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Review and Comparison of the $200 Open-Back Underdogs: The AKG K612 Pro and the Sony MDR-MA900 - Page 4

post #46 of 84
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lsamod View Post


thanks! how's the sound out of the box and burnin time?

They take a while to burn in and it does take a week or two for comfort to reach it's best. The sound changes the most in the first few hours, the bass fills in more and becomes thicker. They will have a thickish sound to them. The midbass won't be as prominent as you are likely used to, but it's something you get used to and it does fill in a bit with time.

post #47 of 84

Hi Kman, 

 

Great review! Thanks for that! I am 99% sure to get the 612 for X-mas. I have one question left. 

I am new to this message board, and while I am not a complete noob in the audio world, I kinda am in the headphone world. 

You guys are talking about good amps and DAC's. Would a Marantz receiver (SR5600) suffice (or in fact, any receiver/ normal amp, or is a headphone amp just a total new league for headphones)? The DAC is reasonable I think (only tried one seperate DAC once, and while the sound improved, it was not enough to spend the 400 euro it was priced). Marantz is also stated as one of the more clean amplifiers I think, is this a good match with the 612 you think? won't be "too clear" together? (as far as thats possible)


99.9% of my experience with my Marantz is not using headphones but using normal speakers FYI

 

Again, thanks for the write up, it is a bummer the 612 is so unknown. It is even hard finding reviews about it!

 

p.s. what do you think about heat production around your ears? are they usable in the summer for longer sessions?


Edited by Qupie - 12/18/13 at 7:29am
post #48 of 84
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Qupie View Post
 

Hi Kman, 

 

Great review! Thanks for that! I am 99% sure to get the 612 for X-mas. I have one question left. 

I am new to this message board, and while I am not a complete noob in the audio world, I kinda am in the headphone world. 

You guys are talking about good amps and DAC's. Would a Marantz receiver (SR5600) suffice (or in fact, any receiver/ normal amp, or is a headphone amp just a total new league for headphones)? The DAC is reasonable I think (only tried one seperate DAC once, and while the sound improved, it was not enough to spend the 400 euro it was priced). Marantz is also stated as one of the more clean amplifiers I think, is this a good match with the 612 you think? won't be "too clear" together? (as far as thats possible)


99.9% of my experience with my Marantz is not using headphones but using normal speakers FYI

 

Again, thanks for the write up, it is a bummer the 612 is so unknown. It is even hard finding reviews about it!

 

p.s. what do you think about heat production around your ears? are they usable in the summer for longer sessions?

It should do fine on a receiver, I have tested it on a Sony receiver(can't recall the model number) and it did pretty well but not as good as a desktop headphone amp. Not sure, never heard an Marantz receiver before. From my personal experience the K612 sounds it's best on powerful tube amplifiers or hybrid tube amplifiers as they seem to prefer the full-bodied sound of tubes over a clean sounding amp.

 

Well I don't know much about receivers but I gather they usually do better with speakers than headphones.

 

It is a rather unknown headphone like it's predecessor the K601.

 

I don't have any problems with heat build-up on the headphone.

post #49 of 84
I've used my Q701's with my Yamaha receiver several times with satisfying, clean results; the K612 (with it's higher impedance) ought to be even less affected by any cost-cutting measures in the receiver's headphone jack, while your high-end Marantz ought to be an upgrade over my entry-level Yamaha. Your Marantz may even have a virtual surround feature for headphones and movies, look for Dolby Headphone or something like that in your user's manual.

The only thing about receivers: the cost is split between many many different components and decoder licenses, so the DAC or headphone section may not be as high quality as a separate DAC and amp. That said, the SR5600 is a very good receiver, so use your own ears and judgement. I think you'll enjoy the combo!
post #50 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post
Well, the STAX need a special amp to work at all, from what I gather. From you. Meanwhile, you already hear what the MA900 sounds like straight from your more modest (amp wise) Ti HD, and if you enjoy the sonic character/balance NOW and it sounds even better with an amp you can (optionally) add later to hear it at it's best, then I think the budget flexibility is a great benefit when your finances are in flux.

 

It's kind of hard to explain if you've never heard one, but the SR-Lambda with original-spec drivers in working order...that thing's worth having a specialized amp for, it's that good. It's even the reason why I insist on Stax amps with Normal bias capability, since I have yet to hear a Pro bias Lambda that can touch that midrange, out of the one or two I've heard. (However, I'd be foolish not to pick one out that also had Pro bias for compatibility's sake. That's the reason I tend to center on the SRM-1/Mk2 Pro and SRM-T1, along with the SRM-313 variant that has a Normal bias jack.)

 

I should also reiterate that I do already have the means to drive Normal bias Stax sets still with those two transformer boxes, just as I always had prior to the SRM-T1 and SRM-212, but it requires breaking out that A/V receiver and having it dominate my computer desk again. That's a whole 'lotta amp just to drive headphones, you know. I really need a more compact speaker amp, but it's said the transformer boxes really deserve some clean Class A power backing them.

 

The MA900's treble presentation is too much of a weakness to ignore, even if I like everything else about it. The MMX 300/DT770-with-mic is already unquestionably superior there, even unamped, and that's before getting into "walks all over everything" Stax territory. No dynamic I've heard has that distinct sense of clarity and effortlessness while retaining that sparkle and vibrancy, like it doesn't sound harsh doing it (unless that's already what's in the recording).

 

It takes a special sort of headphone for me to justify dedicating hard-earned money on an amp for it, one where I already like its sonic character in full. There's only one headphone I can well and truly say that about at the moment, and it should be quite obvious by now.

 

...Then again, Mad Lust Envy and the rest say that all Beyerdynamics need amps too like all AKGs do, and guess what? The MMX 300 sounds fine without one to my ears. I don't know how much of that is because of the 32-ohm impedance, but we all know that impedance DOES NOT EQUAL sensitivity.

 

So in light of that, maybe I would like the K612 Pro's sound without having to need to drop another $100-500 on a dedicated amp or breaking out that A/V receiver. Only one way to find out, after all.

 

Going down that path will have to wait, however. I already did just spend a fair chunk of change on this MMX 300, and I'm not sure I want to sell the MA900 yet.


Edited by NamelessPFG - 12/20/13 at 3:16am
post #51 of 84

Just purchased a 612.  Thanks for a great review, kman!  Looking forward to listening on my tube amps.  

post #52 of 84
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tattoou2 View Post
 

Just purchased a 612.  Thanks for a great review, kman!  Looking forward to listening on my tube amps.  

 

I hope you enjoy them. They are a nice non-fatiguing headphone that is quite musical especially on tubes. Tubes add a nice body and texture to the sound. The K612 has a nice sense of realism and naturalness I haven't heard in any other headphone below $200.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post
 

 

It's kind of hard to explain if you've never heard one, but the SR-Lambda with original-spec drivers in working order...that thing's worth having a specialized amp for, it's that good. It's even the reason why I insist on Stax amps with Normal bias capability, since I have yet to hear a Pro bias Lambda that can touch that midrange, out of the one or two I've heard. (However, I'd be foolish not to pick one out that also had Pro bias for compatibility's sake. That's the reason I tend to center on the SRM-1/Mk2 Pro and SRM-T1, along with the SRM-313 variant that has a Normal bias jack.)

 

I should also reiterate that I do already have the means to drive Normal bias Stax sets still with those two transformer boxes, just as I always had prior to the SRM-T1 and SRM-212, but it requires breaking out that A/V receiver and having it dominate my computer desk again. That's a whole 'lotta amp just to drive headphones, you know. I really need a more compact speaker amp, but it's said the transformer boxes really deserve some clean Class A power backing them.

 

The MA900's treble presentation is too much of a weakness to ignore, even if I like everything else about it. The MMX 300/DT770-with-mic is already unquestionably superior there, even unamped, and that's before getting into "walks all over everything" Stax territory. No dynamic I've heard has that distinct sense of clarity and effortlessness while retaining that sparkle and vibrancy, like it doesn't sound harsh doing it (unless that's already what's in the recording).

 

It takes a special sort of headphone for me to justify dedicating hard-earned money on an amp for it, one where I already like its sonic character in full. There's only one headphone I can well and truly say that about at the moment, and it should be quite obvious by now.

 

...Then again, Mad Lust Envy and the rest say that all Beyerdynamics need amps too like all AKGs do, and guess what? The MMX 300 sounds fine without one to my ears. I don't know how much of that is because of the 32-ohm impedance, but we all know that impedance DOES NOT EQUAL sensitivity.

 

So in light of that, maybe I would like the K612 Pro's sound without having to need to drop another $100-500 on a dedicated amp or breaking out that A/V receiver. Only one way to find out, after all.

 

Going down that path will have to wait, however. I already did just spend a fair chunk of change on this MMX 300, and I'm not sure I want to sell the MA900 yet.


Not all AKGs or Beyers need amps, a lot do though. I personally find the K612 one of the AKGs that needs an amp and it sings on tubes, but it doesn't sound as bad as the Q701 unamped for example. I like AKGs because I find them very musical while having good clarity, I like my headphones to be euphonic and I will work with headphones I find musical and don't have any glaring flaws to make them sound their best. The MA900 sounds better fleshed out than the K612 unamped though.

 

I know what you are talking about when it comes to treble on electrostats. The only dynamic I know of that is on par to electrostats in treble reproduction and has an effortless and completely grain-free treble yet is wonderfully well-extended and clear with sparkle and air without being harsh has to be the R10. Many Beyers have among the smoothest treble response of any dynamics I have heard, the problem is that many Beyers like to boost the treble in the 10khz region to a point where it becomes a bit harsh, but if that is smoothed out they have very little grain in the treble.


Edited by kman1211 - 12/20/13 at 7:43am
post #53 of 84

great comparison! you just got another one interested in the k612s

post #54 of 84

Thanks for this comparison!

 

The MA900 is a personal favourite of mine and this comparo prodded me to take up a deal and get a pair of K612's. I'm kind of excited about anything that might compare favourably with the MA900 in terms of overall value / comfort / sound. Honestly though I have to say I've never been a big fan of AKG headphones in the past, and I did find timbre in the K701 a little off. I've been recommended a few times to try the K612 though.

 

Anyway, looking forward to getting a pair of these Austrian beauties in my hands :3

post #55 of 84
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by a_recording View Post
 

Thanks for this comparison!

 

The MA900 is a personal favourite of mine and this comparo prodded me to take up a deal and get a pair of K612's. I'm kind of excited about anything that might compare favourably with the MA900 in terms of overall value / comfort / sound. Honestly though I have to say I've never been a big fan of AKG headphones in the past, and I did find timbre in the K701 a little off. I've been recommended a few times to try the K612 though.

 

Anyway, looking forward to getting a pair of these Austrian beauties in my hands :3


I hope you enjoy them. I found AKGs in general to be sensitive headphones, minor changes in the system can yield quite drastic changes. The K701 had center imaging issues and a glare in the upper midrange that messed with the timbre, I wasn't a big fan of it either as it didn't sound quite right.

post #56 of 84

How do you think an Aune T1 would drive the K612s? Ive heard a couple of people liking the AKG Annie's with the Aune T1

post #57 of 84
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tigim101 View Post

How do you think an Aune T1 would drive the K612s? Ive heard a couple of people liking the AKG Annie's with the Aune T1

Not sure, haven't heard the amp. As long as the Aune isn't overly laid-back sounding it should do quite well. If it's forward sounding like the EF2A, it should do very well.
post #58 of 84

Okay, I just received my K612's and I just wanted to give my first impressions versus the MA900.

 

I do agree with most of kman's points in the comparison. The K612 does sound like the more detailed and transparent headphone, most noticeably because lower treble is more forward. Overall it is a more dry sounding headphone with a sort of texture / sizzle that seems to come from a stronger emphasis on the top end.

 

That said, I do not really enjoying the K612 precisely for this reason. Keep in mind that I did not like the AKG K550 or K701 for similar reasons; for some reason there's something about the way AKG headphones are turned for mids that just doesn't work for me. It sounds slightly artificial to me, but that's just my preference.

 

The MA900 is definitely more subdued and sleepy, and when I swap between one and the other I still feel more 'comfortable' with the MA900.

 

Will do some more listening and report how it goes.

post #59 of 84
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by a_recording View Post
 

Okay, I just received my K612's and I just wanted to give my first impressions versus the MA900.

 

I do agree with most of kman's points in the comparison. The K612 does sound like the more detailed and transparent headphone, most noticeably because lower treble is more forward. Overall it is a more dry sounding headphone with a sort of texture / sizzle that seems to come from a stronger emphasis on the top end.

 

That said, I do not really enjoying the K612 precisely for this reason. Keep in mind that I did not like the AKG K550 or K701 for similar reasons; for some reason there's something about the way AKG headphones are turned for mids that just doesn't work for me. It sounds slightly artificial to me, but that's just my preference.

 

The MA900 is definitely more subdued and sleepy, and when I swap between one and the other I still feel more 'comfortable' with the MA900.

 

Will do some more listening and report how it goes.

 

The 2khz region is likely to blame for that, if you can I would try reducing that region slightly. Also I found giving them time is best, the pads and possibly drivers take forever to break in, the sound changes a bit once it breaks in.

 

System differences could be a factor, I was comparing the two on the EF2A. I also had the Magni but I found both the K612 and MA900 to sound a lot better on the EF2A to my ears.

 

What systems did you try the K550 and K701 on?

post #60 of 84

I've got an O2 / ODAC and also tried out of my iPhone 5 for kicks hah.

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