k601: a disappointment
Jan 20, 2006 at 6:19 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 62

markot86

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Having gotten these with my micro dac and micro amp with DM, all I can say is that these headphones have several flaws that in my mind make this headphone not suitable for a mid-fi rig.

Note: These headphones have been religiously burned in now for over 50 hours, and I honestly can't tell any difference between these headphones when they were burned in and when they were not. If my opinion changes as the burn in continues, I will modify this thread accordingly.

List of reasons:
1) These really lack bass, A LOT. I'm not a basshead by any means but boy do these leave something to crave. In many of my jazz tracks, I can barely hear the bass play, let alone distinguish what notes it is playing at comfortable volume levels; this is especially problematic because the micro amp is known for a slight bass boost.

2) Is it just me or are these headphones, well, harsh? Headroom recommends the k601's as an alternative to the k701's if one doesn't want any "scratchiness" in their music, but when listening to these headphones I can't but notice that in my system there is some heavy simbilance, moreso than even my sr-60's
confused.gif
. One possible reason why I feel like this might be the case is because I listen to these headphones at much higher sound levels than I do my grados to cancel out the lack of bass, but other than that, I can't really think of a reason. This leads me to my next point.

3) These are NOT a low volume headphone; period. With the recent scare of hearing damage, I cannot recommend these to anyone that wants to listen at a low volume.

Maybe I'm being a little too hard on these headphones, but I guess I expected way too much from the akg contender to the hd600. I wish I had a k701 to compare these to on hand to tell you if these problems are fixed in the 701, but all i can say is that if headroom describes these as not so "scratchy" I can only imagine how harsh sounding the k701's must be.
 
Jan 20, 2006 at 6:22 AM Post #2 of 62

RnB180

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have you tried the crossfeed?

I dont know if I would consider the micro amp mid fi. In the portable amp arena, I think its one of the best sounding. Add a micro DAC and it competes with home rigs.
 
Jan 20, 2006 at 6:25 AM Post #3 of 62

markot86

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Quote:

Originally Posted by RnB180
have you tried the crossfeed?

I dont know if I would consider the micro amp mid fi. In the portable amp arena, I think its one of the best sounding. Add a micro DAC and it competes with home rigs.



I have both the micro dac and amp; sorry for the confusion. And yes crossfeed is on; while it makes some difference to the bass, it's still annoyingly lacking in a major way. As for crossfeed and the amp/dac themselves, I can't give them anything less than glowing praise.
 
Jan 20, 2006 at 6:30 AM Post #4 of 62

AintLDS

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I don't own the K701, but I thought I read a post where the owner said their K701 took a lot of burn-in before it settled down. I think they said over 150 hours. You might want to really work them in.

How do your Grado's sound with the Micro Stack? What kind of music are you listening to?
 
Jan 20, 2006 at 9:07 AM Post #6 of 62

Romanee

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AKG phones are notorious for needing really extensive burn in. At 150 hours they'll just start to develop. One 701 user noted that it took more than 300 hours for them to mature.

After extensive burn in they should sound a lot better, but they still might not satisfy your expectations. You won't know until you put in the play time and hear for yourself.

Good Luck.
 
Jan 20, 2006 at 10:39 AM Post #7 of 62

cheechoz

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WOW! 50 hours! You have only just begun to hear those cans. Try over 200 hours, before you make any critical judgements. I had the K701 with over 300 hours on them, and they were real smooth in the highs, not harsh at all. Things will change over time, you'll see, and hear!
tongue.gif
 
Jan 20, 2006 at 11:36 AM Post #8 of 62

layman

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Quote:

Originally Posted by markot86
Having gotten these with my micro dac and micro amp with DM, all I can say is that these headphones have several flaws that in my mind make this headphone not suitable for a mid-fi rig.

Note: These headphones have been religiously burned in now for over 50 hours, and I honestly can't tell any difference between these headphones when they were burned in and when they were not. If my opinion changes as the burn in continues, I will modify this thread accordingly.

List of reasons:
1) These really lack bass, A LOT. I'm not a basshead by any means but boy do these leave something to crave. In many of my jazz tracks, I can barely hear the bass play, let alone distinguish what notes it is playing at comfortable volume levels; this is especially problematic because the micro amp is known for a slight bass boost.

2) Is it just me or are these headphones, well, harsh? Headroom recommends the k601's as an alternative to the k701's if one doesn't want any "scratchiness" in their music, but when listening to these headphones I can't but notice that in my system there is some heavy simbilance, moreso than even my sr-60's
confused.gif
. One possible reason why I feel like this might be the case is because I listen to these headphones at much higher sound levels than I do my grados to cancel out the lack of bass, but other than that, I can't really think of a reason. This leads me to my next point.

3) These are NOT a low volume headphone; period. With the recent scare of hearing damage, I cannot recommend these to anyone that wants to listen at a low volume.

Maybe I'm being a little too hard on these headphones, but I guess I expected way too much from the akg contender to the hd600. I wish I had a k701 to compare these to on hand to tell you if these problems are fixed in the 701, but all i can say is that if headroom describes these as not so "scratchy" I can only imagine how harsh sounding the k701's must be.



Thanks for posting your impressions!
 
Jan 20, 2006 at 11:38 AM Post #9 of 62

fewtch

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Hate to echo everybody else, but -- weak bass, harsh highs, needs too much volume to sound good (dynamics issue). Classic symptoms of an un-burned-in headphone.
 
Jan 20, 2006 at 12:38 PM Post #11 of 62

Voodoochile

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Quote:

Originally Posted by cheechoz
WOW! 50 hours! You have only just begun to hear those cans. Try over 200 hours, before you make any critical judgements. I had the K701 with over 300 hours on them, and they were real smooth in the highs, not harsh at all. Things will change over time, you'll see, and hear!
tongue.gif



Ditto.
I was about to give up the ghost on my 701s, when they still sounded somewhat harsh after 200 hours. Somewhere near the 300 hour mark, they really settled down at long last. Very smooth, with nice detail that is not edgy any more. And as much bass as you may want, just shy of the Senn 650s.

I don't burn my cans in with really loud music, which might be why it took longer. But I do recall loading the Lips' "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" at one point, and playing it at a moderately loud volume. There is plenty of deep material, including both bass and keyboard notes. I ran that a dozen times one afternoon. It used to be so harsh sounding, now it is very lush. Wayne Coyne's voice can have tendencies to sound a bit squeaky, but it comes through beautifully. It's a good workout for any cans, and the 701s are sure up to the task. I'd give those 601s another month of use before laying any judgement, if you can handle the wait.
 
Jan 20, 2006 at 12:46 PM Post #12 of 62

LTUCCI1924

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Wow finally a decent post on the AKG 601. Sorry that they don't seem to be so great. I even now question the 701 greatness. I mean these cans cost good money and great sound can be had for much less money IMO. Thank you very much for posting on these cans. And to add a thing about headphones I either like them out of the box or don't even though a good burn in helps somewhat. IMO.
 
Jan 20, 2006 at 1:02 PM Post #13 of 62

philodox

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I hate to sound like a broken record, but AKG headphones need a lot of burn in. I had over 150 hours on my NOS K340's at the most recent hamilton meet and people commented on how they were more analytical and not as fun as my old pair. Now that they have 500+ hours this is certainly not the case.

Your comments about them needing to be listened to at moderate to high volumes is spot on though... I've always found that AKG's sound best loud. As for the craze on hearing loss, well, people are exagerating things quite a bit. I listen quite loud and have no problems with my hearing. You just have to be carefull. If you are in pain, it is too loud. If your ears ring afterwards, it is too loud.
wink.gif
 
Jan 20, 2006 at 2:20 PM Post #14 of 62

hciman77

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Sorry to hear that you were uhappy with the 601s - I have the 501s and to me they sound a lot like the wya you describe the 601s as sounding - especially the weak bass and a certain harshness at the top end and mine are very heavily burned in over one year old. I did not find that burn-in really changed their (501s) character fundamentally.

There is a lot I like about the 501s - Piano tone is superb for instance and they do extract a lot of detail - but on the whole I prefer listening to my Senn 580s - veil and all.

If you hate the 601s just sell them - you probably wont lose much. Life would be pretty dull if we all liked the same stuff.

J.
 
Jan 20, 2006 at 2:37 PM Post #15 of 62

warpdriver

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Quote:

Originally Posted by LTUCCI1924
Wow finally a decent post on the AKG 601. Sorry that they don't seem to be so great. I even now question the 701 greatness.


Why? It's like listening to HD600's and questioning HD650's greatness. Or listening to SR325i's and questioning RS2's greatness? You can only question their "greatness" if you've listened to them. Just even looking at the frequency response graphs show the 701's to be a completely different species than the 601's
 

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