Amping my AKG Q701...old or new?
May 15, 2013 at 2:35 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 1


New Head-Fier
May 14, 2013
Hi, I've been lurking around here on and off for a while now and have finally joined tonight.

I've been getting into headphones since the arrival of our first son 3 years ago. I won't go into what gear I've had (and sold) in this time apart from to say what I'm running at the moment.

I use my iMac running Spotify and iTunes which is plugged into my old Kenwood hifi amp aux input into which I plug my AKG Q701's in the headphone socket.

I've read a lot about how the Q701's need a headphone amp to drive them properly. I've always thought my Kenwood would do as good a job as anything else until, as an experiment I plugged my phones into my iphone and played the same track through Spotify and noticed no difference!

So maybe I do need 'proper' headphone amp after all?

Next I tried a comparison between my AKG's and a pair of old Sennheiser PX200's into the Kenwood and WOW...what a difference! The 200's were so much louder and fuller (though less detailed) than the AKG's. I'm guessing it's because the are easier to drive, being smaller etc? I compensated with the AKG's by turning up the kenwood so the volume matched. Is this all a dedicated headphone amp will do too? Make it louder? It's killing me knowing I'm probably not getting the most out of these beautiful headphones and I need to do something about it.

So DO I need a headphone amp? Would I be better off spending my money on a USB DAC and keep the Kenwood turned up? Would something like the Arcam rPac solve all my "problems" by getting a better initial sound from the source and also amping the 701's at the same time? Money is tight so I can't spend a fortune on a wrong decision.

Any advice or opinions would be greatly appreciated!

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