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$400 Sidegrading from Audioquest Nightowl

  1. ammthe
    Please recommend me under $400 headphones that sound different from Audioquest Nightowl that I can enjoy with the type of music I listen to. Thank you!

    I'm looking at:
    HD 600
    HD 650
    HD 6xx
    HD 58x
    HE 4xx
    AKG K712

    I got into this hobby with a demo model Audioquest Nightowl, O2 amp and Dragonfly black dac. I want to try other headphones but I'm from Myanmar and there are no headphone shops where I can try out headphones. My only option is to get them shipped internationally so there is no chance of returning them if I don't like the headphones (30 days returns + expensive international return shipping costs). So I have to depend on reviews that other people make to make my buying decisions.

    The type of music I listen to:

  2. PointyFox
    You have good taste in music. If you stretch your budget, you could get some used Campfire Andromeda IEMs for around $650-$750. They have great clarity throughout all frequencies which would be good for these types of songs. I like them so much I sold my HD800S and MDR-Z1R. If you don't want to spend that much, I recommend the AKG K7XX. You can get a used one for ~$130 or a new one for ~$200. I sold my HD600 when I got it. It's similar, but has better bass extension and soundstage. I had a HD600 and HD650 at the same time. I preferred the HD600. The HD650 had too little treble, making cymbals sound a little flat. You'll want to avoid anything with muddy bass for these songs, so I'd rule out closed and semi-closed back headphones like the one you currently have.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
    ammthe likes this.
  3. serman005
    Nice music. I listened to your tracks on my HD600 and they sounded nice, so that one might work for you. Also an Andromeda fan here. I agree the 650 (also have that one) might be too dark for the genres you enjoy. Of the three you mention that I have, 600, 650, and 6XX, I would probably stick with the HD600. It seemed to sound best of the three.
    ammthe and PointyFox like this.
  4. ammthe
    @PointyFox @serman005 thanks for your suggestions. Too bad I can't stretch my budget yet.

    do you know if k712 pro is worth the upgrade over the k7xx ?
  5. PointyFox
    I haven't heard the K712 myself, but I found this: "K7XX vs K712 - Exceedingly similar, slightly wider soundstage on the K7XX, slightly more enjoyable mids and bass, K712 is slightly more enjoyable from female vocals on up."


    K7XX Frequency Response:

    K712 Pro (left and right channels I believe?):

    They look fairly identical.
  6. PointyFox
  7. Me x3
    Small differences in frequency response can lead to important differences in terms of perceived tonal balance.
    In this case, differences are not that subtle. I've overlapped the frequency response plots you've uploaded so the differences are much easier to see.

    Green trace for K7XX - Blue trace for K712 PRO

    As can be seen, the AKG K712 has a considerably flatter tuning with slightly more extended treble as well.
    AKG K712 PRO was designed as a reference headphone, while K7XX is a more consumer friendly / bassier headphone.
    Soundstage is normally perceived as slightly bigger and clearer on the K712 PRO thanks to the flatter response.

    AKG K702 is even less warm than K712 and it's also more open sounding.
    AKG K712 PRO is more natural sounding with a wider range of recordings relative to the more picky K702.
  8. PointyFox
    I don't think they used 1 kHz as a reference since it's not at 0 dB.

    This is what it looks like with the graphs aligned (K7XX is orange):

    Last edited: Oct 28, 2018
  9. Me x3
    You're free to move the graphs vertically as that means adjusting the volume.
    I've matched the graphs at 1kHz for reference, and because that's representative of how these headphones are inherently related (and how much they differ).
    Looking at my graph you can easily see that they are both the same in the 500Hz to 4kHz region (after all they use the same type of drivers and enclosures).
    And you can also see how they differ, mainly in terms of bass response.

    Your overlapped graph (bass matching) is just as true as mine, but it's more tricky to read, as unexperienced people can be leaded to think that these headphones are just as bassy, when that's not the case.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2018
  10. ammthe
    Thanks for the info. They do look very similar! Hope someone does a Youtube video comparing K7XX to K712
  11. ammthe
    Thank you for the explanation. I like headphones that sound like speakers.

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