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Just got AKG 240 Studio, comparing it to K701

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I was using the SR-60 w/flats along with my mach speed tablet and thought it sounded pretty good overall and didn't leak enough sound to bother people on the plane. After 6 years, the cable tore so I needed something else for my last impromptu trip. I tried Sennheiser 558, 518, 598, PX 100, 201, 398, some Shure phones that I didn't like, AKG K99, ATH-M50, basically everything you see at Sam Ash, Guitar Center, and Audio Consultants(pretty much all the Grados, a few Stax, and most Senns). I also bought and returned an Audio Technica WS55. None of these places has headphone amps really. I noticed that the 558 sounded much better when I connected to Best Buy's display vs plugging them directly into the tablet. Same deal with the Sam Ash headphones when listening to them through Sam Ash's stuff instead of the tablet.


I could comment on all these phones when plugging them into the tablet, but I want to narrow the focus. What I will do is give background on what I tried since I don't post very often. When I do research on here and elsewhere, I always find that people will often have opposite opinions on the sound of the same piece of gear. I tried most everything in every room at CanJam 2010 aside from the JH Audio stuff. At that time I liked the RS-1 best.  Out of everything there, I only had interest in the K701 and the Beyer stuff(770, 880, 990, T1). I liked the wide, airy sound of the RS-1. Nowadays I don't listen to it at all after getting a DT 990 600 ohms and then a K701(which replaced the 990 as my favorite). I liked the bass on the 990, but preferred the clarity of the 701. I like the 558 and the Px100, but I don't really care for any of the other Senns. I've tried the 650 and HD 800 on various setups at Can Jam and stores and still don't like them. I've also tried the AKG 550 at Best Buy and thought they were too bass light and didn't really have anything I liked in the 701. One thing I'll also note is the source material. I generally don't buy remasters and try to seek out the best pressing available of an album. I think it is important to note if someone is using a Jon Astley mastered cd or one mastered by Steve Hoffman. I find huge differences in 1980s cd pressings of the same album by bands like Europe, Judas Priest, and Sabbath. I listen to a wide variety of stuff. Not a lot of Jazz, Rap, R&B, or Country. Mainly various forms of rock, metal, film scores, dance, pop, and not many albums made in the last decade.


What really made the 701 my #1 was the soundstaging and the way it does vocals. I really like when overdubbed vocals get a huge sound that can expand a lot, deep and wide. That's the main draw of airy phones for me. I liked the horizontal expansion about the RS-1, but was always feeling like they were too glaring at times. The 701 gives the music a lot more breathing room and depth than an RS1. Anyway, I tried the AKG 240 and thought it had great sound for the most part. Does a lot of what I like about the 701, just with more bass and less clarity. Plugging them into the tablet does not give enough volume. I just learned that plugging my Ibasso P2 into the tablet is a no-no. It produced bass bloat but got me the volume I needed. Finally got back and plugged the 240 into my home setup of Arcam 73 and Heed Canamp. I found the Heed better for the 701 than the Darkvoice 332. The 240 fixes the often anemic bass of the 701, but falls apart when rock or metal music gets heavy. The bass ramps up too much and the sound becomes muddy. It reminds me of when I'd turn the bass boost on when listening to a discman. 


The 701 seems very much like a pure analytical headphone. Everything is clear and can be heard. The 240 gives some toe-tapping, head-banging type sound with the extra bass that I just didn't get with the RS-1 or 701. It's soundstage is slightly less deep and wide when compared to the 701. I had brought my RS-1 to Can Jam and some stores. Plugged it into just about every source I could find at those places. I didn't like anything better than the Arcam 73 and Darkvoice I was using at the time. Koss Ksc35 is another one I like. It's not as good in the tablet as it was in my panasonic discman. A lot of times I felt like I enjoyed music more with those in a discman than the RS-1 at home despite the Ksc35 lacking a lot of the clarity and detail of the RS-1.


Now I'm debating what to look at next because after hearing the 240, it's a lot tougher for me to listen to the 701 for anything other than film scores. What I'd really like is a 701 with more bass that doesn't mess up the sound stage or the other parts of the sound spectrum. It gets the orchestra stuff correct, but that's kind of where it ends. Still comes off pretty analytical above all else. People had recommended me the K1000 years ago. I'd really like to try some of these other AKGs that are in production. K44 and K99 are too muddy, so I suppose I want to stick to bigger phones. Maybe get a portable DAP of good quality and one of the Fio amps. I've heard of the various mods and recabling, but never tried any of them aside from the ALO version at Can Jam. I forget what their source was. I think it was something plugged into an IPod. At the time, I liked the RS-1 better than what they had. I remember how laid back the Woo Audio tube amps made the 701 sound too. Interconnects make a big difference in my system. I forget why, but I plugged in some cheap interconnects not that long ago. Some albums were more harsh than I recalled. Then I plugged my Transparent Audio TL 100 interconnects back in and those albums were no longer harsh. I had tried various cables from Transparent at the time I bought those.


I guess this is what makes headphones a difficult hobby. I'm not sure that there is anything close to a perfect headphone. Then there's the issue of not being able to try the majority of this stuff before buying. 

post #2 of 5

Maybe you can try the 702's, or the Q...The K1000 that I've tried had less bass compare to the 702s. But the K1000 can easy take tubes, and the K70x are not so great with the tube amps.

post #3 of 5

IIRC the Heed is a buffered OP amp design.  My recollection of it was a wire with flat gain / attenuation.  I really don't recall it being very energetic, or "musical" at all. The K701 is a dry, fairly analytical headphone, its pretty much going to sound like whatever is upstream of it.  So it kind of doesn't surprise me your K701 is lacking bass (and probably an overall fun-factor as well).  There have been a few mod threads for the heed canamp.  Everything from CAP changes to OP amp socket+rolling.  So theres the DIY-mod route if you so desire, and that can make a huge difference with a K701.


I have a DV337 incoming... we'll see how well that does with my K701.

I haven't heard one personally but everyone is saying the Q701 is a bassier version of the K... that might be something for you to consider.


I agree with your assessment of the K240s.  Mines the 55 ohm I find it a very congested/murky kind of sound.  Not only because of its abundant bass, but just overall lack of detail resolution.

Edited by kramer5150 - 1/23/13 at 3:15pm
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

I took back the 240 and have just been using the Samson 850 straight into my mach speed tablet. It's a pretty nice sound and much less congested than the 240. On muddy albums like Alice Cooper-Raise Your Fist and Savatage-HOTMK, the Samson isn't any good. The 701 cuts through these muddy albums pretty well, making them listenable. The 850 sounds great with a lot of pop and rock stuff from the 80s, using well-mastered songs. Film scores work out pretty well. If the 240 were 32 ohms, I might take it over the Samson. The 850 has a somewhat tough time with Metal music on this tablet. It can sound like mush. I think it might be better for me to look into a DAP. A few people really liked the hifiman 601 with the K701. Upon going back to my 701, I don't really feel like it was lacking bass anymore. Going from the 240 to 701 within a few minutes of each other is probably what made the 701 come across as very analytical. In fact, I think adding more bass to the 701 would make it sound off.  These AKG and Samson phones are very source recording dependent too. Not too forgiving.

post #5 of 5



To the OP, if you're looking for that wide sound stage and clear clear approach but with a little more bottom end, look at the Sony MA900.


Very best,

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