AKG K601 Question
Jun 4, 2010 at 2:26 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 26


May 18, 2009
I recently saw some AKG 601's on sale in my town for rather cheap and was curious if they would be a good investment if I have no interest in purchasing an amp. My source would be an 120gb Ipod and the music on it is all in ALAC format. I'm curious if the ipod could get any volume to these phones at all or would they be inaudible. I searched the forums a bit but couldn't get a definite answer.
I was hoping someone with more experience would be able to help me out. Any info is greatly appreciated.
Jun 4, 2010 at 2:31 AM Post #2 of 26
It's not that they'd be inaudible, but K601s are some of the hardest headphones to drive, definitely not something to run off an iPod.
Jun 4, 2010 at 3:25 AM Post #4 of 26
They seem rather lovely and incredibly comfortable. Right now at the moment I'm currently using the JVC HARX700 I find them to be rather solid headphones sound wise however when it comes to wearing them for extended sessions I find them rather heavy and uncomfortable even with the pads cushioned with additional foam.
Prior to that I had a pair of Panasonic RTX7's which I found rather lively and exciting however shrill at times. Would you wager that the AKG 601's would sound better than the HARX700 unamped or is it just a situation where I'd be better off pursuing something driven a bit easier such as an ATH M50 etc?
Jun 4, 2010 at 4:27 AM Post #5 of 26
You'd be better of getting something that didn't need amplification. The K601 is power-hungry, ideally needs a good desktop amp.
Jun 4, 2010 at 8:11 AM Post #7 of 26
Out of a portable player or the headphone out in a laptop the akg K601 sound like if you were in a cave and lack detail. Treble is severely lacking nad bass simply does not exist. I can live without bass, but not treble. I hope this improves with an amp and burn in, or maybe I made a mistake and should have bought the K701 for more treble. Also mp3 songs below 225 kbps sound horrible, you can clearly hear the encoding artifacts.
Before these phones I had the shure srh440 which did not need amplification and build quality was much better despite they are made in China. The AKG K601 feel cheap plastic.
Jun 4, 2010 at 9:58 AM Post #8 of 26
Dont even try without some serious amplification ! I dont agree that they are made from cheap plastic , ok they dont have that quality senn hd 25 1 but it was more than good.
Jun 4, 2010 at 1:10 PM Post #9 of 26
I have a 120GB iPod, and it'll get volume on louder songs for home use, but classical / orchestral will push it, especially if you want to go loud sometimes (not to mention running at 3/4 volume plus all the time will eat your battery quickly). As for the sound, it's still respectable, but the lack of weight to the sound is noticable, and this is from a headphone that many argue lacks weight anyway. I think you may well be dissappointed with the sound, and if you're planning to stay on the iPod only, I would strongly recommend a headphone that can run well from one, because even if the K601 sounds a bit better than them un-amped, the other headphones will probably be better value for money.
Jun 4, 2010 at 1:59 PM Post #10 of 26
I have never even bothered connecting my K 601 to my iPod until reading your post, so it was actually quite interesting to hear them driven by a portable. The first thing I noticed is that I literally had to have the volume at 100% in order to get any life into them at all. Keep in mind I only had time to listen to a few tracks from one album, which isn't a particularly loud one (Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation). Even with newer, more compressed albums, I'm sure the output volume would have to be jacked up pretty high. The bass was almost non-existent, and the music heartless and dull.
Knowing what the same album is "supposed to" sound like with the K 601, all I can say is that an iPod won't bring these anywhere close to their potential. I personally can't imagine using full-sized headphones with an iPod anyway, and it would bug me to always have to use a 1/4-1/8" adapter. I would definitely seek out some easier-to-drive headphones, preferably something more portable and terminated with the appropriate connector, or some good IEMs instead of the K 601 in your case.
Jun 4, 2010 at 2:25 PM Post #11 of 26
or you could invest some time in getting a Bravo amp to try the amped K601 out, will not cost more than $40 if get the right aunction. It won't be at its best, but will be significantly improved compared to straight out of an ipod. Then you might be interested in getting it a proper amp later.

Jul 18, 2010 at 5:52 AM Post #13 of 26
Hi, I have another question : I could get them for 150€ (190$), but my source is only an Onkyo CR-515 without dedicated amp (but not some portable device) ; I just got some Beyer DT250 and I wonder if I shouldnt take those instead (or keep them both).
It's mostly for classical or post-rock from CDs (for my computer use, I prefer closed cans).
What do you think ?
(also its my first post here)
Jul 26, 2010 at 4:21 AM Post #14 of 26
Given your setup, and owning/having owned both headphones in question, I would definitely lean towards the DT250. As long as your ears are small enough that they don't press against the inside edges of the pads, they should be very comfortable and give you some decent isolation. You should be able to drive them to their potential with the Onkyo, too.
Jul 26, 2010 at 5:14 AM Post #15 of 26
I agree with Jaska. The dt250 is the best choices given your setup. They are easier to drive than the k601s. You could of course go ahead and buy the k601s... and then start saving up for a decent amp
. In the meantime you can use the dt250s (which are great cans in their own right). Before you know it you'll start cursing Head-Fi and feeling sorry for your wallet. As it was meant to be of course

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