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Recording and mixing music - need a DAC/AMP for K701's

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

So I have a pair of K701's I'm going to be mixing on.

 

When I got them I noticed the bass was quite lacking.  I've been using a Fractal Audio Axe-fx II as a sound card. (very high quality converters) and since it has a parametric EQ in it, I used some pink noise to try to flatten the response a bit.

 

Now the Fractal device has a TON of power on tap and the EQ did help a lot.  But it's no substitute for a good amplifier.

 

Do you think I should get a standalone DAC/Amp device or should I get just an amp and use it with the Fractal?  I'm leaning toward just getting a DAC.

 

I'd like something with a pretty flat response since I'm gonna be mixing on these.  But I would like some more bass as well.

 

My budget is around $200.  Hopefully less though.


Edited by jbandy10 - 1/28/14 at 8:53pm
post #2 of 21

Placing an EQ across your output is one of the worst things you can do for mixing as it gives a false representation of the actual music. You'd be much better off buying a DAC and amp. You'd be surprised on the difference, the headphone out of the AXE-FX isn't that good. It's a great modeler and processor though!

post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 

That's what I thought.

 

Oh by the way, my budget is under $200.  Preferably lower.

post #4 of 21

Look into Schiit amps and DACs. Also the O2 amp would be a good choice. Make sure you go solid state, not tube.

post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 

Would it be alright to look into DAC/AMP combos like the E17, Zero DAC, or even a Xonar Xts?

post #6 of 21
If the Fractal Audio device has a ton of power, then why would a dedicated headphone amp help? IMHO, you simply have the wrong headphones, or the bass you want to be there isn't in the source music. K701's are not bass heavy headphones - they are fairly neutral with a bit of roll-off in the bass.

post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 

It's not so much the lack of bass. It's the harshness in the upper mids. There's a lot of listening fatique. I used an eq with pink noise to attempt to flatten their response even more, and that made listening a lot better.

 

I was assuming the right amp would help with that and allow me to forgo the eq.  I'm not looking for power.


Edited by jbandy10 - 1/29/14 at 6:48am
post #8 of 21

For what you want the K701 are perfect. You want a neutral headphone for mixing. The Axe-FX's output is the issue. 

post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by adupree View Post
 

For what you want the K701 are perfect. You want a neutral headphone for mixing. The Axe-FX's output is the issue. 


That's fine and well, and I agree with you.  But I'm not really sure what kind of amp/dac I should get for them.

 

I've been looking at the Fiio E17 a lot.

 

The 02 amp + DAC looks great but it's out of my price range.

post #10 of 21

I have no experience with that one, maybe someone that does will chime in. Have you though about a DIY the O2 diy is like $80, and then you can find a DAC with the rest. Or the Schiit, Magni and Modi will be right at $200.

post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbandy10 View Post
 

So I have a pair of K701's I'm going to be mixing on.

 

When I got them I noticed the bass was quite lacking.  I've been using a Fractal Audio Axe-fx II as a sound card. (very high quality converters) and since it has a parametric EQ in it, I used some pink noise to try to flatten the response a bit.

 

Now the Fractal device has a TON of power on tap and the EQ did help a lot.  But it's no substitute for a good amplifier.

 

Do you think I should get a standalone DAC/Amp device or should I get just an amp and use it with the Fractal?  I'm leaning toward just getting a DAC.

 

I'd like something with a pretty flat response since I'm gonna be mixing on these.  But I would like some more bass as well.

 

My budget is around $200.  Hopefully less though.


If you only get a DAC, what will you plug the headphones into? You need some kind of amp (or a DAC that includes an amp in the same product). 

I would not expect a DAC/ amp combo to reduce your need for EQ. I used a Q701 with a variety of DACs and amps, and as long as the amp had enough power, the Q701 sounded like a Q701 on all of them. The differences are mostly in detail retrieval and soundstage. Maybe some small differences in frequency balance, but I don't think the harshness will change much unless you get a really colored amp. 

There is no reason not to use EQ. If the headphones have a coloration, removing that coloration through EQ will give a more accurate representation of the music. You want a flat response -- the headphones are not perfectly flat on their own. EQ can make them flatter. If you are careful with your EQ settings at least. 

post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post
 


If you only get a DAC, what will you plug the headphones into? You need some kind of amp (or a DAC that includes an amp in the same product). 

I would not expect a DAC/ amp combo to reduce your need for EQ. I used a Q701 with a variety of DACs and amps, and as long as the amp had enough power, the Q701 sounded like a Q701 on all of them. The differences are mostly in detail retrieval and soundstage. Maybe some small differences in frequency balance, but I don't think the harshness will change much unless you get a really colored amp. 

There is no reason not to use EQ. If the headphones have a coloration, removing that coloration through EQ will give a more accurate representation of the music. You want a flat response -- the headphones are not perfectly flat on their own. EQ can make them flatter. If you are careful with your EQ settings at least. 


This is what I thought as well.

 

Unfortunately someone said that the hardware I was using to EQ isn't very good.  And I'm not wanting to mess with a software EQ solution.

post #13 of 21

What's wrong with software EQ? There are plenty of parametric options out there. 

post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post
 

What's wrong with software EQ? There are plenty of parametric options out there. 


I would need something that I could permanently stick to my audio output.  I had a hard time finding something like that when I looked.

post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 

Nevermind, I searched for a while and found Equalizer APO.

 

So what is the consensus on the Axe-fx as a driver?  Sure it has enough volume but are the converters going to cut it do you guys think?

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