Originally Posted by CommunistCookie
I bought my AD700s for gaming in my room about a year ago, and they've served that purpose as well as I could ask for. But now I live in a college dorm with roommates, and far less time for gaming. So here are my criteria for a new set of cans as well as any helpful info.
- Budget is approx $300, flexible
- I'd like the new cans to be closed or at least semi-open, and over-ear
- I'm using them more for music now than gaming, but I'd still like a respectable soundstage for whenever I have free time
- I listen to all kinds of music so I'd like them to be relatively neutral
- Substantial bass presence - my two biggest gripes with the AD700s are the lack of bass and the lack of isolation
- I'll primarily be using them at my desk, so they don't need to be portable
- I'm also using a Creative X-fi Titanium HD right now
Just about 2 weeks ago, I upgraded for the Audio Technica ATH-AD700s to the AKG K550s. I agree with many of the things that you say about the AD700s. The soundstage on the K550s is not far off the AD700s but it was for sure worth the upgrade just for the amount of bass the K550s have in comparison to the AD700s. The treble is slightly brighter and the over all soundstage does seem to sound a little more open on the AD700s. It is in music I notice this. Wind instruments and acoustic music just has a little more of that transparent sound. But the huge problem is just like you said, the sound leakage! Also, like you said they block very little sound indeed. The K550s though, they have a lot more power and punch to the bass. I have a headphone amplifier (the FiiO E11) and if I boost the bass fully on that with the AD700s, that has less power in the bass than the K550s have when it is on flat!
They do a very, very good job of blocking the sound leakage too. I can listen to music quite loud with other people around me and it isn't often that they notice. So in a place with a little more noise, I really don't think that will be a problem. They also cut out the noise around you which was another reason I bought them to replace the AD700s. Something I noticed when I have been listening to them while traveling is that the bass seems to reduce quite a lot but I think that is normal. I will still for sure keep my AD700s because I love their soundstage and I will use them when I am in the mood for that slightly more open sound. I would only say it is better for certain types of music though.
About comfort, It took me a while to get used to the very different feeling ear pads. A sort of leather-ish materiel or something because it does not feel as nice as the AD700s do. But it is that materiel that really helps keep the sound in and keep the outside noise out. Also, if you love the AD700s 3D wing support things like I do, it also takes a while to get used to the K550s very thin padding on the headband. I got used to that in just a week though. The K550s build quality is a huge amount better than the AD700s. A lot of the frame is made out of aluminum and feels very solid.
With these headphones, you still get that really good "sense of surround" felling if you know what I mean. It could be to do with the size of the drivers or something. Like the AD700s, these do really sound like you are in the room with the band with the sound coming from all different directions but just with a huge amount more impact to the bass. I was watching a film the other day, and the power of explosions is just incredible if you compare them to the AD700s. You really do feel it going through you. That is without taking away the other details. All that without disturbing anybody.
I definitely think that these were worth the upgrade but there will be many headphones out there. I just don't think that many will be closed back headphones that have that very bright treble like the AD700s. The K550s do sound very close.
They were well worth the price for me.