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Do I need an amp at this stage?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Two years ago, I received an AKG-K701 as a Birthday present from one of my friends and from than on till now, I've been using it for my PC only. However, recently I've just found out that you need an amp to "drive"(?) the headphone so it will sound much better.

 

For two years, I've been using this headphone without an amp (plug straight to phone jacket) and honestly, I didn't have any problems with hearing and quality-wise, I couldn't tell if the sound was bad or not.

 

Ultimately, since I have just found out about the usage of amp with headphone, I was wondering if its still necessary to get an amp at this stage? Or do I just keep using it without an amp?

Moreover, this brings me to ask a question:

- What is the average expectancy for any headphones? Like how often do you change your headphone?

 

Also, FYI:

- I'm no audio maniac (audiophile was it?) and I don't really have a preference in stuff like how high the bass is etc etc, the only preference that I have is I like hearing headphones like K701 (Sound quality-wise)

- I only use this headphone for my PC only

- Atm I'm using Realtek High Tek Def as my soundcard

- If I need an amp asap, I could get one for a resonable price. However, I'm not willing to spend couple of hundreds of dollar just for the amp

post #2 of 18
Thread Starter 

Bump
 

post #3 of 18

Ignorance is bliss, if you like how they sound now just keep it the same way all that matters is that YOU are happy. As for life expectancy it all depends on how well you take care of them, some people still use vintage stuff from the 70's here.

post #4 of 18

Hi Choco,

 

I have not heard the K701s, but I would advise you to trust your ears. If you're perfectly happy with the sound you're getting, there is no reason to bother spending gobs of money on an amp (save curiosity, and goodness knows how many people have spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on this hobby satiating that particular trait).

 

In my own experience, I've heard improvements when headphones are amped properly, but it is not a "night and day" difference to my ears as some seem to believe. In fact, I believe if you go in with high expectations, you're likely to be extremely disappointed. That, or the placebo effect and the refusal to believe you can't hear the differences other people "supposedly" do might fool you into thinking the amp does much more for the sound than it actually does. But that could be just me, I might have the misfortune of being a very tin-eared individual.  

 

Life expectancy is highly dependent on the owner. A family friend showed me headphones he had from 20-30 years ago still in pristine condition. I wrecked a couple of cheap pairs of headphones before starting to take care of my more expensive purchases. Had my older headphones for about a half decade now and they're still chugging along. Nowadays, I don't change headphones because I wreck them, but because I'm working my way up to my final purchase. All that's left purchase-wise for me is a flagship, and it'll probably take me a good while to listen to all the headphones I'm interested in before making a final decision.


Edited by HideousPride - 9/17/12 at 3:42pm
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

alv and pride, thank you for your replies.

 

Like you said, I'm very happy with the sound I'm hearing from the headphone. For some part, it might have to do with getting used to that sound as a result of listening to it for a long time however, I think the sound is just fine since I didn't encounter any problems. 

 

Even if getting an amp will make the sound better, I think I'll just stick with my headphone only since its already producing the sound that I like.

 

Anyway, thanks for the tips guys really appreciated it.

post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by chococya96 View Post

alv and pride, thank you for your replies.

 

Like you said, I'm very happy with the sound I'm hearing from the headphone. For some part, it might have to do with getting used to that sound as a result of listening to it for a long time however, I think the sound is just fine since I didn't encounter any problems. 

 

Even if getting an amp will make the sound better, I think I'll just stick with my headphone only since its already producing the sound that I like.

 

Anyway, thanks for the tips guys really appreciated it.

 

Heya,

 

If you like how it sounds right now, then leave it be.

 

However, if you're curious what it means to give it some power and give it more beef int he lower register, you can satisfy that curiosity with a simple Fiio E10 DAC/AMP that plugs into your computer via USB. It will make your K701 sound more organic, lush and warm and give you more options to get the volume right with gain settings and a switch to increase bass by +3db with no distortion. Very nice pairing with AKG headphones. And it's only like $65.

 

Very best,

post #7 of 18
Not all headphones benefit from amping, but the K701s really do. While you may not need an amp, if you are looking to get the most from those headphones, I would recommend one. the O2 is a good budget amp that I would recommend for use with the 701s. It is relatively inexpensive, and can easily output enough clean power to drive these headphones. Good luck!
Edited by Snag1e - 9/18/12 at 2:32am
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the recommendation guys.

 

After thinking whether I should buy an amp or not, I decided to get one out of curiosity (talk about being indecisive)

 

Though even after doing some research for those amps, I'm still oblivious in what to choose.

 

Like I said before, I'm no audio maniac so if possible, I would like to get one that is simple and easy to use.

 

Also, just to clarify:

- I will be only using it for PC

- My budget is around $100, however, I can get up $200 if its like a MUST amp for my headphone

- I heard that solid state amp works better for K701 than tube amp

- A lot of my real life friends recommended me to buy a Matrix M-stage amp (I don't know which version) and these things cost $200+... I don't know if I should even consider buying this or not

 

Thanks again.


Edited by chococya96 - 9/18/12 at 11:57am
post #9 of 18

Choco,

 

I second Mal's suggestion to get an inexpensive FiiO and see if you notice any improvements. It would be a fairly cheap way to test the waters, and FiiO does a fine job with their products.

 

Or, even better yet, if your friends are recommending amps, does that also mean they own some? Bring your headphones to their location and give them a listen and see if you can notice a significant improvement. 

 

You're in an extremely enviable position right now. There are lots of people on this forum who just aren't "quite" satisfied with what they have, and upgraditis just gets worse and worse with each purchase. Don't feel pressured to buy anything you don't really need.

post #10 of 18

im not an "audio maniac" either, in fact, im still waiting to get my "serious" headphones from a friend whos traveling in the usa.

 

however, i have a very old speaker amp (it used to be a stereo but only the amp still works) and by plugging in my under 30$ jvc iems i could feel a very big difference. all the little nuances and background noises became alot more pronounced and of course, the volume was under my complete control (not defined by the track).

in my unexperienced opinion, an amp IS worth the money and im sure youll be able to find one at your price range.

 

also, like HideousPride said, just try it. take your headphones to a friend who owns an amp and see what you think.

post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 

What a timing... apparently my audiophile friends have just left to Europe for exchange student program. They got no internet as well so...

 

Either way, I think I'll get Fiio E10 DAC for starters. Other amps that I browsed were very expansive I don't think I'm ready to spend that much money into it.
 


Edited by chococya96 - 9/18/12 at 2:35pm
post #12 of 18
The E10 will be an improvement over the on-board computer audio for sure. It still may be a bit short on power to drive the701s to their full potential however. I have owned the M-stage, and I have K702s (which are the same as the 701s other than a removable cable), and I prefer the Objective 2 to the M-stage.....
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 

I'm tempted to try both amps though, its hard to choose which one. Maybe buy both? but that would be absurd...

 

As for the price, O2 is $50+ more expansive than E10.

 

Moreover, I've just read few good reviews for both and really, I don't know what to choose.

post #14 of 18

The price difference is a bit more than that if you live in the states. FiiO can be had for under $65 from Amazon with free shipping. If I recall correctly, the O2 from JDS Labs ran $144 + extra for power adapter and shipping. Unless you plan on a DIY kit, it's probably close to $100 difference. Wanted to clarify just in case you were in the states. Now if you live somewhere else, please disregard.

 

My experience with another's O2 was quite pleasant. I actually just purchased one from the For Sale section at Head-Fi at a very reasonable price in anticipation of receiving LFF's Paradox this week which my current amp doesn't pair well with. If you are going for an O2, this might be a good route to take. They are up for sale every so often if you're willing to wait to snag a deal.

post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by HideousPride View Post

The price difference is a bit more than that if you live in the states. FiiO can be had for under $65 from Amazon with free shipping. If I recall correctly, the O2 from JDS Labs ran $144 + extra for power adapter and shipping. Unless you plan on a DIY kit, it's probably close to $100 difference. Wanted to clarify just in case you were in the states. Now if you live somewhere else, please disregard.

Since the certified Italian reseller put a price tag of 75,90 € on the unit (roughly $99) - as opposed to Amazon.it which sells it at 69 € - I would say $65 is a fantastic price. tongue.gif
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