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What to get for an upgrade to the AKG K501? Under 300€ K550, Q701 or DT 880?

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by spaceinvaders, Feb 16, 2013.
  1. SpaceInvaders
    I've been searching far and wide and asked stuff about headphones. Now I feel like this might be just me wanting to get new headphones, for the sake of new headphones. Really I just want sound that I like and can live with for a long while. I don't want to get something new that I already got. I've convinced myself the K501 lacks bass and that's why I need new headphones. I got the Nocs NS400 iem in hopes of them being better than the 501 for portable use and sound wise, but the sound isn't as good although near. Its the drum toms I can't stand. They feel so lifeless and dull (this for the Nocs). Also at home I want even less hassle, hence the over-ears.
    So now I know I want lifely sound. I want the music or whatever I throw at them to come alive from the phones, unveiled and clear. I also want moar and articulate bass. Rather natural sound, not too clinical. I have three contenders and now it seems I will be getting one of them. Used with a FiiO E17 amp (that I don't have yet) and 320kbps and flac from pc/laptop. I'm totally ok with amping the bass if that will cover my needs.
    AKG K551
    + Reportedly decent bass, more than 701?
    + Sound quality on par or possibly even better than Q701? Just different sound sigs?
    + One of the most beautiful headphones ever in white along with 701
    + Closed
    - The seal doesn't work well with glasses maybe? For some it does but to me it seems risky.
    AKG Q701
    + Its AKG
    + Music sounds as intended?
    + Its beautiful in lime or white
    + It is widely praised as a good phone
    + Some graph suggests this has more bass than the 880 250 ohm version even though not considered bassy headphone
    + Good soundstage
    - Weird sound stage? Distant vocals?
    - Not an improvement? I listen to all kinds of music and I really want the metal and rock to sound good also. I'm not really sold on the 501 heavy performance but its so awesome on classical.
    - Not versatile enough?
    Beyerdynamic DT 880
    + Considered a very good all around headphone (this is the use its going to get, everything and anything)
    + Ranked highest #26 on this thread under 400$ http://www.head-fi.org/t/634201/battle-of-the-flagships-57-headphones-compared-update-hifiman-he-400-added-12-24-12 (while the K701 was #32 and more importantly considered under the K501)
    + Semi-closed
    + Neutral sound
    + Can be ordered with customization
    - Too crispy highs?
    - Still lack bass?
    What to do what to do... If you can give me some pointers here would be nice.
  2. SpaceInvaders
  3. tdockweiler
    Once I got the Q701 I immediately sold the K501. The K501 was good but the Q701 did everything better. The K702 did not...
    The Q701 doesn't have any issues with distant vocals EVER unless that's how they're supposed to be IN the recording.
    The soundstage is accurate and not too large to be abnormal sounding.
  4. SpaceInvaders

    Thank you for you response. It seems its worthy to upgrade to the Q701 at least. Now I have to decide on which of these to get. I think I would now need some advice on which is better from the AKGs and then compare the winner to the DT 880.
  5. WeirdG
    I demoed the K550s yesterday, and found them flat.  If the K551s are anything like it, pass on it.  The built quality is phenomenal, but if you want something with a bit more livelier sound get the Beyer's.  I ended up purchasing the DT770 Pro 250 because it sounded more livelier and fun.  
    I dunno if the K551s sound better than the Q701, but I can't see that happening since the K551s are a closed set and the Q701s are open.  I've never demoed the Q701s, but they're supposed to sound like the K701/K702s but with more bass.
    I guess if you want a more natural and accurate sound the AKGs are what most people go for.  The Beyers seem like they're more bassy and fun to listen to.
  6. SpaceInvaders

    Thank you. What do you exactly mean by flat? As in frequency response? I think the DT 770 are too coloured for my tastes. What I might mean with livelier/lifelier is that they bring the music alive to my ears, so that there is life, no dullness in the sound. By dull I don't mean flat. I think any headphone at this level will suit my taste of life in them so this might be a useless criteria. I think now the AKGs are the way to go but I really want to listen to the Beyers also. Is there any way to describe the more 'fun' to listen to?
    More opinions are welcomed!
  7. asdfghjkzxcvbnm
    I wouldn't take the Q701 for rock/metal.
  8. SpaceInvaders

    I've read this a lot. And it seems they are perfect and all but this thing, not for rock and heavy music. Could you elaborate more on this and could this be eq'd for better? Would you recommend some other all around phone that works well with rock/heavy also. Would the Beyers be the optimal choice?
    I think I need to get my new amp (maybe the FiiO E17) and go test in some local store, just have a store that sells these first.
  9. WeirdG
    Forgive my description, I'm still a bit of a n00b at all this.  I found the sound from the K550s to be very accurate, but lacking in bass.  I also had a hard time getting a proper seal which explains the lack in bass.  When I had the cups pressed against my head they sounded great, but I don't plan on sitting there pressing the cups against my head the whole time (I also don't consider myself to have a smaller head).  I did enjoy the AKGs but I didn't enjoy them as much as the Beyer's.  
    I guess what I wanted out of my headphones was a little more bass, and the Beyer's give me that.  The AKG's didn't.  I wouldn't call the the AKGs neutral, but they're definitely not fun like the Beyer's.  The sound from the K550s are definitely more detailed though.  For critical listening, I'd say the AKGs are better.  Hope that helps.
  10. SpaceInvaders

    No problem, I'm a noob too. Thank you again. I think in the end I will go with the Q701 for the finesse, in hopes you can amp it for more bass. Now I'll have to find that amp for it. :)
    Edit: I've not yet decided so more opinions welcomed!
  11. WeirdG
    Cool... some places have lowered the price on them cuz they've been discontinued.  I kinda remember seeing them being sold for around $250 at a number of online stores.
  12. SpaceInvaders

    A what now!? They discontinued AKG Q701? Then better get them fast! :D I may end up getting more headphones but this would now be my choice.
  13. WeirdG

    At least I think they're being discontinued. A bunch of online retailers marked them as discontinued not too long ago.


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