345142 - 6/17/11 at 11:52pm
post #10 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by thejoker69 View Post

Ok,

 

last question I promise!

 

So if I buy and external DAC + Amp I won't need anything like an external soundcard?

If for other reasons I needed to buy an external soundcard line an apogee duet, would that work well with these headphones too?



No, just connect the cans straight to the amp, amp to DAC, DAC to macbook via USB.

 

Also, the Q/K701 might not be for you at all depending on your tastes.


Edited by Alghazanth - 6/18/11 at 12:06am
post #11 of 32
Hi!

Am a happy Macbook Pro user as well.

Am using Ultrasone Pro750 and Sennheiser HD598. Both are easier to drive directly from the MBP.

Anyhow, a DAC is an external "soundcard" of sorts. so if you have a DAC it either connects via optical (your macbook has optical out in the headphone jack, you need a mini-toslink cable for that and it automatically switches to optical) or USB.

The DAC or DAC/Amp connects via USB and you have a headphone out on the device. The question you have to ask yourself is if you want to use a stationary (desktop) setup or mobile one.

If you ask me, I would prefer something that can be used modular. The NuForce icon HDP for example is an excellent DAC and amp, has plenty of inputs and outputs. Currently I use it as an amp only and use a Schiit Asgard as amp.

In your case an amp is what you should buy first. Schiit Asgard would be a good choice as this amp has lots of power and is very nice sounding. It comes with all cables you need to directly connect to the headphone out of your Macbook and you are good to go.

If you then feel that your onboard soundcard DAC is the weak link, you can go for an external DAC as described before. However, listen to it first. I do witness a better sound with my external DAC but the difference might not be "worth it" for you.

so I think: buy amp first, then DAC. If you need a portable setup I would recommend the E7/E9 combo. Plenty of power to drive your headphone and you can use the E7 on the go too as DAC/Amp. In combination(docked) with the E9 the E7 will only use the DAC part and let the E9 do the amping. Both products are from Fiio.

A good amp will make a world of difference with your headphones for sure.
post #12 of 32
Thread Starter 

I guess it was naive of me to buy these,

but I think the guy who sold them to me was also very unclear. I did tell him my music came trough a laptop.

 

I'm not sure they'll take them back since I have been using them for 2 days and hygiene issues may be related.

But to be honest I am more than happy to buy an amp+dac if it will make the music listening experience as great as I want it to be.

 

Also, I will be using these headphones for many genres, I just picked an ACDC song as a coincidence.

 

I am also likely to buy an electronic drums set so if these are a good fit for that too I will be definitely happy of the purchase.

 

Thanks!

 

p.s. my pair is BLACK, not lime green (only the cable is lime green!) :D

post #13 of 32

If you want to make your search a little easier you could try a DAC/Amp Combo. Now though this may seem like a good idea, you need to be careful. When I began searching for this type of combo I needed something that was small in size, had a powerful amplifier, a great DAC, a neutral sound signature, full of useful/convenient features and needed to be well priced. For me, this  package came in the form of an Audinst HUD-MX1 USB Headphone Amplifier and DAC. I can guarantee you joker69 if you want something that can power your Q701's, have little to no affect on the sound signature, serve your ears and wallet well, try the MX1 with your Q701's after a full burn-in and it will not disappoint you. I bought one and it has not disappointed me once.  

Here are a few links: 

- http://audinst.com/en/bbs/board.php?bo_table=HUDmx1&wr_id=5  

- http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/484235/review-audinst-hud-mx1-usb-dac-amp

- http://www.headfonia.com/audinst-hud-mx1-dac/

(The two Reviews above are not mine) 

Thanks.

 


Edited by Audiophile1811 - 6/18/11 at 1:47am
post #14 of 32

I think you should get a relatively inexpensive dac/amp combo and see how you like it with that.  Not much point on spending tons of money on an amp for a pair of headphones you might not even like amped.  I tried the K701 with a nice amp once, and I honestly didn't like the way they sounded much at all.

 

I'd recommend the E7/E9 combo, it's ~$200 and comes with a portable amp too, so it's a pretty good deal.  You should contact the store and see if they accept returns though.  They really should, since I honestly think the salesperson was a bit deceptive with marketing...he shouldn't have sold you these headphones without an amp.

post #15 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiophile1811 View Post

If you want to make your search a little easier you could try a DAC/Amp Combo. Now though this may seem like a good idea, you need to be careful. When I began searching for this type of combo I needed something that was small in size, had a powerful amplifier, a great DAC, a neutral sound signature, full of useful/convenient features and needed to be well priced. For me, this  package came in the form of an Audinst HUD-MX1 USB Headphone Amplifier and DAC. I can guarantee you joker69 if you want something that can power your Q701's, have little to no affect on the sound signature, serve your ears and wallet well, try the MX1 with your Q701's after a full burn-in and it will not disappoint you. I bought one and it has not disappointed me once.  

Here are a few links: 

- http://audinst.com/en/bbs/board.php?bo_table=HUDmx1&wr_id=5  

- http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/484235/review-audinst-hud-mx1-usb-dac-amp

- http://www.headfonia.com/audinst-hud-mx1-dac/

(The two Reviews above are not mine) 

Thanks.

 



I think on this level the Kontrol 1 will be a good option as well, The Apogee Duet will be even better (only for Mac users). The new one from Apogee is the Duet 2 with USB (still for Mac users). Here is more info: http://www.apogeedigital.com/products/duet2.php


Edited by Acix - 6/18/11 at 3:55am
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