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amp for the K701

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

hello,
i'm a long time lurker looking to finally get a decent pair of headphone. got a deal on a AKG k701, so thats basically settled. i wanted an open pair of headphones and altho i listen to all kinds of music, i loved the airy soundstage and didn't find the bass annoying.

on to the amp/dac.
i kinda narrowed it down to 3 choices.
- the Fiio e09k - cheepest, supposed to be able to drive the k701. 
- the aune t1 - Tube dac/ss amp. this seems to get a lot of praise from the people who tried it.
- the little dot mk 3 - most expensive. altho most people don't recommend it for the k701 based on tech specs, a lot of people that tried the k701 on the ld mk3 seemed to say it drives them well.

 

i understand these are REALLY different solutions. i'm looking at the little dot mk3 since people say the k701 is so analytical. i'm thinking the tube sound would tone that down a bit while keeping the nice soundstage. tube rolling would also allow me to try different stuff and customise the sound. would this be a nice choice for the k701? the ld's price is also the max price i'd be willing to invest. 

with the aune t1 i'd also get a DAC (i wont be able to afford one if i get the fiio or the ld). how much difference would this make from my imac's line out? will i get the same kinda tubey sound i'd get from the LD? how would the two compare? 

lastly the fiio is the cheapest alternative. people seem to agree this is a pretty solid choice for the k701. will the ld/aune sound better then the fiio? or just different? 

cheers and thanks for any help! not being able to listen to them before ordering is a total PITA :D

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post #2 of 13

Try reading the posts in this thread or post your own question about a headphone amplifier for the K701s.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/321237/k701-appreciation-thread

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

if you've read my post you could probably figure out i've already read threads regarding the k701 and the different amps i've listed. i'm interested in people who have 1st hand experience with the k701 on the LD (there seems to be a contradiction if it's actually a good match, while some people think it wouldn't be a good match by looking at the specs, some people that actually have the combo seem to say its an ok match), or the aune (not that much info regarding the aune/k701 combo). the fiio seems to be an ok match from what i've read. i've only listed it there so maybe somebody that had it and got an ld/aune could post a comparison. 

 

thanks for the replay though.

post #4 of 13

I would think the Bravo Ocean tube amplifier ($120) would do a good job with the K701.


Edited by PurpleAngel - 10/20/13 at 6:51pm
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

thanks! i'll have to look into this one as well

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

OK, another week of reading head-fi and i'm still not decided. Dropped the Aune from the list as i've read the amp could be better but added the Matrix M-stage. People seem to love this with the k701.

 

So it boils down to either a SS (the M-stage) or a tube amp (either the OTL LittleDot Mk III or the hybrid LittleDot I+ - that also happens to be cheeper). I'd love the tube rolling possibilities but not if that means sacrificing SQ.

 

I'm currently driving the k701 using an Fiio E10. Safe to say any of the 3 amps will be a noticeable upgrade, right?

post #7 of 13

I find aune house sound is on the bright side. AKG K70x do its best with neutral or dark amp imo.

post #8 of 13

I don't have any experience with the amps you've listed, but I would definitely push you towards a tube amp.

 

Every amp is going to color the sound each in its own way.  With a SS, what you hear (after break-in) is all you'll ever get.  The tube amp gives you that extra bit of customization.  It does add an extra expense, but I think it's worth it. 

post #9 of 13

I don't have the K701's but the Q701's and they sound great with the M-Stage but sing with the Burson HA-160..

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ULTRA-HARMONICS View Post
 

I don't have the K701's but the Q701's and they sound great with the M-Stage but sing with the Burson HA-160..

hehe, the Burson must be great but it's way out of my price range unfortunately. i'd be going quite a bit over budget with the m-stage as is.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MajorError View Post
 

I don't have any experience with the amps you've listed, but I would definitely push you towards a tube amp.

 

Every amp is going to color the sound each in its own way.  With a SS, what you hear (after break-in) is all you'll ever get.  The tube amp gives you that extra bit of customization.  It does add an extra expense, but I think it's worth it. 

thats what really got me interested in tube amps. i listen to ALOT of different genres and i was thinking some would benefit from certain kinds of tubes while others would benefit from others. 

i've email'd david @ littledot and he told me both the LD I+ and the LD Mk III would work on the k701 but that i'd get the best sound quality from the I+ from the two. gotta respect them for not pushing the more expensive product just for the sake of it :D.

post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by mindwar View Post
 

hehe, the Burson must be great but it's way out of my price range unfortunately. i'd be going quite a bit over budget with the m-stage as is.

 

thats what really got me interested in tube amps. i listen to ALOT of different genres and i was thinking some would benefit from certain kinds of tubes while others would benefit from others. 

i've email'd david @ littledot and he told me both the LD I+ and the LD Mk III would work on the k701 but that i'd get the best sound quality from the I+ from the two. gotta respect them for not pushing the more expensive product just for the sake of it :D.

 

David's given you some really good advice there.  The K701/K702/Q701 all require more current than voltage.  The current can generally be better supplied by a hybrid (eg LD1+) or Solid State amp.  Tube amps generally provide more voltage.

 

Second to consider is the output impedance of the headphone out.  Generally an OTL tube amp will have a relatively high output impedance - usually in the 30+ ohm range. That's why (when you factor a 1:8 damping ratio) - they're usually better for higher impedance headphones.  EG 30 * 8 = 240 ohms - so ideally suited for headphones like the Senn HD600/650/800, Beyer DT880/990 etc.  A hybrid or solid state is generally designed with much lower output impedance - often between 0-10 ohms - and much better suited to harder to drive headphones with low impedance (ie like the K701/K702/Q701).  Eg 5 * 8 = 40 ohm (ideally suited to 62 ohm headphone).

 

Not to say that an OTL won't be good with the X701/2 series.  I quite enjoy my LD MKIV with my K702.  But for the most part - I actually use my SS amp for both the K702 and also my RS1.  I save the LD for my HD600s.

 

Anyway - another option for a suitable amp to drive your K701's - Audio-gd NFB 15.32.  I own the older model (12.1).  It uses dual Wolfson WM8741 for the DAC section - and although pretty neutral, there is a slight hint of warmth, and definitely full bodied (nothing thin about it).  Very powerful A class amp - and suitable for anything from 32ohm up to 600ohm - so plenty of scaleability.  You can also isolate the DAC and go line-level out to another tube amp if you ever want to add that option.

 

Audio-gd is a great company to work with - and for the features, the 15.32 is a steal at USD235 + freight.  Link here if you are interested (http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB1532/NFB15.32EN.htm).

 

I loved it when I owned the Q701 - and it's my first choice with the K702 now.  HTH.


Edited by Brooko - 10/21/13 at 3:05pm
post #12 of 13

The Qinpu A3 is a fine match with K701.  Now I want to try the LDMkIII and Qinpu A6000.  =X

post #13 of 13
701 + tubes = a happy chappy, currently running Q701s and MF X-Can v3 and loving the combo.
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