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Modern-day equivalent to K501's?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

The K501's are a headphone famous for it's complete reversal of the 'v'-shaped sound signature common on most modern headphones, where the midrange is sucked out and the bass and treble are elevated to give an 'exciting' sound. Instead, they featured a very prominent midrange and rolled off both the treble and bass, thus giving an 'n'-shaped sound signature.

 

Are there any headphones currently in production that have this same sort of sound? The K701, I guess is the obvious choice, but some people think the sound signature actually changed a lot between the 501 and the 701, with the 701 becoming a lot brighter.

 

I'd be grateful for suggestions of all in-production sound-alikes of the K501, open-backed, close-backed, price range from $200 - $500.

 

Thanks in advance!!

post #2 of 21

Very interesting question. I would actually also like to know the answer smile.gif. I heard these cans (k501) a couple of years ago and really liked the sound. K701 has a very similar AKG house sound but as far as I can remember sounds more balanced. I wouldn't say it is brighter. Nice headphones, either.

post #3 of 21

Golden Ears measured both the 501 and 701. The graphs collected there: http://www.head-fi.org/t/216596/akg-k601-owners-unite/720#post_8767081

post #4 of 21

I'm a long time 'midhead' and I also owned a k501 for a good amount of time.

 

In my opinion the k501 emphasizes treble just as much as the mids. The only memorable things about it were it's equally detailed mids/treble, and its interesting soundstage. Personally I like mids because I really like vocals, but the k501 is seriously lacking in lower midrange heft. Unfortunately this takes alot of emersion and pure euphonic enjoyment out of the vocal presentation on the headphone. Basically, the mids have nice detail, but lack in body.

 

My answer to your question is that I have never heard any headphone that sounds like a k501.

 

But if you care at all, I'm a big midrange person and I've had serious listening time with the hd 598, hd 558, ksc-75, fischer fa-011, t50rp, beyer dt990, grado sr125, ms1i, dj100, pro900, ad700, hd-650, k240(55ohm), and k271. And out of all of these headphones the only ones that I think are worth buying are the ksc-75,k271, and the hd-650.

 

Bottom line, if you want good mids, but without the sonic sacrafices of headphones, just get some passive loudspeakers. It's waaay cheaper.

post #5 of 21

Hmm, I didn't think the K500/K501 sounded like an upside down U (or V?) shaped signature at all. Felt it had more than enough treble and definitely was kind of bass light. Not as much as the K400 I had.

Mine actually sounded more balanced than the old K702 I had.

 

The only time I heard a headphone that made me remember the K501 was the ATH-AD300 (trust me, it's not a clone of the AD700) with a small mod. I removed the foam behind the grill and it made the soundstage much larger.

 

I prefer it with the foam, but it has really smooth treble..rolled off low bass and pretty good mids. Slightly forward. It's not a crystal clear sounding headphone, but I still like it. Scored it for $35 at Wal-Mart before it was discontinued. Of course it's not worth $75+

 

Sounds much more natural than the AD700. Much fuller mids too and a little more bass.

post #6 of 21

how different were the k501's from the k601 in sound? alot of what the op was using to describe the sound on the 501's i felt applied to the k601's minus the treble

 

trebleheads might find the k601's lacking

post #7 of 21

The K 501 has less bass but is more balanced. The K 601 tries to do both warmth and airiness - didn't work.

post #8 of 21

While they don't completely sound like the K501, Sony's MDR-CD900STs have a pretty similar tonal balance, but with bit less treble. Bass is similar, and mid range is, relative to the rest of the spectrum, placed similarly. The difference is that on the CD900STs, the mid range is much more refined, and much more realistic. Less shouty, more detail, and more lower-midrange body. It obviously doesn't have the huge soundstage of the K501s, but if you're listening to music that's very focused on vocals, that's really not an issue (at least it wasn't to me).

post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kukuk View Post

While they don't completely sound like the K501, Sony's MDR-CD900STs have a pretty similar tonal balance, but with bit less treble. Bass is similar, and mid range is, relative to the rest of the spectrum, placed similarly. The difference is that on the CD900STs, the mid range is much more refined, and much more realistic. Less shouty, more detail, and more lower-midrange body. It obviously doesn't have the huge soundstage of the K501s, but if you're listening to music that's very focused on vocals, that's really not an issue (at least it wasn't to me).

Are the MDR-CD900ST still in production, or are recently discontinued?

 

Couldn't find them on the official Sony website...

post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by cactus_farmer View Post

Are the MDR-CD900ST still in production, or are recently discontinued?

 

Couldn't find them on the official Sony website...

 

They're still in production, but they're Japan only. You can import them from Audiocubes.com for $250.

post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kukuk View Post

While they don't completely sound like the K501, Sony's MDR-CD900STs have a pretty similar tonal balance, but with bit less treble. Bass is similar, and mid range is, relative to the rest of the spectrum, placed similarly. The difference is that on the CD900STs, the mid range is much more refined, and much more realistic. Less shouty, more detail, and more lower-midrange body. It obviously doesn't have the huge soundstage of the K501s, but if you're listening to music that's very focused on vocals, that's really not an issue (at least it wasn't to me).


Sorry, but I have to disagree. Sony's are certainly not a modern equivalent to k501. They're closed back headphones and have "that kind of sound" too wink.gif. They are good headphones in their own right but nowhere near as transparent and open as k501. The upper midrange is somewhat closed-in. More realistic they are certainly not. I liked them when I heard them but they are unfortunately not in the same class as k501. They have less detail, less transparency, softer treble and are somewhat boomy.

post #12 of 21

Yeah, the CD900ST is fuller sounding with more bass emphasis than the K501. The CD900ST has a small dip around 2-4khz whereas for the K501 this is the part of the midrange that sounds the most prominent. In my case I preferred the sound of the Sony, but technically the K501 is the more capable headphone.

 

I can think of several headphones that share a lot of similarities with the K501's sound, but none of the these headphones are currently in production.

post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by muxamed View Post


Sorry, but I have to disagree. Sony's are certainly not a modern equivalent to k501. They're closed back headphones and have "that kind of sound" too wink.gif. They are good headphones in their own right but nowhere near as transparent and open as k501. The upper midrange is somewhat closed-in. More realistic they are certainly not. I liked them when I heard them but they are unfortunately not in the same class as k501. They have less detail, less transparency, softer treble and are somewhat boomy.

 

We seem to have different experiences with these headphones. Like I did say, the soundstage is obviously smaller, and the treble softer, but the rest of the spectrum is very, very similar. I never felt the CD900STs were even the slightest bit boomy, and as I put more and more time on the K501s I'm noticing the bass is even more alike than I first thought. The mid range on the CD900STs is just completely untouchable, though. As well as the K501s do mids in their own right, the CD900STs are miles ahead. The K501s are relatively thin and shouty, while the CD900STs were perfectly balanced, and even brought in a great deal of lower-treble detail, without being sibilant.

 

They don't have the same presentation as the K501s, but that's not what OP was asking, he was asking about similar tonal balance, which they DO have.

post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kukuk View Post

 

As well as the K501s do mids in their own right, the CD900STs are miles ahead. The K501s are relatively thin and shouty, while the CD900STs were perfectly balanced,

 

Now ... That was a very bold statement  smile.gif.


Edited by muxamed - 1/11/13 at 11:47pm
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by muxamed View Post

 

Now ... That was a very bold statement  smile.gif.

 

I just realized my post was pretty jerk-ish, so I apologize for that, but I definitely feel the CD900STs really are in a separate league as far as mids go. (Getting a little off topic, but I never miss a chance to praise the CD900STs tongue.gif) They are just really picky about amps, so on the setup you heard them through it's possible that they fell behind the K501s because of this. My friend's Lyr wasn't able to bring the magic to the CD900STs that my Little Dot I+ was. I think they really need to be paired with a slightly mid-forward amp to really get them to shine. Similarly, the K501s probably need a less mid-forward amp to really shine, so maybe I shouldn't make concrete comments on them until I've had a chance to use them on another amp!

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