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AKG K1000

Rating:
4.875/5,
Tags:
  1. ChrisHolland
    K1000 back to old glory, serviced by Heinz Renner
    Written by ChrisHolland
    Published Mar 10, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Amazing mid range, voices shine and sing. The soundstage is very wide and natural. With classical music, jazz and acoustic pop unbeatable, but also excellent with all types of music. To me still one of the best head phones ever made, independent of the price and closest to the best speakers you can buy
    Cons - It requires strong amps, so give it the best you can afford. I personally think that tube equipment brings the best out of it. Due to the construction and the required power not really suitable for outdoors
    I bought my K1000 more than 20 years ago. It replaced a Stax combination which I owned for multiple years. It is the bass-heavy version, serial number 4029 with the black box. For many years I used it in different settings. I agree with the remarks in this forum, it needs strong amps, so I used it connected to the second speaker output of amps like Luxman and Octave. A few years later I bought the SAC produced amp for the K1000, a really nice combination. The soundstage and the resolution, especially with Jazz and Classical music was amazing.
    We moved a few times during that period and gradually I invested in better speakers, moving away from headphones. So my K1000 stayed in the box after our last move. About a year ago I „discoverd“ the box and installed it again with the K1000 amp. The amp showed some cracking noises and the headphone made some rumbling noises, which I thought were caused by the amp. I had the amp repaired, but the rumbling noises remained. I checked with AKG service, but they told me that they do not service the K1000 anymore due to the lack of parts. I guess some of you have the same experience. I gave up and put the headphone back in the box.
    A few weeks ago I got in contact with Heinz Renner, I found his name whilst checking out a Riviera AIC-10 amp, which was demonstrated with the Mysphere headphone, the successor to the K1000. I was actually looking at the amp to drive my Avantgarde Uno XD hornspeakers, not for headphone amplification. Heinz offered to have the K1000 checked and did a full service on it.

    Since a week I have the K1000 back and in short I never heard this headphone playing so amazingly well. I play it in the following setup:

    Riviera AIC-10 (yes, I bought it for my horn speakers :)
    Chord Dave dac
    Auralic Femto with SBooster power supply
    Audio note interlinks
    Roon streaming software

    The combination with the Riviera amp brings all the good things of the K1000 to life. The soundstage is wide and crystal clear, without any harshness. Voices and acoustical instruments shine, the mid range is brilliant. Some people say that the K1000 does not have enough bass. I actually disagree, even with music from Kraftwerk or Daft Punk the bass performance is strong enough for my taste. As mentioned I own Avantgarde Uno XD horn speakers, so I am used to a very lively, open, dynamic and room filling sound. Once I was used to these type of speakers I always found headphones to closed and was missing the dynamics and the depth of the stage. The K1000 however has many of the characteristics I really enjoy from my speakers.

    I can highly recommend to test a K1000, if you can find one, or the successor Mysphere. So far I could only listen to the new one very briefly, but is shares the same sound characteristics. I plan to do a direct comparison between the two soon.

    I want to specifically call out the amazing service I received from Heinz, repairing my K1000. I own and owned many different high quality equipments over the years, but I never experienced such a service and passion for their product. Let‘s not forget, this headphone is more than 20 years old and went out of production a decade ago. From my point of view it is still one of the best headphones ever made, if you give it the right quality and power of amplification. The K1000 amp from SAC was good, but the combination with the Riviera amp is a dream. I am looking forward to see what the Mysphere can do. Thanks Heinz!

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    1. image.jpg
  2. bosiemoncrieff
    The King is Dead, Long Live the King
    Written by bosiemoncrieff
    Published Jan 6, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - detail retrieval, musicality, transparency, treble, mids
    Cons - power requirements, no isolation, weak bass, genre-constrained
    Introduction

    Some headphones, like KSE1500, took me awhile to get my ears around. Although my review of AKG's K1000 (bass-light) comes some two and a half years after I first took possession of them, I posted my first impressions with a pith so succinct that I am ashamed I may never repeat it. Here, I hope to collate my several impressions of K1000 (including on keyboard, operatic, and chamber), particularly as compared to the more ubiquitous HD800 (bass-light), and to refine them with the more recent experiences I have had with other headphones and music.

    About Me: I listen exclusively to classical music and opera.

    My Chain: My Retina 5k iMac feeds a Schiit Eitr, Bifrost Multibit, and Mjolnir 2. Although I have used Amperex 1968 Orange Globes in the past, for this review, I am using Schiit's more common LISST. I use the pre-outs to feed the defunct Portal Audio's Panache speaker amp, which puts out 200W into 8 ohms.

    Now, traveling back in time, this was my opinion of K1000 after a day or so of use, and I find it held up surprisingly well:

    When I listen to the K1000, especially in the context of the HD800, one of the strongest associations I make is with the Gothic Cathedral of St. Peter of Beauvais:




    Beauvais was the tallest cathedral in Europe at the time, pushing the technology of vaulted ceilings to its limits. It is regarded widely as "the Parthenon of French Gothic." However, after its choir collapsed and was rebuilt, and plans to build a nave (largest part of cathedral, where the congregants sit) never came to be, it became an oddity, an aspirational object as beautiful for its achievements as its failure to reach the goals it set for itself.

    Such is the K1000.

    HD800 receives its share of criticism. "Not enough bass!" "Amp finicky!" "Sennheiser veil!" "Cold!" "Bright!" "Bad for anything except jazz and classical!" To the extent that these complaints are true (with the exception of the veil), they are doubly true of K1000. It is a bright headphone. There is not enough bass for most non-classical applications (and some classical). The only time I hear a Sennheiser veil with HD800 is coming from K1000 [this is just as true in January 2019 as August 2016]. These ear-speakers (worthier of the term than anything Stax has produced) are definitely amp finicky: whereas a reliable Vali (1 or 2) can make an HD800 sing, K1000 are barely cooperative with the much heftier Mjolnir 2—and I am thankful that I now can drive them with the powerful Panache. On comfort it's not even close. K1000 slides around, and you're never quite sure whether it's positioned exactly right. God help you if you want them to stay positioned correctly as you recline. HD800 can sit comfortably on your ears in many different environments, including as you lie in bed.

    K1000 is a prima donna. She knows she's among the best. Bright amp? She will spit in your face. Insufficient power? Good luck getting anything out of her. To make the obligatory car analogy, if K1000 is a Lamborghini, HD800 is a Mercedes S Class, or maxed-out Tesla Model S. The rattle that @DavidMahler talked about? Eerily similar to that of my q701 (which, uninitiated and naive, I thought was an issue with the source or my hearing, lol). K1000 gives no schiits about her rattle, though, and will start flirting with the guy next to you if you mention it.

    If I were playing bang/marry/kill, inevitably it would be K1000, HD800, Abyss (tee, hee).

    Back to 2019.

    Pros:
    CLASSICAL MUSIC KING:
    No headphone is more perfectly suited to classical music, to the exclusion of every other genre, than K1000. It is a love song to the last 500 years of Western art music. Particularly if the music is well recorded, K1000 will be a luxurious listening experience. I am rediscovering Karajan: Symphony Edition as I write this review and the Schumann in particular is decadence captured.

    SOUNDSTAGE KING: K1000 has the most expansive, ethereal, holographic soundstage I have ever heard. Capturing the sound of an acoustic space is among the signal tasks of headphones. K1000 renders every ensemble naturally and persuasively, exceeding all others known to this reviewer. While HD800 is extremely wide, K1000 is just as wide and significantly taller. The ear speakers give an impression of openness and space that even the most open of open-back headphones, like HD800, lack.

    Moreover, and this is K1000's "Sunday punch," the soundstage is infinitely customizable: grills can be swiveled in to the point of being a "supra-aural" headphone, or out to the point of directing the sound almost more past the ears than at them. Though the soundstage, in the widest setting, is second-to-none, bass rolls off—and power requirements increase—commensurate with width. A misguided reviewer once called K1000's soundstage flat; K1000 forgives their regrettable error.

    IMAGING: K1000 images as precisely as HD800, but their styles are markedly different. HD800 is a precise German surgeon, an Immanuel Kant so exacting that the neighbors of Königsberg can set their clocks by his daily walk. K1000 is an Austrian poet, a Hegelian philosopher whose attention is more on the unity of all the delicate details in their conceptual system than their separation and dissection. HD800, while revealing fine degrees, nevertheless lacks the impression of reality that K1000 conveys without effort.

    DETAIL RETRIEVAL: K1000 reveals details with generosity and ease. The presentation is different from KSE1500, which integrates the treble much more securely to the entire frequency spectrum, but the details come at you a mile a minute.

    TREBLE: Driven adequately, K1000 competes with the best of the best on treble. Its highs are untouched by all but the finest electrostatics — SR009, HE90, HE1. Female vocalists like Beverly Sills singing Da tempeste il legno infranto from Giulio Cesare have never sounded more accurate and less sibilant. I reverse my earlier opinion, in which I insisted that K1000 required equalization to perform well. To my ears, going from HD800 to K1000 is like going from HD800S to HD800. I would stipulate, though, that my ears have had 2.5 years to adjust to the flavor of K1000, though often with months between listening sessions. Another reviewer called K1000 champagne and HD800 bread. This is not far off the truth. The taste takes a degree of acquiring, yes, but is a worthwhile flavor to which to acclimate.

    VOCALS: One of the most shocking aspects to the headphone is how voices are so individuated, how they pop forward from the musical ensemble supporting them. Both women and men are extremely well served by K1000. It has a "black magic" factor: voices that blend into their surroundings, for instance, in HD800's legendary left-right protractor are three-dimensional in K1000.

    MIDS: So, so fine. Buttery smooth. If you want the most elegantly textured mids you've ever heard—articulate, detailed, resplendent—look no further than K1000. The Beethoven cello sonatas of Richter and Rostropovich are never better.

    TRANSPARENCY: At the end of the day—and this is a point that @davidmahler made with which I vehemently agree—every other metric is second to transparency, being one with the music. If K1000 does not serve every genre well, and is somewhat (though only somewhat) challenged to provide the muscle required by late Romantic orchestras (Wagner, Bruckner, Brahms, Mahler), when she is given a smaller ensemble to which she is more naturally suited, I don't know that I ever feel closer to the music. The use cases are narrower, but the oneness is extraordinary.

    TRANSIENT RESPONSE: Quicker than HD800, and made quicker still by its tilted treble profile, K1000 comes free, if you will, with a double shot of espresso. It is marked by an alertness that in character, if not in technical ability, exceeds KSE1500. You don't miss a thing.

    MUSICALITY: Some headphones have it, and some headphones don't. HD600 has it; HD800—less so. SR-007 has it—SR-009 doesn't. K1000 has it. The natural, lifelike character particularly of chamber ensembles and small orchestras is shockingly addictive. The nasality of the oboe is perhaps the best I have ever heard. K1000 is supple and agile in ways that HD800 plods—and the sound is commensurately lighter. It is an Italian sports car; HD800 is the muscular, maxed-out Tesla. Or, as I put it in my Chamber impressions, HD800 is Tebaldi; K1000 is Callas. HD800 is Beethoven; K1000 is Schubert.

    SMALL ENSEMBLES: For the sake of explicitness: all piano, organ (shocking, I know), string quartet, lieder, and music written before 1800 will sound great out of K1000. Schubert, Schumann, Beethoven (except when reimagined as a pre-Mahlerian Colossus), Chopin, Mendelssohn, Bellini, Rossini, Donizetti, early/mid Verdi, Gounod, Offenbach, Massenet are all safe bets. Large works will benefit from the soundstage but may lack a degree of weight or impact.

    PIANO: Readers of my KSE1500 review will recall that piano is a sticking point and passion of mine. It is perhaps the most glorious instrument ever made, and is devilishly hard to reproduce. Without picking favorites, KSE1500 and K1000 are my top picks for reproduction of piano music in my stable of headphones. My greatest complaint is that recordings muddy the piano bass and create a morass of sound in the lower registers. K1000's emphasis on the mids and treble cuts the Gordian knot, perhaps, but the tactility is far beyond what any ordinary EQ could achieve.

    SERIALIZED: Some folks like to know what number their can is. I'm 10,543. (For HD800, I'm 06311—love that Sennheiser just assumed they would obviously cross 10,000 units.)

    Cons:
    UNCOMFORTABLE:
    If you are looking for a comfortable headphone, don't buy K1000. K1000 is a weird beast. Instead of using ear cups to sit around one's ears, it sits on one's temples using four small memory foam pads. K1000 becomes fatiguing physically more quickly than other headphones do to this pressure. MySphere solves many of these problems, though it too has not been called the last word in comfort.

    RATTLE
    :
    The glue used for the grills becomes brittle as it ages, and the grills can rattle together in a distracting way. The rattle is usually absent, but comes from time to time in ways that are unpredictable. For this reason, K1000 causes some people anxiety.

    GENRE CONSTRAINED:
    For nearly every contemporary genre, K1000 performs poorly. Even within classical music, its prowess at rendering large orchestral works with a finely contoured soundstage comes with the significant asterisk that it will fall short on sub-bass and impact. Still, K1000 will be able to give insight into vocalists and instruments that, for all HD800's sonic splendor, it cannot quite match—in detail and in tone.

    NO ISOLATION: K1000 has the least isolation of any headphone ever made, i.e., none. The ear-speakers hang in mid-air and you hear every sound from the world around you.

    LONG OUT OF PRODUCTION: K1000 has not been manufactured for decades. Although the original creator of K1000 is quite active on these forums, and has apparently helped one head-fier repair a K1000 (with some old spare parts he had), I would beware of the headphone's fragility and lack of warranty and parts. It is a definite gamble in terms of supporting this headphone long-term, though it has caused me no difficulty so far. If I were spending thousands of dollars again, I would go with MySphere.

    POWER HUNGRY: K1000 prefers a speaker amplifier. Although Schiit Mjolnir 2 on high gain powers it adequately, I prefer it with my Portal Panache. I would recommend investing in a Schiit Ragnarok, which gives it a goosebumps-tactility feeling, or, if you have the wallet, one of the top flight Woo amps (WA5 was designed specifically for it, and to this day features a "K1000" setting in its honor—but WA33 sounded great on it when I demoed summer 2017).

    INTOLERANT OF BAD DACS: I have excellent results with Mike Moffatt's Bifrost Multibit, and I'm sure the results would improve further if I upgraded to Gungnir Multibit or Yggdrasil, but in demos with inferior DAC technology, the results are astringent and occasionally painful.

    INTOLERANT OF BAD RECORDINGS: Although it is magical sounding with the right stuff, it is not a "euphonic" headphone in the sense of hiding shortcomings in recordings by smearing over them with some "AKG Veil." There is no veil. If the recording is schiit, so too is the listening.

    PRICE: There aren't many K1000 around, fewer still of the black-box "bass heavy" models, which command a premium for their improved bass response and even greater rarity. You should expect to pay at least $1000 and perhaps two to three times that for a bass heavy version. Still, MySphere is more expensive still (albeit under warranty).

    On The Fence:
    BASS: The bass is, in my opinion, extremely tight, well defined, and textured, and for most classical music, it is excellent. However, there is no denying that K1000 is, at best, "bass-light." Many people here would find it insufferably anemic. While I defend KSE1500 as having tightness, warmth, and extension down to 10hz, K1000 is nowhere near as performant in those respects. The Achilles heel of ear-speakers is that lower frequencies roll off and cause a tinny sound that lacks impact. Although they can achieve decent volumes with a good amplifier, there's no denying that the bass lacks extension. There is no sub-bass whatsoever, and as mentioned above, what bass there is rolls off as the grills are opened wider.

    Still, for lighter classical music, the effect is pleasant, and the insight into heavier music, though inaccurate to the degree that the bass is de-emphasized, is a worthwhile experience—yes, even the Leinsdorf studio Walküre, wherein the magic fire music licked my face very much with flame.

    BIG ORCHESTRAS: Big orchestras benefit from the resplendently large soundstage, but they are hampered in the sonic impact K1000 is capable of delivering, particularly in the bass. Measha Brueggergosman, Franz Welser-Möst, and the Cleveland Orchestra perform a gorgeous Wesendonck Lieder, and when I listen to the soprano and strings, I find myself wanting nothing, even as I know that the effect is assuredly lacking a bit of bottom. Measha could be standing fifteen feet away from me.

    TOO MUCH DETAIL?: There are stories of listeners going from K1000 to the Vienna Philharmonic live and sniffing that the live performance "lacked detail." Part of this is the forward treble, yes, but beware that the music is rendered with such extraordinary detail and accuracy that you might find any other experience a letdown. It is a immensely powerful tool (I refuse to use the word "ruthless" in describing K1000's glorious sound) and you, lucky listener, must use it wisely.

    NEUTRAL?: Though K1000 is endlessly revealing, highly transparent, tall and wide and customizable in sonic presentation, and though its engineers aimed for neutrality (and perhaps succeeded more in their bass heavy than bass light version of the headphones), its weakness in the bass and most special of special sauces in the mids and treble make me doubt whether K1000 is an especially neutral headphone. I am no measure-bator, however, and composed the review without the aid of frequency charts.

    The Bottom Line:
    AKG's legendary K1000 is a landmark achievement in the history of headphones. However, since its release in 1989 it has been surpassed in part by HD800 and more or less in whole by MySphere. It is 1.5-4x the cost of HD800, a far more versatile and known headphone, and 50-65% the cost of MySphere, a more comfortable can with much better bass and support. It's in a no-man's land and while an interesting curiosity, is probably a worse purchase than either of those. If the cost is a stretch, get HD800 and don't look back. If your wallet wants something bigger than HD800, I can't see why you should spring for a 30 year old headphone instead of saving another month or two and going for its glorious successor.

    If you see it for around or under $1000...
    ...and you listen largely or exclusively to classical music
    ...and you want to own a piece of audiophile history
    ...and you can meet the enormous power requirements
    ...and you won't be bummed if it unexpectedly fails...

    Go for it?

    K1000 does a number of narrow things extremely well. It is an incisive, revealing, poetic, perhaps opinionated interpreter of classical music. It's a headphone you either love or hate, and I very much love it. Its highs are like Himalayas. Its mids are more delicious than my almond butter-blueberry-blackberry stuffed sourdough French toast, soaked in a milk and egg bath with angostura bitters and fried in mandarin orange olive oil. I will never sell mine, and hope to continue to bring it to meets in the Bay Area and elsewhere. But I question whether it is, in 2019, anything more than a curiosity, a museum piece, a glorious flagship of an age gone by.

    The King is Dead. Long Live MYSPHERE 3.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. vickie2006
      That was a great poet.
      Philosophical Review.
      vickie2006, Jan 12, 2019
      bosiemoncrieff likes this.
    3. Matez
      Highly entertaining review.
      Matez, Jan 15, 2019
    4. Russell Dawkins
      I think most orchestral recordings are in fact bass-light due to mixing and mastering on over-resonant (in the bass) speakers. Listen to this (Shostakovich Symphony No 5, 2nd mvmt—Haitink, concertgebouw ) for an example of an orchestral recording with close to correct bass and the K1000s sound only the slightest bit bass-deficient, if at all:

      Tha acoustics of the Concertgebouw probably help a little.
      Russell Dawkins, Apr 12, 2019
  3. Takeanidea
    AKG K1000 Bass Heavy-restored by Heinz Renner
    Written by Takeanidea
    Published Aug 13, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Stunning sound. Super wide soundstage. A great fit - quite a unique headband design, yet simple. Linearity from a good quality speaker with the most open design of them all. Adjustable sound signature - just move the earspeakers towards or away from your ears as your mood dictates. A simple hinge but what a difference it makes to the sound.
    Cons - Very expensive secondhand and becoming very old. Old means fragile. Old means inheriting problems. As I did. Needs lots of power. A speaker amp is needed. No spares are available in the World. Anywhere. If it goes wrong, you are in trouble! There may be something better out there now(MySphere), but I haven't heard them. Yet.
    The AKG K1000 Bass Heavy

    now fully restored to it's glorious best
    .....and maybe even better


    This is a brief story. I shall attempt to explain to you how the impossible was not only dreamt of, but subsequently asked and then, to my amazement, was achieved. Perhaps the quirkiest headphone of them all; the AKG's earspeaker design, their flagship model for many years, of which much hype has been written. Having these now, back with me, believe me folks; these headphones are a sight for sore eyes indeed.

    20180813_172612.jpg

    There is much love for the AKG K1000. Much information can be found about this headphone on headfi - specifically the design parameters, the evolution and production and the differences between the earlier models, dubbed "bass heavy" and it's later variant, the "bass light". The forum thread is a journey in itself. The History of the AKG K1000 starts with just 2 sentences from @mikeg and for some 8 years the interest in the thread runs out of steam. A post made in Feb 2004 suddenly becomes answered in Sep 2012. Our mysterious poster is known as @hrklg01. I will quote this post because it marked the start of an even more incredible journey than my bass heavy headphones. The post simply read : "Yes, we was influences by the STAX design too. However, it was the idea just to get nothing disturbing in front of the ear. So we created a huge membrane very light weight only..."

    20180813_172540.jpg


    This post, if genuine, could only have come from one of the original team behind the K1000, of which so little information was available at the time. Imagine if that was true! What a find this person would be.... After some more questions were put to this poster a picture began to develop. This was a man called Heinz Renner. He was responsible for developing the AKG K1000! Heinz had left AKG in 1989. He had since gone and made his fortune in the cell phone market, developing micro speakers by which we listen to our loved ones whispering sweet nothings in our ears or singing their version of "99 Problems" to us on facebook... No more work done on headphones. A lost genius. Yet somehow, the lure of headfi had brought this audio engineer back into the fold. Having joined headfi way back in 2012, my research eventually got me to that very same AKG K1000 thread and I was enthralled at what I was reading. The next step, listening to a pair, would take many more years to come to pass.
    Before I finally had the chance to put a pair on my ears, I went through many other headphones and even a few earspeakers. The Audeze LCD2v2 being my first, Sennheiser HD800, Beyer Dynamic's T1 Tesla's and then inevitably into the earspeaker world. At one point I had 3 separate Stax models: the SRX Mk3 Pro, the Sigma Pro and the 4170 system. A brief spell of making sensible financial decisions had momentarily confused me into selling much of my collection a few years ago. The Stax were sold, as were the LCD2 and the T1 as well as many other amps dacs psu's cables, you know the thing. I kid you not; I turned up to the 2014 Headfi London meet with an Ibasso DX100 and a pair of in ear monitors and bought nothing while I was there...

    20180813_172359.jpg

    A hobby such as this does not rest for long. On the 25th April 2015 2 dedicated UK headfiers, @smial1966 and @pedalhead organised a meet up in Cambridge. On the night of the 26th, a frenetic micro meet took place in the hotel room of the Travelodge I was staying in. There, finally, I got the chance to listen to a pair of AKG K1000's. I now know these to have been the bass light version of the K1000. The gent who was kind enough to bring them alas I do not remember your name and I have not seen you since! Let's hope this review will prompt someone to recall the gent's name and we can get back in touch. Even though the cable on one of the driver's was damaged and had to be held into place, my few minutes with the earspeakers were magical. The listening experience was done with the earspeakers pulled out to their furthest position. That enables everyone in the room to enjoy what you are listening to, so make sure it's not The Wurzels...... I didn't realise at the time but I was listening to the later version of the K1000, the bass light version. The listening fraternity on the night were divided between those in love (myself and @Ithilstone and of course the proud owner) and the non believers. A switch was pressed in me. I had to find a pair.

    20180813_172744.jpg

    Fast forward a few months and myself and a team of willing helpers had tracked a few pairs down across the World. I say a few because these earspeakers are becoming very rare and highly sought after. The manufacture of the K1000 was irretrievably stopped back in the late 1990's. In short, the lathes that had created so many wonderful models had grown old and tired and were humanely destroyed. The earliest models(bass heavy, please keep up),were introduced in 1990. If you have 1 of those it could be 28 years old! I, of course, had a look on headfi's classifieds for a model. No chance! They were snapped up within a day of advert and the last one added was a year hence. I found one on sale in Finland. It was a reasonable enough price and the seller was a German chap who I talked with at length on the phone. We trusted each other, a deal was set, and a few days later a wooden box arrived at my doorstep. The day had finally come! I had my earspeakers! The day was full of promise as I unpacked and made myself comfortable for a marathon listening session. I listened with breath held waiting for the magic to unfold. As it did. However.... not all was rosy in the garden. I had found a thorn! The right driver had a buzzing effect on subbass tracks that was subtle but noticeable. I had built myself up over the course of 3 months waiting for this moment and certainly that exaggerated the disappointment I felt. I wallowed in self pity beneath my red headband contemplating my next move.
    My next move was...I did nothing. I listened and listened. The buzzing was something I was prepared to put up with. If in the future it couldn't be fixed there was too much wonder between these drivers to even think of returning them and asking for a refund. What if I never found another pair? What if the price doubled yet again, as it seemed to do every few years as these got more and more precious. My decision had been made; this was a marriage of the audio kind, in sickness and in health...

    20180813_172824.jpg

    That was back in 2015. I referred back to the headfi thread to ascertain that my model was one of the earlier models. To quote Heinz once again:
    "I do not know much about the K1000 resonance frequency variants... Sorry! But it's very clear: the older the better! Like an old good wine!"
    About there being 2 versions of the K1000 Heinz has this to say:
    "About "bass heavy" and "bass light" versions: I remember back that the original ~ 5000 pcs was shipped with a black bright box. This version - I'm sure - was produced with the target 25Hz f0.
    There was no additional changes at least during the first 5kpcs.."
    I have now seen the difference between my version and the later version that was produced. Heinz has since added the first production batch was up to the number 10,000. An easy way to see the difference: bass light models have a lighter wooden box and a different colour speaker connection cable. I am fortunate enough to have listened to a bass light and a bass heavy version of this amazing earspeaker. If you are up to date on what I have written so far you will recall that I fell in love with the sound of the bass light version. I purchased the bass heavy version without consideration of which variant I was ending up with. Suffice it to say I would have been delighted with whatever came through my door as long as it looked something like a deerstalker hat.

    20180813_172647.jpg

    While we are on the subject of Heinz Renner and his friendship with headfi. Did you know that this very forum ignited in Heinz the idea to produce a successor to the AKG K1000? He must have seen so much love for the old model and so many ideas were being put forward regarding how the K1000 could be taken to another level on the thread that he decided to come out of the shadows and step back into the limelight once again. Heinz Renner was going to go back to the drawing board and come up with something even better than the AKG K1000. In October 10th 2015 you can read a fateful post from a headfier called @Nomax:
    THE HISTORY WILL BE CONTINUED in LATE 2016!!!!!!!!!!
    REGARDS NOMAX
    and many a follower of that thread drew their breath in. Could it be possible that the original team could reform and do it even better?

    [​IMG]
    The team are here from left to right: Ewald, Helmut Ryback - and to quote Heinz once again: "one of the 3 K1000 "Musketiers" as he was the main head for headphone design in the previous AKG years", Heinz Renner himself and-the man who created the dream of a K1000 supercharged as far back as Oct 2015, the face of Nomax:) With a huge thanks to all of you reading this here that made this idea germinate and hatch and mature and flourish, the dream of a K1000 for the modern age has come true. Incredible!

    Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 20.44.28.png

    There is a big thread now on the MySphere on our very headfi and at the time of writing it had got to 54 pages. Well worth a read it can be found here with a click of your mouse. The latest entry, as of August 6th 2018 states simply:

    miketlse said
    Is there a waiting list for the week long borrow? Or is one readily available and able to ship to the US?

    "No waiting list anymore! :)
    This is also true for the regular product to buy.
    http://mysphere.at/shop/

    BR heinz"

    We have come a long long way from Feb 2004 I think you'll agree....


    :beerchug::beerchug::beerchug::beerchug::beerchug::beerchug::beerchug::beerchug::beerchug::beerchug::beerchug::beerchug::beerchug::beerchug::beerchug::beerchug::beerchug::beerchug::beerchug::beerchug::beerchug::beerchug::beerchug::beerchug::beerchug::beerchug::beerchug::beerchug::beerchug::beerchug:

    I digressed a few lines ago. I was meaning to tell you about my little adventure. Then I realised that there was an even bigger tale to tell. That told(sort of), let's get back my Bass Heavy Buzzer dressed in red in a black box. The head turner of yesteryear; the K1000. I decided about 6 months ago that the time was right to get the earspeakers buzzing problem fixed once and for all. I did my research, which was primarily the posts on this forum made by Heinz Renner regarding the problem of the buzzing and the solution to fix it. It appears that the glue around the membrane that surrounds the drivers is prone to coming loose in humid conditions. Often all that is needed to eliminate the rub and buzz so called is to use a particularly high quality brand of waterproof white glue. Allow that to dry over a day or so and all should be well. In the course of inspecting my K1000's, my friend found not only a glue problem. The foam inserts, being very fragile anyway, had all but disintegrated. I made enquiry after enquiry for 80 PPI reticulated foam. In the end, we decided on a compromise which was to experiment with other grades of foam inserts and see whether we could get a decent sound. I got a phone call from my friend; he felt he was onto a winner. He observed the bass response seemed deeper without noticeably damping the higher frequency response. I told him to proceed and to get the glueing done. I got the K1000's back. I still had the buzz. It was less. But it was still there. So back to my fixer of all things. In the process of taking apart the earspeaker, disaster occurred. There is a wire that connects driver to the voice coil and it happens to be the thickness of a human hair. The wire snapped. My buddy was straight on the phone to me and we discussed our options. Given the scarcity of the K1000 and it's pricelessness(to me at least) he was reluctant to go any further without the backup of spares. I hold no grievance with him for attempting the fix and breaking the wire. It could have happened to anyone and he was kind enough to get some really good foam in there. I haven't mentioned the amazing recabling he did on them either..... I made various enquiries via email and telephone call. I found no one selling spares or offering a repair service. I couldn't understand why. The headphones were only 28 years old for goodness sake! :grinning::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::wink: In desperation I plucked up the courage and sent Heinz Renner an email and asked him where I could try and get them repaired. I knew Heinz would be working flat out trying to get his MySphere 3.1 and 3.2 to market so I didn't hold out much hope. To his credit and my undying gratitude, Heinz offered to assist in the matter. He asked for pictures of the problem so as he could see whether it was possible to fix the damage. It seems that if the wire is snapped near the centre it might be possible for a very delicate resolder. If the snap was at the start or had pulled out from the voice coil or driver a fix would be impossible; that would spell the end for the AKG's and they would have to be thrown in the bin! My friend sent some pictures. It looked like the split was in the centre to my eyes. Heinz agreed. He asked me to send them to his house and he would try and fix them but with no guarantee of success. I completely understood that as anyone should; if someone is doing this as a favour there can be no cause for complaint if all goes wrong.
    Off went the package to Italy. It arrived in 3 days. Heinz immediately confirmed delivery and asked us to wish him luck. This is the transcript of the email that I shall never forget:

    Hello Trevor and Dillan,
    I worked almost 3 hours – but finally it was successful.
    I had to change the coil and membrane. Luckily, I had these parts from the very first 0-series = still bass heavy
    Today I stop to mount everything together, because my old eyes became tired.
    My questions:
    1. Did you repair the rub and buzz on the left side already, or have I to open this as well.
    2. Can you please send me the full data (name, address) where to send it finally back please.
    Not only had Heinz repaired the K1000's and used up 3 hours of his own time in the process but he was now asking me whether he could do any more work on them! The man must be a Saint. :innocent: A subsequent email was sent the following day; Heinz had done so more work on the rub and buzz and eliminated it. He also did one final thing:
    "I do of course a certain “burn in” with a unique test signal, as I changed important parts of the damaged driver. This signal simulates about 2 days continuous normal playing the headphone."
    I assume the same method is used for the MySphere Headphones.

    I received the K1000's a few days later. I unpacked them and had a listen. A miracle had happened! The earspeakers sounded perfect; let's say that straight away. But more than that; the rub and buzz had of course disappeared; but the bass was deeper and richer and more visceral. I must add that the bass on the K1000s can be increased by putting the speakers closer to one's ear, by sitting with your head against the cushions of a fine chair, or by eqing more bass through software or hardware adjustments. Indeed, Heinz uses a subwoofer in conjunction with his K1000s. I always listen to my K1000s with the speakers as far away from my ears as I can adjust them. That way I get the spatial cues similar to the reflections of a loudspeaker. What I also get is the intimacy and micro detail that only a headphone will give me. Thus, I get the best of both Worlds. You get the picture anyway.
    Many of you will want to know how these earspeakers compete against their more modern counterparts. I can compare these to 2 other flagship headphones I happen to own.
    The HD800 by Sennheiser. Modified by @dill3000 and myself.
    The HD800 has a wide sound stage. Most of you are aware of this. The original model has a trace of steeliness in some of the higher frequency range. It was also slightly less visceral in the bass department for many people's taste. I did a felt mod having researched other's ventures into this. I went my own way and found the felt I liked the sound of. @dill3000 improved it further. Thus I have an HD800 with bass, smooth highs and the original sound stage. The K1000s are my favourite over the HD800. I prefer the linearity of the K1000 and the sound stage is wider than the HD800. The bass of the HD800 is harder hitting and slightly richer sounding. But it still comes behind the AKG in overall terms.
    The HiFiMan HE-6 with comfy headband and open grill mod
    The HiFiMan HE-6, when partnered with a beefy enough amp, is a world class headphone. I have a First Watt F6 power amp which I use these with. It is a 25 WPC speaker amp, and it (again) has been created using the DIY talents of @dill3000. It hits hard at the bass and has linearity right through the frequency spectrum. It makes music come alive. The tone is just right. The sound stage is more intimate than either the K1000 or HD800. Whether the HE-6 beats the AKG K1000 to my ears will take more time for me to be sure about. Some tracks come alive with the spatial attributes of the AKGs; I'm thinking about perhaps large orchestral pieces, Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis, Enya, Enigma, Mike Oldfield, Pink Floyd and the like. Rock music, Pop music and acoustic music are such a delight to listen to on the HE-6.
    I am a happy man. I have my beloved AKG K1000 Bass Heavy Earspeakers restored to their original greatness and arguably even beyond that. Ok; I've not got the latest and greatest MySphere 3.1 or 3.2 earspeakers. I haven't even heard a pair yet. Heinz was not able to make CanJam London 2018 as he was so busy getting things together. When he gets to the UK you can be sure I shall be there in person to lend my ears to the debate. The debate being; have they pulled off the ultimate and beaten the K1000? With Heinz and the original team at the helm I'd put money on it that they have. In the meantime I shall have to content myself with owning the antique version. I'm sure there is room in my life as a headfier for all 3 headphones. And maybe, one day, we shall see a 4th addition to the happy family? I wonder, dear reader, what that headphone might be?

    [​IMG]
    Heinz Renner
    Thank you for everything you have done for me. Thank you for your loyalty and affinity with the headfi community. And thank you for stepping out from the past and taking a leap into the future.
    Much respect
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Takeanidea
      Thank you William. I suspect this will be overshadowed by the MySphere in time to come. But I still love them!
      Takeanidea, Aug 17, 2018
    3. Turrican2
      Great read Trev. I know how much you love these cans, so glad you were able to get them repaired. Who better than one of the developers!
      Turrican2, Aug 18, 2018
      Takeanidea likes this.
    4. Takeanidea
      Good to hear from you Phil. It was a great privilege dealing with Heinz
      Takeanidea, Aug 19, 2018
  4. tmarshl
    My Last Headphones
    Written by tmarshl
    Published Dec 19, 2011
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Soundstage, Imaging, Transparency
    Cons - Require Recabling and Specific Amplification
    Well, I have tried all of the great headphones over the last few years (Stax, Sennheiser, Grado, AKG, Audeze, Beyer Dynamic, etc.) and I have returned to my all-time favorite K1000s with Stefan Audio Arts Equinox cabling - driven by a Macintosh C2200 tube preamplifier and a First Watt F1 amplifier.   What brings me back is the incredible soundstage, the imaging and the transparency of the sound.   I no longer listen to the system - I listen to the music.    What more could I ask.  I am re-listening to my entire music collection with such appreciation for the incredible performances.    I am really happy with the K1000s in this configuration.  Of course I will keep listening to other offerings (it is a hobby after all), but it will take a lot for me to switch from these great "earspeakers".
      hrklg01, jgosroc and FritzS like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. musikaladin
      musikaladin, Feb 28, 2014
    3. Alex--o
      Sorry I'm sticking to the surround sound system
      Alex--o, May 14, 2014
    4. FrankyMan
      You should all carefully read the designers notes in this thread:http://www.head-fi.org/t/57805/history-of-the-akg-k1000
      No special AMP is needed to get the desired sound of the AKG K1000. I use a stock AMP w/o any mods for years now. Also, mine has been identified as 0-series (pre serial and special tested and serviced version, not sold officially) by Mr. Renner, it's clear to me, that i wasn't wrong at all.
      I record and hear excactly what i've recorded. What do i need more ?
      The best for mix checking, i can tell.
      FrankyMan, Nov 4, 2014