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Headphone amp to match with AKG K702s

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I just got a new pair of K702s which so far have been wonderful. I also have AKG K240 Studio, Grado SR125 and Etymotic er6 (somewhere -- this will be the third pair of Etys I have lost, previously having lost two different sets of 4Ps.)  The 702s will be my primary headphone for home listening.

 

I have a 6 year old Pocket Amp, which still works fine.  But I think it is time to get a proper full size headphone amp  (having a toddler in the house means i can't really listen to music through my speaker setup much anymore.)

 

I am looking for recommendations on a headphone amplifier under $500 (ideally under $300) that will match nicely with the 702s.  

 

I play cds on an Arcam 72T and records on a Music Hall MMF5 (when I have a working stylus).  Both are powered by a Denon 2801.

 

Any advice and recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

(See related post in portable headphone amplifier section.)

post #2 of 10

Hear good things said about the Schiit Asguard.

Fiio E9 is way under you budget.

Indeed G3 6922 single tube headphone amplifier (and pre-amp), sells on eBay, ships from China, takes 10 days.

post #3 of 10

Based on my experience with the K701 and Meier Cantate2, I would highly recommend the latest Meier Amp which will fit your needs.

Link to Shoggy's review and excellent photography.http://www.head-fi.org/t/574391/review-of-meier-audio-corda-jazz

 

350x233px-LL-0d08f176_corda_jazz_04.jpgPhoto courtesy of Shoggy.

 

The Meier amp will have plenty of power for the AKG, is dead silent and the cross-feed is useful, also has high/low gain for your other headphones.

 

http://www.meier-audio.homepage.t-online.de/amplifiers.htm

 

post #4 of 10

Agree with Kernmac on the Meier, I had the headfive that was the first version from this series.

post #5 of 10

You should check out the Schiit Lyr. 6moons reviewed it and said it matched extremely well with the K701.

I'll be getting my Schiit Lyr in a day or two. I will post my impressions here about the combo.

 

From my experience, the AKGs tend to distort at high volume. This is from the headphone out on my STX and my NAD C165 preamp. They really need a good amp to open up. Hopefully the Lyr and its power will solve that.

 

I've read amazing things about the K701/702 with the Matrix M stage. It's cheaper than the Lyr, $279 vs $449.

 

The pricier Burson Audio HA-160 is supposed to do wonders with them too.

post #6 of 10

I just got myself an M-stage for my K701 and they sound completely amazing with it <3

 

Before I got it I ran my K701's straight out of my Xonar Essence ST and in comparison the M-stage is significantly warmer, smoother and cleaner-sounding. And it actually makes details even more prominent basshead.gif

Haven't tried rolling op amps yet though, but I will normal_smile%20.gif

 

Overall a lot more pleasant to listen through <3 I can highly recommend it!

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks to everyone who chimed in.

 

Based on the recommendations in this thread, and in dozens of others on the topic (including a particularly contentious thread where one or two posters seemed to assert that amplification did not improve matters at all and was just marketing hoodoo), I have narrowed down the choices to the following (in no particular order):

 

1.  Any of the Schiit family of amps:  Asgard / Valhalla / Lyr

2. Meier Corda Jazz

3.  Heed CanAmp

4.  Graham Slee Novo

 

Out of these, which ones should it be for my AKG 702s (and, to a lesser extent, the AKG 240Studios and the Grado 125s).  Also, figure there will be another set of cans in the next few years (possibly a closed back set).

 

A few notes on my thinking:

 

These all fit in my sub $500 price range and sound like they are good matches for the AKG K702.  

 

It seems that common wisdom would say that, at this price range, a solid state amp would be best to keep the neutral tone.  But there also seems to be much love for the Valhalla / 70x combo, which is described as not being very "tubey" sound.  Although I would like to get a clearly view on bass presence/extension from this combo.

 

I like that the Schiits are made in America and have a 5 year warranty.  However, that is not a dealbreaker.

 

Of the ones that I mentioned above, what would be your recommendation?  I am looking for an amp that will maintain the neutral characteristics of the 702s, while, perhaps adding a little bit more bass presence / extension.  (The 702s certainly are capable of producing deep and ample bass when it is present -- just listen to Donald Fagen's "Morph the Cat.)  However, I am not a basshead by any stretch.  I want to hear the music as the musician/engineer intended.

 

PLEASE NOTE that I have excluded the M-stage.  While it sounds like a fine choice, I prefer not to buy chinese electronics if I can avoid it.  No offense intended, but I just feel that the quality control is not quite there with Chinese products yet.

 

Further, I do not feel that I need an external DAC at this point either.  I feel that the Arcam 72 is a superior source, and that anything I get in my price range will likely have a worse DAC.

 

So, out of the ones mentioned above, which should it be?

post #8 of 10

Schiit Lyr or if you can try to find a used Burson HA-160.

post #9 of 10

My Sparrow matches with my K701 really well!

post #10 of 10

M³ and σ11 power supply with bass boost. If you find the music a tad bass light with these cans, this amp has a bass boost knob. Plus it provides plenty of current for these headphones. You should be able to buy it used on these forums. You can try out several opamps, but always check with others so you don't break it.

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