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Q701 impressions thread - Page 161

post #2401 of 9514
Originally Posted by Kodhifi View Post

I found the Q701 to be a better performer, power wise, than my 250ohm DT880's. They are almost as good as the MDR-V6 in terms of how loud they get at a particular level.


Using my Soundblaster X-Fi or my Iphone I get a good volume without the problems you describe when turned up all the way. They are loud but not uncomfortably so and maybe not as loud as I'd like on quieter sources like quiet classical passages.


When I use them with my FiiO E9 I have the gain set low (less power) and the phones plugged into the 6.5mm jack which is -6db so I'm basically cutting them -16db from what the amp is capable of, and I find 1/4 volume to be good for most material and 1/2 way up is quite loud, the point where it starts to hurt on loud material.


I haven't found them particularly hard to drive and I'd say that with a good source they are completely portable without an external amp.



they are far easier to drive than their repuation claims!

I have the E09K, I like the way they sound thru that amp, apparently sounds the same as the E09. I leave voltage gain on low.

post #2402 of 9514
Thread Starter 

Have to disagree about them being easy to drive, but you knew i'd say this biggrin.gif Well, not that anyone really said that!

To me it's more than just volume. I tried them out of just an E5 and they got to ridiculously loud volume levels. I was shocked really.

The problem for me is that they're much less smooth with some portable amps. Just a bit thinner sounding and often much more harsh and fatiguing. At first they sound perfectly ok and then they just annoy you.


I tried to use them with an Ipod Touch 2G LOD cable to E11 and I though this combination was pretty awful to my ears. I don't know why, but maybe some of the fault is the Ipod Touch 2G itself. It measures flat, but to my ear it sounds like it sort of has edgy treble.


I only got them to sound good with the "double amping" method with an Ipod Touch + E11 or Airhead. You could say it's just adding a bunch of distortion and making them sound warmer, but I don't think this is true, since it's so similar to how it sounds with my other amps.


For test, someone should try this. I generally know "double amping" is a big no-no, but I think people blow it way out of proportion. Ugh, you know what...I double amped my K701 for over 3 years and loved every minute of it. This was back when I was VERY new and we never had fancy LOD cables. This was in 1967 or so.


I think I was using an Ipod Classic 3g (Monochrome) to Total Airhead.


Here's another weird thing about amping them...some simple music (such as just a guitar+vocals) sounds perfect, but other music that's more complex sounds noticeably worse. I think it just depends on a lot of things. My Airhead will blink the red light at specific frequencies if I crank the volume too loud when using the Q701. It's nearly impossible to get it to blink though. The K701 did ALL the time.


Despite what everyone says, I always found ALL the Beyerdynamic headphones fairly tough to drive. Even the 32ohm version was no good for me with portable devices. I know some may find that hard to believe.


I should do some more testing with the Q701 without an amp though. I'm sure there's some portable devices where it sounds amazing. Maybe the Clip+ or something.


I think maybe i'm nit-picking or something. I just haven't found a portable amp that does the Q701 justice without the double amping method. I haven't tried the E17 yet or any of these fancy pants $200+ portable amps. I also wouldn't consider the O2 portable enough.


I think maybe the new Fiio amp might drive it well enough? How about the Jdslabs C421?


I still remember the days of people laughing at me when I said I wanted to use the K701 as a portable biggrin.gif


I know this is hard to believe, but the Q701 does seem to get louder than the old K701. Despite the same specs. I don't know how. I noticed such craziness when I modded my DJ100 to be open and suddenly it required much more volume than the closed version. Maybe the Q701 is slightly less open than the K702 and requires less volume. I know this makes no sense. Supposedly the HD-650 became easier to drive over the years. I don't know where people come up with this stuff!


BTW you should try the K601 with a portable amp. That's good for a laugh! That's one of the few headphones that my Airhead kind of struggles with. Yet my 600 ohm Sextett is OK, but has a severe lack of volume. I hardest headphone to drive that i've had was the K501. K400 supposedly has the same power requirements.


You should all take my comments with a grain of salt because I'm one of those nuts that still believes the DJ100 needs an external amp to sound good.


I do however think that the E9 is more than enough for the Q701. E9 sounds great with the Q701 for whatever reason. The Magni is also OK.


I don't know how, but the E10 seemed to be better for the Q701 than the E11. Not sure why this is..if the E10 is so good, i'm sure the E17 is even better. I can't say I really liked the E10, but it sounded OK with the Q701 at least, but this was just based on a half hour or so of testing.


BTW I listened to my Q701 until 3am last night. Didn't want to take it off. I have no clue how a silly new amp power supply could have improved it's sound so much. I must have really noisy power or something. The HD-650 didn't really benefit at all from the upgrade. Not night and day, but the Q701 is now so much more detailed and sounds even smoother. No clue how. I really think the Headroom Micro is one of the best amps for the AKG stuff i've heard yet. Not sure why I even got the Magni. I told myself I needed a 2nd amp for my spare room, but I was just lying to myself I think! Who the heck needs a dozen headphones and 3 desktop amps?!


I do sometimes wonder what the Lyr would do with the Q701. I know it's best for high impedance headphones, but I honestly don't think it would hurt the Q701's sound. I do think I prefer Headroom amps to anything from Schiit. Not sure why Headroom stuff isn't as popular as it once was.

Edited by tdockweiler - 1/25/13 at 11:07am
post #2403 of 9514

so what is the best amp for Q701 ? and how significant is the sound quality change ? is it even noticeable ?  i would not pay 100$ for a small change... only if its drastic improvment :)

what is the recommanded 100$ amp for Q701 ?

post #2404 of 9514

I don't have any super expensive amps but the magni does sound siginificantly better than my old e11 which hasn't been touched since I got the magni. It makes a really big difference if you're running it without an amp at all to me. My laptop output made the mids sound slightly veiled and recessed and the sound stage was a lot more closed in so...


Edit: sorry if you wanted a full on comparison but I was just stating my initial impressions from when I switched... I'm too lazy to take out my e11 again and A/B it so yeah sorry just got finished with finals and all with school

Edited by Darknet - 1/25/13 at 1:14pm
post #2405 of 9514

The K701 and Q701 do not have the same specs. They are closely related to each other but if you compare the frequency response it's pretty clear the Q's have more bass extension at a higher level with less rolloff and the highs look different too. They tweaked the waveguide or something because the sound is different, improved I would hope. So it's not surprising that it would be easier to drive the Q than the K.



I only have 1 headphone amp in my home that get's thin or runs out of juice before the headphone does and that's just a weird one because it's my Behringer mixing console. I don't know why but the pre-amp on that thing is just ridiculously high gain but without the power to back it up. At 1/2 headphone volume you get clipping and it gets loud and harsh and jagged. It reminds me of old portable radios that had a volume knob you could turn up past the point it would distort the signal.


But it does that with any headphone I connect to it. 250 ohm, distortion. 32 ohm, distortion.


I've even driven my DT880 250's without an amp for the majority of the time I've had them. I just used my Soundblaster X-Fi which could drive them loud enough for most material that I didn't feel the need for an amp. The problem was when the source material was not very loud, or it was very dynamic, I couldn't turn them up enough to compensate and that started to annoy me after awhile so I got the E9. I always run the Q701 through the E9 even though it sounds fine direct out from the X-Fi, just because I'm used to using it now and I don't like plugging headphones into the front of my PC because the cables block the bluray drive.


I have a new DAC that should be delivered today, it's the Audiostream D1 with the badass AK4396 DAC in it and a built in headphone amp, I'll let you guys know how the Q701 measures up when driven directly by the combo dac/amp and then throw the E9 back in the mix and see if there is a difference.


The only difference a portable amp has ever made on my listening experience is the bass boost in the E7. With bass boost off I noticed no difference in punch, clarity, dynamics, or anything else when going back and forth between my Iphone 3GS and a dock line outed E7.

Edited by Kodhifi - 1/25/13 at 6:24pm
post #2406 of 9514
T Dock Dubya,

I'm an Electrical Engineer by trade.
Anything else just confuses my reptilian brain.
Hard to drive implies your amp is either running out of current or running out of voltage.
Output impedance and load impedance (headphone impedance) come into play here, but in ten words or less......well, that's about it!
post #2407 of 9514
Originally Posted by demontux View Post

so what is the best amp for Q701 ? and how significant is the sound quality change ? is it even noticeable ?  i would not pay 100$ for a small change... only if its drastic improvment smily_headphones1.gif
what is the recommanded 100$ amp for Q701 ?

Hard question to answer.

What are you driving the Q701 s with now?

For me, the FiiO E17 was a big upgrade because the headphone jack on my HP notebook sounds like a dog's butt.

But the headphone jack on my CD player is pretty damn good.
post #2408 of 9514

Okay, I just fired up the Audiostream D1, set to 24/96 and I'm listening to The Dave Brubeck Quartet performing Take Five. On the 'high power' headphone amp built into the D1 it's not loud enough for me. It's at about the same volume that the Fiio A9 would be at 1/3 volume. According to the D1 manual it requires 50 hours of burn in before critical listening but out of the box I suspect that the output is a little on the hot side. I was distressed to discover that the RCA outputs are variable and with the volume all the way up they sound a little rough, it could be a subjective thing but I backed off the volume just a bit to make sure I get a clean signal to my A9 headphone amp.


The sound through the A9 is pretty good though. I don't know how much better this will end up sounding than the Line 6 UX2 I was previously using as an audio source but for now at least there is nothing that is bad in the audio signal. The sound is clear and detailed, I can appreciate the brushwork on the snare drum and the bass is coming through as well as I've ever heard on the q701.

post #2409 of 9514
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post

Hard question to answer.

What are you driving the Q701 s with now?

For me, the FiiO E17 was a big upgrade because the headphone jack on my HP notebook sounds like a dog's butt.

But the headphone jack on my CD player is pretty damn good.

The E17 was a HUGE upgrade for me, from an E11. Partially because of the DAC.

My Cowon Z2 is able to drive most of my cans fine, but the Q701 did not have the same presence with it ampless as other cans.

I just purchased a Little Dot MKiii, so I hope that is an improvement over my E17. I've been told it won't be but I think the Tubey Goodness will become clear to me, as I have never before used a tube amp. So we shall see how it goes, although if any of you have tried the MKiii with the Q's, do speak up!

P.S. saw a kid on the opposing hockey team wearing ATH-M50's around his neck. I told him I liked em, I think he understood that it wasnt just his cans, it was that they were Audiophile grade, and not beats! smily_headphones1.gif
post #2410 of 9514
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by demontux View Post

so what is the best amp for Q701 ? and how significant is the sound quality change ? is it even noticeable ?  i would not pay 100$ for a small change... only if its drastic improvment :)

what is the recommanded 100$ amp for Q701 ?


I don't think going from a portable player to a desktop amp is a small change. Maybe not night and day, but it'll be totally worth it.

The Fiio E9 is pretty good and that thing is down to $88 on Amazon. Crazy. Just be sure to use the larger jack.


The Schiit Magni is also good, but seemed to sound better after a few days of use.


The difference also depends on source too. You can get away with a docked IPOD or Fuze if needed. Not sure if you have a good soundcard with line out. Strangely my onboard Realtek HD sounds pretty good as a source, but I don't use that. I think my favorite source for the Q701 is the ODAC. I don't know if there's anything else i'd like out there more, but it's possible.


I just noticed the E17 is down to $139. I'll have to try that sometime. I could have sworn it was once like $170 or so.


I know it's hard to believe, but I have some full sized CD players that sound nearly as good as the ODAC. Just as balanced too. I bought one of them like new at the thrift store for $20. My favorites are the Technics and JVC models from the 90s.

post #2411 of 9514

I'll vouch for the E9, don't know why I was saying A9. It can power anything I own. Q701, DT880 250ohm, no problem. Half volume with low gain and -6db 6.5mm jack and I'm deaf. I just turned it up all the way for one album though, pink floyds The Wall in 24/96, it was a quiet transfer or something, the music was not loud enough so I had to turn it up. Which is the reason I got the E9 in the first place, for quieter tracks you really appreciate the headroom this thing gives you to crank it back up to a decent level.


I was curious enough to give the two Schiit's a look (the DAC and seperate amp) but I wanted Amazon's return policy in case it wasn't for me and Schiit isn't as easy (or cheap) to return if it doesn't work out. I already had to send an E7 back because it basically doesn't amplify anything when used in non DAC mode.

post #2412 of 9514
I'm driving my Q701 with an O2 and it sounds great. I would bump your price range up to $160 and buy one from JDS Labs. I think it's worth the extra cash.
Edited by Shazb0t - 1/26/13 at 8:17am
post #2413 of 9514

I tried the K550 yesterday and absolutely loved it... my only problem is the sibilance. Does the Q701 sound very similar?

post #2414 of 9514
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Fuzziekiwi View Post

I tried the K550 yesterday and absolutely loved it... my only problem is the sibilance. Does the Q701 sound very similar?

The Q701 to me sounds nothing like the K550. The K550 sounds closer to the K702 though. Actually sometimes it reminded me of the DT-880 (mostly in the mids/treble) more than the K702.


The K550 did seem to have a little more bass than the Q701 though. Despite this, the mids sounded a bit thinner. Could be due to the K550 having more treble or something else.


My Q701 is like a weird mix of the K701 (poorly amped maybe) and the HD-650. My Q701 sounds like an HD-650 that's more revealing and has less warmth and more treble. More forward upper mids of course. Larger soundstage too.


Last night I was thinking I might not really prefer the 65th Anniversary K702. Don't really think I would prefer the Q701 being any warmer.

It's also warm on transparent sources.


NOTE: I had a very early K550. I didn't think it was terrible, but it's mids felt kind of lean to me. It has good bass, so i'm sure I had a good seal.


I don't really have any sibilance on my Q701 unless it's IN the recording. The Q701 doesn't make it any worse.

Edited by tdockweiler - 1/26/13 at 10:05am
post #2415 of 9514
Thread Starter 

I was trying to figure out why flat K601 pads sounded so awful on the Q701. It makes it much thinner sounding and the Q701 seems to lose bass and some of it's warmth. It also is much more shouty in the mids. I totally could not understand how the K601 pads would REDUCE the bass. More air inside the pads between your ear and the driver usually means more treble. That's the way it is with my closed DJ100 anyway.


So I put on my K601's more open inner grills. Still bad and no change. I did not use the Q701's grill foam.


The K601 pads with no inner grill cover sounds pretty close to stock. The mids seem a tad more forward but not too badly. There might even be a tad more warmth and the soundstage isn't any larger, which is bizarre.


I also previously noticed my K601 getting warmer (but more muffled) with the grill cover off. It did require a ton more volume which is weird.


The only problem with the Q701 and K601 (flat) pads is that poor recordings (with the mids/treble cranked up the studio) sounds much worse. Imaging does seem a bit better with flat pads.


Now I think i'll try to figure out what the K601 sounds like with Q701 foam+ grills and pads.


Hopefully my 65th pads arrive sooner than expected. I'm only curious as to what they'll do for my K601 and Q701.


notes: K601 with Q701 pads and no outer grills seems kind of  muffled and almost too warm, but the bass seems bloated. Soundstage is much smaller too(!). After further listening, it's not so bad and really smooth and kind of addicting. So much fuller sounding than stock.


Not that anyone cares about the K601, but the mids are much more forward when using the Q701 foam and grill with the above setup. A lot less warm.


I'll shut up, but the K601 stock with Q701 pads is almost as warm as my HD-650!!

Edited by tdockweiler - 1/26/13 at 11:16am
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