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Q701 impressions thread

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by tdockweiler, Nov 27, 2011.
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  1. tdockweiler
    10-19-13 EDIT:
    BASS PORT MOD for Q701:
    (sounds great with the Q701, but I haven't tested it on the K702/1 or K712)
    Step by Step instructions:
    Some measurements of the Bass Port Modded Q701 vs Stock:
    I figured this headphone deserves it's own thread. To me it's too different than the K701 and K702 to post comments in any of those threads. It just feels wrong.
    Well, first off, I've had a love/hate thing for the K701/K702 for YEARS. I've owned the K702 or K701 at least four times. I always had something to complain about with it. I kept trying to deal with it's problems but just could not do it. It had more positives than negatives for sure.
    First complaint I had with the K702 was that it had very fatiguing treble. Some strange peak in there that drove my ears crazy. This was on any amp. I've tried about four different amps and even a receiver. Even gave it about 100 hours of burn-in. This wasn't a case of garbage tracks and only occurred maybe 10-15% of the time.
    Second complaint was that it often felt as if the soundstage was sometimes abnormally huge and not always as accurate as it could be. At random, music would sound too distant when it really shouldn't be. It's not a case of it being recorded that way. Vocals were especially a problem. Sometimes female vocals that are recorded to be very up-front are not always that way on the K702. They are, but could be a little more accurate.
    Sometimes it also felt as if there was a slight recession in the mids somewhere and often the mids were a bit lacking. Strange I know. Again, this was with many different amps. I would say the K702 is slightly thin with a touch of warmth. I still think it's warmer than the K550, Koss A/250, SR-225 and DT-880 though.
    Ok...so I did my research and found the Q701 SHOULD be identical to the K702 in sound. I believe someone found that use the same driver. This doesn't matter one bit and means nothing. Any tiny internal change could change the sound. It's not hard to do.
    Took a risk and got the Q701 to try. It immediately sounds a lot warmer than the old K702 I had. No, there is no huge bass boost, but somehow the mids sound much fuller. Seems like there may be a tiny bit more mid-bass. The treble is most definitely 100% NOT fatiguing. This is coming from someone who found the K702's treble painful at times. (updated 4/7/12): If the treble on the Q701 is ever fatiguing, it's due to the recording. I can verify this with other accurate headphones. Some of my songs sound as if they have the mids and treble cranked up at the studio. For example, some of U2's stuff or from a singer from Japan named Hitomi. Well mastered CDs are NEVER fatiguing for me on the q701. It could also be due to poor amp/dac synergy, but this is rare.
    The soundstage also seems a little smaller. It just seems more accurate and not like you're listening to music in an airplane hangar. My only idea is that the button has caused this effect. I have my doubts if AKG just slapped a button on there for no reason without thinking about the resulting sound. Same with the foam behind the button.
    Based on what people have said before, AKG likes to improve models very slightly with different revisions. They did this with the K702 and now possibly the Q701. It's just the same headphone, but much improved I think. Very, very minor differences. No, there is no massive bass boost.
    The bass on the K702 kind of makes me sad, but with the Q701 I'm really quite surprised. Perfectly acceptable for me and not bass light IMO. That's more like the SA3000, Ad700 or K400 (stock).
    Previously I ranked the K501 and K601 over the K702. The Q701 most definitely is ranked higher than those for me. Q701 seems almost as warm sounding with my setup as the K601. OK, not quite, but close. Not like say the HD-598 or HD-600! To me, the Q701 with my setup seems to be a mix between the HD-598 and the K702. Strange huh?
    As much as I love the HD-598, after switching from the Q701, everything seems so..muffled. The HD-598 really isn't though and I still love it.
    Here's another interesting thing. I previously used the K702 for gaming and it was stupid annoying. Everything felt abnormally too distant. I'd have a person holding a torch right next to me without 2 feet on screen and it felt like they were twice as far away. Kind of ruined the experience. I've played through 30 hours of Skyrim and have not experienced this once.
    The soundstage is large, but not massive. Just about perfect.
    Some people say a headphone can't be "boring" if it's neutral and it's just my music, but I don't know about this. I think with the Q701 this is definitely the case. I can be listening to specific music and it bores me to death. Sometimes it's easy to blame the headphone, but with the Q701 it's most definitely the music and not the headphone. Some tracks make me think the Q701 is a snore fest, but on other tracks I'm impressed. I noticed this with my bass light DT-770 600 and now the Q701. BTW I do think the Q701 is fairly forgiving compared to the DT-880 and my KRK KNS-8400. Still needs good music to be at it's best. Well recorded lower bitrate files (not 128kbps mp3!) can still sound good. Sometimes.
    When I listen to the Q701 though it feels as if it's the most well balanced headphone I've ever heard or close to it. K501 has the edge though. You think the HD-598 is one smooth sounding headphone? The Q701 is just like that, but even more so. I'd never ever say that about the K702. (update: 4/7/12) This isn't quite the case after further testing since the HD-598 can make very harsh and fatiguing tracks sound a bit easier on the ears. Very slightly. On well mastered CDs, they're about equal in terms of how smooth they sound.
    The Q701 is supposed to have foward upper mids, but somehow it doesn't appear to make the headphone sound less balanced. They're not that forward at all. To me, the Q701 doesn't really sound like it has really forward mids. Just fuller sounding than the K702. I'd call this headphone very balanced sounding. Yes, really. I won't say neutral or someone will call me crazy.
    People who own the K702 and love it would be best not upgrading because it might not be worth it. If you're one who had several issues with the K702 like me, it's worth a try. The old K701 haters should at least give the Q701 a chance at a meet if they can. Bassheads should still avoid the Q701, but that's obvious!
    Right now I'd say the Q701 is one of my favorites for sure. Audio Technica ATH-AD2000 is another that'd rank very high for me, but I just could not deal with it's comfort. If I found alternative pads for it I'd buy it again in a second. When I get rich I want to try the W1000X or W1000.
    Some say there is absolutely zero difference between the two. This is not what my ears hear and none of my gear has changed. I think sometimes it will often taken quite a long time to figure out the differences. For example, it took me forever to find out the differences between the KRK KNS-6400 and 8400. Even after selling the 8400 I had missed hearing some of the differences some people had pointed out! If you were running the Q701 and K702 from portable amps and no DAC, then the difference MIGHT be even smaller. I don't know since I never tried it. The difference between them is mostly the same as long as it's from a decent desktop amp. For me it's very obvious and I feel the Q701 is a 10-15% improvement over the K702.
    One other idea I had is that maybe AKG improved the Q701 cable. Highly unlikely, but maybe it's a tad better than the K702 cable. This could alter the sound a very tiny bit. It seems like the Q701 cable is a bit thicker, but probably not.
    Again...very small differences but enough to make me like the Q701. I've used these non-stop for about a month without any complaints. With the K702 that'd be impossible for me.
    4/7/12 UPDATE: I've used these since October 2011 without a single complaint. I've made a Canare cable for $5 to slightly take the edge off the treble on poor recordings. It adds even more warmth to the Q701's sound. It's my primary gaming headphone and i've used it for at least 100+ hours in Skyrim. For $235 this headphone is a steal!
    philjvitale likes this.
  2. chicolom
    Great!  Sign me up!   
    [​IMG]  <- Argh! Wheres my Q701 smiley?
  3. chicolom
    Q701 photo love:
    AKGQ701FiiOE9E10.jpg Q701Blackv2.jpg
    eldus likes this.
  4. SKULL
    Just brought a Q701 from a nice headfier in my local area. Very impressive with how it performs with the Objective2. 
  5. Gwarmi
    I suppose the great thing about swapping Q701 cables for the 'believers' among us, is all too easy now ~ certainly not like the case of potential housing damage
    when trying to rewire a K701 or K601
  6. HaVoC-28


    Very intersting post about K702/Q701 for cable theory someone should plug the Q701 cable on a K702 to see if there is an improvement  . (only have a K702 at home and pleased with it) . 
    Internally it seams the same as K701/K702 but something peraphs have been changed , what i don't know  as i read you , it's like another headphone XD . , i am curious now about trying a Q701 but here in europe prices are ****ed up for Q701 and i am not soo found of "warm cans" (a touch of warmth is ok ) .
    I recently adquired a DT-880 600Ω after a confort issue with DT-880 PRO (too much clamping for my ears , tryed to loosen carrefully but nothing , ended up to return it when i got my 600Ω ) DT-880 600Ω and DT-880 PRo don't sound the same like your K702 / Q701 .
    DT-880 600Ω Bigger soundstage , more depth , clearer and less congested sound , highs less proeminant , less bass impact and more mids (seams logical since Highs , and bass are less proeminant wich give an overall more "neutral" can for me . In fact bass impact is peraphs only just a tad more impactfull than my K702 . DT-880 Pro had much more bass impact . 
    DT-880 Pro was pleasent , and contrasted more with My K702 , DT-880 600Ω is better for me , but sound more like the K702 than the DT-880 Pro Did . 
    Difference beetween DT-880 Pro and DT-880 600Ω are easy to understand clamping force and not the same driver . 
    But for K701/K702 /Q701 this is mysterious [​IMG] .
  7. chicolom
    I'm a hair away from ordering an M-Stage for the Q701s.....Just doing some last minute research....
  8. tdockweiler


    Do it! I saw one in the forums with upgraded op-amps, but don't know if it's a good deal or what.
    Uses the same opamps as the Micro Amp and I asked Headroom about upgrading them, but there is 8 total on the Micro Amp to swap out. What the heck?! [​IMG]
    So that would be like $160-$250 just for the chips alone ($20-$30 each). Yikes.
    Micro Amp vs the Matrix M-stage would make for a nice comparison. Comparing amps is just as bad as comparing cables IMO.
  9. rmsanger
    Got mine in the mail yesterday... Since I'm a noob and don't have a current amp/dac am waiting for Schiit to ship my Lyr/Bifrost in "early december".. the wait will kill me!
  10. R-Audiohead
    Subscribed [​IMG]
    I've pondered this 'phone.  I already have an analytical beast in the SP-1, but it might be interesting to pit them up against each other
  11. chicolom

    Its done!  A silver Matrix M-stage USB has been ordered   [​IMG]   *breathes sigh of relief*
    I just went with a new one, because they've updated it recently where it comes with a built in DAC for $30 more!  They also redesigned the casing for better air flow
    That sounds good to me!
    ...Now just need to choose an opamp upgrade [​IMG].....
    20111027141249533.jpg 20111027141231404.jpg 20111027141455585.jpg

  12. chicolom


    Lol, look at all those opamps in the pic!  I'd say that's not worth messing with  [​IMG]
  13. tdockweiler


    Been tempted lately to get the M-Stage, but I have to resist since I just got the SR-225 and a K400. I already have an addiction to buying headphones. I don't want to get a habit of buying amps.
    Surprised they don't sell the USB version with upgraded opamps already installed. I think you can get the regular version with them preinstalled.
    About the opamps on the Micro Amp. Luckily they quoted me a fair price. If I was actually skilled enough to remove and replace all those chips, I'd charge someone $200 just in labor [​IMG]
    Ok, maybe not, but it must be an annoying process. Don't think  i'll bother with the upgrade because I'm not sure if it's worth it. Especially since I'm already happy with how it sounds with the Q701.
  14. chicolom


    If they sold the USB version of the m-stage with upgarded op-amps preinstalled it would pit it a little over $300, and I don't think Matrix want's to sell it that high. 
    It's fine though, as I'm probably going with different opamps then the ones tamaudio sells anyways.
    I think those are soic style opamps which should require 8 individual solder joints per opamp.  8 x 8 = 64 total tiny joints to solder! 
  15. DomieMic65
    In a small can-jam we did with some friends some time ago we had k701 and q701 allong with FiiO e9i, the musical fidelity Mfm1hpa, little dot 3.
    I don't mean to question your findings regarding the q vs k's but after some listening we had me and the owner of the q's tended to prefer the k's. Your tests are much better than this I describe but I just want to mention my experience!! The source was a Mac mini with m2tech young dac running  Decibel software....
    Another very interesting thing about the k's for me is that can be turned to balanced by just cutting and changing the connector. Their cable has four cables inside while the q's and the 702's have three
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