I have been following the conversations about this headphone with great interest, as I selected these from among several other closed cans in their general price range. After comparing the Senn HD380 Pro, Shure SRH840 and SRH 940 against the AKGs, I chose the K550 because of the overall sound, detail and openness they brought.
This is not a review of the K550, but a question on amplification to get the very best out of them.
Context: I used my Marantz SACD player to audition the group through the player's headphone output. This provided consistency through my process, and seemed to bring out good things from the Shures and the AKG. Also as part of my process, I then moved to the setup I will be using most with them, which is an iPod 80G feeding Apple Lossless to a Musical Fidelity V-Can Mk I. I don't yet have an LOD, so the V-Can is fed right from the iPod headphone jack with EQ set flat.
There seems to be a difference in many aspects of the sound that rig produces that seems to subtract from the overall sound of the AKGs that won me over. Things are muddier and the purity of the tone has been lost. The sound is still all there across the frequencies, but less "there" than what I heard from the Marantz. I know that I am at the mercy of the output from the iPod, but wonder if the V-Can is also not well suited to the AKGs. The other headphones were worse through this setup as well.
With a limited budget of about $300, are there suggestions for a full size amp that would bring back the shine from the K550? I am open to an amp/DAC combination, fed through an Apple camera connector, which I also have.
Thanks in advance for your help!