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The AKG K550 Appreciation/Discussion Thread! - Page 72

post #1066 of 1782
Quote:
Originally Posted by elvergun View Post
 

Keep in mind that most laptop sound cards are crap.  I had to get a Fiio for my Dell because the onboard chip is garbage.  If I use my K550 straight out of my Dell laptop and then use a $100 Fiio, yeah, there will be a plain as day difference.

 

One remark, please: After having read tons of reviews, I had understood that there are basically no differences between DACs of different manufaturers. If I got it right, DACs are technically fully developed items. And a DAC chip only costs some cents - so there is no need for manufacturers to use or even develop cheaper DACs.

 

A completely different point is the quality of the amp and the disturbance of the signal. So, using an external DAC and external amp on laptops will probably improve the sound. Not because the DAC chips are better but because of disadvantages of the compressed construction of laptops.

 

Just my 2 cents

post #1067 of 1782
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJazz View Post
 

 

One remark, please: After having read tons of reviews, I had understood that there are basically no differences between DACs of different manufaturers. If I got it right, DACs are technically fully developed items. And a DAC chip only costs some cents - so there is no need for manufacturers to use or even develop cheaper DACs.

 

A completely different point is the quality of the amp and the disturbance of the signal. So, using an external DAC and external amp on laptops will probably improve the sound. Not because the DAC chips are better but because of disadvantages of the compressed construction of laptops.

 

Just my 2 cents

Begin to develope DAC by yourself with quality parts. Calculate total  and you'll be amazed how expensive it is. Amps - the same story. Price of a good step potentiometer is around 40-50$ and more. There is NO probably 'cause DAC and amp parts of a laptop and most of the phones are crap. 

post #1068 of 1782
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelios View Post
 

Begin to develope DAC by yourself with quality parts. Calculate total  and you'll be amazed how expensive it is. Amps - the same story. Price of a good step potentiometer is around 40-50$ and more. There is NO probably 'cause DAC and amp parts of a laptop and most of the phones are crap. 

I beg to differ. DACs are pretty cheap to DIY. 

 

1.) http://www.inearmatters.net/2012/09/tiny-dac-big-sound-impression-of-stoner.html - DIY ESS Sabre ES9023 dac for $49; note: newer version U110 is out; uses PCM5102A dac - these two DAC chips are better a lot of the pricier DACs.

2.) http://hifimediy.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=123 - DIY dac for $57; note uses ESS sabre DAC chips, found in a lot more expensive amps.

 

Ever wonder why a lot of the expensive brand name DACs never seem to have the DAC chip listed on their spec sheet & it's often really hard to find what DAC chip is powering the device? Because a lot of them are using similar DAC but charging very different prices. You are usually just paying for the brand name + how everything is wired.

 

Amps may be a different story, but hardly as expensive as audiophile companies want you to believe. Companies like Fiio and bravo show you that many of these things can be made cheaply without sacrificing sound quality. Garage1217 has really affordable tube amps that can out-compete amps that are double its price.


Edited by money4me247 - 12/16/13 at 11:17pm
post #1069 of 1782
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelios View Post
 

Begin to develope DAC by yourself with quality parts. Calculate total  and you'll be amazed how expensive it is. Amps - the same story. Price of a good step potentiometer is around 40-50$ and more. There is NO probably 'cause DAC and amp parts of a laptop and most of the phones are crap. 

 

Sorry - I guess we have a misunderstanding here. Developng a complete new high quality DAC chips IS exepensive. But as long as the already existing DACs are already technically fully developed items, there is no technical need to develop new ones. And the already existing DAC chips are not expensive anymore, because development is meanwihile paid/earned. The price per chip of the most DACs is only a few cents.

 

If all this true - then the DAC chip in an external DAC (like Fiio) is NOT better than the DAC chip on the board of the laptop or cell phone.

 

Nevertheless - the results with an external DAC/amp will be better than directy connecting the headphone to the laptop. Because of the poor quality of the onboard amp and because of disturbance of signals on the high integrated laptop motherboard.

post #1070 of 1782
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJazz View Post
 

 

Sorry - I guess we have a misunderstanding here. 

http://www.inearmatters.net/2012/09/tiny-dac-big-sound-impression-of-stoner.html 

If we comparing between this device and laptop, all you said is true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by money4me247 View Post
 

I beg to differ. DACs are pretty cheap to DIY. 

 

1.) http://www.inearmatters.net/2012/09/tiny-dac-big-sound-impression-of-stoner.html - DIY ESS Sabre ES9023 dac for $49; note: newer version U110 is out; uses PCM5102A dac - these two DAC chips are better a lot of the pricier DACs.

2.) http://hifimediy.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=123 - DIY dac for $57; note uses ESS sabre DAC chips, found in a lot more expensive amps.

 

Ever wonder why a lot of the expensive brand name DACs never seem to have the DAC chip listed on their spec sheet & it's often really hard to find what DAC chip is powering the device? Because a lot of them are using similar DAC but charging very different prices. You are usually just paying for the brand name + how everything is wired.

 

Amps may be a different story, but hardly as expensive as audiophile companies want you to believe. Companies like Fiio and bravo show you that many of these things can be made cheaply without sacrificing sound quality. Garage1217 has really affordable tube amps that can out-compete amps that are double its price.

That's why people can't hear difference between laptop and external devices. Crap + crap = crap. And it's 1st time I'm hear that someone tries to hide chip they use. 

post #1071 of 1782
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelios View Post
 

http://www.inearmatters.net/2012/09/tiny-dac-big-sound-impression-of-stoner.html 

If we comparing between this device and laptop, all you said is true.

That's why people can't hear difference between laptop and external devices. Crap + crap = crap. And it's 1st time I'm hear that someone tries to hide chip they use. 

The UD 110 runs asynchronous 16/32 bits at 32, 44.1, 48/88.2, 96Khz and uses a PCM5102A dac (all at $49 - by a single engineer DIY-ing). The PCM5102A is the identical DAC used in the JSD C5 ($189), Light Harmonics Geek ($200), Meridian Explorer ($300), and Woo Audio WA7 Fireflies ($1000). The highly-acclaimed $180 HRT Music streamer 2 uses a cheaper, worse DAC chip (PCM 1793). So are those products crap as well? Of course, some of those products have other features as well, but do you think that these companies that can mass-produce their products in factories really require more than $50 to produce the dac portion of their products? The profit margins on DACs are enormous... the profits must be enormous because there is a only small target audience willing to spend that much money on such a product. Just think about it, most AV receivers have a very high quality DAC + tons of other features inside. How much do AV receivers cost?

 

The UD 110 actually sounds quite nice fyi. The point is that the base cost of making a working DAC is extremely extremely low. The sonic difference between two DACs based on the same chip is marginal. You are paying for branding and wiring. Just think about it, Audioquest Dragonfly is able to produce a very highly rated solid DAC/amp for $100 and still be turning a profit.

 

I never said they "hide" the chip they use... but if you notice, whenever you read a news article announcing a new DAC, they never mention was chip it is using... You would think that is the most important part for consumers to know about eh? Kind of like releasing external sound cards without mentioning what the actual card is.


Edited by money4me247 - 12/17/13 at 12:25am
post #1072 of 1782

I am looking forward to buying akg k550. i wanted to know how are they compared to akg q701. are they on similar or is q701 on higher level?

post #1073 of 1782
Quote:
Originally Posted by vaibhavp View Post
 

I am looking forward to buying akg k550. i wanted to know how are they compared to akg q701. are they on similar or is q701 on higher level?

 

it depends on what you want... i'll try to give you a few quick comparisons.

 

  K550 Q701
construction closed, with good isolation open, isolation is almost non-existent
comfort good if they fit your head, but you might have to mod the headband to get good seal and comfort. pleather pads might make you sweat during summer but keeps your ears warm in the wintertime. excellent, you barely feel them on your ears. whether the bumps on the headband bother you or not depends entirely on your head. i can wear them for hours without any discomfort or fatigue.
amping you can drive them right out of most smartphones and daps without the need for an external amp. they do get better with dedicated amping though. definitely needed. they will sound like crap if you plug them straight in your phone/dap/laptop/pc, but truly shine with proper amping (read the Q701 amping thread for more infos)
portability very good for on-the-go, i use them nearly everyday on my way to uni. the huge earcups might look ridiculous, but who cares? the swivel mechanism comes in handy for stowing them away in a suitcase. definitely meant for home use. not only will you hear every sound from the outside, also others will hear your music. no swiveling, no easy stowaway
soundstage extraordinarily wide for a closed headphone, almost sounds like an open one. also quite detailed, but nowhere near the Q701. huge, very detailed, simply breathtaking. and from what people say around here, it even trumps many other headphones that cost a lot more.
sound signature AKG house sound, very good bass extension, detailed. treble sometimes might be a bit harsh. read the thread for more detailed descriptions. apart from bass extension, better in almost any way imho (if properly amped). haven't tried the bass port mod yet.
tl;dr closed headphone that doesn' sound like one. great allrounder, especially for portable use since it doesn' require an external amp. responds nicely to eq'ing (cyanogenmod's dsp manager is your friend here ;)) great sounding headphone for home use, massive soundstage, very detailed. needs amping like vampires need blood. excellent bang for buck.

 

hope that covers it.

post #1074 of 1782
Quote:
Originally Posted by vaibhavp View Post
 

I am looking forward to buying akg k550. i wanted to know how are they compared to akg q701. are they on similar or is q701 on higher level?

note if you are looking for portable headphones, akg recently released the akg k545 & the akg k845 bluetooth.

post #1075 of 1782

Hello dear fellow Head-Fiers :)

After being a long time reader only, I decided to finally chime in on all the great discussions here. I have just started my "audiophile" journey, as I'm 18 and my student budget is somewhat tight sometimes. The headphones I have owned so far are: Sony MDR V-150 (first headband phones ever), Bose AE2 (regret those, but GREAT comfort), Beats Pro (terrible, sold after 2 days), Sony MDR XB-500 (RIDICULOUS bass and comfort), Focal Spirit One (Freaking love the sound on those, build is somewhat mediocre). I have an AKG K550 and a Fiio E-07 DAC on the way, which should arrive by Saturday.

I decided to get the K550 because the price is very compelling at the moment (180 Swiss Francs) and because most reviews have been good. I'd say my head is pretty big, since the plastic headband on my Spirit One developed cracks over time. I will definetly report back, since it is my first product from AKG and I have high hopes for it. The only possible gripe I may already have with them is that the cable is meters long. And justifying over 80 Francs more just for a shorter cable on the K551 is just too much. For that difference, I got the E-07. 

 

On a different note though: What are some other great alternatives at roughly the same price? I don't have any of the experience that you guys have, so pardon me if I sound like a bit of a noob here. But I am definetly looking into expanding my hobby in the future so any tips or suggestions are welcome :)

Thanks and have a great day :)

post #1076 of 1782
Quote:
Originally Posted by money4me247 View Post
 

note if you are looking for portable headphones, akg recently released the akg k545 & the akg k845 bluetooth.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampair View Post
 

 

it depends on what you want... i'll try to give you a few quick comparisons.

 

  K550 Q701
construction closed, with good isolation open, isolation is almost non-existent
comfort good if they fit your head, but you might have to mod the headband to get good seal and comfort. pleather pads might make you sweat during summer but keeps your ears warm in the wintertime. excellent, you barely feel them on your ears. whether the bumps on the headband bother you or not depends entirely on your head. i can wear them for hours without any discomfort or fatigue.
amping you can drive them right out of most smartphones and daps without the need for an external amp. they do get better with dedicated amping though. definitely needed. they will sound like crap if you plug them straight in your phone/dap/laptop/pc, but truly shine with proper amping (read the Q701 amping thread for more infos)
portability very good for on-the-go, i use them nearly everyday on my way to uni. the huge earcups might look ridiculous, but who cares? the swivel mechanism comes in handy for stowing them away in a suitcase. definitely meant for home use. not only will you hear every sound from the outside, also others will hear your music. no swiveling, no easy stowaway
soundstage extraordinarily wide for a closed headphone, almost sounds like an open one. also quite detailed, but nowhere near the Q701. huge, very detailed, simply breathtaking. and from what people say around here, it even trumps many other headphones that cost a lot more.
sound signature AKG house sound, very good bass extension, detailed. treble sometimes might be a bit harsh. read the thread for more detailed descriptions. apart from bass extension, better in almost any way imho (if properly amped). haven't tried the bass port mod yet.
tl;dr closed headphone that doesn' sound like one. great allrounder, especially for portable use since it doesn' require an external amp. responds nicely to eq'ing (cyanogenmod's dsp manager is your friend here ;)) great sounding headphone for home use, massive soundstage, very detailed. needs amping like vampires need blood. excellent bang for buck.

 

hope that covers it.

Thanks for replies. no they are for home use only and I am only comparing sound quality.

 

So Q701 is better in sound quality then. Will be using Audinst hud mini initially to power them. will it do job satisfactorily?

 

Its a usb only powered device so is not very powerful. maybe like fiio e10.

 

Thanks.


Edited by vaibhavp - 12/17/13 at 4:49am
post #1077 of 1782
Quote:
Originally Posted by thegod35 View Post

 

 

On a different note though: What are some other great alternatives at roughly the same price? I don't have any of the experience that you guys have, so pardon me if I sound like a bit of a noob here. But I am definetly looking into expanding my hobby in the future so any tips or suggestions are welcome :)

Thanks and have a great day :)

 

The only other closed headphone that I really like is the Mad Dog....but that model might expensive and hard to get in Europe.

post #1078 of 1782
Quote:
Originally Posted by ampair View Post
 

 

it depends on what you want... i'll try to give you a few quick comparisons.

 

  K550 Q701
construction closed, with good isolation open, isolation is almost non-existent
comfort good if they fit your head, but you might have to mod the headband to get good seal and comfort. pleather pads might make you sweat during summer but keeps your ears warm in the wintertime. excellent, you barely feel them on your ears. whether the bumps on the headband bother you or not depends entirely on your head. i can wear them for hours without any discomfort or fatigue.
amping you can drive them right out of most smartphones and daps without the need for an external amp. they do get better with dedicated amping though. definitely needed. they will sound like crap if you plug them straight in your phone/dap/laptop/pc, but truly shine with proper amping (read the Q701 amping thread for more infos)
portability very good for on-the-go, i use them nearly everyday on my way to uni. the huge earcups might look ridiculous, but who cares? the swivel mechanism comes in handy for stowing them away in a suitcase. definitely meant for home use. not only will you hear every sound from the outside, also others will hear your music. no swiveling, no easy stowaway
soundstage extraordinarily wide for a closed headphone, almost sounds like an open one. also quite detailed, but nowhere near the Q701. huge, very detailed, simply breathtaking. and from what people say around here, it even trumps many other headphones that cost a lot more.
sound signature AKG house sound, very good bass extension, detailed. treble sometimes might be a bit harsh. read the thread for more detailed descriptions. apart from bass extension, better in almost any way imho (if properly amped). haven't tried the bass port mod yet.
tl;dr closed headphone that doesn' sound like one. great allrounder, especially for portable use since it doesn' require an external amp. responds nicely to eq'ing (cyanogenmod's dsp manager is your friend here ;)) great sounding headphone for home use, massive soundstage, very detailed. needs amping like vampires need blood. excellent bang for buck.

 

hope that covers it.

Pretty good sum-up.   I agree with everything...except the portability part.   For on-the-go use I would rather use something like the DT1350, the Momentum, the PX100....or better yet, an IEM.

post #1079 of 1782
Also the coloration of both are different; the 550's bass is more prominent, the q701 might be a tad on the lean side, the 550 tad on the warm side, both fairly neutral. Two quite similar (AKG) yet dissimilar sound. I could see some prefering the 550; those who prefer bass bit on the warm side, they do feel more 'powerful'.
post #1080 of 1782
Quote:
Originally Posted by ampair View Post Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
 

 

it depends on what you want... i'll try to give you a few quick comparisons.

 

  K550 Q701
construction closed, with good isolation open, isolation is almost non-existent
comfort good if they fit your head, but you might have to mod the headband to get good seal and comfort. pleather pads might make you sweat during summer but keeps your ears warm in the wintertime. excellent, you barely feel them on your ears. whether the bumps on the headband bother you or not depends entirely on your head. i can wear them for hours without any discomfort or fatigue.
amping you can drive them right out of most smartphones and daps without the need for an external amp. they do get better with dedicated amping though. definitely needed. they will sound like crap if you plug them straight in your phone/dap/laptop/pc, but truly shine with proper amping (read the Q701 amping thread for more infos)
portability very good for on-the-go, i use them nearly everyday on my way to uni. the huge earcups might look ridiculous, but who cares? the swivel mechanism comes in handy for stowing them away in a suitcase. definitely meant for home use. not only will you hear every sound from the outside, also others will hear your music. no swiveling, no easy stowaway
soundstage extraordinarily wide for a closed headphone, almost sounds like an open one. also quite detailed, but nowhere near the Q701. huge, very detailed, simply breathtaking. and from what people say around here, it even trumps many other headphones that cost a lot more.
sound signature AKG house sound, very good bass extension, detailed. treble sometimes might be a bit harsh. read the thread for more detailed descriptions. apart from bass extension, better in almost any way imho (if properly amped). haven't tried the bass port mod yet.
tl;dr closed headphone that doesn' sound like one. great allrounder, especially for portable use since it doesn' require an external amp. responds nicely to eq'ing (cyanogenmod's dsp manager is your friend here ;)) great sounding headphone for home use, massive soundstage, very detailed. needs amping like vampires need blood. excellent bang for buck.

 

hope that covers it.

 

Nice writeup, ampair. I wish more comparisons used this table format. I'd be inclined to say that the K550 is even more "bang for the buck" as they have about 90% the soundstage (which is truly impressive for closed design) and about 85% the detail of the Q701. And the K550 doesn't need a beefy amp to truly shine unlike the Q701.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vaibhavp View Post
 

 

 

Thanks for replies. no they are for home use only and I am only comparing sound quality.

 

So Q701 is better in sound quality then. Will be using Audinst hud mini initially to power them. will it do job satisfactorily?

http://www.gamespot.com/

Its a usb only powered device so is not very powerful. maybe like fiio e10.

 

Thanks.

 

I'd say overall the Q701 may have overall better sq, but not leaps over the K550. The Q701 is much grainier compared to the totally black background of the K550. It is also subjective depending on your musical taste. The Q701/K702 tend to sound somewhat thin, and for at least some genres, can sound oddly artificial (ie not as musical as K550). Genres like pop and newer rock sound much better on the K550 IMO, but genres like electronic music and jazz/classical sound really good on the Q701, where you may want a more analytical and spacious sound signature. The Q701 does sound very good when it comes to stringed instruments.

 

I've never used the Audinst hud, but if it's comparable to the FiiO E10 it probably won't be enough power for the Q701. They use a ridiculous amount of juice. If you're looking for a budget amp, I do know that the FiiO E09K actually drives them quite well, and can be had for a little more than $100.

 

If you can, try them both and sell whichever one you like least. They are both great for different situations.


Edited by dxanex - 12/17/13 at 2:39pm
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