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AKG Q701 vs Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro for directional accuracy

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by headfigamer, Jul 29, 2014.
  1. HeadFiGamer
    Hey guys,
    The most important features for me include directional accuracy, soundstage, and imaging. I've narrowed my options down to the AKG Q701 and Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro. While researching I keep encountering some very conflicting opinions. Which headphones do you think are the best for directional accuracy and what amp do you recommend to go with it? Please try to be as objective as possible.
    Thanks in advance!
  2. MrTechAgent
    Get the 990s , they will keep you happy in the long run 
    If you have a PC , get a Xonar STX , or the STX II 
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  3. HeadFiGamer
    Any reasoning behind that statement? I see people reporting that the bass is just too much, but I greatly prefer the look of the 990s. The main priority is directional accuracy though. And I'm almost certain that I won't be using a sound card, but an amp instead. I was considering something like the FiiO E9.
  4. MrTechAgent
    There are many reasons I would consider the 990s , in terms of directional accuracy the 990s are the best in the DT series , the 7XX is great but the centre image is a bit off , it has great width and depth but I wouldn't call it accurate , the 990s are more accurate , they also sound better , better clarity , better bass etc , listen to gun shots on the 7XX and the 990s , the 7XX will be harsh and impolite whereas the 990s will be significantly less grainy and better to listen to 
    I have the 702s and I love them but I would choose the 990s in the end as a be all end all phone 
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  5. HeadFiGamer
    I'm probably going to get the 990s. Anybody know of an amp that pairs well with them?
  6. HeadFiGamer
    Nobody has any good recommendations?
  7. Mjolnir125
    I haven't used the 990s but I use the K702's for gaming all the time in games where directional audio is super important (multiplayer games with lots of dogfighting, which requires hearing where the enemy is in 3D space). I am not sure the Q701 would really offer anything over the K702 for your use since they are almost the same headphone, but the Q701 has the annoying headband bumps and the K702 does not. The AKG's have a very spacious soundstage. Not having used the DT990 I don't know how it compares, but I am sure you can't go wrong with either of the two choices you listed (except for the bumps on the q701 headband that people don't like). The DT990 have more bass and a different treble character from what I see online, but I haven't used them myself.
  8. HeadFiGamer
    Thanks for the reply. I've read that the K702s make the objects sound a little thin/empty/hollow in comparison to the Q701, and that the K702s make things sound too far away. Overall I'm still leaning towards the 990s, but I'm hoping that somebody who has used both can offer input.
  9. HeadFiGamer
    I'm still looking for an amp that pairs well with the 990s if anybody has a recommendation. 
  10. HeadFiGamer
    Well I guess nobody knows of an amp that pairs well with these headphones. I've decided to get the FiiO E10.
  11. Mjolnir125
    That is all just "soundstage" talk; it doesn't have a bearing on games in my experience... The soundstage on the K702 is "large" (whatever that means qualitatively), but it doesn't mean that in game sounds will sound like they are too far away; it just means music doesn't seem like it is coming from inside your head when you listen to it.
    The K702 do sound "thin" compared to other headphones, but you get used to it and it is partly because other headphones have emphasis in areas, not because the K702's are particularly recessed anywhere. They are pretty flat overall.
    As far as amps go, the E10 has a fairly high output impedance, but if you get the 250 ohm DT990s I don't think this will be that much of an issue. I use an O2 amp and ODAC and it works fine with all of my headphones, but it costs quite a bit more than an E10 (or E10K which is the current model I think).
  12. HeadFiGamer
    Thank you very much for clarifying that information. However, I have decided to go with the DT 990s, and I admit that aesthetics did play a role in this decision. Regarding the amp I'm still a bit confused. The FiiO E10K has an output power of 200mW(32Ω) with a suitable headphone impedance of 16Ω~150Ω. Conversely, my ASRock Z97 EXTREME6 comes with a headphone pre-amp, which allows for connecting headphones with up to 600Ω impedance. This mobo also allows for 115dB SNR DAC. By looking at this information, it seems like the FiiO E10K is not good enough for my 250Ω headphones, and the mobo is more than enough. However, I've always been told that buying an amp/dac will be better than the mobo alone. How will soundstage, imaging, and directional accuracy be affected with or without an amp/dac?
  13. SunshineReggae
    It won't. How everything is supposed to sound in terms of soundstage, where the positioning is of instruments etc. is all information that is stored in the audio file(s). That information just needs to get to your headphones with a sufficiently strong, clean signal to get the best result. 
    It's important to realize your motherboard's audio already functions as a headphone dac/amp combo. So you are already amping. Any dac that has an output stage is already amping. Now what matters is that the DAC and amp can keep the signal clean while sending it to your headphones, and that they can do it with enough power, to make sure the signal your headphones receive in analog form is relatively identical to the information in digital form that was stored in the music file. The job of an amp is not to change this information, or to add anything (nonsense like clarity, resolving power, etc.), but to increase current and voltage delivered to the headphones in case the signal lacks strength. When the signal lacks strength, it will cause a lack of volume, clipping, and noticeable distortion (in the bass and treble most notably).
    Assuming you have good onboard audio (and it seems you have) that is powerful enough, this most likely will be quite well taken care of, in which case even more amping will do absolutely nothing for you. In fact, it might only damage the signal.
  14. HeadFiGamer
    Thank you very much for this informative post, it has answered all of my questions. My only other issue is that I'll be using an Audio-Technica AT2035 mic, and I'm looking at purchasing the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB Audio Interface for PC compatibility. It would be nice to have control of the headphones on the audio interface, but the impedance and output of the interface is much lower than my mobo, so I'm assuming it would be better to connect my headphones directly to my PC as opposed to into the audio interface. Please correct me if I'm wrong though. 
  15. SunshineReggae
    Hard to say if it would be better. The question is not if one would be better than the other, but rather if the Scarlett does anything too wrong with amping 250 ohm headphones. From what I can gather from various sources on the internet, it seems like it's a good amp that's however limited in power. You're probably gonna have to see for yourself if it works for you.

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