AKG K701 with Macbook Pro
Feb 9, 2008 at 5:46 AM Post #16 of 34

uraflit

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amping the k701 will make it sound "better" in quality...

i'm pretty sure a MBP can make it go LOUD enough, but GOOD enough... it's up to you
 
Feb 9, 2008 at 6:05 PM Post #17 of 34

fabricecp

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I think I came to the K701 with an approach similar to the one you had: to get a high potential headphone that may benefit from dedicated amplification down the road.

I am enjoying my K701 without amplification. Here is my limited experience: I bought the K701 and the Headroom Total Bithead portable amp ($149) for use with my Ipod (classic, 6th generation) and my laptop computer (Fujitsu P7010). As a headphone amplifier, the Total Bithead made no difference to me. The only difference it made was when I used it as a USB digital/analog converter (i.e. sound card) out of my laptop: I heard a few more, very subtle, details (pleasant to have but not necessarily worth, for me, my $149, i.e. definitely not a night & day experience).

The one area where the K701 leaves me wanting is for music that has few acoustical instruments, with a sizable amount of (wanted) bass and when I listen at low volumes. When these 3 conditions are met, I am not very satisfied. This is an area that will motivate me to research the benefits of quality amplification. When these 3 conditions are not met I am a happy customer. The K701 really revealz the complexity of my recordings in a manner such that I find myself listening to my music much more now. It is, for me, similar to to switching from an OK to a very good wine.

The next thing I will write, and for me it is what makes or "breaks" the K701 experience, is that they must go through at least 100 hours of "burn in" before being thoroughly enjoyable. I was very disappointed when I listened to my K701 right of the box. They did not sound "right." (You can see my the extent of my audiophile experience by the complexity of my description
smily_headphones1.gif
). I followed the advice I read and let them play random music in a drawer by themselves at moderate volume for about 100 hours. What a positive difference it made!

Lastly, I rip all my music to the highest definition available (in iTunes: WAV, 48Khz, 16 bit). I did not make comparisons with my K701 between high and low definition formats but I did with a previous Bose headphone and the difference was quite significant.

Hope this helps.
 
Feb 9, 2008 at 6:34 PM Post #18 of 34

jaduffy007

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Quote:

Originally Posted by DaNkKnD /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Thanks for the reply guys... Yeah I'm only spending 250 on these headphones (ebay) so 500$ for an amp is out of the question for now... I just want extremely high quality headphones that have potential... If I can get by without an amp that would be ideal and maybe I'd consider an amp down the road.

And for those who have this combo how much power did the macbook pro put out... Its hard for me to understand what you guys are comparing this too. I don't need enough power to blow my ear drums, just enough to go "loud".

Thanks again!



I'm a Macbook Pro /k701 owner. I think it's important to point out...getting an amp is important for SQ...not just for volume. I recommend only getting the k701 if you are willing to *eventually* buy an amp. Otherwise, *I* would get a pair of Grado SR80.

I got the Headamp Pico with DAC for the k701.
 
Feb 9, 2008 at 7:51 PM Post #19 of 34

Dorito123

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The bithead is convenient but it is short on power for a set of cans like the 701s. Max power on the 701s is 200mw and it is my opinion that people who are getting good results out of the 701s are using an amp with an output somewhere between 150mw and 1000mw. Rule of thumb, the more power the better. The general consensus is the 701s work well with tubes. If it were me I would have a look at the Little-Dot amplifiers. They are inexpensive and extremely popular. As long as you keep these factors in mind you should be able to find something well suited for your 701s, tubes or solid state, portable or desktop. Good Luck again.

Little-Tube
 
Feb 9, 2008 at 8:10 PM Post #20 of 34

DaNkKnD

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Thanks again for the replies... I'm starting to understand what everyone is getting at. Before I was under the impression the amplifier just made things louder to overcome the impedance. I see now that it's for better quality. Just to see everything in perspective; when you guys say better quality do you mean without the amps the K701s will sound crippled compared to regular headphones like the Sennheiser HD595s or will they sound better but just not to their full potential?
 
Feb 9, 2008 at 8:44 PM Post #21 of 34

Dorito123

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Exactly! They will sound crippled with out a decent amp. Doesnt mean you need to spend a thosand bucks on an amp but I would want to spend more than 150. Like I said the little dots are nice and if you want a Dac then the Pico or Predator are good all in one solutions. Those are just a few recommendations, there are many!
 
Feb 9, 2008 at 11:02 PM Post #22 of 34

dgbiker1

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With my macbook I can drive the K701s loud, but not very well as many have mentioned. Even a CMoy amp was a bit weak for driving the K701s well at the upper end of my comfort level.
One interesting thing I've learned is that the amp basically ensures you're getting the source signal to the headphones properly, but the source made the the biggest difference SQ-wise. So the amp is a necessary component that can make some improvement (Theoretically an amp should only be a wire with gain), but adding a DAC is the way to really improve the sound. If you amp the output from your MBP you'll notice basically the same sound but better preserved, while the DAC will make the big difference in sound signature.
I'd say the amp would be the engine in a car and the DAC the chassis. The engine/amp gives you the go-juice, but the chassis is what dictates the quality of the ride, handling, etc. I don't really know what the K701s would be in that analogy... maybe the wheels where you're putting the power and chassis dynamics to the ground and actually doing something
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Feb 10, 2008 at 12:39 AM Post #23 of 34

lostbobby

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ph0rk /img/forum/go_quote.gif
You will be able to get sufficient volume (and then some) out of a MBP, I just tested it.

An amp and dac down the line will improve on it, of course, but the MBP will work for the short term.



+1. I've had the MBP just a few weeks, it never occurred to me to plug in anything except IEM directly into the MBP, and only because i forgot my little keychain DAC/amp combo. K701's do sound kind of flat soundstage wise and weaker in bass straight out of the MBP, but adequate.
 
Feb 10, 2008 at 12:41 AM Post #24 of 34

illkemist

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Quote:

Originally Posted by lostbobby /img/forum/go_quote.gif
+1. I've had the MBP just a few weeks, it never occurred to me to plug in anything except IEM directly into the MBP, and only because i forgot my little keychain DAC/amp combo. K701's do sound kind of flat soundstage wise and weaker in bass straight out of the MBP, but adequate.


IEMs directly out of the port? Mine kill my ears. Between the hiss and extreme volume, i have to use some kind of attenuator if I want to listen using the Westone UM2s.
 
Jan 7, 2009 at 8:48 AM Post #27 of 34

swayne

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Quote:

Originally Posted by lucky /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Another interesting thread. Wouldn't mind reading more from people with K701s and laptops.


I've just received my K701's and use an iBasso D3 ( my first amp ). When my Arietta gets here the path will be:

Laptop => iBasso D3 USB DAC => iBasso D3 line out => Arietta => K701

Steven.
 
Feb 7, 2009 at 1:25 AM Post #28 of 34

lucky

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Quote:

Originally Posted by fabricecp /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I think I came to the K701 with an approach similar to the one you had: to get a high potential headphone that may benefit from dedicated amplification down the road.

I am enjoying my K701 without amplification. Here is my limited experience: I bought the K701 and the Headroom Total Bithead portable amp ($149) for use with my Ipod (classic, 6th generation) and my laptop computer (Fujitsu P7010). As a headphone amplifier, the Total Bithead made no difference to me. The only difference it made was when I used it as a USB digital/analog converter (i.e. sound card) out of my laptop: I heard a few more, very subtle, details (pleasant to have but not necessarily worth, for me, my $149, i.e. definitely not a night & day experience).

The one area where the K701 leaves me wanting is for music that has few acoustical instruments, with a sizable amount of (wanted) bass and when I listen at low volumes. When these 3 conditions are met, I am not very satisfied. This is an area that will motivate me to research the benefits of quality amplification. When these 3 conditions are not met I am a happy customer. The K701 really revealz the complexity of my recordings in a manner such that I find myself listening to my music much more now. It is, for me, similar to to switching from an OK to a very good wine.

The next thing I will write, and for me it is what makes or "breaks" the K701 experience, is that they must go through at least 100 hours of "burn in" before being thoroughly enjoyable. I was very disappointed when I listened to my K701 right of the box. They did not sound "right." (You can see my the extent of my audiophile experience by the complexity of my description
smily_headphones1.gif
). I followed the advice I read and let them play random music in a drawer by themselves at moderate volume for about 100 hours. What a positive difference it made!

Lastly, I rip all my music to the highest definition available (in iTunes: WAV, 48Khz, 16 bit). I did not make comparisons with my K701 between high and low definition formats but I did with a previous Bose headphone and the difference was quite significant.

Hope this helps.



This was helpful. I'm hoping the stage gets wider by the time I hit the 100 hour mark. I've got about 25 hours so far, and the sound isn't bad (they remind me of my AD700, but thinner, with less bass and sometimes shrill highs), but I'll wait and listen and see.
 
Feb 7, 2009 at 5:51 AM Post #29 of 34

mudhole

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I have k701s and K271 mkII. The sound of K701s directly coming from ipod is kind of weakness, even not as good as k271's.

Now I only use k701 with my LD MKIII in home and K271 with ipod (no amp) on the go.

K271s sound pretty good with ipod.
 
Feb 7, 2009 at 6:19 AM Post #30 of 34

cswann1

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DaNkKnD,

I'm surprised no one has asked this yet, but what sort of things will you be listening to through your headphones? It makes a difference and from my experience the K701 is not suitable to some genres.

Don't get me wrong, you could do far worse than the K701. I listen to mine straight from my soundcard headphone jack of my PC and my HP laptop as well. I'm more than satisfied with their performance. But to really get the most from them a quality amp in a necessity.

I don't know if it's something you'd be interested in, but there are some DYI amp designs that are price/performance bad-asses. case in point, the Millet Starving Student. I can say from experience the K701 and the Starving Student play nicely together
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