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How much better can it sound?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hello all, sitting here listening to my E17/E9 combo with my M50s playing some Rush 2112, pondering my  recent purchase I bought a set of AKG Q701's and an Aune T1. I also went ahead and bought a Gold Lion tube while I was blowing money. I'm listening to FLAC's through winamp, I'm pondering the thought of, Will my new setup be $500 better?? 

Just a thought.. Wondering what your opinions on the matter are. This is probably my last set up I'll be purchasing for a long time. 

post #2 of 9

Honestly, every time I upgrade my gear Music listening becomes a refreshing, new experience, I get more from it with each upgrade, so I would say yes, it will be that much better.

post #3 of 9
Have you gotten them to compare yet, or are you still waiting on them in the mail?

Anyways, imho the 701 are a better headphone than the M50, but I'm not a big M50 fan. That said, "$500 better" is hard to quantify - you might find the 701 better, but multiple times over better, maybe not. "Diminishing returns" is a phrase that comes up quite often when discussing the value proposition with higher end audio purchases, and it's something worth at least understanding. If you think the benefit is worth it, then it's worth it for you, but if you don't find them to be that much of an improvement (or you just don't jive with the 701), you might want to either look at another headphone, or just enjoy the M50.

I'd also not be bothered if you end up not digging the 701 (and consequently exchanging them for something) - I've seen a lot of newbies who seem to get pretty consternated when they buy a more expensive headphone, and it doesn't "mesh" with them; you're not chained to a specific headphone, and assuming your dealer has a reasonable return policy, I'd certainly use it if you don't love them. Sure, give them some time to grow on you, but if a few weeks isn't seeing the situation improve, I'd look at another pair of cans. And again, this is just a "what if" - it's entirely possible that you'll get them, and absolutely love them.

One more thing I'd note, specifically talking about M50 to 701, is giving yourself adequate time to adjust the difference in tonal balance and presentation - they're fairly different headphones.
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies guys, just received everything today in the mail today it, definitely a way more powerful, beautiful sound. Can also distinguish between these open cans and closed cans, not sure what i'm a fan of but the 701's are dang good. 

post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brycicles View Post

Thanks for the replies guys, just received everything today in the mail today it, definitely a way more powerful, beautiful sound. Can also distinguish between these open cans and closed cans, not sure what i'm a fan of but the 701's are dang good. 

Congrats! I was thinking it would be a huge upgradebiggrin.gif

post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brycicles View Post

Hello all, sitting here listening to my E17/E9 combo with my M50s playing some Rush 2112, pondering my  recent purchase I bought a set of AKG Q701's and an Aune T1. I also went ahead and bought a Gold Lion tube while I was blowing money. I'm listening to FLAC's through winamp, I'm pondering the thought of, Will my new setup be $500 better?? 

Just a thought.. Wondering what your opinions on the matter are. This is probably my last set up I'll be purchasing for a long time. 

 

Heya,

 

I would say return everything you just bought. Your E17/E9 will power almost all headphones just fine. Instead, focus on a headphone that has the features you know you want, and as close to the sound as you're looking for stock, then equalize to perfect it. Sounds like you're missing low end response and you wanted more oumph perhaps. I would suggest you look at the Sony MA900, Ultrasone HFI 2400, Hifiman HE-300 revision 2 and Beyer DT880 PRO.

 

Definitely not $500 more to me, for a Q701. For $500 I'd be looking for an ortho.

 

Very best,

post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brycicles View Post

Hello all, sitting here listening to my E17/E9 combo with my M50s playing some Rush 2112, pondering my  recent purchase I bought a set of AKG Q701's and an Aune T1. I also went ahead and bought a Gold Lion tube while I was blowing money. I'm listening to FLAC's through winamp, I'm pondering the thought of, Will my new setup be $500 better?? 

Just a thought.. Wondering what your opinions on the matter are. This is probably my last set up I'll be purchasing for a long time. 

 

My own subjective and unpopular opinion is that the headphone amp does very little to change the sound of a headphone other than driving it to sufficient levels.

 

IE some headphones sound better when driven loud, they gain an unexpressable quality that is hard to quantify other than it sounds more real. If your stock headphone amp can't get them loud enough to reach that level then yeah, an amp is going to make it sound better.

 

However the job of an amp is to not color the sound, not introduce anything to the signal, but to accurately reproduce the input signal without adding to or changing it. So if an amp is doing it's job, it won't make the sound any different.

 

 

That said, I disliked the E7 and E9 combo because it really didn't sound that good, and I was dissappointed in the lack of 24/96. I ended up going with an Audioengine D1 DAC into the FiiO E9 amp and that sounds pretty good to me. As much as I could hope for.

 

 

Tubes are a little over rated in headphone and amplification circles (my opinion) because they aren't used for the reason that make tubes superior to transistors, IE over driven. The reason tube amplifiers are popular with guitarists for instance is because when a tube is over driven it's a softer and warmer kind of distortion, a 'soft clipping' where as a transistor would have a less desirable and harder clipping.

 

Since a headphone amp isn't supposed to distort the signal, the only impact the tube is going to have on the sound is to make it slightly warmer but if that's all you wanted why not just add 2db @ 180hz and get the same sound without needing a new amp?

 

 

Anyway in answer to your question, will it sound $500 better? That's completely up to you and what value you place in your equipment for the improvements it gives you. Diminishing returns are different for everyone, for some people they are willing to pay $10,000 for a DAC to get a slightly better jitter measurement that is nearly or completely inaudible but it's worth it to them to have 'the best'.

 

For me, I'm pretty happy with my $80 E9 amp and $170 Audioengine DAC. Would I like a tube amp? Absolutely, I'm a gear nut and love having different headphones and amps. But do I think I need to buy a tube amp to enjoy my hobby? no.

 

I have to agree with Malveaux, the single biggest factor in any music chain is the speaker or headphone. They have the single largest measurable impact on the sound. Concentrate on finding a set of headphones that give a sound you love, then get an amp that can drive them to the volume you want to listen at and you're set.


Edited by Kodhifi - 2/19/13 at 10:44pm
post #8 of 9
Given the output impedance of the aune is greater than that of the k701, your k701 will sound audibly different compared with the fiio. You might think that sounds better, who knows, but I probably wouldn't, being an objectivist and all.
post #9 of 9

Sorry to hijack the thread here, but I was curious to know...

 

Does the bass boost on the E17 work well with the AKGs?

I'd maybe consider buying that combo, if the bass boost worked reasonably well with these headphones! smile.gif

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