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Getting back into it... Poor mans K701 ?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hi All... I have been kind of out of the gear-fi loop the past half decade.  I have been very comfortably enjoying the tunes with my RS1, HF1, HD580, Koss A250, K240s-55.  I have always wanted a K701/601 like phone and for 4-5 years the A250 has served its purpose as my poor mans K701.  Fast forward to today and I think its time for an upgrade, as the A250 brightness and upper midrage coloration I think have been masking/covering up some of the details.  I have been getting more and more into symphonic/orchestral types of metal, where the arrangement can go from Petrucci boogie Mark-5 to Leonard Bernstein new york Philharmonic within the same tune.  None of my current cans really cut it for this kind of stuff... IMHO.

 

So I guess what I am looking for is a can with these characteristics:

 

-Speed and snappy detail resolution

-BIG open soundstage

-Spectral balance

-If anything a slight hint of a bass-boost wojld be preferred

-I dont really want a bright treble or aggressive mids.  I already have that in spades with my current cans.  I suspect frequency boosts in these ranges can close in the soundstage... at least thats been my findings here in Grado-land.

-Under $200 (the cheaper the better really)

 

I am not adverse to "basic" mods too... things like blue-tac / cotton stuffing, grille cloth removal, star-quad re-cables are right up my alley.

The JVC HARX900 has caught my attention and I have always wanted to try a Fostex T50RP since Jon Petrucci used one in the Awake sessions. 

I have no problems with buying used cans too!!

 

Thanks in advance!!

 

**EDIT**  Oh one more thing... if nothing like this exists in 2013 and the K701/601 is still my best option please feel free to comment on that as well.


Edited by kramer5150 - 1/11/13 at 9:33am
post #2 of 11

Heya,

 

I think all your options are going to fall in the same price category. What concerns me is you want a hint of bass added, and we're talking K701. To me, that makes me think of these:

 

Sony MA900

Sennheiser HD598

AudioTechnica AD900

AKG Q701

Ultrasone HFI 2400

Hifiman HE-300 revision 2

 

If you want to try something inexpensive, maybe look to the AudioTechnica TAD400 (usually under $100 on Amazon).

 

Very best,

post #3 of 11

AKG Q701

 

Alex

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

Awesome... thanks for the tips.

 

Ooh Ultrasone, I had always liked their cans but they were almost always out of my league price-wise.

 

I mention the K701 and my respect for it not because its my perfect or ideal solution, but more so because I know it "can be made" to deliver on what I am asking.  The problem with the 701 that I have seen is that the amount of financial resource and knowledge base required for it are well beyond my means.  Every (and I mean EVERY) K701 owner I have come across at bay area head-fi meets of the past, seemed like they were always chasing down the magic source, perfectly synnergetic amp, or the DAC of their dreams.  Or  alternately on an equally crazy trip down the yelow brick road in DIY-OZ land to achieve a musical-groovy self-made experience from this headphone.  Getting groovy-boogie-fun bass impact out of the K701 is just one missing piece of that puzzle... or at least it appears to be with many.

 

In defense of the 701, I never found it bass-shy in my Grado-centric rig.  It was more about trying to make the midrange more alive, fun and energetic... yeah the semi-vacant hole in the center stage image was kind of part of that too I think.

 

So thanks for the tips... and I am sorry if this offends any of the K701 fans.  Thats not my intent here at all, and I'm still not ruling it out at all.

 

Sounds like I need to get myself to the next bay area headfi meet!! 


Edited by kramer5150 - 1/11/13 at 1:02pm
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post

Awesome... thanks for the tips.

 

Ooh Ultrasone, I had always liked their cans but they were almost always out of my league price-wise.

 

I mention the K701 and my respect for it not because its my perfect or ideal solution, but more so because I know it "can be made" to deliver on what I am asking.  The problem with the 701 that I have seen is that the amount of financial resource and knowledge base required for it are well beyond my means.  Every (and I mean EVERY) K701 owner I have come across at bay area head-fi meets of the past, seemed like they were always chasing down the magic source, perfectly synnergetic amp, or the DAC of their dreams.  Or  alternately on an equally crazy trip down the yelow brick road in DIY-OZ land to achieve a musical-groovy self-made experience from this headphone.  Getting groovy-boogie-fun bass impact out of the K701 is just one missing piece of that puzzle... or at least it appears to be with many.

 

In defense of the 701, I never found it bass-shy in my Grado-centric rig.  It was more about trying to make the midrange more alive, fun and energetic... yeah the semi-vacant hole in the center stage image was kind of part of that too I think.

 

So thanks for the tips... and I am sorry if this offends any of the K701 fans.  Thats not my intent here at all, and I'm still not ruling it out at all.

 

Sounds like I need to get myself to the next bay area headfi meet!! 

 

If you're intent on the K701/Q701, get one and have it reterminated to balanced/XLR and listen to her on a speaker amp with a tube-dac. All the mids & warmth with even more sound stage.

 

Very best,

post #6 of 11
If you like the K701, get a Q701. Save up like I did, and you won't regret it. I might get an aftermarket cable for it soon too. I love it. Seriously, it's amazing.
post #7 of 11

Let's not forget the K601, which can be found for $199 new. I liked the K601 better than the K701, but not quite as much as the Q701. Love the headband though!

post #8 of 11

hd598 is really close in sound (and soundstage) to k701. in my country they cost nearly half the price of the akg.

post #9 of 11

K701 are quite special cans. I used them with an inexpensive Audio-GD desktop amp/dac and the result was great. They're a bit hard to drive (not so bad as the myth make them to be) and need a decent DAC but nothing crazy price-wise. IMO, if you get them to sound right to your ears (on any system) then you're good, system synergy may add the extra enjoyment but does not magically change the sound sig of the cans (but then I haven't tried a whole lot of equipment). And I never thought K701 lacked bass or had recessed mids, it's just the way they're intended to sound. If you haven't tried the 701, go for it.

post #10 of 11
A familiar old face amongst all the youngsters on here now. I still have my Koss A250s going round too, great headphones! A little while back I went through a phase trying out other phones, specifically the Sony SA5K, K701s, AT W5000 and HD650s. Despite my preference for the speed and treble energy of the Koss, I enjoyed the HD650 the most out of all those. It was the most forgiving of imperfect material and was the best allrounder in terms of music synergy. I also found its smoothness and laid-back presentation a nice change. They are great with classical too, they have a beautiful rich, and natural tone with acoustic music. The K701 just didn't do it for me, it didn't have the treble energy and speed of the Koss or Sony's or the smoothness and body of the HD650. Maybe if you just listened to it by itself you could appreciate it more but in comparison it just seemed a bit nothingy, jack of all trade but master of none.

I don't have much use for open phones these days but just bought a set of the new sennheiser momentums, which have the same laid-back smoothness as the HD650 and I have really been enjoying them for portable use.

So based on what you're after, I would go for the HD650s as long as you have something to amp them. They don't need a super expensive amp either. I was using an XCAN V3 when I was trialling them but I think smaller amps drive them.
Edited by redrich2000 - 1/12/13 at 5:43am
post #11 of 11

The O2 and ODAC will drive the hd650's very nicely for a low entry cost with open, transparent sound.

 

Alex

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