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K701 vs K702 vs Q701: which one, considering recabling among other things?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

I have this thread: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/562415/my-wife-told-me-to-pick-out-some-headphones/

 

In it, I am pondering aloud my next headphone purchase.  I've treated myself to a lot of reading about a number of headphones mentioned therein.  At this point, the venerable AKG open phones are very much the probable winner.  If so, I will likely start a journey into the nuanced assortment of amps that the 70x will be hand-picking for me.  But of the 70x series, which phones to get?  (Let's assume, because it seems to be true so far, that price difference is considered to be negligible).

 

I saw in a thread last night that the capsule seems to be the same, for the K702 and the Q701 at least.  Cool.  FR graphs show up here that suggest the Q701 to have more bass and some change to high treble, which may address the wish list of some K701 owners who report light bass and harsh treble, which, if true, is also cool if it means I won't encounter the characteristics of the K701 that past and present owners have complained about.

 

The purpose of this thread is to get people in here whose experience can provide some factors in deciding which of the AKG cans I should get.  Whether or not you think they're gonna sound like the same headphone, I am hoping for some perspective.

 

Some things I'd like to read some opinions about:

• Has anyone with a Q701 removed the Q badge on the grill?  (I want to.) Does it serve an acoustic/tuning function?

• If I'm gonna go balanced, does the K701 make more sense?  I mean, if I have to go 4-pin mini XLR on the K702 or Q701, I've seen it here and I'm not afraid, but the K701 has a four-wire cable to start with, right?  Should it matter to me?  Modularity for different terminations is nice, right?

• If balanced termination is not a factor, why NOT the Q701?

• Anyone out there think "It doesn't matter, just grab one and stick with it because they're all the same"?  If that's you, hopefully it's because you own one of these things?

• Here's one I tried searching for: does the included mini-XLR cable on K702 or Q701 come apart?  i.e. can I do an upgrade recable using the existing plug?

• Someone had rather casually mentioned that perhaps any sonic difference in the Q701 may be due to factory burn-in.  Confirmed?  Refuted?  Does the Q701 settle in at 300 hours like its predecessors have been reported to do?

• Any other great wisdom to make this decision easier?

edit: Do they all come with the cool little display cradle?

 

Thanks head-fi!

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by Lurkumaural - 7/26/11 at 2:19pm
post #2 of 29

Get the Q701. The sonic differences between them and the K701 may be perceived as subtle but in this case I find those small differences to have a big impact on my enjoyment of the Q701 over the K701 which had an odd midrange coloration and sounded a bit sharper in the highs. I personally doubt the "Q" badge on the grills has any appreciable impact on the sound, so I wouldn't worry about removing it. Having bought most of my equipment used I don't have much of an opinion on burn in one way or the other, but my Q701 has seen less than 100 hours of use while my K701 had been used for over 700 hours prior to me receiving them, for whatever that may or may not be worth.

 

They do not come with the stand unfortunately. Personally I'd rather have the extra 20" cable the Q701 comes with anyway.


Edited by CFabian - 7/26/11 at 3:38pm
post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info.  It's certainly a case for the Q701.

 

When I see that the Q comes with two cables, what I read from it is "free parts."  Do you know if I can get inside those plugs easily?  Maybe they screw apart?  All the reading I can recall about K702 recabling references buying a new mini XLR.

post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lurkumaural View Post

Thanks for the info.  It's certainly a case for the Q701.

 

When I see that the Q comes with two cables, what I read from it is "free parts."  Do you know if I can get inside those plugs easily?  Maybe they screw apart?  All the reading I can recall about K702 recabling references buying a new mini XLR.


Unfortunately all the plugs are molded so they ain't comin' apart!
post #5 of 29

As mentioned by someone else, it does not come apart. Those Mini-XLR plugs are a PAIN to solder. At least for me. If you buy them, get at least two just in case. I screwed up mine and accidentally pulled out one of the metal parts.

 

I should point out that the benefits from recabling the Q702/K702 using the stock mini-XLR jack are going to be very minor. No, I'm a huge believer of cables! The reason for this is that when you attach a fancy new cable you still have those stock wires inside the headphone going from the metal headband to the drivers. People say that there is no internal wires, but there is. There is no way you can have the headband go directly to the driver! As you know, the metal headband sends a signal to the wires that go to the driver.

 

To me this feels like using a $1 extension cable on your $500 Cardas cable.

 

Best thing to do is solder a new cable directly to the drivers or have someone do it. This is what I want to do eventually with my K501.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lurkumaural View Post

• Here's one I tried searching for: does the included mini-XLR cable on K702 or Q701 come apart?  i.e. can I do an upgrade recable using the existing plug?


 

 



 

post #6 of 29

AKG like to tweak and improve the same drivers over and over...so, I'll vote for the Q701, if you can get the Q as the same price as the K-702. 

post #7 of 29

I wanted to round out my collection some and needed a little AKG in my life. The Q701 Black was the least expensive option, a full $45 at the time under the K701 on Amazon. I got it and quite like it. It does not replace my other headphones but it's a great supplement. The cable feels thin (it's about the diameter of one of the stock HD-650 left or right side cables), but then I know there's very little surface area required for proper conductivity of audio frequencies so it doesn't bother me especially. For cable aficionados it might be more of an issue. Transmission across the headband is another story... I just find that really peculiar. I mean, I guess it's efficient use of what's there, but it seems like a bit of a compromise considering the not-insignificant price and reputation.

 

Still, they do sound very good totally stock, and can apparently be modded for different performance. I was the beneficiary of PelPix' work (to which I contributed some thoughts and an extra pair of ears, but for which he deserves the vast majority of credit) - he carefully examined HRTF and waterfall plot analyses and came up with a sophisticated corrective profile for Voxengo's nearly magic GlissEQ. Specifically, GlissEQ's very useful dynamic EQ feature allows one to correct for some of the inherent inaccuracies of the drivers without stressing them into other, uglier inaccuracies; the EQ doesn't really seem to take away anything that isn't introduced, if you get my meaning, and provides an extraordinarily even sounding listening experience with the Q701 (though it is tuned first and foremost for his K-series rather than the Q - differences are very minor, though).

 

But lots of folks love the stock audio presentation of the headphone. It's very comfortable once the pads have broken in a bit. Without the corrective EQ it still sounds good, just a bit bass lean, and gives cymbals, hi-hats and the upper mids a sort of odd skewed sound compared to with the corrective EQ. Without, great for microscope-close listening to detail in the high frequencies and enjoying an unparalleled soundstage. With the EQ, soundstage and microscope are intact, but the midrange is corrected and the bass-light presentation is modified to better reflect low frequencies as you would expect to hear them on most modern loudspeakers aiming for a flat response. Just my thoughts. If you've got GlissEQ and the means to apply it to your listening, try PelPix's work, it's an excellent job at wrangling neutrality out of a set of headphones that just need a bit of prodding to sound world-class.

post #8 of 29

All the cans are identical minus the cabling option on the K702 and Q701. Ergo, find the cheapest one in whatever designer color suits your fancy that day. The graphs on headroom showing differences between the cans are a placebo.

post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by grmnasasin0227 View Post

All the cans are identical minus the cabling option on the K702 and Q701. Ergo, find the cheapest one in whatever designer color suits your fancy that day. The graphs on headroom showing differences between the cans are a placebo.


Or so they say...

 

Actually, the graph is hard evidence, and cannot be a placebo. Deadly accurate? Obviously not. But the placebo only takes place with the person comparing the two models directly. Listening to the Q701 they'll automatically think they are hearing exactly what the graph shows different between the two models, when in fact there may not even be a difference between them at all. When they "know" what it is they are listening to, they'll say they can hear a difference. Throw it in as a blind test and they won't have a slightest clue...

post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by grmnasasin0227 View Post

All the cans are identical minus the cabling option on the K702 and Q701. Ergo, find the cheapest one in whatever designer color suits your fancy that day. The graphs on headroom showing differences between the cans are a placebo.


Have you heard both by doing an A/B comparison? If not, you don't really know. I don't know either because I haven't heard both side by side.

 

Right now I'm leaning towards the belief that they're basically the same. This is mostly due to Tyll's graphs/opinion and also Zombie_X who felt they sounded identical.

Same driver capsule number as the K701 also.

 

Sounds silly, but that round circle can effect the sound in some way. Even the cable can. Any small change can easily effect the sound.

 

I do believe the Headroom graphs might be just some weird variations between tests..but what do I know. Someday I'll try the Q701, but I'm tired of the K702. I only owned it about a million times.

Tyll's graphs on Inner Fidelity look like they might be more accurate.

 


Edited by tdockweiler - 8/29/11 at 9:45pm
post #11 of 29

I have not heard the K701 or K702 so I cannot comment on whether they differ sonically from the Q701.

 

I can however offer my full recommendation for the Q701. When these babies are amped properly they sound heavenly.

 

The only downside is the lime green colored cables that they come with. But that alone is not nearly enough to make me regret the purchase.

 

P.S. Get them in white

post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the responses, everyone.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post

Unfortunately all the plugs are molded so they ain't comin' apart!


I found that out once they arrived. 

As an aside, I was expecting both cables to come in ugly-ass green but to my chagrin, the longer cable is a pleasing black.  You can infer my resultant disappointment.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PanamaRed View Post

 

The only downside is the lime green colored cables that they come with. But that alone is not nearly enough to make me regret the purchase.

 

P.S. Get them in white


I was gonna get white, but the more I looked at them the more I started to find them lacking the finesse of the K701.  Went with black.

 

 

 

Has anyone seen the conductors in the cables of the K701 versus the detachable versions?  Are the gauges thicker for the K701?

 

After purchasing the Q701BLK, I have been experiencing some slight remorse for not buying the K701 instead.  Slight remorse.  Mainly because I'm itching to recable the Q's and I know that with the K701 it would have been a much simpler affair.  And the K701 is so dang pretty.  I got the Q on the faith that I got the better-sounding model.  I know this is arguable.  At least FWIW there is no sufficient anecdotal opinion that I've seen that says these sound inferior to previous models.

 

In an ideal world I'd have a K701 and a Q701, find out for sure which one I'd rather have for sonic purposes or whatever else, and either keep the one I like or be a player and have them both in rotation.  But this is not an ideal world, and such decisions are not so easy for everyone to make.

 

I am enjoying the sound of my Q701.  Sometimes I do wonder about my decision.  Such is life, literally.  There is always the path not taken.  And it's not like choosing between two very different cans, because for practical purposes I can justify buying something very different later.  I will not, in the foreseeable future, add to my collection another headphone that is so very similar to something I already own.

 

 

 

These things look ridiculous on my head, btw.  Like, I wear these headphones like a dirty little secret.


Edited by Lurkumaural - 8/30/11 at 9:54am
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katun View Post


Or so they say...

 

Actually, the graph is hard evidence, and cannot be a placebo. Deadly accurate? Obviously not. But the placebo only takes place with the person comparing the two models directly. Listening to the Q701 they'll automatically think they are hearing exactly what the graph shows different between the two models, when in fact there may not even be a difference between them at all. When they "know" what it is they are listening to, they'll say they can hear a difference. Throw it in as a blind test and they won't have a slightest clue...

As an engineer, those graphs are WELL within margin of error.

post #14 of 29

The q701's differences from the k702 are probably due to the fact that they are newer in general.  They have been redesigned, and the new manufacturing processes and materials must be better.

Just get the q701.

 

For example, I believe that the k701/2 has a copper voice coil and the q701's is aluminum, which would have a different impulse response.

They are, however, the same DESIGN.  The only difference is the materials.  I can't tell you exactly what the difference is.

 

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by NotJeffBuckley View Post

 

Still, they do sound very good totally stock, and can apparently be modded for different performance. I was the beneficiary of PelPix' work (to which I contributed some thoughts and an extra pair of ears, but for which he deserves the vast majority of credit) - he carefully examined HRTF and waterfall plot analyses and came up with a sophisticated corrective profile for Voxengo's nearly magic GlissEQ. Specifically, GlissEQ's very useful dynamic EQ feature allows one to correct for some of the inherent inaccuracies of the drivers without stressing them into other, uglier inaccuracies; the EQ doesn't really seem to take away anything that isn't introduced, if you get my meaning, and provides an extraordinarily even sounding listening experience with the Q701 (though it is tuned first and foremost for his K-series rather than the Q - differences are very minor, though).


 

And the raving reviews begin, apparently.rolleyes.gif


Edited by PelPix - 8/30/11 at 4:18pm
post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 

I think all the models use aluminum voice coil.  Trying to find more sources for that.  Sweetwater says so for the K701, at least.

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