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Which should I buy... AKG Q701 or Fidelio X1?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I enjoy:

 

  • Broad sound stage (like my Sennheiser HD 598s);
  • Impactful sub bass (like my Beats Pro and Sennheiser CX300II IEMs));
  • Sparkling trebles (like my Grado PS500s);
  • Veil-free presence (again, like my Grado PS500s).

 

I am torn between what to me seem as good prices on both the:

 

  • AKG Q701s ($199);
  • Philips Fidelio X1 ($232).

 

Within 15% of each other (with some creative rounding).

 

(Oh, and these are merely to tide me over until my boat fills up with enough $$ for the Sennheiser 800 HDs...  someone told me that such intermediate purchases amount to leaks in my boat, to which I answered... "Pshaw!!")

post #2 of 9
Of the 2 I'd lean toward the Fideiio X1 for the impactful bass and soundstage. The treble, however , is going to be a bit of a departure from the Grado sound as the X1s tend to be a bit warmer than any Grado I've ever heard.

The X1s go deeper and have good impact but are kind of slow for faster rock and metal. They are fairly neutral and less colored through the mids and have a nice but more flat high mid color with nice treble shine without being abrasive. If you already have a set of Grados I think these would be a perfect compliment.

The AKGs are going to have very lean bass, perhaps perceived as lacking, good mids with an open soundstage and well extended highs. More analytical and less fun. Also a departure from the grado sound.

The AKGs would be good if you like classical music and maybe jazz. Fidelios kill with electronic and dance, pop ect. I really like my X1s

The headphone I have that has a fairly Grado-ish sound but with better bass extension and good soundstage are the Sennheiser HD700. I would not recommend dumping $500-$600 into these if your endgame is the HD800.

Also check out the HiFiman HE400 at that price range.
post #3 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayandjohn View Post
 

I enjoy:

 

  • Broad sound stage (like my Sennheiser HD 598s);
  • Impactful sub bass (like my Beats Pro and Sennheiser CX300II IEMs));
  • Sparkling trebles (like my Grado PS500s);
  • Veil-free presence (again, like my Grado PS500s).

 

I am torn between what to me seem as good prices on both the:

 

  • AKG Q701s ($199);
  • Philips Fidelio X1 ($232).

 

Within 15% of each other (with some creative rounding).

 

(Oh, and these are merely to tide me over until my boat fills up with enough $$ for the Sennheiser 800 HDs...  someone told me that such intermediate purchases amount to leaks in my boat, to which I answered... "Pshaw!!")

 

The 30-Ohm Philip Fidelio X1's are going to be easy to drive, where as the 62-Ohm Q701 are considered more power hungry.

What source(s) are you going to be plugging the headphones into?

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

 

The 30-Ohm Philip Fidelio X1's are going to be easy to drive, where as the 62-Ohm Q701 are considered more power hungry.

What source(s) are you going to be plugging the headphones into?


Source will be iPod Touch 5th gen, playing either AAC (standard iTune) or FLAC (lossless) files (in a separate experiment, I could not hear any difference).  iPod Touch 5 has the lowest output impedance (0.73 ohms) and best characteristics of all the iDevices.

 

I have a FiiO E12 (Mont Blanc) amp, which I bought thinking it might help my PS500s or my Sennheiser HD 598s.  It does not... unnecessary for those, but could be used for driving the AKG Q701s.

post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayandjohn View Post

Impactful sub bass (like my Beats Pro and Sennheiser CX300II IEMs));

That rules out the Q701s. The Philips seem the obvious choice.

Since you have the E12, you might also consider the HE-400, another open headphone with good sub bass extension and bass impact: http://www.head-fi.org/t/634201/battle-of-the-flagships-58-headphones-compared-update-audeze-lcd-2-revision-2-6-4-13#user_HE400

The HE-400s are not hard to drive in terms of impedance (32 ohm), but they are a little inefficient. So they would sound good with your iPod Touch, but might not play as loud as you would want without the E12.
post #6 of 9

The Fidelio X1 can be easily driven directly by the iPod, 

The iPod might not be powerful enough to drive the Q701s.

So get the Fidelios.

post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


That rules out the Q701s. The Philips seem the obvious choice.

Since you have the E12, you might also consider the HE-400, another open headphone with good sub bass extension and bass impact: http://www.head-fi.org/t/634201/battle-of-the-flagships-58-headphones-compared-update-audeze-lcd-2-revision-2-6-4-13#user_HE400

The HE-400s are not hard to drive in terms of impedance (32 ohm), but they are a little inefficient. So they would sound good with your iPod Touch, but might not play as loud as you would want without the E12.

 Boom. Problem solved. It seems like the question should be X1s vs HE400. I have no experience with the HE400 so I'll step aside. I don't think you'd be disappointed with either. I'd love to try them but I think they'd be more similar than different compared to my X1s and Denon D2000s

post #8 of 9

Based on your criteria and the posts above, the Philips Fidelio X1s are going to be your best bet in every field sans the treble. I only say that because it sounds edgier and more artificial than most (but not by much). The bass is a bit overexaggerated from most peoples' accounts, but it's satisfying, while the Q701s leave a lot to be desired for me.


Edited by Dragonzeanse - 5/10/14 at 7:18pm
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

benthughes and purpleangle, thanks!!

 

Funny... I had listened to and much enjoyed the HiFiMAN HE-400s (WITHOUT a pre-amp, incidentally, but with my iPod) when I was considering the Grado PS500s.  I'd forgotten them in this consideration, regarding them as higher end than what I was looking for right now, but they are... $300.  And I have already tested them (should go back with my portable amp though).

 

And in my earlier comparisons, they had even more of the features I listed here, which were what my first good headphones (HD 598) introduced me to... big sound stage, great transparency, great comfort.  I was not as attuned to assessing bass when I heard them as I am now, so I'm not sure how they compare to the HD 598s in that regard (likely to be more, as the HD 598 are rather weak there).

 

HE-400s are one of the most frequent headphones of folks on this forum (# 9, with the HD 598 being #7) as reported here...  http://www.head-fi.org/t/109756/rank-the-headphones-that-you-own/4065#post_10501387 .

 

Just for fun, here are rankings of the HE-400 against other most-popular 12 headphones from ( http://www.head-fi.org/t/109756/rank-the-headphones-that-you-own/4095#post_10508731 ) :

 


 To help read... the first person (column) ranked the LCD-2.2 and the HE-500 over the HE-400. Others likewise.

 

When compared to all 1,000 headphone rankings of the last 5 months on the thread "Rank the Headphones That You Own," the three people who rank both HE-400s and the Fidelio X1 all rank the HE-400 above the X1 (usually by just one place).

 

There are no rankings of the AKG Q701 against the HE-400 in that set (no one reports having both).  Also, there are no rankings of the AKG Q701 against the Fidelio X1.  Someone does rank its close mate, the AKG K701, as higher than the HE-400.


Edited by ruthieandjohn - 5/10/14 at 7:31pm
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