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AKG k702 VS Sennheiser HD650: which would work better for my taste?

post #1 of 71
Thread Starter 

I've been in the market for a new pair of headphones for a little while. I've narrowed it down to these two options. 

The AKG k702 is the more affordable of the two. I can find practically new examples for sale for $200 or less. The HD650 is hard to find under $350.

I have read much about both options. The AKG seems to be lacking a little in the bass but offers a great soundstage and nice detail. The Sennheisers have more bass but sacrifice a little speed and have a little more 'color' to them.

This post IS NOT asking anyone to argue over which set is 'better.' They both have demonstrated they are fantastic headphones in their price ranges. 

What I AM asking is which would suit the music I listen to and the amp that will be driving it.

I mostly listen to Jazz on vinyl. I have some contemporary music, a bit of soul, some classic rock (think -- pink floyd, fleetwood mac, etc), folk, and a good bit of classical. I don't listen to heavy metal, rap, etc. 

The headphone amp I will be using is a Little Dot MKII, which is a tube headphone amp that can be adjusted 32 and 600 ohms so it should be able to power most, if not any, headphone I throw at it.

Given my general music tastes and amp choice, what would you suggest?

post #2 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmcgill829 View Post

I mostly listen to Jazz on vinyl. I have some contemporary music, a bit of soul, some classic rock (think -- pink floyd, fleetwood mac, etc), folk, and a good bit of classical. I don't listen to heavy metal, rap, etc. 
 

AKG by far. They really shine in these categories. Yes, they are a bit bass light, but the quality of the bass is phenomenal. You hear everything in stellar detail and clarity. This is my first choice in a heartbeat. Just my opinion.

post #3 of 71
Thread Starter 

I'd rather bass be a bit on the light side if it is more accurate and detailed instead of muddy. 

I've heard that the AKG k702 can be notoriously difficult to pair when it comes to amps -- they require lots of current apparently.

Have you encountered this problem? (if you want to call it a problem)

post #4 of 71

yes they indeed require more power (not sure with current) and would sound best with desktop amps IME. or tube amps if you want to add more warmth with the k702

post #5 of 71
Thread Starter 

I would be using a tube amp (Little Dot MKII) to drive them. 

 

I will admit that I have been leaning toward the AKGs. They seem to shoot for about what I am looking for, and running them through tubes apparently loosens them up a little bit adding a little warmth and more musicality.

 

I'm just kind of shooting in the dark really. It's a shame I can't try either pair out, but on the flip side, both of them require burn in times and are hugely dependent upon the sound of your system. So what sounds good in a store, might sound horrible at home through your amps. 

post #6 of 71

if the store that youre going to buy the headphone has a return policy on them, i guess thats better

post #7 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmcgill829 View Post

I'd rather bass be a bit on the light side if it is more accurate and detailed instead of muddy. 

I've heard that the AKG k702 can be notoriously difficult to pair when it comes to amps -- they require lots of current apparently.

Have you encountered this problem? (if you want to call it a problem)

 

I've tried a K701 on my MkII before, one with newer pads and one with worn pads. The worn pads sound a lot like my HD600, except the bass was louder (no surprise) ; the newer pads were a little thinner but the staging and imaging was far better than y speaker system (the room sucked, but still...) Bass wasn't absent, it's there but psychoacoustically speaking, many tend to think sometimes that it's "barely there" when the reality is it's just pushed further back behind the vocals. YMMV, though, since with the newer pads I was using a non-oversampling DAC-AH.

 

It may need a lot of current but from my listening with the MkII I think it provides enough of it. Drums were crisp and gives you enough of that "feeling of being there'". Still, if you can stretch your budget, what you save for getting the K702 instead of the HD650 should definitely be added to the amp, and to that end, the Heed CanAmp (which if I'm not mistaken was designed for the K701/2) might be within spitting distance price-wise. 

 

post #8 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmcgill829 View Post

I'd rather bass be a bit on the light side if it is more accurate and detailed instead of muddy. 

I've heard that the AKG k702 can be notoriously difficult to pair when it comes to amps -- they require lots of current apparently.

Have you encountered this problem? (if you want to call it a problem)

Have you considered the Q701?

A lot folks say they are warmer and easier to drive than the K70x series.

 

I think the Q701s would be a very good match for your listening habits, I listen to a lot of jazz and some classic rock, the Q701s are my "go to" 'phones for jazz.

post #9 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post

Have you considered the Q701?

A lot folks say they are warmer and easier to drive than the K70x series.

 

I think the Q701s would be a very good match for your listening habits, I listen to a lot of jazz and some classic rock, the Q701s are my "go to" 'phones for jazz.

K701, Q701 and K702 are sonically indistinguishable to me (and Tyll from innerfidelity if you don't trust my word.)

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmcgill829 View Post

I mostly listen to Jazz on vinyl. I have some contemporary music, a bit of soul, some classic rock (think -- pink floyd, fleetwood mac, etc), folk, and a good bit of classical. I don't listen to heavy metal, rap, etc. 
 

 

 

Uh... easily K701 by far. Classical and jazz is like the K701's forte. As far as I've heard you're not going to get a better can for your genres sub $1000.

post #10 of 71

the HD 650 is actually the better headphone. The only thing the K701 and .etc series have is a upper-mid to treble-spike which fakes details but strains your ears... and don't get me started with the K701 headband... the only reason I can imagine they continued the headband with the Q701 is because they are gigantic trolls.

post #11 of 71

+1 for the K702.  I listen to a lot of acoustic music, very little hard rock, metal or rap and am very happy with the sound of the AKG's.  My problem with Sennheiser is that at least some of their headphones are too dark for my tastes and I've read that this is the case with the HD650.

post #12 of 71

With a worthy amp, I agree with the earlier poster that the HD-650 are the better headphones.  The K701 will have the edge with regard to sound stage width, but, as was mentioned before, the K701 have a nasty upper midrange glare that effectively ruins their overall coherency.  You will sacrifice bass impact/weight with the K701 as well.

post #13 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by roBernd View Post

the HD 650 is actually the better headphone. The only thing the K701 and .etc series have is a upper-mid to treble-spike which fakes details but strains your ears... and don't get me started with the K701 headband... the only reason I can imagine they continued the headband with the Q701 is because they are gigantic trolls.

K701 haters gonna hate... Check my review for more information TS. The K701 has a quicker, cleaner impulse and square wave response which translates to better handling of transients and detail. Which one is "better" is purely subjective.

post #14 of 71
I never got all the '650 is slow' talk. Their decay is among one of the fastest.
post #15 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post

I never got all the '650 is slow' talk. Their decay is among one of the fastest.

The 650 aren't "slow" like most mud-and-rumble bass headphones, but compared to the 701 they aren't quite as nimble. They're also darker, which influences perception of their speed. Both have good CSD and IR showings, and good MR plots - they are both technically proficient.

Anyways, I'd suggest the K701 as well, regarding drive requirements - they are nowhere near the mythical dragon that many make them into (and you cannot arbitrarily have "lots of current" - there's math that says so). They just need more power than most dynamic headphones (but basically any competent A/V component or modern computer soundcard will still blow them up; I guess if your reference is a Creek OBH-11 or something they're a dragon). Tyll's measurements show them needing around 1.5 mW to reach 90 dB; most headphones need a fraction of that (the RS-1 need about half that, the DT880/32 need like 1/4th that, etc). So if you're still on the "the position on the volume dial implies these are a beast" or whatever else (http://audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=58829), they're harder to drive. But truthfully most amplifiers these days will dump hundreds of mW out before they go into clipping, even the ones built into computers, so it's a non-starter afaic.
Edited by obobskivich - 7/24/12 at 8:32am
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › AKG k702 VS Sennheiser HD650: which would work better for my taste?