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AKG 701 or Shure 940 for clear headphone for vocals, classical and acoustic?

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 

Hey all,

 

::EDIT::  I got the Shure 940's. Scroll through for pictures, impressions, etc.

::EDIT:: I just bought the K701's too. Gah! Will compare both. Sell one!

 

Update: Full Review Done, See here.

 

Edit Note: This may or may not get attention, but, I'm willing to lease or borrow an AKG701 from someone who's willing to trust me, a stranger, to have their headphone for a few days. I'll pay for the shipping and insurance and everything both ways. I'd love to do a side by side comparison on my equipment with the AKG701 versus my Shure940. Probably won't get any bites on that. But who knows, can't hurt to throw it out there an ask.

 

Looking all over google and here, not finding much information. I'd really like to get myself a non-bass-centered headphone. Right now I'm deciding between the AKG 701 (white because I like that color for that style) or the new Shure 940's. Both look nice and look comfortable. Both seem to be good for the same application of sound rendering. But I just haven't seen any reviews or comparisons of how similar or different they are. They're about the same price. One is open. One is closed. I'd love to get an idea of which one might be right for me. Looking for something with clear detail and strong mids that would be good for vocals (female mainly), clasical, jazz, acoustic, etc. I have plenty of amplification, so that's not a limiting factor. Current headphone line up is in my sig, so you'll see this is quite different from my typical selection of headphone (bass colored), other than my HD580's (neutral, veiled, laid back) and the AD500's (bass light, but they were $30 and were an experiment, kept them so far, will likely ditch soon).

 

So what's Head-Fi's opinion?

 

AKG 701 or Shure 940 for the clear high/mid flagship of mid-tier headphone?

 

Very best,


Edited by MalVeauX - 8/8/11 at 4:23pm
post #2 of 44

Don't ya know about Grado?

 

Well, classical isn't spaced on them

 

HD598 would be the next step.

 

Sound like a Grado but with soudstage and better bass

 

moving on:

 

AKG 701 is your amp can handle them

 

I would believe the Shure 940 would be too bright. But that's my taste

 

 

If your amp can handle them, the K701 would fair greatly. I would guess the soundstage is too airy for vocals, but other then that, they would fair best.

post #3 of 44
Thread Starter 


Heya,

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BotByte View Post

Don't ya know about Grado?

HD598 would be the next step.

AKG 701 is your amp can handle them


Grado's are great, but I'm looking for comfort too. The only Grado I've worn and enjoyed was the SR225i. So it would be nice to see if the Shure 940 and AKG701 compare to the SR225i as well. Similarities, or differences.

 

I have the Sennheiser HD580. I'm not stepping down to the HD598. I don't want more Sennheiser veil. Bright is ok, I like forward bright mids/highs.

 

As for `if my amp can handle', again, I have plenty of amplification. Between my Matrix Cube and Little Dot MK III, I can push any headphone that is electrodynamic with ease.

 

Specifically looking for information on the Shure 940 versus the AKG 701.

 

Very best,

post #4 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post


I have the Sennheiser HD580. I'm not stepping down to the HD598. I don't want more Sennheiser veil. Bright is ok, I like forward bright mids/highs.

 


For many of us, the HD-598 is an upgrade from the HD-580/600 and even the HD-650. Most people say the HD-650 is "technically" better. I sold my HD-650 because I felt the HD-598 sounded better after I recabled it.I don't know how close the 580 is to the HD-600, but to me the HD-598 is less muffled sounding and more detailed than the HD-600 with it's stock cable. I would say the HD-598 is brighter and less veiled than the HD-600 for sure. You really can't beat the HD-598 for female vocals. Vocals on the K702 with any amp are a joke compared to the HD-598. The K601 though is much better in this area. The K701 on any amp I've tried makes vocals sound a bit distant at times. OK, not that bad, but not up-front like they are on the HD-598. The HD-598 defininitely has forward mids. It's sound is addicting. I'm not saying buy it, but give it a try if you can ever listen to them.

 

I loved vocals on the SRH-840, so if the SRH-940 is any better, that'd be worth checking into.

 

I also prefer the K601 to the K702 and it's a lot cheaper and more comfortable. It's harder to drive though and has a little less treble, but the mids sound much more forward compared to the K701/K702.

 

So i'll say it again.. for those that love female vocals (especially Asian pop), the HD-598 is one of the best I've heard under $250 I've heard for this that's open.

 

post #5 of 44

The K70x is quite amp dependent but is an open can and is slightly better overall. To me.

The 940 is a great can and is easier to amp. It's closed and doesn't have as open a sound as the 70x.

They really have different uses. If you have the proper amp and don't need isolation the 70x might be a good choice. If you need isolation or don't have the kind of amp the AKG needs then the 940 is a good choice.

post #6 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by baka1969 View Post

The K70x is quite amp dependent but is an open can and is slightly better overall. To me.

The 940 is a great can and is easier to amp. It's closed and doesn't have as open a sound as the 70x.

They really have different uses. If you have the proper amp and don't need isolation the 70x might be a good choice. If you need isolation or don't have the kind of amp the AKG needs then the 940 is a good choice.



The K701 would be a clear winner if OP's amp will match to it

 

And it's not about power, the K70x series are just finicky.

I ran one from my receiver and after two hours messing with the power, I got it to play well. But a dedicated headphone amp will be harder to tweak.

 

Just check around the amp forum and do some research with you amp.

 

Other then that, the 940 is goof to. I really like the body on them

post #7 of 44
Thread Starter 

Heya,

 

Thanks for the info guys.

 

Looks like the Shure 940 is likely for me. I think a closed can will compliment my portable setup for when I want isolation on the go and it looks to be a comfortable headset. My current portables are my Ultrasone Pro 900's, so having another closed but opposite spectrum can is what I was looking for I think. And my next can after this will likely be a Grado (225 I'm thinking, or 325 if I buy used).

 

Thanks again! I'll post a review on the 940 after I get some time with them. Should be here Friday.

 

Very best,

post #8 of 44

Quote:Originally Posted by MalVeauX 

"Heya,
Thanks for the info guys.
Looks like the Shure 940 is likely for me. I think a closed can will compliment my portable setup for when I want isolation on the go and it looks to be a comfortable headset. My current portables are my Ultrasone Pro 900's, so having another closed but opposite spectrum can is what I was looking for I think. And my next can after this will likely be a Grado (225 I'm thinking, or 325 if I buy used).
Thanks again! I'll post a review on the 940 after I get some time with them. Should be here Friday.
Very best,"



If you read the 940 thread you'll see the mods I've done to it. Post your review there for others to read. Good luck.

post #9 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by baka1969 View Post

If you read the 940 thread you'll see the mods I've done to it. Post your review there for others to read. Good luck.


Heya,

 

I read it, and saw the mods. Not interested in modding my headphones. There were a few comments by others about the 940's versus the 701's. Seemed to favor the 940's, but didn't know if it was the `flavor of the month' effect or what. Will definitely review them and post it up for others who are curious.

 

Very best,

post #10 of 44

Well I liked the K701's, I know that 80% of head-fi following Uncle Eric's word would have them burnt in a pile because they don't stack up against there old flag ships and tried to improve on the absolute chasms between the sub bass and mid range. But I liked them for classical, they have a MASSIVE sound stage and are pretty detailed, a bit unnatural in the detail but it still sounds wonderful. The HD598 would be good but are lacking in detail as most sennheisers are due to the laid back tone. my RS-2's are my god tier headphone for pretty much ever thing, but my K500's by far trump them for delicate music. Hope this helps. As for the shures, never herd them but hear nothing but good things as long as the music is well recorded and mast red.

post #11 of 44

The AKG is a very good headphone, and especially good in the areas you mentioned. Highly recommended.

post #12 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeust0999 View Post

The AKG is a very good headphone, and especially good in the areas you mentioned. Highly recommended.



+1

 

post #13 of 44

I prefer the older versions of the K701 like the K501, but the K701 sounds like exactly what you want even if it isn't amped perfectly since you don't need bass impact.  I can't think of a better match for your description. 

post #14 of 44
Thread Starter 

Heya,

 

So I'm currently wearing the Shure 940's.

 

Shure940_FirstImpression.jpg

 

Initial impressions:

 

I'm not regretting this selection of headphone at all. I can't help but think wow when I'm listening to acoustic & vocals and jazz. I'm an absolute bass head but I also really like crisp detail and I'm a sucker for angelic voices and airy smokey acoustic sessions like in a corner bar. Almost all of my headphones are pretty bass colored. This was my first big step away from prominent bass, so I was anxious and wondering how well I would take the transition as my ears are trained to listen for serious bass and when it's not there, I feel underwhelmed. So naturally, choosing between the K701's and the 940's was a big decision, albeit a fast one (but I can always return the headphones, so I'm not worried about loosing money). So far, there's no way in hell I'm returning these things. I'm absolutely floored by them. I don't get floored easily either.

 

Highs are forward, bright, but not at all shrilling or piercing, and at high volume I'm not hearing sibilance. Mids are gorgeous and generous, but neutral, and forward. The detail and clarity is amazing. Not only do I hear the strum on the guitar, but I hear the scrape of the finger nail, the weird little vibration distortions on unclean strums of strings. I like to use the metaphor "I can hear the smoke in the bar" with these things. The detail and mid/highs are amazing and I can't believe I can turn these suckers up on the volume and they don't split me in two with shrilling piercing audio. They maintain their composure. I did not expect that at all at this price point. Now as a basshead, I must talk about the bass. The bass is neutral, but it extends low. I had to test it unamped, amped and tube-amped just to see. I also played around with EQ in fubar2k to see what the drivers can really handle on the fly. The bass is not forward, it's neutral and doesn't cross into the mids. It's there in the background, doing it's job, giving substance stage and a since of fulfillment. I tried a few bass centered songs from my electronic line up, and it hit the frequencies just fine. They were tight and impacted, but didn't take over the mids as the focus. They're not basshead phones by any means, but as a basshead, I was worried that the lack of bass would leave me reaching over for my Ultrasone Pro 900's right away. That's not what happened. I had to A-B test the bass from the 900 Pro to the Shure 940 just to see. The bass is there. It's just not colored and monstrous like my 900 Pro. And that's exactly what I wanted--a solid headphone for vocals, acoustic, jazz, indie, folk, etc, without it being my Ultrasones with a closed back for isolation. Something with serious mids. When I played with the EQ, I raised the 77Hz, 110Hz, 156Hz, 311Hz, and suddenly all the trance, dance and dub I threw at it sounded great with some impressive bass. Still not the same level of bass that my Ultrasone Pro 900's produce. But it was impressive regardless. I can't call these Shure 940's bass lite. They're not. They're simply neutral and have extension and are capable of hitting very low tones, and when EQ's, they can come alive with bass as you bring it forward--the drivers are capable of more than they're essentially set to rather well for this kind of detail mid/high focused headphone.

 

Comfort is outstanding. I saw a few reviews saying they were not; I cannot understand that, these things fit and are more comfortable than my Beyers!

 

Construction is very neat, tight, and sturdy. The cups swivel, completely turn over, have a spring in them that bring them back to their facings and the headband is not tight nor clamp-of-death, it's very easy going (feels like my 10 year old HD580 headband on my head).

 

Isolation is actually impressive. They isolate better than my Ultrasone Pro 900's. I tested a few things, and the isolation of the Shure 940's cuts down on more of the upper frequency stuff, I could hear less "sss" which made the back ground sound much more dull--excellent isolation. I also tested leakage, and they're relatively quiet even with volume up if the ear pads are touching all the way around. When you break the seal, the sound fills the room. So leakage is minimal, but it's there as you would expect, even from a closed phone. I would feel comfortable listening to these at mid-low volumes on an airplane. I would feel completely fine listening to them in a public area like train/bus/walking around as no one would hear it. And I'd wear them in the same room with someone else at high volume so long as they're not overly sensitive to hearing a feint music in the background.

 

TL;DR: Amazing for the price point if you want a detailed, mid/high forward headphone that doesn't cut you in half at high volume with serious bass extension but control enough and neutral enough to not take over your mids. Comfort is better than my Beyers, similar to my 10 year old HD580's. They feel light and don't grip your head. No fatigue at all, from sound, nor wearing. I'll give it another two weeks or so to make a final judgement on whether or not I'll allow myself to call it my new favorite headphone.

 

Examples of songs I used:

 

Ani DiFranco - Both Hands

Ingrid Michaelson - Be OK

Dar Williams - Calling the Moon

Diana Krall - 'S Wonderful

Norah Jones - Young Blood

Paul Simon - Love and Hard Times

Ludovico Einaudi - Ora

Pawnshop Jazz - Limehouse Blues

Euge Groove - A Summer Night's Dream

The Cranberries - Such a Shame

Jackie Evancho - Nella Fantasia

Rush - Tom Sawyer

Journey - Keep On Runnin'

Opeth - Windowpane

Ronald Jenkees - Disorganized Fun

BT - Rose of Jericho

OceanLab - Satellite

Parov Stelar - Libella Swing

Justice - Genesis

DeadMau5 - Some Chords

Crystal Castles - Black Panther

Skrillex - Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites (Dirtyphonics Remix)

Bay Area Dubstep (BAD) - Tip Tap Toez

Nero - Act Like You Know

 

Full review coming soon, with lots of pictures and more details.

 

Very best, basshead.gif


Edited by MalVeauX - 7/29/11 at 1:05pm
post #15 of 44

Beautiful picture you got there MalVeaux.  Who says the 940 isn't photogenic?  Welcome to the world of Shure audio, put your feet up, grab a nice cigar and stay a while.biggrin.gif

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