Originally Posted by derbigpr
Of course that is ranked purely depending on personal taste, not the actual sound quality. IMHO, after buying a used old version of K701 from 2007 before the revision (and new K701 definitely sound different than old), I can say that K701's are technically above Q701's. I mean, technically in terms of overall sound quality, regardless of someones preferences. I find them more revealing, they have a bigger and more precise soundstage, tonality is different, bass is more textured although not as present, mids are smoother but more detailed, and highs sound faster and more crystaline, but not sharper or brighter, just of higher resolution. But the main difference is, CLARITY. Never ever do K701's sound muddy, never ever do they sound anything else but absolutely perfectly clear and coherent. They sound extremely transparent, and most of all fast. They just sound more immediate than Q701's to me. Putting the Q's on after K's feels like some veil has been added, yes there is more bass, all the soundstage, air, detail, clarity and speed are taken away. In other words, K701's to me sound like the more "hi-fi" or more expensive headphones.
For some genres, I prefer the Q701's, mostly for some bass heavier music. But for classical, jazz, vocal, acoustic, any instrumental music especially guitar, K701's (again, old model) are in my opinion a step above the Q's and I find the new K701's to be inferior to old ones. I feel they've been modified to better suit more modern music, and in the process what made them really special was taken away from them.
I don't really care how technically better something is. I mean if all I cared about is that and not enjoying my music, i'd have stuck with the KRKs or a DT-880. The K601 really does sound better to me than the K702. People always said the K702 was "technically" better, but I think that's just some excuse. The K702 supposedly doesn't have as much detail as the K601, but I think now this is nonsense. To me it's like comparing the Q701 to the K701 too. I made the mistake of selling my K601 once because I kept saying to myself that the K702 was "so much more detailed and clearer!".
I think it's virtually impossible for the K701 to be technically better than the Q701. The differences you've described are basically just the disadvantages of how the Q701 is tuned. I mean the Q701 is a little more warm and of course when you add warmth it often fools the brain that the sound is less clear. More bass and less treble usually means less sound clarity. I don't think this is really true, but just the brain being fooled. I first noticed this when modding my DJ100 and then of course having the very old HD-650 with bloated mid-bass. Oh and when you get more warmth the soundstage seems to shrink. This is probably why I always felt the soundstage of the Q701 was smaller than the K702.
If you EQ the Q701 you can easily have it sound just like the K701 perhaps. Even removing the inner foam makes it closer to the K701, but it'll never get very close with mods alone.
It seems though most people say the K702/1 is much more cold and analytical. A bit thinner sounding, but with a very slight touch of warmth. I totally agree with this. The biggest difference for me is how much fuller sounding the mids are of the Q701 vs the K702. My K702 had a weird peak in the treble or upper mids somewhere that's not on the q701.
I had another K701 back in 2007 or earlier, but this was when I was clueless and didn't have a very good amp. I was using an Ipod Classic and Total Airhead. Sounded great though. Don't think i'm going to go out and search for the oldest K701 I can find, but I'm sure some differences could exist.
I totally believe you when you mention all the differences. It could sound sightly different due to the pads being flatter or more worn in. Have you tried a K701 with flat pads? You'd be pretty weirded out by what the Q701 sounds like with K601 pads. It's even closer to the K702/1 sound. I always felt that angled pads hurt imaging a little.
Some K701 also had different plastic parts behind the grill that were more open. Check this link:
It's that smaller part on the first picture on the top.
People can say it has no effect on the sound, but I think it does. Not much.
My guess is that the version with that type of plastic piece (is that yours?) sounds best.
Most K701s have a piece that looks like the one on the Q701.
BTW the Q701 is pretty crystal clear at all times with the Micro Amp/Magni and ODAC. It depends entirely on the recording though.
Some songs sound really muffled and unclear, but it's IN the recording. How warm the Q701 sounds depends a lot on the recording too. Some recordings will always sound thin and too trebly with almost zero warmth.
Edited by tdockweiler - 2/1/13 at 8:59am