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Q701 impressions thread - Page 345

post #5161 of 9490

I just received my Q701s in the wonderfully tacky and obnoxious, retina-searing lime green color.  The clarity observed is AMAZING.  The first few times I heard spoken vocals through the headphones, I nearly looked behind me to see if someone was in the room.  If only they had the punch of my Alessandro MS-1s...

post #5162 of 9490

Gratzzzz!  Great headphones. :beerchug:

post #5163 of 9490
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katun View Post
 

So, just got another Q701 today, and I'm detecting a few differences from previous Q701's I've owned.

 

- Is it just me, or did they actually make the bumps squishy? I thought they used to be filled with concrete, but now they compress very easily.

- The fit is much tighter than I remember. Even pulling the headphone down to full extent, they rest higher up on my ear that I'd like. 

- They sound warmer than I remember too. Perhaps it's the Vali, or maybe I just can't remember from my last pair.

 

They've also put plastic wrapping around the cups, and I can't remember them doing that before.


Chinese version?  I got a black Q701 over Black Friday and it has "Made in Austria" plastered all over it, but the bumps are hard as a rock.*  I can't remember whether there was wrapping around the cups.  However, it does feel a tad lighter than my early-serial-number K701.

 

* At least they removed the center bump from the K701.

post #5164 of 9490

What follows is a totally subjective comparison of the AKG Q701s on two different amps, the solid state JDS Labs C5, and the hybrid Schiit Lyr using two different pairs of tubes. Take it for what it's worth.

Songs used:

Steely Dan
Do It Again
The Caves of Altamira
My Rival
Parker's Band
Barrytown
The Royal Scam

Rush (24-bit 96 kHz)
Tom Sawyer
YYZ
Vital Signs
The Anarchist
Headlong Flight
The Garden

Yes (24-bit 96 kHz)
Roundabout
Southside of the Sky
Long Distance Runaround / The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)
Mood For A Day


Setup
foobar2000 v1.3 beta 7 (WASAPI Event Mode)
HiFimeDIY DAC + USB Isolator

to C5:
FiiO L2 3.5mm to 3.5mm Mini Stereo Line Cable

to Lyr:
AudioQuest Golden Gate 3.5mm to RCA (0.6m)
Amp, socket savers and all tubes treated with the DeoxIT® Gold Vacuum Tube SURVIVAL KIT
http://store.caig.com/s.nl/it.A/id.2644/.f

Q701s stock 3m cable with and without 1/4" adapter
foam-modded bass port

Let the rambling begin...


Q701s on JDS Labs C5 (high gain)
NB:
I switched to the C5 after listening to Steely Dan to let the Voskhods burn-in a little more. So I heard Steely Dan back to back, Lyr then C5. Then Rush and Yes on the C5, then back to the Lyr. While listening on the C5, I let the Voskhods burn-in at least 8 hours more, then re-did the Steely Dan test, and finally Rush and Yes.

Steely Dan...
Sparkling highs (duh, they're the Q701s ;-) but a tad tamer than the Voskhods, which is a good thing
Bass seems a bit tighter than the Voskhods; not mixed to be in your face, and it's not
Excellent soundstage
Overall more enjoyable than the Voskhods, but the margin is small

Rush...
the Moving Pictures tracks were great. Nice full, rich sound, while retaining the upper-mid and high details. The Clockwork Angels tracks are a bit more wall-of-sound by comparison, and I purposefully chose two tracks that produce some serious bass rumble in a few passages. I wanted to see 1) how the Q701s compare to the HE-500s on the Lyr, and 2) how the C5 handles the rumble. Very satisfying. I chalk it up to my foam-modded bass port ;)  That mod delivers a fuller low-end with better impact without compromising the mids. To me, they are great songs with which to test the C5. "The Garden" is an altogether different song. Strummed acoustic guitar, melodic bass, strings and vocals building to a full-on rock ballad. Beautiful song, and the C5 + Q701s do it justice.

Quick C5 summary:
Pretty good for Steely Dan. Low-end lacked impact like on the HE-500s with proper tubes in the Lyr. Still, very enjoyable. I'd Do It Again... bah! on my bad joke! :p

Rush sounded great, once I realized I needed to switch the output to 24-bit. D'oh! Sounded like total schiit before that, and I was a bit bummed. After setting up foobar2000 properly, a world of difference. I always enjoy the production on Moving Pictures; a big part of its seminality.

Yes sounds AWESOME! Energy, punch, detail, soundstage, it's all there. The production on Fragile is fantastic.


Q701s on Lyr with 1974 Voskhod Rockets*

 

Steely Dan...
Sparkling highs, maybe a little on the bright side; tending toward toward sibilance, or even harshness (cymbals in "The Caves of Altamira")
A little thin on the bass @ first listen, but improved with burn-in
Excellent soundstage

Rush...
No sibilance or harshness to speak of; highs still fairly prominent, esp. on guitar solos and the higher vocal register; Geddy's vocals not melting brain ;)  nothing over the top here
Guitars have a nice shimmer and energy
Nice extension and body to the bass without feeling bloated; foam-modded bass port strikes again!
Q701 soundstage and awesome detail present and accounted for

The Q701s are becoming fine rock cans, to my delighted surprise, but less bright tubes would help. This brightness was more noticeable on the Clockwork Angels tracks, and its this that makes me reach for the HE-500s and maybe the HD 650s for most rock. Must. Roll. More. Tubes!

Yes...
pretty much the same as with Rush. I can't gush about this like I did with C5. I put it down to the tubes. I don't mean to imply that it sounds bad, just that the slightly too bright upper mids and highs are stealing the Wow! factor. Steve Howe's acoustic guitar is great, but Rick Wakeman's piano and Chris Squire's bass sounded better on the C5. A perfect example is Squire's "solo" piece "The Fish". He's a bass player. I wanna hear the bass. I wanna feel the bass. I wanna swim in the waves of bassy goodness. He multitracks the hell out of his bass. When it's in the upper mids, I'm getting distracted. It's like there's something nasty swimming around with me, so I get out of the water, grab a cold drink and put on my HE-500s :D

Let's move on, shall we.

*gave 'em 9-10 hours before listening


Q701s on Lyr with 1966 RTC E188CCs (Heerlen factory)*
 

Steely Dan...
Slightly more laid back sound than the Voskhods, but no lack of sparkle and details in the highs. Where the Voskhods tended toward harshness - most notable with the cymbals in "The Caves of Altamira" - here they are simply crisp and clean, I'll assume the way they were meant to sound.
Bass is presented well. It's not meant to slap you in the head, and it doesn't. Clean and tight.
Soundstage remains excellent, the less energetic overall presentation seems to help it shine. Vocals can be fun, as in "My Rival" where the lead is front and center, then backup singers take over, being well positioned on either side. Lead and backups don't sing at the same time, so the effect is pronounced.

Overall, a more balanced, musical presentation than the Voskhods. These tubes pair well with the Q701s. No taming of the Q701s' strengths; gobs of detail and a spacious soundstage. Also, sounds great at relatively low volumes, which can lead to longer listening sessions with no hint of fatigue.
 

Rush...
pretty much as above. Soundstaging gets to show off, esp. with things like Neil Peart's tom-tom rolls in "Tom Sawyer" and "YYZ", arcing across the soundstage. Maybe the bass is a little more rolled off...? I don't want to say anything is lacking, but others have described these tubes as being very airy/spacious, esp. where the upper mids and highs are concerned. I agree with that. Amperex Orange Globes are probably better suited for the Q701s, if you want a little more body and low end, but the RTCs accentuate the Q701s' strengths, esp. the soundstage and details.

The rumbling bass passages in "The Anarchist" and "Headlong Flight" definitely want a different tube. They just about rumble around the 5:30 mark of "The Anarchist", but were tamer before that. A bit better with "Headlong Flight". The Voskhods show off here by comparison. Makes you wonder why I chose these tubes. Simple: they are my most expensive :D Also, I didn't have the chance to pair them with the Q701s before my Lyr died and went in for repairs.

And then there's "The Garden". That song benefits from the airy presentation of the RTCs, esp. the strings, right down to the final fade out on the cello.

Synergy, synergy, synergy, to borrow from the realtor's motto.

Yes...
Synergy, synergy, synergy :k701smile:
This is the first block of music I listened to during these tests where I didn't make any notes: just sat back, let it wash over me and take me away. Everything the Voskhods did wrong with this album (piano on "Southside of the Sky" too harsh; grating vocals on occasion), these tubes dismissed with a wave. Oh, and I went swimming with The Fish ;)  There's a riff that starts out on the left and finishes in the lower right corner. Yeah, that soundstage has a corner.

*fully burned in (100+ hours); only used the DeoxIT Gold, due to gold pins


Conclusions
I can't recommend the JDS Labs C5 highly enough: under $200, delivers a solid performance with the Q701s, not coloring or compromising their strengths. Fantastic little amp, to which, for $60 or so, you can add a DAC in the form of the C5D (amping is the same but with lower output impedance; same case as the C5, just different end plates).

If, like me, you want a desktop amp to drive cans like the HE-500s and HD 650s, and are willing to tumble down the rabbit hole of tube rolling, the Lyr is a great option. I wish I could do this test with all my tubes.

Both amps can drive the Q701s without breaking a sweat, and I'm glad I own both. I'm also glad I took the time to really test the Q701s on the Lyr. I was having too much fun with my HE-500s :darthsmile:
 


Edited by ThurstonX - 1/4/14 at 6:48am
post #5165 of 9490
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post
 


Chinese version?  I got a black Q701 over Black Friday and it has "Made in Austria" plastered all over it, but the bumps are hard as a rock.*  I can't remember whether there was wrapping around the cups.  However, it does feel a tad lighter than my early-serial-number K701.

 

* At least they removed the center bump from the K701.

Most likely, just got some Austrian ones yesterday, no wrap on the cups, and the headband is still plenty hard. Interestingly, my headband bothers me less the longer I have it on my head in one sitting.

post #5166 of 9490
Thanks ThurstonX for the impressions and comparison.
 
I've updated the list of amp recommendations for Q701, and will keep updating it.
For those who are interested, click here.
post #5167 of 9490
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThurstonX View Post

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
What follows is a totally subjective comparison of the AKG Q701s on two different amps, the solid state JDS Labs C5, and the hybrid Schiit Lyr using two different pairs of tubes. Take it for what it's worth.


Songs used:

Steely Dan

Do It Again

The Caves of Altamira

My Rival

Parker's Band

Barrytown

The Royal Scam

Rush (24-bit 96 kHz)

Tom Sawyer

YYZ

Vital Signs

The Anarchist

Headlong Flight

The Garden

Yes (24-bit 96 kHz)

Roundabout

Southside of the Sky

Long Distance Runaround / The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)

Mood For A Day


Setup

foobar2000 v1.3 beta 7 (WASAPI Event Mode)

HiFimeDIY DAC + USB Isolator


to C5:

FiiO L2 3.5mm to 3.5mm Mini Stereo Line Cable


to Lyr:

AudioQuest Golden Gate 3.5mm to RCA (0.6m)

Amp, socket savers and all tubes treated with the DeoxIT® Gold Vacuum Tube SURVIVAL KIT
http://store.caig.com/s.nl/it.A/id.2644/.f


Q701s stock 3m cable with and without 1/4" adapter

foam-modded bass port


Let the rambling begin...


Q701s on JDS Labs C5 (high gain)
NB:

I switched to the C5 after listening to Steely Dan to let the Voskhods burn-in a little more. So I heard Steely Dan back to back, Lyr then C5. Then Rush and Yes on the C5, then back to the Lyr. While listening on the C5, I let the Voskhods burn-in at least 8 hours more, then re-did the Steely Dan test, and finally Rush and Yes.

Steely Dan...

Sparkling highs (duh, they're the Q701s ;-) but a tad tamer than the Voskhods, which is a good thing

Bass seems a bit tighter than the Voskhods; not mixed to be in your face, and it's not

Excellent soundstage

Overall more enjoyable than the Voskhods, but the margin is small

Rush...

the Moving Pictures tracks were great. Nice full, rich sound, while retaining the upper-mid and high details. The Clockwork Angels tracks are a bit more wall-of-sound by comparison, and I purposefully chose two tracks that produce some serious bass rumble in a few passages. I wanted to see 1) how the Q701s compare to the HE-500s on the Lyr, and 2) how the C5 handles the rumble. Very satisfying. I chalk it up to my foam-modded bass port wink.gif   That mod delivers a fuller low-end with better impact without compromising the mids. To me, they are great songs with which to test the C5. "The Garden" is an altogether different song. Strummed acoustic guitar, melodic bass, strings and vocals building to a full-on rock ballad. Beautiful song, and the C5 + Q701s do it justice.


Quick C5 summary:

Pretty good for Steely Dan. Low-end lacked impact like on the HE-500s with proper tubes in the Lyr. Still, very enjoyable. I'd Do It Again... bah! on my bad joke! tongue.gif


Rush sounded great, once I realized I needed to switch the output to 24-bit. D'oh! Sounded like total schiit before that, and I was a bit bummed. After setting up foobar2000 properly, a world of difference. I always enjoy the production on Moving Pictures; a big part of its seminality.


Yes sounds AWESOME! Energy, punch, detail, soundstage, it's all there. The production on Fragile is fantastic.


Q701s on Lyr with 1974 Voskhod Rockets*

Steely Dan...

Sparkling highs, maybe a little on the bright side; tending toward toward sibilance, or even harshness (cymbals in "The Caves of Altamira")

A little thin on the bass @ first listen, but improved with burn-in

Excellent soundstage

Rush...

No sibilance or harshness to speak of; highs still fairly prominent, esp. on guitar solos and the higher vocal register; Geddy's vocals not melting brain wink.gif   nothing over the top here

Guitars have a nice shimmer and energy

Nice extension and body to the bass without feeling bloated; foam-modded bass port strikes again!

Q701 soundstage and awesome detail present and accounted for


The Q701s are becoming fine rock cans, to my delighted surprise, but less bright tubes would help. This brightness was more noticeable on the Clockwork Angels tracks, and its this that makes me reach for the HE-500s and maybe the HD 650s for most rock. Must. Roll. More. Tubes!

Yes...

pretty much the same as with Rush. I can't gush about this like I did with C5. I put it down to the tubes. I don't mean to imply that it sounds bad, just that the slightly too bright upper mids and highs are stealing the Wow! factor. Steve Howe's acoustic guitar is great, but Rick Wakeman's piano and Chris Squire's bass sounded better on the C5. A perfect example is Squire's "solo" piece "The Fish". He's a bass player. I wanna hear the bass. I wanna feel the bass. I wanna swim in the waves of bassy goodness. He multitracks the hell out of his bass. When it's in the upper mids, I'm getting distracted. It's like there's something nasty swimming around with me, so I get out of the water, grab a cold drink and put on my HE-500s biggrin.gif


Let's move on, shall we.

*gave 'em 9-10 hours before listening


Q701s on Lyr with 1966 RTC E188CCs (Heerlen factory)*

 
Steely Dan...

Slightly more laid back sound than the Voskhods, but no lack of sparkle and details in the highs. Where the Voskhods tended toward harshness - most notable with the cymbals in "The Caves of Altamira" - here they are simply crisp and clean, I'll assume the way they were meant to sound.

Bass is presented well. It's not meant to slap you in the head, and it doesn't. Clean and tight.

Soundstage remains excellent, the less energetic overall presentation seems to help it shine. Vocals can be fun, as in "My Rival" where the lead is front and center, then backup singers take over, being well positioned on either side. Lead and backups don't sing at the same time, so the effect is pronounced.


Overall, a more balanced, musical presentation than the Voskhods. These tubes pair well with the Q701s. No taming of the Q701s' strengths; gobs of detail and a spacious soundstage. Also, sounds great at relatively low volumes, which can lead to longer listening sessions with no hint of fatigue.

 
Rush...

pretty much as above. Soundstaging gets to show off, esp. with things like Neil Peart's tom-tom rolls in "Tom Sawyer" and "YYZ", arcing across the soundstage. Maybe the bass is a little more rolled off...? I don't want to say anything is lacking, but others have described these tubes as being very airy/spacious, esp. where the upper mids and highs are concerned. I agree with that. Amperex Orange Globes are probably better suited for the Q701s, if you want a little more body and low end, but the RTCs accentuate the Q701s' strengths, esp. the soundstage and details.


The rumbling bass passages in "The Anarchist" and "Headlong Flight" definitely want a different tube. They just about rumble around the 5:30 mark of "The Anarchist", but were tamer before that. A bit better with "Headlong Flight". The Voskhods show off here by comparison. Makes you wonder why I chose these tubes. Simple: they are my most expensive biggrin.gif Also, I didn't have the chance to pair them with the Q701s before my Lyr died and went in for repairs.


And then there's "The Garden". That song benefits from the airy presentation of the RTCs, esp. the strings, right down to the final fade out on the cello.


Synergy, synergy, synergy, to borrow from the realtor's motto.

Yes...

Synergy, synergy, synergy k701smile.gif

This is first block of music I listened to during these tests where I didn't make any notes. Just sat back and let it wash over me and take me away. Everything the Voskhods did wrong with this album (piano on "Southside of the Sky" too harsh; grating vocals on occasion), these tubes dismissed with a wave. Oh, and I went swimming with The Fish wink.gif   There's a riff that starts out on the left and finishes in the lower right corner. Yeah, that soundstage has a corner.

*fully burned in (100+ hours); only used the DeoxIT Gold, due to gold pins


Conclusions

I can't recommend the JDS Labs C5 highly enough: under $200, delivers a solid performance with the Q701s, not coloring or compromising their strengths. Fantastic little amp, to which, for $60 or so, you can add a DAC in the form of the C5D (amping is the same but with lower output impedance; same case as the C5, just different end plates).


If, like me, you want a desktop amp to drive cans like the HE-500s and HD 650s, and are willing to tumble down the rabbit hole of tube rolling, the Lyr is a great option. I wish I could do this test with all my tubes.


Both amps can drive the Q701s without breaking a sweat, and I'm glad I own both. I'm also glad I took the time to really test the Q701s on the Lyr. I was having too much fun with my HE-500s darthsmile.gif

I need to read this veeeeery carefully, but not today that I'm moving to a new apartment. Thank you so much for taking the time to compare all of that equipment, the great final job, and especially for sharing with us. Greatly appreciated.
Edited by Ashade - 1/3/14 at 9:49pm
post #5168 of 9490

oh man thrustonx. after seeing that, I can't believe I am being tempted to drop another 200 on a JDS Labs C5...:)

I need to control myself


Edited by Output - 1/3/14 at 8:57pm
post #5169 of 9490
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post
 


Chinese version?  I got a black Q701 over Black Friday and it has "Made in Austria" plastered all over it, but the bumps are hard as a rock.*  I can't remember whether there was wrapping around the cups.  However, it does feel a tad lighter than my early-serial-number K701.

 

* At least they removed the center bump from the K701.

 

Woah, you are totally right! Mine is indeed made in China!

 

I am 100% that these are tighter, because I'm already bothered by the comfort, and I haven't had that issue with my past Q701's. And yes, the bumps are VERY squishy; almost like they are filled with air or a really squishy gel. I assume the sound wouldn't change since the driver has been left untouched.... right? Weird. Haven't worn it long enough to tell whether the headband will bug me, but the tightness is already quickly becoming an issue.

 

Big heads, need not apply! These don't fit like they used to.


Edited by Katun - 1/4/14 at 12:39am
post #5170 of 9490
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katun View Post

Woah, you are totally right! Mine is indeed made in China!

I am 100% that these are tighter, because I'm already bothered by the comfort, and I haven't had that issue with my past Q701's. And yes, the bumps are VERY squishy; almost like they are filled with air or a really squishy gel. I assume the sound wouldn't change since the driver has been left untouched.... right? Weird. Haven't worn it long enough to tell whether the headband will bug me, but the tightness is already quickly becoming an issue.

Big heads, need not apply! These don't fit like they used to.
and there are people saying it doesn't matter where it is made, proof of difference as above
post #5171 of 9490
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katun View Post
 

 

Woah, you are totally right! Mine is indeed made in China!

 

I am 100% that these are tighter, because I'm already bothered by the comfort, and I haven't had that issue with my past Q701's. And yes, the bumps are VERY squishy; almost like they are filled with air or a really squishy gel. I assume the sound wouldn't change since the driver has been left untouched.... right? Weird. Haven't worn it long enough to tell whether the headband will bug me, but the tightness is already quickly becoming an issue.

 

Big heads, need not apply! These don't fit like they used to.

The softening of the bumps can only be a good thing if you ask me :) So there's one positive!  

post #5172 of 9490
Quote:
Originally Posted by Output View Post
 

oh man thrustonx. after seeing that, I can't believe I am being tempted to drop another 200 on a JDS Labs C5...:)

I need to control myself

 

It's a great little amp, but I use it in my cars, as well, and almost always have it with me.  If I were just getting an in-house/desktop amp, I'd get the Lyr or a bigger, badder SS.  That said, the C5 comes in handy if I need to amp whatever cans my wife is wearing.  But no, I am not encouraging you to lose your self-control ;)

post #5173 of 9490
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashade View Post
 
Hiding the ramblings of a madman ;)

 

Good luck with your move!  Always a PITA, so I hope it goes smoothly.

 

Hope you can glean something useful from it.  I know that the choice of music is not everyone's cup of tea, but I figured it was best to choose songs I know and love.  Of course, that could have been any of hundreds, so I also tried to pick songs that have excellent production and exhibit certain characteristics.  No point in choosing lovable lo-fi schiit like The Bevis Frond, as the Qs are pretty ruthless with lo-fi recordings.

 

Anyway, happy moving day (hope it's an upgrade!), and thanks for being interested in my missive.

post #5174 of 9490
Quote:
Originally Posted by LugBug1 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katun View Post
 

 

Woah, you are totally right! Mine is indeed made in China!

 

I am 100% that these are tighter, because I'm already bothered by the comfort, and I haven't had that issue with my past Q701's. And yes, the bumps are VERY squishy; almost like they are filled with air or a really squishy gel. I assume the sound wouldn't change since the driver has been left untouched.... right? Weird. Haven't worn it long enough to tell whether the headband will bug me, but the tightness is already quickly becoming an issue.

 

Big heads, need not apply! These don't fit like they used to.

The softening of the bumps can only be a good thing if you ask me :) So there's one positive!  


On the other hand, I have a big head - couldn't even use V-Moda M80's because they wouldn't reach my ears.  Yet, I have no size issue at all with my Austrian Q701.  The bumps still hurt after awhile though, even if they are moved off of dead-center. ;) 

post #5175 of 9490
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post
 


On the other hand, I have a big head - couldn't even use V-Moda M80's because they wouldn't reach my ears.  Yet, I have no size issue at all with my Austrian Q701.  The bumps still hurt after awhile though, even if they are moved off of dead-center. ;) 

 

I find with my biggish head that I'm just about at the limit of the Q701s' headband extension.  I was tempted to try the mod someone mentioned earlier (youtube vid; involves sliding the "stoppers" up so it extends further), but instead I removed the foam layer I'd added and just wrapped the bandana back around.  It was one or the other, and I like my silly bandana.  Now the fit is perfect, but they are at their limit.

 

So, cut off those nasty bumps and put something more comfortable in their place.

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