K701's smooth, lush and musical? Pure distortion... maybe, but who cares it sounds great!
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MikePio

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Hey everyone,
 
After returning home for vacation to Canada I returned to my beloved home rig, the K701/EF5/1100HD, while in Poland I listened to the superb W5000/HA5000/Stello. I had lots of listening to do and it was apparent that the K701 rig was incredibly harsh at times while missing the smoothness I came to know and love from the W5000 set up. To my surprise I stumbled upon an old Playstation, which by the way I have heard as being used as a source but disregarded this as a HiFi myth... Well for 20 bucks I decided to go for it (what is there to lose right?) and it was the scph-1001, so I went for it...
 
Having listened to the scph-1001 as source driven by the HiFiman EF-5 to the AKG's for about 2 weeks I came to the conclusion that this setup has left me speechless, the sound has become smooth, lush and musical which is what I thought I would never say about the  K701's. You could crank the volume on the EF-5 without cringing in pain for the first time and the most important aspect for me was that the general sound did not come off as muddy or veiled. Having said that, I have not tried this source with a warmer sounding headphone which I presume would not be optimal as with the K701's or any other brighter headphone.
 
After hearing the sound coming through my AKG's I no longer cared about the "distortion" of this source or how bad the technical graphs were represented, all that mattered was the sound and it blew me away. So if somebody is looking to tame their overly bright sounding headphones, give this a shot, you will be pleasantly surprised! Also don't believe the old hype that floated around in previous years that the Sony is equivalent to a 6000 dollar cd player, it is not! The sound is very colored and far from accurate, without a doubt being beaten in technical terms by almost any modern cd player but what it does possess is an incredibly pleasant sound that is as smooth as silk, also as gentle. To conclude, I have learned that listening to music is still a sensual experience not a technical one, these past two weeks have proved this.
 
I would like to know if any of you guys had experiences similar to mine regarding sources that create a pleasant sound, if so what were they? Also what is your stand on sources like these versus the modern ones available regarding the importance of technical accuracy vs producing pleasant sound... Thank you,
 
Happy listening! 
 
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caol ila

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Yeah, music is a sensual experience......that's why a lot of folks went with the K601 instead of the K701. K701 was something different from the AKG house sound for audiophiles to fidget over, while music lovers who knew they liked AKG house sound went with a K601.
 
When the K601 is driven from a HEARO 999 hardwired headphone output, the result is a lot like the wireless headset. That fairly well proves they are the "house sound" headphone while the K701 veered off in a new direction.
 
Was listening to the Beach Boys today with the DT880 and K601 driven by the HEARO 999. The K601 was definitely the best set of cans for that particular job, but for classical music from my old Technics CD player at my computer workstation, the DT880 gets the nod.
 
Besides having a really good switchable MM/MC phono stage, an old B&K Pro-10MC has a surprisingly good headphone output. It can drive high impedance cans with ease as it has about 10 volts output (15 volts peak). That's 400 milliwatts into a 250 ohm load, or twice what will drive most 250 ohm cans to full power. 166 milliwatts into 600 ohms, which is loud and about all that headphones can stand longterm.
 
20 years of service, and the old B&K amp and preamp never missed a beat. $3500 worth of Conrad-Johnson preamp replaced that old Pro-10MC, and it still doesn't have a headphone driver.
 
The old Technics SL-P230 CD player produced a sound about as good as the Rotel RCD-855 did (I still own and use them both). The Technics SL-P230 did it first at a lower cost, and has a headphone jack and volume control as well. Good enough to drive a DT880, but a bit anemic for the K601.
 
The Denon DL160 high output MC replaced a more expensive Grado phono cartridge, and besides sounding much better, it tracks better and does not suffer from "Grado dance" and "Grado hum". $180 gets you $400 worth of sound. Unfortunately, the DL160 has been discontinued after many years of sticking it to pricier MC cartridges and any MM cartridge you could name. The tiny diamond rode deep in the groove and dug out good sound from old worn albums like nothing else near its price.
 
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MikePio

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Quote:
Yeah, music is a sensual experience......that's why a lot of folks went with the K601 instead of the K701. K701 was something different from the AKG house sound for audiophiles to fidget over, while music lovers who knew they liked AKG house sound went with a K601.
 
When the K601 is driven from a HEARO 999 hardwired headphone output, the result is a lot like the wireless headset. That fairly well proves they are the "house sound" headphone while the K701 veered off in a new direction.
 
Was listening to the Beach Boys today with the DT880 and K601 driven by the HEARO 999. The K601 was definitely the best set of cans for that particular job, but for classical music from my old Technics CD player at my computer workstation, the DT880 gets the nod.
 
Besides having a really good switchable MM/MC phono stage, an old B&K Pro-10MC has a surprisingly good headphone output. It can drive high impedance cans with ease as it has about 10 volts output (15 volts peak). That's 400 milliwatts into a 250 ohm load, or twice what will drive most 250 ohm cans to full power. 166 milliwatts into 600 ohms, which is loud and about all that headphones can stand longterm.
 
20 years of service, and the old B&K amp and preamp never missed a beat. $3500 worth of Conrad-Johnson preamp replaced that old Pro-10MC, and it still doesn't have a headphone driver.
 
The old Technics SL-P230 CD player produced a sound about as good as the Rotel RCD-855 did (I still own and use them both). The Technics SL-P230 did it first at a lower cost, and has a headphone jack and volume control as well. Good enough to drive a DT880, but a bit anemic for the K601.
 
The Denon DL160 high output MC replaced a more expensive Grado phono cartridge, and besides sounding much better, it tracks better and does not suffer from "Grado dance" and "Grado hum". $180 gets you $400 worth of sound. Unfortunately, the DL160 has been discontinued after many years of sticking it to pricier MC cartridges and any MM cartridge you could name. The tiny diamond rode deep in the groove and dug out good sound from old worn albums like nothing else near its price.
 
Caol ila, thanks for the detailed suggestions. I have always wanted to try the K601, will probably purchase them some time in the future and give the AKG house sound a shot. Speaking of Technics, I have 20 year old speaker system that to this day plays perfectly and always surprises me when I give it a listen, will probably seek out the SL-P230 and replace the current cd player which is not of the same caliber. Never really had a chance to get into vinyl, probably because it requires a phono preamp along with the player and most of my music I listen to rarely comes out on vinyl. Though one day I would love to listen too a top tier vinyl setup since I absolutely love analog sound, though I fear I might miss the detail retrieval of modern digital audio formats. Ultimately it is refreshing to find something that is dated and technically not as proficient but still delivers that comforting sound, something modern sources have a hard time achieving.
 
 
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