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AKG K550 and amping

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hey everybody,


I've been lurking around for quite a while and have been thinking of getting a desktop amp for my K550's. 

The thing is most people who haven't heard the K550 just recommend a cheap or no amp at all. I recently upgraded from my E7 to an E17, and noticed quite a big difference with these cans. I know that they are only 32Ω, but the majority of K550 users say that these cans benefit well from amping. Also, I found a post on Innerfidelity where someone mentioned they 'behave the same' in terms of volume output compared to a pair of HD650. Surprising isn't it?



So let me hear K550 owners: How effective is amping for the K550?

post #2 of 6

Hi xStreame,


I recently purchased one akg k550 that i combine with a hrt2+ dac and a schiit asgard amp

I also own a Yulong U100 dac/amp and a sansa clip+ mp3 player that i sometimes use with the K550


From my personal experience (very limited i admit), i can say that the K550 behaves much better with an amp


The best combination in my opinion is the hrt2+ with the asgard. It considerably improves the soundstage, the bass response, the clarity, and the separation between the instruments

With the Yulong it is nice also but the sound is much warmer and fuller with hrt + asgard

With the clip it is just good


To summarize


K550 + sansaclip+ (rockboxed): good

K550 + yulong U100 as a dac/amp: very good

K550 + hrt2+ dac + asgard amp: wonderful !


I must say that this combination is equally great with my Beyer DT880 32ohms


hope it helps !

(and sorry for my poor english, i'm french)

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for leaving your impression. Do you think the asgard has a bigger impact on the overall sound signature of the K550 or is it your hrt2_ dac?


My next upgrade should improve the soundstage as well as give these cans a little more warmth. Question is: will a tube amp be too much?

My budget will be at about $200

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

bump, Please leave your impressions, K550 owners!

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 


post #6 of 6
Originally Posted by xStreame View Post

bump, Please leave your impressions, K550 owners!


I had a loaner DX100 for a late, alternate-perspective review on it (still trimming it down), and I spent half a day standing in a cramped headphone shop almost smack under an escalator (hey, we gotta reduce the overhead, pun intended) listening to the K550. Do note that my "amped" vs "unamped" is basically a Galaxy S3 vs the higher quality amp circuit on the DX100. I spend the previous day with the Focal Spirit One so this will mostly be a comparison:


1) Spirit One treble is a bit dark with smartphones (tried other phones last month, then most recently my S3), presumaby for less fatigue, but opened up really nice with the DX100. It's kind of like going from a Focal Polyglass with a busted tweeter to a Utopia, except for my own tastes I'll miss the electric guitars on a Polykevlar/K2P or the drums in a Polyglass V2.


2) K550 treble is louder off a smartphone, but for my own use I took it off to wipe my sweat before my ear drums began to complain. DX100 made the sound considerably closer to balanced and the treble a lot smoother (cymbals don't hurt unless you have it on too loud, etc), but high freqs are still very much forward - not a problem for me since most of hte music I listened to had female vocals. It doesn't get confused with detail either, all notes are audible though some may be softer, or as far as positioning goes, you can only assume it's attempting to put it "behind" the others. Nightwish sounds grand on it, if a bit lacking in bite and warmth on the guitars. Reminds me a lot of the ATH-Axxx series, which were ridicuously overpriced if they were even available here.


3) K550 is no slouch with male vocals either - it was all clear without any hint of some unnatural amount of reverb on some vocalists/passages, at least not on the ones that I have that tended to do that through headphones like the HD558.


4) I had a copy of the PCM layer of a Mozart's Requiem SACD (yeah I had that too then my $125 Sony SACD changer stopped reading SACDs) and positional cues don't seem to be as good as how I remember it on a K702 ; there was Q701 in the store though and that one actually didn't do as well as the K550 in that regard, BUT the pads were oddly shaped thanks to their headphone stands.

Edited by ProtegeManiac - 12/10/12 at 6:01pm
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