Hifiman Sundara vs AKG K702
Apr 6, 2021 at 12:59 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 17

QuantumRock

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I know these 2 headphones are completely different technologies and therefore will provide differing sound profiles, but I've narrowed my next purchase down to either the Hifiman Sundara or the AKG K702. I will only be using a DAP (iBasso DX160 or Fiio M11) to drive these. Needing input from those who has listened to both models on which one will provide the best separation, imaging, soundstage, and of course longevity (needing them to last for years).
 
Apr 6, 2021 at 5:20 PM Post #3 of 17

539465

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I know these 2 headphones are completely different technologies and therefore will provide differing sound profiles, but I've narrowed my next purchase down to either the Hifiman Sundara or the AKG K702. I will only be using a DAP (iBasso DX160 or Fiio M11) to drive these. Needing input from those who has listened to both models on which one will provide the best separation, imaging, soundstage, and of course longevity (needing them to last for years).
ok so do you want headphones that sound like you aren't wearing headphones literally as natural and neutral combined for the price or whatever the AKG K702 is?

honestly if you want wow and something you will 100% keep get Sundara, you will eventually get it and like it and keep it if you continue your audio journey at least is the experience of a lot of people who buy it so start strong and with headphones that will keep you from accepting crappier ones or overpaying since they are such a great value
 
Apr 8, 2021 at 1:39 AM Post #4 of 17

RockStar2005

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If you actually get the Sundara, I'd HIGHLY recommend buying the new upgraded 2020 version vs. the 2017 original. Apparently they improved the design and materials, including the diaphragm, earpads, and cable. Some still say the cable sux though, so you may need to replace it with another standard one, or a balanced one + adapter.

I don't own these btw, but I'm CONSIDERING buying them to compare them with my current K702, which I honestly love. So far, my K702s have outdone the Grado RS2e (open-back dynamic), Blue Ella (closed-back planar mag), and Audeze LCD-1 (open-back planar mag) in multiple listening sessions. The latter 2 offered somewhat better comfort, but not sound. The K702s are still PRETTY comfortable though!

Please let us know what you end up getting, and your thoughts. I will also post my thoughts here as well if I actually get the Sundara.
 
Apr 8, 2021 at 10:19 AM Post #5 of 17

Deolum

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Since you drive them from a Dap clearly the Sundara. The K702 is ultimately the better headphone on a desktop setup but sounds bad when not well driven.
 
Apr 8, 2021 at 12:03 PM Post #6 of 17

RockStar2005

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Since you drive them from a Dap clearly the Sundara. The K702 is ultimately the better headphone on a desktop setup but sounds bad when not well driven.
Yeah but the amp/DAC (not an actual DAP) I use to drive all my headphones is the iFi xDSD, which has some serious max output. I can't recall even one time where the max volume wasn't enough. More like TOO much. lol

It sounds like though that the Sundara is the preferred headphone from everyone in here though.
 
Apr 8, 2021 at 1:16 PM Post #7 of 17

SilverEars

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Since you drive them from a Dap clearly the Sundara. The K702 is ultimately the better headphone on a desktop setup but sounds bad when not well driven.
If this is the case, Sundara isn't all that easy to drive either as the sensitivity is 94dB. You want sufficient current output with planars. Solid-states are recommended, and something that puts out a bit of current. Usually, portable, battery run ones don't put out lots of current.

I did try driving the Sundara on a speaker amp, and it's not that hard to drive. Speaker amp seems to be too much for getting a decent volume output. A desktop solid-state headphone amp with low output impedance with good amount of wattage at around 37 ohms would be ideal.
 
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Apr 8, 2021 at 1:21 PM Post #8 of 17

RockStar2005

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If this is the case, Sundara isn't all that easy to drive either as the sensitivity is 90dB.
Yeah true.

The K702 has a 105 db sensitivity and 62 ohm resistance. The Sundara's is 94 db and 37 ohms. Not sure on the math there of which one needs more power since the sensitivity is higher on the K702, but the Sundara has the lower resistance.

Plus I've found that open-backs are more difficult to drive in general vs. closed-back (like if the sensitivity and resistance are the same for both). Like a 60 ohm open-back with say a 102 db sensitivity will DEF need more power to achieve the same volume than a closed-back counterpart will.
 
Apr 8, 2021 at 1:22 PM Post #9 of 17

SilverEars

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Yeah true.

The K702 has a 105 db sensitivity and 62 ohm resistance. The Sundara's is 94 db and 37 ohms. Not sure on the math there of which one needs more power since the sensitivity is higher on the K702, but the Sundara has the lower resistance.

Plus I've found that open-backs are more difficult to drive in general vs. closed-back (like if the sensitivity and resistance are the same for both). Like a 60 ohm open-back with say a 102 db sensitivity will DEF need more power to achieve the same volume than a closed-back counterpart will.
Corrections, it's actually 94 dB with 37 ohms impedance. I like that it's decently high impedance so it can get good amount of current from higher output impedances.

I used to have the 701 and it seems like it's not the sensitivity and impedance tells you how easy to drive them. Even with those spec, the headphone seemed harder to drive than the Sennheisers even if impedance is low (this was one of the most common misconceptions about K701). It might be due to the large pad/cup room, you don't get as strong SPL noticed.
 
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Apr 8, 2021 at 1:29 PM Post #10 of 17

RockStar2005

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Corrections, it's actually 94 dB with 37 ohms impedance. I like that it's decently high impedance so it can get good amount of current from higher output impedances.

I used to have the 701 and it seems like it's not the sensitivity and impedance tells you how easy to drive them. Even with those spec, the headphone seemed harder to drive than the Sennheisers even if impedance is low (this was one of the most common misconceptions about K701). It might be due to the large pad/cup room, you don't get as strong SPL noticed.
Yeah, but that only really is a plus if you're connecting it to some huge studio rig. I've read there's no sonic improvements that come from having a higher resistance. It was just necessary (and still is I guess) if you're using it for studio work.

Yeah it may very well be the larger earcups that require it to have more power than the Sennheisers, b/c those larger earcups means bigger soundstage, which means more space you gotta fill up, which requires more power. Makes sense.
 
Apr 8, 2021 at 1:32 PM Post #11 of 17

SilverEars

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Yeah, but that only really is a plus if you're connecting it to some huge studio rig. I've read there's no sonic improvements that come from having a higher resistance. It was just necessary (and still is I guess) if you're using it for studio work.

Yeah it may very well be the larger earcups that require it to have more power than the Sennheisers, b/c those larger earcups means bigger soundstage, which means more space you gotta fill up, which requires more power. Makes sense.
You have a good point there. 300 and 600 ohms did come out in times when dedicated headphone amps weren't around, and receiver amps had high impedance headphone outs.

Today, there's a market for headphone amps with lower gain (for reasonable range of volume control) and low output impedances. So, we can drive 25 ohm headphones without much issue. And even iems like Campfire that can drop to 3-4 ohms in certain frequencies and have a stable FR output because amps can put out near 0 ohm output impedance and provide current.
 
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Apr 8, 2021 at 1:37 PM Post #12 of 17

RockStar2005

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You have a good point there. 300 and 600 ohms did come out in times when dedicated headphone amps weren't around, and receiver amps had high impedance headphone outs.

Today, there's a market for headphone amps with lower gain (for reasonable range of volume control) and low output impedances.
Yes, that's exactly it! Portable headphone amp/DACs were never a thing back in the day. lol

Exactly. Many ppl also don't want to buy amp/DACs b/c they (sadly lol) don't think they're worth it. So they just rely on their smartphone's amp/DAC setup, which we both know in most cases is NOT the best (with exception to the HTC and LG phones from a few years back that featured DEDICATED Hi-Fi amp/DAC setups, like the HTC 10 and the LG V30, both of which I owned before). Can't say I really trust any of the other ones THAT much, even Sony and Samsung's!
 
Apr 8, 2021 at 1:38 PM Post #13 of 17

SilverEars

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Yeah it may very well be the larger earcups that require it to have more power than the Sennheisers, b/c those larger earcups means bigger soundstage, which means more space you gotta fill up, which requires more power. Makes sense.
It's usually the distance of your ear canal to the distance, and that's how SPL per amount of input power should be standardized to, a good reference position where that distance is, because the distance matter a whole lot especially if we get into speaker territory. The bigger the distance, much more power required to hear sufficiently.

I think pad room has lot to do with SPL as well. If you reduce the room, it's easy to get high bass quantity. And I assume perception also plays a role with K701/702 due to some people not hearing enough bass.
 
Apr 8, 2021 at 1:40 PM Post #14 of 17

calumniate

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I have the k702 and 400i, and would say they are very interesting to pit against one another, and am glad I have both :)

AKG are very reference style and are quite neutral. Now that i've been modding the 400i with different earpads (which change the sound signature significantly), it's good to have the AKG there as a reference. To me the 400i is more 'fun', including the speed and depth of bass, but then you go back to the k702 and you become enamoured with the soundstage and openness.

Hope I didn't derail too much as I know the Sundara's will be slightly different (and are also on my bucket list for purchase)
 
Apr 8, 2021 at 1:41 PM Post #15 of 17

SilverEars

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Yes, that's exactly it! Portable headphone amp/DACs were never a thing back in the day. lol

Exactly. Many ppl also don't want to buy amp/DACs b/c they (sadly lol) don't think they're worth it. So they just rely on their smartphone's amp/DAC setup, which we both know in most cases is NOT the best (with exception to the HTC and LG phones from a few years back that featured DEDICATED Hi-Fi amp/DAC setups, like the HTC 10 and the LG V30, both of which I owned before). Can't say I really trust any of the other ones THAT much, even Sony and Samsung's!
IME, portable devices can work ideally in rare occasions, when headphone is highly sensitive like recent Denons, V-moda, etc.. My desktop amp is too strong for V-moda. lol You can hear faint sounds even with volume all the way down. So, I believe there are ideal gain level per sensitivity range level of headphones that output the most ideal performance.

I used to think all headphones should benefit from stronger amping than portable battery sourced amping, but some of these sensitive headphones has proven to me otherwise.

Personally, I wish they'd make sensitive headphones that sound good that I can easily drive out of a smartphone. It's really convenient. It's really interesting how easily headphones can be driven if they have high enough sensitivity.

I think this hobby is dated in this sense. There's no reason these companies can put out headphones that can be easily driven (except planars).

I'm tired of theses huge lug of old ass looking amps, arn't you all? If I don't need to have space for them, the better.
 
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