Which amp to drive AKG K701 headphones for gaming?

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by GenBanks, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. GenBanks

    GenBanks Gawd

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    I'm thinking of getting the AKG K701 headphones because there seems to be a consensus online that they are very good for gaming. There also seems to be a consensus, however, that they are very hard to drive, and they are not worth it without an amp.

    I currently have only an XFi Titanium Fatality sound card (the older one, not Titanium HD). What amp should I get? I don't want to lose surround sound emulation (from CMSS-3D or Dolby Headphones).
     
  2. BoredSysAdm

    BoredSysAdm Limp Gawd

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    According to specs listed here:
    http://www.enjoythemusic.com/superioraudio/equipment/1106/akg_k701.htm

    Efficiency: 105 dB SPL /V
    Maximum input power: 200 mW
    Impedance: 62 Ohms

    These are not hard to drive, maybe not great for ipod, but I think your SB card should have good enough analog part to drive these.

    Regular headphone amp does't going to do anything with sound, but amplify it slightly.
    It'll connect to line-out of your sound card, so you're not going to loose anything..

    p.s: If you already tried them and you find it's not loud enough for you, you could get one of amps from Fiio
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
  3. spaceman

    spaceman [H]ardForum Junkie

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  4. GenBanks

    GenBanks Gawd

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    Thanks for the head-fi link spaceman. That's the forum (and others) that have convinced me that the k701s really need to be amped to sound good BoredSysAdm.

    The thing I'm worried about for all of those expensive amp recommendations on that thread is that they seem to be geared 90% towards music listening... if I have a DAC/amp combo driving the headphones am I right in assuming that I will lose the gaming orientated surround sound simulation provided by sound cards?
     
  5. spaceman

    spaceman [H]ardForum Junkie

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    x86inside@charter.net

    Email misterx aka Marshall. He can build you a great little amp for a good price. Just tell him what you have and your budget.

    You will not lose any of your effects. Just plug the amp into the soundcard line out and go.
     
  6. BoredSysAdm

    BoredSysAdm Limp Gawd

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    GB, I'm not trying to convince you not to buy the amp, Forget about forum posts - For every 1 good post there are 100% BS ones.

    Try it yourself first without amp - if you must raise to top volume to listed at your preferable levels or not even reaching it - you need amp.

    Just make sure to over-invest same 100% of headphone price in amp - this will be wasted money. You don't need DAC as you already have excellent SB with very good
     
  7. Liggywuh

    Liggywuh Limp Gawd

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    Amping is not just about volume levels, the whole sound changes based on what bits the source/ amplifier has.
     
  8. BoredSysAdm

    BoredSysAdm Limp Gawd

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    This is not wrong in most cases !
    If amplifier changes anything ANYTHING but the level (volume) - It's ether CRAPPY or BROKEN :mad:

    Exception: Tube amp DO intentionally distort sound.
     
  9. spaceman

    spaceman [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Uh, look. I can assure you that in the case of this headphone, an amp is something you want. It does nothing more than increase the volume true enough. By doing so, it brings out the true voice of the headphone. Simply put, a sound card driving this headphone is like using a moped engine in a car. It works, just not as well as it should.

    Also, the different part used on an amp influence the sound. What you hear is different than true neutral but think of it as liking one flavor ice cream over another. All a matter of preference.

    You will hear more with an amp. MisterX should be able to hook you up with a solid state amp that will work forever and really bring things to life. Go to monoprice for a mini to mini or mini to rca interconnect.

    Otherwise, see my new gaming headphone sticky for the best, cheap headphones that do not need an amp.
     
  10. GenBanks

    GenBanks Gawd

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    Have emailed MisterX and sounds like he's going to fix something up for me. Thanks a lot of the tip!
     
  11. spaceman

    spaceman [H]ardForum Junkie

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    You are welcome. He makes good gear within your budget. Beats the mass produced stuff in terms of bang for the buck every time b/c he can design and build specifically for what you need.
     
  12. krameriffic

    krameriffic 2[H]4U

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    You'll need an amp for the top of your head. I guarantee the hard plastic bumps in that leather headband will feel like cranial drill intrusion in the top of your skull.
     
  13. Liggywuh

    Liggywuh Limp Gawd

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    Someone at Headfi had removed the bumps. Might be a good way to get into the Ghetto Mods thread, and increase the comfort a lot.
     
  14. spaceman

    spaceman [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Memory foam and double sided tape or rubber bands ftw.
     
  15. MaZa

    MaZa 2[H]4U

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    Indeed. The person who designed those bumps should be shot. They are terrible! After 15 minutes wearing K701 felt like having a skull drill torture.

    K701 isnt incredibly hard to drive, but not easy one either. IIRC (has been years since I owned one, for few weeks only thanks to above mentioned problem) quite inefficient despite having lowish impedance. Needs both voltage gain for volume but still puts some load onto amplifier because of its low impedance design.
    I still wouldnt give too much weight to claims said by audiophile enthusiasts in places like Head-Fi. (despite being a regular there, have been for years. I AM an enthusiast audiophool!) There is good information, but try to keep your head cool because things get blown out of proportions fast. Very few headphones sound like shit without proper amplifier. But one is still recommended, as is having a decent external DAC, internal soundcards are always a compromise. Switched back and forth between my X-Fi Elite Pro and Stello DA100 DAC and soundquality is quite audible to my ears. Elite Pro is far from terrible though, so there. After certain point we pay a lot for miniscule improvements.

    Heed Canamp was a popular amplifier amongst K701 users years back, you might want to look into that if its still available, or if you can find one used for good price. Cant say myself if it actually is a good amplifier or not.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2011
  16. Mystic-Micro

    Mystic-Micro Gawd

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    Need an amp with the these, I used my Titanium HD with the K702 (same as yours, but with detachable cable), and then managed to pick up a vintage Technics SA616 stereo amp, and man what a world of difference it made, the bass un amped on these headphones are so/so, but with an amp the become tight, strong and not one bit boomy, but a lot more noticeable. Try the vintage route if money's tight is my recommendation. They are darn good value.