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Review and Comparison of the $200 Open-Back Underdogs: The AKG K612 Pro and the Sony MDR-MA900 - Page 2

post #16 of 89
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaLX View Post
 

So K612 Pro v Philips Fidelio X1?? Gentleman, enter the ring please.......:smile:  Don't know if this is a strictly fair completion. *edit* competition.


They are very different headphones from what I gather, haven't heard the X1 before, they may be in the same league sonically though, not sure. The K612 is not a basshead headphone by any stretch, it's focus is linearity, it does have a thick, deep, and solid low-end, but the midbass isn't elevated like a lot of headphones. Comparing the X1 to the K612 would probably be like comparing apples and oranges.

post #17 of 89

Great review. I agree on every point in your review. I own both the K612 and the MA900s, and I hands down prefer the K612 for listening to music, whereas I prefer the MA900s for gaming and watching movies due to their open soundstage and speaker-like imaging. The MA900s are like ear speakers, whereas the K612s are precise, linear sounding headphones. I find the MA900s to have this strange, muted shouty or grainy upper mid range and treble that gives me an inner ear ache, making them more fatiguing for me to listen to. They are slightly muted sounding, slightly less precise AKG Q701s, and are definitely not that dark or relaxing. I like both headphones, but for different purposes. 


Edited by bpandbass - 11/22/13 at 6:26pm
post #18 of 89
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bpandbass View Post
 

Great review. I agree on every point in your review. I own both the K612 and the MA900s, and I hands down prefer the K612 for listening to music, whereas I prefer the MA900s for gaming and watching movies due to their open soundstage and speaker-like imaging. The MA900s are like ear speakers, whereas the K612s are precise, linear sounding headphones. I find the MA900s to have this strange, muted shouty or grainy upper mid range and treble that gives me an inner ear ache, making them more fatiguing for me to listen to. They are slightly muted sounding, slightly less precise AKG Q701s, and are definitely not that dark or relaxing. I like both headphones, but for different purposes. 

Nice to see another person who owns both share a similar sentiment about the two headphones. I never had much trouble with the grain or upper midrange on the MA900, but I do hear the grain. I greatly prefer the K612 for music. I slightly prefer the K612 for movies and games because I appreciate it's greater depth and more precise imaging more than the MA900s speaker-like soundstage. The MA900 did roughly sound like a less refined Q701s to me as well. I only consider the MA900 slightly dark.


Edited by kman1211 - 11/22/13 at 6:49pm
post #19 of 89

I can already say that the X1 is a LOT more bassy heavy and more sparkly up top than the K612.

post #20 of 89

I know some people are going to want to stab me for saying this, but I find the the MA900s to sound almost like open back Bose AE2s, but with a leaner low end and and without a treble fizz on certain songs. I am likewise happy to see someone who is coming from the same position I am with the K612s and MA900s. Only difference is that I run the K612s off a Maverick Audio A1 instead of a Hifiman EF2A (which I DID briefly own, but it was defective). I find the K612s to be my favorite open back AKGs so far. They don't have as much bass as the K240s, but I find them a more linear, less harsh, better all rounder than the Q701s without that obnoxious tendency for the soundstage to pan extremely left and right with the center stage going dead. Though they are just as picky with DACs. I do think the K612s are less congested sounding than the K702 Annies, which were too dark for my liking. 

post #21 of 89
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bpandbass View Post
 

I know some people are going to want to stab me for saying this, but I find the the MA900s to sound almost like open back Bose AE2s, but with a leaner low end and and without a treble fizz on certain songs. I am likewise happy to see someone who is coming from the same position I am with the K612s and MA900s. Only difference is that I run the K612s off a Maverick Audio A1 instead of a Hifiman EF2A (which I DID briefly own, but it was defective). I find the K612s to be my favorite open back AKGs so far. They don't have as much bass as the K240s, but I find them a more linear, less harsh, better all rounder than the Q701s without that obnoxious tendency for the soundstage to pan extremely left and right with the center stage going dead. Though they are just as picky with DACs. I do think the K612s are less congested sounding than the K702 Annies, which were too dark for my liking. 

 

I personally found the MA900 to remind me slightly of the Sennheiser sound. How is the A1? I was considering getting it but opted for the EF2A instead. True, but the K612 does have quite a bit more subbass than the K240. I only auditioned the Q701 a few times, but I did hear the soundstage issues on a couple songs.

post #22 of 89

The Annies and K612s are different sounding. They are both slightly laid back but the Annies, thick analytical and dark, whereas the K612s are quicker and faster with a littles less detail and more neutrality. The K702s sound more detailed but I don't think they are necessarily worth twice the price. Overall I like the K612s more than the K702 Annies. 

post #23 of 89

I do agree there, I guess you could say the MA900s sound like lower end HD600s. The A1 is very very good. I will say that the A1 DOES pick up some interference from laptops and cell phones, but other than that I have no complaints. The Q701 has amazing soundstage when the song has good imaging, otherwise the center stage goes dead on older, less well mastered recordings. The Q701s to me are very picky with sources and songs, which make them a lesser all rounder for the price compared to the K612s, which sound good on anything except songs that require synthetic, fake sounding bass like Southern rap and dubstep. The K240s have a TON of upper bass and are very musical, but drop off from there. Basically opposite of the Beyer DT990 Pros, which have strong sub bass but lean upper bass.

post #24 of 89
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bpandbass View Post
 

I do agree there, I guess you could say the MA900s sound like lower end HD600s. The A1 is very very good. I will say that the A1 DOES pick up some interference from laptops and cell phones, but other than that I have no complaints. The Q701 has amazing soundstage when the song has good imaging, otherwise the center stage goes dead on older, less well mastered recordings. The Q701s to me are very picky with sources and songs, which make them a lesser all rounder for the price compared to the K612s, which sound good on anything except songs that require synthetic, fake sounding bass like Southern rap and dubstep. The K240s have a TON of upper bass and are very musical, but drop off from there. Basically opposite of the Beyer DT990 Pros, which have strong sub bass but lean upper bass.

 

Yeah, I found the MA900 to be more similar to the HD 558 than the HD 600. Ah I see, my Magni does that on occasion but it was no big deal, I haven't gotten any interference with the EF2A.  I thought the songs the Q701 messed up were well recorded, they were older though. I found the K612 to do fine with rap and dubstep. I do miss the DT 990 for very bottom heavy music though. I am getting my old soundstage modded Senn HD 555 from home over Thanksgiving break, the things are really bassy some reason, the last time I tried them on tubes the bass went insane and they were bassier than the DT 990s. 


Edited by kman1211 - 11/22/13 at 8:07pm
post #25 of 89

I find that after a while the DT990s do tend to be a bit droning with the bass due to the slightly lean upper bass. I find them to be the other way around from the AKG K240s, which are VERY bass heavy in the upper bass but roll off in the sub bass range.

post #26 of 89
kman1211,
A nice review, I feel that even if my preferences didn't match yours (they do tho) I would be able to gain relative info about both headphones.

What would you consider to be a good DAC behind the headphones? Would a Creative SB Z be good "enough?" I just got one, but I can't really use it for music (everything is in my Mac), I almost got to demo an ODAC but for some reason my computer of the time didn't recognize it. I'm not sure you gain much after you get a "good enough" DAC.
post #27 of 89
Thread Starter 

I found that the case too, I did find the DT 990 to lose their luster after a bit as well.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

kman1211,
A nice review, I feel that even if my preferences didn't match yours (they do tho) I would be able to gain relative info about both headphones.

What would you consider to be a good DAC behind the headphones? Would a Creative SB Z be good "enough?" I just got one, but I can't really use it for music (everything is in my Mac), I almost got to demo an ODAC but for some reason my computer of the time didn't recognize it. I'm not sure you gain much after you get a "good enough" DAC.

 

Ah I see. I think the Creative SB Z would be enough, anything that would work for the Q701 would work for the K612 basically in terms of DACs. You will know if there is a bad dac behind it, the headphones will distort. Actually you gain quite a bit after a good enough DAC. A high-end system is truly something else.


Edited by kman1211 - 11/22/13 at 10:31pm
post #28 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by kman1211 View Post
Well it does to a degree but honestly the headphone needs an amp, you basically have to crank the volume way up to get normal listening levels and underamped it doesn't have quite as much bass and it just doesn't sound as good as it's a bit compressed and held back sounding, there may be slight distortion in the bass as well, but it's not terrible but it's obviously held back. It needs an amp and decent dac to sound it's best. I didn't find it picky with amps, it sounds pretty good on basically any amp I plugged it into as long as it gets that extra bit of power it needs, it really needs a decent dac though, something like a decent soundcard or an external dac such as the Modi would be sufficient. If the DAC isn't up to par or dirty, you get quite bad distortion.

 

I think while the MA900 is easily powered, it at least needs a decent DAC behind it and amping does make it sound better. I think the MA900 responds well to tubes, at least the tube amps I tried it on, both mine and my friends. The Magni wasn't a good match for the MA900, it made the bass ill-defined and veiled at times and the treble a bit more grainy.

 

If that's the case, then it eliminates one of the advantages of dynamics from my point of view.

 

Once I have to start budgeting for an amp, especially tube amps, I might as well start pinching pennies and scouring eBay for another Stax SR-Lambda / SRM-T1 setup like I used to have. That still remains the best headphone setup I've heard by far, but had to go when money got tight. 'Stat amps are wallet killers, and if I'm to take spritzer's advice and not even bother with any dynamic amp lesser than the discontinued Gilmore Lite...argh, Head-Fi...

 

Also keep in mind DAC-wise that I'm generally running headphones with an X-Fi Titanium HD in mind, possibly X-Fi Prelude if it's one of my older computers. I'm pretty set there.


Edited by NamelessPFG - 11/23/13 at 12:33am
post #29 of 89

I myself found the k612 just meh. The tonality isn't as offensive as the old k701 I had but that cheap sound is still there. A fake timbre glazing over everything. Bass/mids/treble balance is okay as a whole but I just can't get past that hollow sound. I would take a sennheiser hd555 over the k612 or k701 for that matter any day of the week. 

 

I haven't heard the ma900 yet but if it is closer in tonality to sennheisers plus add the open angled sound, I may prefer them more. Heck, I need to buy one already :D

post #30 of 89

I am the complete opposite from you. I find the AKG mids MUCH more natural than Senns and the Senn mids to sound hollow and artificial. 

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