A K701 owner's search for bass: Denon D2000
Nov 1, 2010 at 10:41 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 16

Jibbie

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As an AKG K701 owner, I've recently been looking for bassier headphones. I primarily listen to electronic dance music, and have been desiring headphones that incorporate all of the K701 strengths (detail, soundstage, imaging) with a bit more bass.  After a bunch of research, I narrowed it down to the Denon D2000, the Beyerdynamic DT990 600ohm, and the Ultrasone Pro 900.  Each headphone will be ordered from Amazon, tested, and then returned, until all three headphones have been auditioned and a winner chosen.  Each pair of headphones will be tested on my rig, which includes an Ibasso D4 DAC, a Matrix M-Stage amp, and a collection of electronic music in FLAC.  
 
I chose to test the Denon D2000 first, and my impressions are as follows:
 
Build Quality:
The D2000 look amazing.  I almost like the look of them more than my K701s.  They have a sleek, modern look while maintaining a refreshingly simple design.  While the AKG's boast an elegant sense of style (a style that I love), the Denon's impress by remaining simple.  They do feel, however, a bit fragile; even more so than the K701s.  The plastic cups have a solid feel, but they are connected to the headband by a few simple screws.  This fragility is not a concern, however, as I only use headphones sitting at my computer in my dorm room.  As with any piece of electronic equipment, the Denon's should be treated with care.
 
Sound:
When describing the sound of the D2000, its probably the easiest to start with their bass presence: they have a lot of it.  The D2000 provide a deep bass response with plenty of impact.  The bass rarely intrudes on the midrange frequencies, and I found that it provided for some enjoyable experiences with electronic music.  The bass does, however, have a decent amount of decay, which makes the D2000s a bit slow for many of the drum & bass songs I love.  The bass is good, but it's not great.  I found it a little too loose for electronica, even though it did provide some much needed impact and volume when coming from the K701.
 
The mids, while just the tiniest bit recessed, were quite detailed.  Where the Denons left me wanting, however, were in vocals.  Female vocals have the ability to hypnotize me when presented through my K701s.  Vocal trance sounds amazing and incredibly engaging.  This quality, unfortunately, just isn't there in Denon D2000.  Vocals sounded good, just not mesmerizing.
 
The D2000 did highs quite nice, however, they did occasionally present some sibilance on songs in which my AKGs do not.  High are extended and detailed, but every once and a while, sibilance would creep in, detracting from the overall experience.
 
The Denon's soundstage, detail, and imaging left me unimpressed, unfortunately.  Being used to headphones like the K701s, I have a high demand for expansive soundstage, reference quality detail, and great imaging.  When listening to trance through the AKGs, the sound envelops me.  Synths flow back and forth, notes stack on top of each other flawlessly, and there seems to be no end in the depth of sound making its way into my ears, its as if I'm listening to speakers.  I truly forget I'm wearing headphones.  I have no such experience with the D2000s.  Because of this, I'm returning them and will be ordering the next headphones on the list, the DT990s.  Hopefully, they will incorporate all of the aspects I love about the K701 along with the impressive bass I heard from the Denons.  The D2000 are a great pair of headphones with truly great bass, however, it just didn't immerse me in soundstage and detail like the K701s do.
 
I'll be posting a similar review of the DT990s when I get them.
 
Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing everyones opinions on these cans and my review.
Alex
 
Nov 1, 2010 at 10:59 PM Post #3 of 16

sokolov91

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Having had the K702, and currently owning the D7000 I think it is going to be very hard for you to find the mix your desire... the K702 had a massive soundstage... so massive I sold it because I couldn't get over the extreme separation and unnatural sense of space... but thats just me. They are however quite bass light... and headphones that are not basslight also tend to have much less of a soundstage... Best of luck in your quest, but you should probably get in line for the LCD-2 and a powerful amp haha.
 
Nov 1, 2010 at 11:21 PM Post #4 of 16

Jibbie

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I love the sense of space that the K701 gives, but I'm sure with music that demands accurate instrument placement it sounds artificial.  Because 95% of the music I listen to is electronica, this huge soundstage just adds to the immersion.  I do agree with you that this search will be very difficult, but I'm hoping the DT990s are the answer.  If those are not to my liking, maybe the S-Logic in the Pro900s will still give me an expansive soundstage as well as the bass I know those headphones are capable of delivering.  If not, then at least all of this testing will make me realize how much I love my K701 and I'll just continue to strengthen its weaknesses through recabling, better amping, etc.
 
Thanks for the feedback.
 
Nov 1, 2010 at 11:22 PM Post #5 of 16

fishski13

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Jibbie,
i listen to a lot of electronica and dub - currently spinning some dub-step from Skream via my K702.  i think that getting the beats and timing right with ample bass is tough.  you can dissect the "hi-fi" traits ad nauseum, but if it can't groove and carry a tune, it's outta here.  i've found that you can get more bass with a B22 and F5 (25W speaker amp), but both of these options are pricey if you don't DIY.  i think the DT990/600ohm is an excellent compromise. the AKG has a little better timing, but this is because it doesn't have the lower end heft of the Beyer.  yes, the mid-range is a bit more recessed in direct A/B comparisons, but not a big deal after more than 10min. on the head.  the M3/DT990 is a wonderful combo btw.  
 
good luck.
 
Nov 2, 2010 at 11:16 AM Post #6 of 16

Jibbie

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Thanks, and that is exactly what I'm looking forward to hearing from the DT990/600.  I'll be ordering it soon.
 
Quote:
Jibbie,
i listen to a lot of electronica and dub - currently spinning some dub-step from Skream via my K702.  i think that getting the beats and timing right with ample bass is tough.  you can dissect the "hi-fi" traits ad nauseum, but if it can't groove and carry a tune, it's outta here.  i've found that you can get more bass with a B22 and F5 (25W speaker amp), but both of these options are pricey if you don't DIY.  i think the DT990/600ohm is an excellent compromise. the AKG has a little better timing, but this is because it doesn't have the lower end heft of the Beyer.  yes, the mid-range is a bit more recessed in direct A/B comparisons, but not a big deal after more than 10min. on the head.  the M3/DT990 is a wonderful combo btw.  
 
good luck.



 
Nov 2, 2010 at 11:36 AM Post #7 of 16

TheMiddleSky

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with good set-up, D2000 is no match compare to K701, yes D2k has bigger bass, but when we talk about refinement and quality, K701 will beat D2k for sure.
 
I bet DT990 is what you're looking for
biggrin.gif

 
Nov 3, 2010 at 1:24 PM Post #8 of 16

thk3421

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I've had the k701s and the Denon1000s for a while, and I think the k701s have absolutely no punch in the low end.  They can certainly reach the low notes just fine, but I've actually preferred the 1000s for electronic music, despite the lack of detail.  There is no denying the k701s level of detail is superb compared to the 1000s, but its probably a better headphone for people who like classical music or music with strings being plucked really fast like a banjo or something.  Not my cup of tea.  I'm hoping the Denon5000s would be a nice upgrade to punchier bass and increased level of detail from the 1000s
 
Nov 3, 2010 at 2:14 PM Post #10 of 16

thk3421

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Order all three at the same time?  I'm not made of gold man!  I would love to have so much headphone gear!  I listened to some DT990s (600ohm) the other day, and the highs and detail were extremely good and comparable to the k701s, but I felt the DT990s had a more full bass response than my k701s.  Thus i'm on the path to replace them and build up a more mid-fi system with a dedicated DAC, a better amp, and hopefully the D5000s.
 
Nov 3, 2010 at 2:26 PM Post #11 of 16

Jibbie

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@thk3421
When I first owned the K701, I also thought it had no punch in the low end.  After buying the Matrix M Stage, however, I now see why so many people think the AKGs sound so great.  They are still bass light, however, there is much more impact and extension that it sounds pretty good.  Having said that, it is still a tad too bass light for my liking, and that is the reason I'm auditioning all of these headphones.
 
@TobaccoRoad
As much as I would have liked to buy all three, I would rather spend more time with each, write down what my impressions are and get a good overall feel for the headphones before trying going on to the next headphone.  I am also nervous that, had I ordered all three, that I may have not be able to get a full refund (for some reason or another) and would have been out a ton of money.  I would rather order one, test it, send it back, and once I receive my refund, I'll use that same money to purchase the next pair.
 
As far as the DT990 is concerned, I am very excited to try it out.  I'm hoping that, because it is open, it will have the airy soundstage I love so much in the K701's, while also adding some much needed heft in the lower end.  I love how bright the K701 is and don't find it to be harsh at all, so I'm also hoping that the brightness in the DT990s that so many people have talked about on these forums will actually appeal to me.
 
I'm glad that I had a short run with the D2000, because it opened my eyes to everything that I loved about my AKGs.  I never really appreciated how expansive the soundstage was or at how good the headphone is at expressing detail and imaging.  The k701 is the first headphone that I've bought since coming to these forums, and so far I'm happy with it.  If neither of these headphones satisfies me, I'll just work on strengthening the K701's weaknesses by recabling or maybe going balanced in the future.
 
Thanks for all of the comments so far guys.
 
Nov 3, 2010 at 9:46 PM Post #12 of 16

thk3421

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Thats cool the AKG pairs well with the M-Stage. I've stuck my k701s into: the Total Airhead, a Woo 3+, and a Music Hall preAmp/Dac combo (forget the model but the store was selling it for about 600).  I can definitely tell the difference in bass response of the k701s between the Airhead and the Woo 3+, but it wasn't so much that it completely changed the signature of the headphone. Perhaps none of those three amps was powerful enough to drive the k701s to their full glory, but if they can't, then I'm sure I can't afford an amp that could.  Easier to switch to headphones that emphasize more of what I'm interested in.  
 
Nov 3, 2010 at 10:27 PM Post #13 of 16

Jibbie

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I too agree that, even though the bass increased, they are still definitely a little bass light and true to their intended sound signature.  Because the Matrix is my first dedicated headphone amp, I am not sure if the amps you have tried with the K701 had enough power or not.  To check, however, just find the amps technical specifications, and if it outputs a few hundred megawatts around 60ohms, then they should drive the AKGs just fine.  The Matrix M Stage puts out around 400mw at 60ohms, so they definitely have the power to drive the K701 with authority. 
 
Also, I listen to electronica, a lot of which has boosted bass anyways.  The bass on most of the tracks is just fine, however, if a track comes on that has normal amounts of bass, the headphones are indeed bass light.
 
Nov 3, 2010 at 10:29 PM Post #14 of 16

dcpoor

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Quote:
Originally Posted by thk3421 /img/forum/go_quote.gif

Thats cool the AKG pairs well with the M-Stage. I've stuck my k701s into: the Total Airhead, a Woo 3+, and a Music Hall preAmp/Dac combo (forget the model but the store was selling it for about 600).  I can definitely tell the difference in bass response of the k701s between the Airhead and the Woo 3+, but it wasn't so much that it completely changed the signature of the headphone. Perhaps none of those three amps was powerful enough to drive the k701s to their full glory, but if they can't, then I'm sure I can't afford an amp that could.  Easier to switch to headphones that emphasize more of what I'm interested in.

 
k701's do great with a gilmore lite/dynalo or M^3. and according to others the CTH and CKKIII should be great as well. all way under <$500
 
Nov 3, 2010 at 11:31 PM Post #15 of 16

peanuthead

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There have been incidents of Amazon users getting banned for abusing their return policy...I'd be careful if I were you.
 

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