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The k702 is better with k601 pads. (Picd Added)

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Ever since i bought my k702 years ago, I was never able to fully become immersed in the music because of the way these headphones presented the midrange. It's far too forward in its stock form in my opinion. Bass is also tricky. It seems like only the deepest notes are heard, with a giant hole where the midbass should be. This combination was extremely grating to my ears. I don't have this problem with any of my other headphones.

This is what prompted me to buy a pair of new k601 last week. It seems to be the consensus that they are a bit darker, less forward and slightly warmer and bassier. I found this to be true. However I did notice they were a bit congested and seemed to blend instruments sometimes.

I decided to switch the pads from my 702 over to my 601. Immediately the soundstage opened up to a level similar to the 702. Separation also improved immensely. I'm not sure how but bass frequencies also seemed to be accentuated, perhaps due to better frequency separation. The result is a better perceived frequency response from bass - treble. A huge improvement to say the least.

I also decided to put the k601 pads onto my 702 just for kicks. I could hardly believe what Iwas hearing. Suddenly the music was closer and more intimate but with a much more balanced frequency response. I'm hearing sub bass notes that won't be heard with traditional 702 pads. The midrange also became more even with the rest of the spectrum. Midbass is elevated slighty, enough to be more of a "full" sounding headphone.

I guess this shouldn't be a huge surprise considering these headphones are almost opposites from each other and have been outfitted with pads that take them even further away from each other. Dark, enclosed vs bright and open. Though I think both go too far and become too unbalanced. The 702 pads, being thicker towards the back create too much space between the driver and ear. This causes low frequencies to die out before reaching the ear. The 601 pads are smaller and completely flat which brings the driver closer and helps midbass but restricts soundstage and separation.

Using the right pad for the right headphone is paramount. I would go as far as saying that pads are 30% of the sound signature of any headphone. This is similar to speakers where the enclosure and porting determines the end result. Of course this is also highly driver dependent. The 601 driver is naturally darker and bassier. The 702 driver is brighter and a bit more clinical. Using pads that complement and help control each driver is important.

I'm listening to my 702 and enjoying it like never before.
Edited by Punnisher - 6/13/13 at 5:26pm
post #2 of 6

Which do you prefer, the K 702 with 601 pads or the K 601 with 702 pads?

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

It's hard to say since I haven't done a proper comparison yet.


Though if you are comparing a stock 702, I much prefer the 601 with either pad configuration. The sound is much more balanced any way you cut it.


However, a 702 with 601 pads sounds incredible. Much more weight and depth to the bass notes. No midrange spike. Though it still has a slight emphasis on mid and treble clarity. I will do a comparison later.


The only bad thing about this discovery is the high cost of the pads. If you wanted to upgrade your 601 with 701 pads, it would cost you $24 per pad not counting shipping. If you wanted 601 pads for your 701/2 it may be slightly cheaper since the construction is simpler but it would still be significant.

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
I have done a bit of testing, at least enough to form a fairly accurate opinion about these two headphones with the pads switched.

Switching pads from the 702 to the 601 and vice-versa is a substantial upgrade for both headphones. If I were to do this all again, I wouldn't hesitate to order 601 pads for my 702 the day I bought the 702. I have been missing out on a lot. It's an extra expense but for me it's make or break. It's much cheaper than trying to pair the 702 with "warm" (inaccurate) amps to compensate for brightness. In addition it's easier and most likely more effective than attempting to mod the stock pads or use dampening material between the driver and pad.

The 601 stock pads seem to congest and restrain the sound from the 601's naturally warm drivers. The sound is enclosed and sounds "stiff" if that makes any sense. Almost as if it lacks dynamics. Using the 702 pads opens up the soundstage so the sound isn't so in-your-head. There's more room for the sound to become more even and balanced. The dynamics and separation are improved. Also for some reason beyond my understanding, bass volume and quantity do not decrease. In fact it seems to extend lower and more accurately. The end result is a very even and natural sounding headphone with a slight emphasis on warmth. The treble is extremely comfortable and never ever harsh. I could listen to it for the entire day and never feel fatigued.

The 702 is the only headphone in my inventory that I had become frustrated with. After hearing all the praise about the 701/2 I figured it was a safe buy. I was very wrong. In the last few years I have been coming back to it repeatedly and haven't been able to enjoy it. No amount of burn-in ever changed it and pairing it with tubes didn't help either. After putting the 601 pads on it was literally a night and day difference. I have been listening to the 702 daily since then.

The biggest difference is by far the bass frequencies. The 702 now extends lower and with much more body and weight than when stock. I used to be selective about music with the stock pads because of the overly-analytical nature of the 702, but no longer. I suspect that the 702 driver is more accurate than the 601 and is naturally less bassy. In this case it would be better to position the ear closer to the driver since bass frequencies tend to die off quickly. This is achieved with 601 pads because they are essentially flat rather than angled like 701/2 pads. The 702 driver does have more forward midrange presence, and with 601 pads that's still evident. However because the entire frequency range is able to reach the ear more easily there is much less of a "spike" in the midrange. Soundstage is brought in slightly but that's a good thing. With the stock 702 I always felt the soundstage was stretched side-to-side, much like an oval shape. The soundstage with the 601 pads is more intimate, rounder and more accurate. Where the 702 excels is sheer detail. The 601 pads enhance this because of the much more even presentation of all frequencies. Instead of an overly-forward and empty sounding vocal range, the 702 now presents vocals with more body and more of a realistic sound. All the resolution in the world won't help if the sound isn't neutral.

As for which one is better, it's entirely subjective. Both are excellent. The major differences are overall tone and character. The 601 is fairly neutral but with a slight emphasis on warmth. Extremely comfortable to listen to but less detailed than the 702. The 702 is very linear (even the bass) but with an emphasis on midrange. The largest difference with the 702 is the ability to discern micro-details. For example, atmospheric sounds and spatial cues are more evident with the 702. You can actually "see" the artists playing or singing due to what you can hear in the recording. Things like singers breathing, mouth movements and guitar-picking are very percussive and forward with the 702. Of course that's always been the case but it seems to be further enhanced with the use of the 601 pads.

If you own a 601 and want more out of it, I say go for the 701/2 pads. Though if you don't own either I would recommend the 702 with 601 pads. The detail, dynamics and overall "full" presentation is very intoxicating and addicting. I can't seem to put them down.
Edited by Punnisher - 6/19/13 at 8:15pm
post #5 of 6

Sounds like you should have just given the Q701 a try biggrin.gif It's a little warmer/fuller sounding than the K702. Even more so than the K601.


I did all this a few years ago when I had he K702 and it always annoyed me. The K601 was always what I preferred. When I got the Q701 I sold the K702 and kept the Q701 and K601.


The problem I had with K601 pads on the K702 was that the mids actually sounded much too forward. I think it was because my ears were closer to the drivers or something. It's not always that noticeable. Maybe your K702 sounded much different than mine. It's especially bad with harsh and fatiguing music when I used the K601 pads.


I just know that when I put K601 pads on my Q701 all the bass goes out the window confused_face_2.gif


As for bass quantity with different pads I'd rank them as:


K501/K400 > K601 > K702/Q701 > K702 Anniversary


Of course you might be right. It's been a few years. Maybe with the K601 and "Annie" pads when your ears are closer to the drivers there is a little more bass.


I actually need to order K601 pads anyway since I want to use them with my K400. Stock pads are too thin sounding. Anniversary pads are nice, but I want something closer to the Q701 pads but not angled.


Also..FYI I always found the stock K601 warmer than the K702 (easily), but not the Q701.

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

I am curious how the Q701 sounds. Though I think I bought my K702 years before the Q701 even came out. Eventually I may try to find a used pair in the FS forum. It's not really a priority at the moment.


Your findings are interesting. Perhaps there was a difference between our 702s or our 601 pads. I have the newest version of the 601 and yours may have been an older Austrian model.


And it's interesting that the anniversary pads are flat. I'm betting this is the bulk of the "3db boost" in bass that they are claiming. I'm hearing at least 3db of an improvement with the 601 pads.


Here are some pictures just because:




Edited by Punnisher - 6/21/13 at 11:43am
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