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Amping for AKG Q701 - Page 7

post #91 of 461
Quote:
Originally Posted by HighFiguy View Post

I really like the fact that you come from a total unbiased point of view, and I agree with most subjects you happened to mention, the others were somewhat  incomprehensible to me because as a Medical Student I don't really understand all that engineering stuff wink.gif.

I'd like to know what would you personally suggest (preferably naming a few contenders) as a "suited" full-sized amp for the 70x's. I was planning on going for the Asgard but i'm a bit confused now from the aforementioned statements. 

Or will the Asgard do the job just fine?
 

 

 

Fiio is very nice for the price, and I in fact liked my Fiio E11 with my HD650's better than I liked my Headroom Micro with them, though I appear to be of the minority opinion there, and certainly E9 is nicer than E11.  But my Lyr is a very, very, very different class from anything Fiio offers at present.  (Before anyone goes off on Chinese made brands, notice  I didn't say a different class from what Hifiman offers? wink.gif)

 

Regardless, while I'm very fond of Schiit and the folks involved and the way they do business, and the value of what they sell for the money, while the Asgard is a nice amp, I'm not sure it's ideal for low impedance phones like the K701.  It'll work, it'll even sound good.   But the Lyr was designed explicitly for the low impedance, inefficient headphones like the K70x and orthos.  I'm not sure if it still says it, but the FAQ page on their site for Asgard even mentioned K701 and it being better matched with Lyr.  You may want to seek threads for those who have used Asgard with K701.  I know one user (tdockweiler) didn't like the combination.  Though he also didn't like it with HD650 compared to his Headroom Micro, something I can't fathom as an owner of the latter who definitely doesn't like HD650 + Micro.  

 

Poke around and see if any K70x owners like their Asgard with it.  If so, you may be safe.  Otherwise for the same price range, something from Headroom, Hifiman, etc. may do the trick.  I don't think Fiio presently offers anything that's a good match for low impedance cans.

 

post #92 of 461

I'm not trying to be passive-aggressive or condescending - sorry that you read that far into my posts. redface.gif

 

Regarding "tube effects can be easily heard" - show me the data! Sighted evaluation demonstrates nothing; you have to "hear" those effects in a DBT ABX or they're all in your head. It's not a matter of "being biased against audible differences" or any concoction like that - it's a matter of accepting that we're all subject to cognitive biases and unless we can control for those, we aren't really testing what we'd like to test. And this extends the other way too - you can have some huge measured difference that should absolutely mean "this will sound like hell" or "this will be a huge improvement" and find out that, no, it really doesn't help or produces the opposite effect (one example, and this is something of a stretch, would be electrostatic headphones - they generally measure about as perfect as you could ever hope to accomplish; so why doesn't everyone universally agree that they're perfect and the best thing ever made? Why don't we have more of them?). So sure, if there was a mass of scientific data that supported a given conclusion, I would have no issues changing my position. I won't, however, jump on any carousel that's built on "well I heard this, this, and this" when I know that it's got too many uncontrolled variables and too many sources of error to be drawing a real conclusion. 

 

Also, nowhere did I say there's no measurable effect - I said that most of the differences you're mentioning are measurable to a scope or APAA, but they're not audible (there is a big difference here); if it's not audible, why pay for it? You won't be hearing it, aside from sighted-evaluation bias. Sure, some people have other considerations, like aesthetics, and that's perfectly fine - if you like the way a given product looks or feels, or makes you feel, then go ahead and buy it; ultimately it is your money. 

 

Regarding the "properly rated" comment - Fiio publishes quite a bit of information, there's that blog post (someone already posted it) where the guy went through the E9, and Fiio does disclose the TI chip used as the basis for the E9, and TI is (absurdly) forthcoming with information about that part. I think it's ironic that the same exact chip is also used in the CI VHP, which (a few years ago) people were decrying as the second coming of the Zana Deux (at a lower price); same exact chip, but at 6x the price - of course that made it better! Now, I'm not saying the Zana Deux is somehow a "benchmark" - I just find it somewhat ironic. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magick Man View Post


Ugh, your passive-aggressive personality is a little off-putting, especially when compounded with deliberate condescension. Oh well, so be it. rolleyes.gif
Tube effects can be easily be heard in tests, some say second-order harmonic distortion tends to be pleasing to the ears, at least that's one of the theories scientists and engineers have put forth. It's an actual phenomenon, not pure cognitive bias. You can be a skeptic, but there's no reason to be stubborn. Predisposition towards believing that there can be no measurable effect is also a type bias.
My comments about the Asgard being USA made was an endorsement to purchase it for economic reasons, purchasing products made in America helps to employ people in this country. The OP is from New York, perhaps that means something to him.
The Asgard has better fit and finish, it's properly rated for the Q701 (FiiO purposely avoids posting certain specs for the E9), and it looks slick. Also, I can assess sound quality when my third E9 has an audible hiss, but I guess that's better than the first I had, which died abruptly after a month, or the second which had a defective E7 dock. No, from experience I'm not impressed with FiiO.
FYI, as I implied before, your tone makes people more defensive. Perhaps you aren't aware of that.


 

The channel imbalance is inherent to any pot (some are better than others, yadda yadda); I'm guessing if you grabbed a dozen E9s they'd all have different imbalances (this is based on experience with pots and part tolerance). Nobody is doing VCAs in headphone components, I'm guessing it would ruffle too many audiophile feathers, so that's basically what we live with. I disagree with the damping factor argument based on output impedance; this is on technical reasons - it's basically not as huge a problem as we'd like to make it. Noise is nearly -90 dB; that's very low. Very low indeed.

 

So QA isn't perfect, based on Magick's posts. That isn't surprising. Magick is the first poster I've read about having any real troubles with the E9's QA, and I'm not doubting the claims. I can also understand the distrust/dislike of the company based on that. Overall, I think they do alright, and I think they're offering a competitive product at a lower price. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stv014 View Post


You may already have seen it, but the E9 has an extensive technical review here. It does confirm that the main weak points are noise, low impedance headphones, and channel balance at low volume settings. There is unfortunately no such review for the Asgard (or the large majority of audiophile products, for that matter).

 



 

Oh don't take me to be totally unbiased - pure objectivity is an illusion. That said, I do err towards what the data says (as Frylock said once "Well, it's what I *and the computer* project will happen"), as opposed to subjective qualifications. I'm sure it ruffles some feathers. I don't intend to start any sort of "fight" over it though; I'm not trying to beat people over the head to "feel smarter" or anything. 

 

What I would suggest as a suited amplifier...hrm, the Fiio E9 comes to mind. So do a lot of AV receivers/SSPs/etc (if you have such a device already, that is). I like CI Audio, but I think they're overpriced beyond anything reasonable - they're very nice to deal with though, and their products work. I'm not really a fan of most "audiophile" components. Oh, you might also look at the various soundcard/headphone amp hybrids. And if Asus ever releases their external device, just based on it's feature-list, I'd give it a very serious look (it looks like a Grace m902 minus about $1300 of clout). 

 

Regarding the Schiit, I remember seeing something on YouTube about one of their amplifiers dumping massive DC into a pair of headphones, and thinking "where's the "click click" for the relay?!" - no idea if that's been fixed or if it was a defective amplifier, but it certainly doesn't inspire confidence. Protection relays should be standard across the board, but aren't. Just like VCAs should be standard across the board, but aren't. And the reason for both? If I had to guess, audiophiles. Now, I'm not trying to inspire fear or anything like that - for all I know the guy was being cute and had hooked up a battery inside the housing just to torch a pair of cans (like that *other* guy who took a pair of scissors to a DT990). Basically, I've got no respect for paying more than you need to pay, and don't understand why people insist it's needed - of course I understand the "upset-ness" from someone hearing that out of me, after having spent a small fortune, but I'm just trying to be the messenger (don't shoot! don't shoot!). Following that logic, the E9 is a better choice; it costs less and gets you to the same place. It also has protection relays, and one out of two ain't half bad. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HighFiguy View Post

I really like the fact that you come from a total unbiased point of view, and I agree with most subjects you happened to mention, the others were somewhat  incomprehensible to me because as a Medical Student I don't really understand all that engineering stuff wink.gif.

I'd like to know what would you personally suggest (preferably naming a few contenders) as a "suited" full-sized amp for the 70x's. I was planning on going for the Asgard but i'm a bit confused now from the aforementioned statements. 

Or will the Asgard do the job just fine?
 



Even if they haven't sent out review samples, they should absolutely be testing their components internally. If you're legitimately serious about competing in the amplifier market, you better have at least someone who understands the engineering and is going to measure your designs with legitimate engineering/scientific methods. That equipment costs money, yes, but "very small company" is not an excuse for not doing it; would you buy a car from a manufacturer that performs no tests or validation on their components before deploying them? Or an airplane? What if the guy designing it assures you he's "really good" and "has experience?" Does that change anything? I consider such measurement just part of the territory. Just like chefs have thermometers, or astronomers have telescopes - it's just something you assume.  

 

And yeah, I doubt people would take their numbers as canon law, but it'd at least be somewhere to start. An example of a company that *does* publish a range of numbers would be Woo Audio. And sure, if they're milking them a bit, that's still okay. Call it "manufacturing variance" and be done with it. wink.gif I have no idea if Schiit actually does this, but I'm guessing (based on your posts) that they don't - it isn't a "knock" against them, but it would certainly inspire more confidence than fist-pumping about COO (which tells us nothing about the quality of a product). 

 

I also never said I wasn't biased, I said that we are all subject to cognitive biases, but that our measurement equipment is not. Further, just because you can measure something, doesn't mean you'll be able to hear it (or see it, or whatever). I'm just as biased as you are, or anyone else is. So what you basically do is figure out, as best as you can, what the thresholds are for perception or recognition of a phenomenon and then measure your device; if it sits below those limits (which are not a "person to person" thing when you've done your perception research right, which has been done in a lot of cases), it ceases to matter in a "real" sense (sure, it may bug you to think about, and it may even convince you that it's contributing to "defects," and that may even lead to obsession and a desire to replace the component - but that's a psychological process, not an electrical one). Like I said, if there's some breakthrough in perception that upsets the entire balance, I'm entirely okay with that - science is not set in stone, that doesn't mean it should be dismissed though.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Magick Man View Post


That laregely has to do with them being very small companies who haven't paid to have those tests officially performed. To be honest, they should. If they're going to compete, they need to fully disclose that information.
That said, for $250 the Asgard is a very good value for an attractive, quality amp of its caliber.
Actually, he IS biased, just in the other direction. wink.gif


 

post #93 of 461

It was already recommended earlier, but how about the O2 amplifier that is available fully assembled for about $150 from JDS Labs ?

 

post #94 of 461

Bah, that one too! I always forget the O2 - it needs a longer name or something. But yes, from the measurements/data I've seen on that amp, it's good too. Wasn't there some company in the UK that was going to release one in a nice wood case for like ~$250? 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stv014 View Post

It was already recommended earlier, but how about the O2 amplifier that is available fully assembled for about $150 from JDS Labs ?

 



 

post #95 of 461
Quote:
Originally Posted by liamstrain View Post

Asgard, m-stage (or any of the Lehman Black cube Linear clones), dynalo clones, O2 - all these will work just great. I do not recommend the E9 only because of the output impedance issue (not a problem with higher impedance cans, but the K/Q/70X phones put it in a potentially problematic range - especially noticeable in the bass, the pairing was very muddy sounding). 


I hate repeating myself.  :D

 

Worry less. Enjoy music more.

post #96 of 461
Quote:

Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post


Regarding the Schiit, I remember seeing something on YouTube about one of their amplifiers dumping massive DC into a pair of headphones, and thinking "where's the "click click" for the relay?!" - no idea if that's been fixed or if it was a defective amplifier, but it certainly doesn't inspire confidence. Protection relays should be standard across the board, but aren't. Just like VCAs should be standard across the board, but aren't. And the reason for both? If I had to guess, audiophiles. Now, I'm not trying to inspire fear or anything like that - for all I know the guy was being cute and had hooked up a battery inside the housing just to torch a pair of cans (like that *other* guy who took a pair of scissors to a DT990). Basically, I've got no respect for paying more than you need to pay, and don't understand why people insist it's needed - of course I understand the "upset-ness" from someone hearing that out of me, after having spent a small fortune, but I'm just trying to be the messenger (don't shoot! don't shoot!). Following that logic, the E9 is a better choice; it costs less and gets you to the same place. It also has protection relays, and one out of two ain't half bad. 


Just to fill in the blanks for anyone reading this thread, to complete your mention of the DC dump/relay issue, the original rollout of Asgards did not have relays early on which created the situation you're referring to.   After that controversy, all of their present amplifiers have relays (and the original Asgards, I believe, were retrofitted under warranty.)  And you're right they were excluded originally because of "audiophiles" and also because relays are a common point of failure that was easy to eliminate (long warranty costs and all..)   Agree or disagree with the original idea and the company that made the decision, but it's mechanically irrelevant now (unless buying older used ones) they all have relay protection.  I'm not trying to disagree with you, just filling in the extra info so someone stumbling into the thread doesn't think "oh no, that stuff will fry my cans!' happy_face1.gif  I, myself, am not sure how I feel about it.  Technically I'm glad I have the relay since there's been a handful of times I accidentally switched the amp off before unplugging the cans (I always still unplug first....relays can fail open....why lose cans to a failed relay?)  On the other hand, any time I hear a relay click, on any relay-equipped device, I think "oh no there goes one more cycle toward MTBF...."

 

FWIW, as an owner of several pieces of Fiio gear (not E9),  one piece of Headroom gear, and several pieces of Schiit gear, I can say I absolutely prefer the Schiit gear, by a large margin.  Just my preference, but I feel it is a great value, far moreso than Headroom in most cases, for its performance.   As is Fiio.   There are a lot of products that are overpriced boutique, and it may very likely be that the new "mid-range" and "statement" gear coming from Schiit will fit that classification as well.  But the present gear, is competitively priced for what you get in the same way Hifiman is.  Don't get me wrong, I like my Fiio gear, and it's excellent for the money, but I don't think Fiio is attempting to compete with, say, Hifiman, even in the Chinese market.  They're two different companies making two different classes of products, and I doubt either would say otherwise.  I like Fiio products for the price/category.  I like Schiit products for the price/category.  I don't think liking both products is mutually exclusive! wink.gif

 

 

post #97 of 461

Good to know that was a "fluke" or has otherwise been resolved. Wouldn't worry about reliability there. 

post #98 of 461

obobskivich

I'm leaning more towards the Asgard because it's backed by a 5 year warranty and aesthetics but I also understand the E9 is also very well built and about 100 bucks cheaper and if I decide to get the E9 i'll get the E7 to pair them up. BUT reading numerous reviews, many people had problems with their FiiO products, some faulty, some not working at all, some hearing audible background hiss etc...  and it just gets me a little hesitant towards the FiiO products.

I'd love to save and get the E9 for the 701's but i'm just worried if some issue comes up, then I would have no problem spending the extra cash for the Asgard which I know is built to last.

post #99 of 461

I agree....I read of numerous problems with the e10, which is why I stayed away from buying it, or the new e17. Not sure how good their quality control is. You have a warranty, but then you probably have to ship back to China....more time consuming for a U.S. buyer. If I was buying a new amp I'd probably look for an O2...cheaper.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HighFiguy View Post

obobskivich

I'm leaning more towards the Asgard because it's backed by a 5 year warranty and aesthetics but I also understand the E9 is also very well built and about 100 bucks cheaper and if I decide to get the E9 i'll get the E7 to pair them up. BUT reading numerous reviews, many people had problems with their FiiO products, some faulty, some not working at all, some hearing audible background hiss etc...  and it just gets me a little hesitant towards the FiiO products.

I'd love to save and get the E9 for the 701's but i'm just worried if some issue comes up, then I would have no problem spending the extra cash for the Asgard which I know is built to last.



 

post #100 of 461

Consider me subscribed!

popcorn.gif

post #101 of 461


Why not get an amp that's known to work well with the Q701? How many people here suggesting the Asgard for the Q701/K702 have actually tried this combination? All they can say is that it "should be" a good match. I don't mean to sound like a jerk with this comment. I'd much rather listen to people who'd tried the suggested amp WITH the K702.

 

Have you considered the Matrix M-Stage? It's not much more expensive than the Asgard. It seems like whenever people mention the K702 they use the M-Stage with it. I haven't heard it and it's not what I suggest due to this. I actually was going to get that, but went with the Micro Amp instead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HighFiguy View Post

obobskivich

I'm leaning more towards the Asgard because it's backed by a 5 year warranty and aesthetics but I also understand the E9 is also very well built and about 100 bucks cheaper and if I decide to get the E9 i'll get the E7 to pair them up. BUT reading numerous reviews, many people had problems with their FiiO products, some faulty, some not working at all, some hearing audible background hiss etc...  and it just gets me a little hesitant towards the FiiO products.

I'd love to save and get the E9 for the 701's but i'm just worried if some issue comes up, then I would have no problem spending the extra cash for the Asgard which I know is built to last.



 

post #102 of 461
Okay. I have an EF-5, I love it, it's a brilliant match with my Q701s. Better? wink.gif
post #103 of 461
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdockweiler View Post


Why not get an amp that's known to work well with the Q701? How many people here suggesting the Asgard for the Q701/K702 have actually tried this combination? All they can say is that it "should be" a good match. I don't mean to sound like a jerk with this comment. I'd much rather listen to people who'd tried the suggested amp WITH the K702.

 

Have you considered the Matrix M-Stage? It's not much more expensive than the Asgard. It seems like whenever people mention the K702 they use the M-Stage with it. I haven't heard it and it's not what I suggest due to this. I actually was going to get that, but went with the Micro Amp instead.

 


The Schiit Asgard:   I think a lot of guys would like to try and buy domestic.

Why not? Why ship money overseas?

beerchug.gif


 

 

post #104 of 461
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdockweiler View Post


Why not get an amp that's known to work well with the Q701? How many people here suggesting the Asgard for the Q701/K702 have actually tried this combination? All they can say is that it "should be" a good match. I don't mean to sound like a jerk with this comment. I'd much rather listen to people who'd tried the suggested amp WITH the K702.

 

Have you considered the Matrix M-Stage? It's not much more expensive than the Asgard. It seems like whenever people mention the K702 they use the M-Stage with it. I haven't heard it and it's not what I suggest due to this. I actually was going to get that, but went with the Micro Amp instead.



 


I've actually been doing quite a bit of forum research, a lot of people have liked the Asgard and K70x combo, others preferring the Lyr because of the better "synergy" with the K70x's. Many people came to a conclusion that the Asgard amp is overall "neutral" and that statement was good enough for me.

 

I did actually consider the M-Stage, especially hearing all the praises it has with the K70x's, but once again my personal preferences are leading me toward the Asgard. 

 

 

post #105 of 461
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dj Mark View Post



Yes it looks good just that it wont power my DT990/600ohm version, the JDS Objective2 is made for up to 250ohm hp's but thanks for the replynormal_smile%20.gif


I'm a bit late to the party but the Objective 2 will have no trouble driving 600 ohm DT990s.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dj Mark View Post

Ok no reply to my question on witch amp from the list would be better to power the Q701 and also the DT990/600ohm
I will probably just buy the M-Stage and see if it does as good a job on the DT's as i know it will for the Q701's. 
I would still appreciate an answer if anyone has any suggestions atsmile.gif What if i say pretty please? hahahahaL3000.gif love that graphic, reminds me of myself when mixing L3000.gifL3000.gifL3000.gif

 


I have an M Stage and it has no trouble driving my Q701 and DT880 600 ohms to any volume level you might sanely wish for.
Edit:

I fact I can use my iPod to drive my Q701, it's not the world's greatest sounding headphone amp and is occasionally lacking in enough gain to drive the Q701 in quietly mastered material.

 


Edited by Chris J - 3/15/12 at 7:06pm
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