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[Help]A hi-fi headphone recommendation

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

So I was a music lover for several years but never an audiophile due to both time and financial reasons. The best headphone I've owned by now is my AKG Q460. However, now that I've saved some money, I'm considering taking a step forward and purchase a hi-fi headphone. I've done some research recently, and have narrowed down to the following headphones:

1. Sennheiser HD 600/650

2. AKG Q701/K702 (65th anniversary?)

Just FYI, my budget is no more than $500 on the headphone and $200 on the amp.

Basically these two categories of headphones are what I like most for now, but the more reviews I see, the more confused I got. So I would like to hear my fellow experts' opinion. I listen to New Age (mostly Yanni and piano solos) and Classical most of the time (about 60-40 on the two). I may be a noob in this, but I tend to pay more attention on the highs and mid-highs. I would only really care about the bass when I listen to pop occasionally. And the mids are somewhere in the middle.

So what do you guys think would be the best choice for me? (You don't need to limit your opinions on the ones I gave, any other recommendations are welcome, as long as the reasons are included) Also, besides the recommendations, could anyone also help me clarify the following questions?

1. What's the difference between HD600 and 650? From what I gathered from the forum, the 650 seems to be warmer than the 600 whereas the latter is more neutral.

2. What's the difference between Q701 and K702? And what are the improvements (if any) made from K702 to the anniversary version?

In the end, I would also get some recommendations on a nice portable amp. I know that good amps are over $1000, but I would like to have one that can at least get most of the headphone's potentials. In case you need to know, I'm using it on a mac in my dorms most of the time. I don't suppose these headphones are what you take on the way to class :P

<side note> I don't know why, but I never really like the look of the HD 600 and 650... I like, aesthetically, AKGs better, but that's just on the outside ^_^

Thanks again guys, u r the best :)

post #2 of 11

HD600 is quite neutral, and HD650 has more bass and a somewhat hazy treble. Both have a rolled off treble, which is the main difference between them and the AKGs. The AKGs sound crisper and sound more open because of their build.

 

Q701 has a little more bass that K70x. There's a bass mod that applies to both though, if you find either bass light. The annie is a K702 with memory foam pads, which gives it a slightly warmer sound. You can buy the pads separately and put them on K702, if you want to.

 

How portable does the amp need to be? O2, for example, will do what you want but it's very big for a portable. Headamp makes some other good portables; I'm not sure how well they drive 300 ohm models.

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the clarification. But... What would your conclusion be, i.e., which one should I buy or do you have any other recommendations?

And as for the amps, I mean portable as in "not bulky", at least when setting next to my MBP 15. I've checked FiiO, and I like the E12 a lot. However, I don't know whether it's "good" or not, only that it can drive up to 300 ohm. Also, what's DAC? I see on their website that they have amp and amp+DAC. Which one should I look for? I checked the E18 which is an amp+DAC, but it can only drive for up to 150 ohm...

post #4 of 11

If care about the bass, look more closely at HD650 and Q701. Either way, the question is whether you prefer a crisp but not sharp treble (AKG) or a somewhat rolled off treble (Sennheiser). If you're not sure, play with an equalizer. Note: this is not a sure-fire method, but if you EQ to follow these FR charts, it should give you a rough idea. You can see that biggest difference between them in the treble is at 2 and 6-8 kHz.

 

 

 

 

Roughly speaking, a external DAC converts the audio file (digits) to analog output (energy) that corresponds to the sound waves. It should sound clearer than your soundcard--the internal DAC--depending on how good your soundcard is. JDS's O2+ODAC combo is pretty small. You might want a more powerful adapter if you plan to drive 300 ohms at high volmes.

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks, that graph is looks so professional! (although I cannot fully understand it :) )

Based on your analysis, I think I'm gonna go with AKG. I don't like the rolled-off feel of treble. And after reading some more comparisons between Q701 and K702, I think I may choose the former. However, I've heard that the headband bumps may not be that comfortable. Is it true (if you own one)?

Also, I checked on AKG website, and just found out that the impedance for both Q701 and K702 is only 62 ohm. So say IF one day I want to use my iPhone or iPad without a portable amp, can they drive it properly? Would the sound be too low?

One last thing, I don't know how the amp or DAC works, but does the ability to drive have anything to do with the type of audio playing on my laptop? In other words, say I have the Q701 with the JDS O2+ODAC and my MBP, would I get the same quality if I play FLAC audio or if I play DTS in a movie, or whatever type of audio a game uses?

post #6 of 11

When AKG first released K701 in 2005/6, the headband had seven bumps, which I can imagine made it uncomfortable: that central bump would press into the head. The revision has eight bumps, which distributes the pressure. I haven't been bothered by the bumps. Some users are and some aren't. If they bother you, you can always cut them off! A few have done that mod and posted photos.

 

So far as I know file format doesn't have any effect on an amp's capacity to drive. I'm pretty sure that if it did, it would so minor as to be inconsequential compared to other aspects of amplification.

 

The impedance rating of certain brands (AKG, Hifiman) doesn't accurately reflect real life use. They need more juice than similarly rated models, but you lose nothing by trying. But all models sound better amped.

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks, that was really helpful.

I have another somewhat unrelated question, but I don't wanna create another thread, so I'll just ask here. Now that I've got the indoor headphone decided, could you also recommend one that works better on the way? I have the q460 which works fine outside, it has moderate level of noise isolation (I wouldn't say it's decent, but it's noticeable), and the sound quality is fine too. But I wonder is there any better choices that even though cannot be as good as the q701, can at least be somewhat comparable as to sound quality, and can be somewhat portable, that I can use with on my iPhone without a portable amp?

The sound quality requirements and budgets can be the same as the indoor one.

post #8 of 11

Sure. KNS8400 is surprisingly like K702. It's very resolving and clear, with a crisp treble and somewhat bass light (more bass than K702 though). Comfort and isolation are above average. The only negative is the stock detachable cable which can be replaced. I think the standard replacement cable is--Q460's. 

post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by JupiterM View Post
 

So I was a music lover for several years but never an audiophile due to both time and financial reasons. The best headphone I've owned by now is my AKG Q460. However, now that I've saved some money, I'm considering taking a step forward and purchase a hi-fi headphone. I've done some research recently, and have narrowed down to the following headphones:

1. Sennheiser HD 600/650

2. AKG Q701/K702 (65th anniversary?)

Just FYI, my budget is no more than $500 on the headphone and $200 on the amp.

Basically these two categories of headphones are what I like most for now, but the more reviews I see, the more confused I got. So I would like to hear my fellow experts' opinion. I listen to New Age (mostly Yanni and piano solos) and Classical most of the time (about 60-40 on the two). I may be a noob in this, but I tend to pay more attention on the highs and mid-highs. I would only really care about the bass when I listen to pop occasionally. And the mids are somewhere in the middle.

So what do you guys think would be the best choice for me? (You don't need to limit your opinions on the ones I gave, any other recommendations are welcome, as long as the reasons are included) Also, besides the recommendations, could anyone also help me clarify the following questions?

1. What's the difference between HD600 and 650? From what I gathered from the forum, the 650 seems to be warmer than the 600 whereas the latter is more neutral.

2. What's the difference between Q701 and K702? And what are the improvements (if any) made from K702 to the anniversary version?

In the end, I would also get some recommendations on a nice portable amp. I know that good amps are over $1000, but I would like to have one that can at least get most of the headphone's potentials. In case you need to know, I'm using it on a mac in my dorms most of the time. I don't suppose these headphones are what you take on the way to class :P

<side note> I don't know why, but I never really like the look of the HD 600 and 650... I like, aesthetically, AKGs better, but that's just on the outside ^_^

Thanks again guys, u r the best :)

http://www.head-fi.org/t/705599/price-drop-fs-mint-hifiman-he-500-w-all-new-unused-earpads-options-free-usps-priority

Get an O2 amplifier, and this 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/SMSL-Sanskrit-SK-DAC-USB-96K-Coaxial-Optical-24bit-192kHz-SD-1955-upgrade-B-/111274353147

Probably best setup under $700

http://www.jdslabs.com/products/35/objective2-headphone-amplifier/


Edited by headphonatic - 2/28/14 at 6:54pm
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post
 

Sure. KNS8400 is surprisingly like K702. It's very resolving and clear, with a crisp treble and somewhat bass light (more bass than K702 though). Comfort and isolation are above average. The only negative is the stock detachable cable which can be replaced. I think the standard replacement cable is--Q460's. 

So I checked on Amazon, the KNS8400 is about $120, which is about the same prize as the Q460 on amazon. Does the 8400 has big improvements than the Q460 in sound quality and/or isolation? Cuz if not, I don't want to spend another $100 on a headphone with similar qualities.

Also, how is the quality (as in durability and build quality) of KRK headphones? Cuz I can't find a lot of info on that brand, not even on Wikipedia. And I haven't seen any mentions on the forums.

post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by JupiterM View Post
 

So I checked on Amazon, the KNS8400 is about $120, which is about the same prize as the Q460 on amazon. Does the 8400 has big improvements than the Q460 in sound quality and/or isolation? Cuz if not, I don't want to spend another $100 on a headphone with similar qualities.

Also, how is the quality (as in durability and build quality) of KRK headphones? Cuz I can't find a lot of info on that brand, not even on Wikipedia. And I haven't seen any mentions on the forums.

 

I haven't heard Q460. Build quality seemed adequate to me, but not anything special. I had no particular concerns about it though. Ask on the appreciation thread if there were any horror stories.

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