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New AKG Q701.....is it worth buying a dedicated headphone amp?

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Womaz

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Dec 27, 2011
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The AKGs will have to be the can for me as I have just spent £275 on them.

I am enjoyong them more and more as the time goes on.

My thinking was that as 80% of my listening is done through headphones, then I should spend a decemt amount.

I looked at the 1k 880 Sens....and decided that was crazy money. Part of me is now wishing I had done this now. However when I was listening to them I was advised that they should be used with a good headphone amp...so this cost was going up and up.

Hence the thoughts that a HA might improve the AKGs.

Now that I have had the AKGs a fortnight, I am finding that I am enjoying them more. I got the old Grados out last night, and noticed that they were not a patch on the sound I get from the AKGs, wheras 2 weeks ago I hardly noticed a difference.

I might try a more expensive headphone amp ......but like you say my amp is good and dont want to throw cash away just for the sake of it.
 

Womaz

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Dec 27, 2011
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Hi InterVoice

This might be an option. I guess the trail only costs about £10 in return postage.

I am starting to think that I might have to spend a good amount of cash to get a significant upgrade.

Thanks for your help.
 

Inter_Voice

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Oct 5, 2010
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I was advised that the Fidelity Audio HPA-200 headphone amplifier I ordered will be dispatched in a week or two as it is made to order by hand. I hope this HPA-200 can meet my expectations.

The Company offers a 30 days money back guarantee and in case you don't like the headphone amplifier you can send it back and what you loose is just postage. Why not have a go for a trial and hear the difference :)
 

shropshire lad

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Feb 18, 2010
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Would a Fidelity Audio HPA-100 not be good enough ? At £150.00 less than the HPA-200 I would have thought it could be worth thinking about .

Having bought a pair of AKG K702s before Christmas I am thinking that I also will need a headphone amp at some point ( when I've got some money) and the HPA-100 looks like it could be the one for me . I believe it could be upgraded to a HPA-200 at a later time .
 

Womaz

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Dec 27, 2011
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To Shropshire Lad

Truth is I have no idea, thats the problem.

I was originally considering spending 1k on the cans so I am open to options on the amp.......I now know though that an audition is a must. That may prove difficult.
 

Helmut80

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Jan 8, 2011
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Womaz said:
To Shropshire Lad

Truth is I have no idea, thats the problem.

I was originally considering spending 1k on the cans so I am open to options on the amp.......I now know though that an audition is a must. That may prove difficult.
Why?
 

Womaz

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Dec 27, 2011
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I am up in Newcastle and not a massive choice of dealers with a good stock of hp amps in.

Also I need to hear it with my Amp and CD player......and not sure if they will let me home demo it.
 

Inter_Voice

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Oct 5, 2010
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@s Lad : The main difference of HPA-200 and HPA-100 is on its power supply. HPA-200 has a bigger transformer, i.e 30VA vs 15VA and better diodes and voltage regulators as well as bigger filtering capacities. It costs £200 more but with the better components they should make the SQ better.

As I said in my earlier posts I have already placed my order and since the headphone amplifier is hand made to order it should arrive at about 10 days from date of order, i.e. by end of next week the latest.

Worse come to the worse in case I don't like the sound signature I can return it as it has a 30 days money back guarantee. IMHO I think HPA-200 or 100 should sing with AKG 702. I will report the outcome when I have received my HPA-200 next week.
 

datay

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Nov 19, 2008
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Womaz, while you are "unsure" as to what to put the "improvement" in the 701s down to (at this point, we're starting to think wishful thinking, which was after all the basis on which you bought them), why don't you leave them playing all the time for a few days? I said at the beginning of the thread that I personally noticed a blatant change for the better with the K701s which took days of constant use. (Actually, that may have been in a different recent thread but anyway).

Just do it, it is the simplest thing you can do and will cost you nothing (except a slightly increased electricity bill, but then that's part of the hobby...). Use something like a Beethoven symphony, or I don't know, a dance mix, on repeat.

Report back after a minimum of 5 days, preferably a week to ten days.
 

Womaz

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Dec 27, 2011
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The improvement is def not wishful thinking.

As I say I compared them to my Grados last night and they sounded 100% better.

I have left the AKGs playing for 10 hours per nights since I got them.....I was not sure I belived in the burn in aspect. NOW I DO!
 

Inter_Voice

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Oct 5, 2010
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Womaz said:
The improvement is def not wishful thinking.

As I say I compared them to my Grados last night and they sounded 100% better.

I have left the AKGs playing for 10 hours per nights since I got them.....I was not sure I belived in the burn in aspect. NOW I DO!
If you go for HPA-100 or 200 according to WHF and other forum it requires even more burn in time, something like 100-200 hrs at the least !!
 

datay

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Nov 19, 2008
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Womaz said:
The improvement is def not wishful thinking.

As I say I compared them to my Grados last night and they sounded 100% better.

I have left the AKGs playing for 10 hours per nights since I got them.....I was not sure I belived in the burn in aspect. NOW I DO!
Fair enough mate - I'd leave them playing longer, it's not unrealistic to say they need 300 hours to really get into their stride. I know someone has quoted AKG as saying this is not necessary, and I'm not saying they are wrong, but most headphone users who have spent serious money agree on the need for this.
 

Sizzers

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Jun 20, 2008
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I rather like Floyd Toole's take on "breaking-in" hi-fi on Roth Audio's website here. The last 5-lines sum it up perfectly!
 

eggontoast

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Feb 23, 2011
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I know that Fidelity Audio offer a 30 day money back guarantee but.......I have just been looking around their website and a couple of their products just look like re-branded Chinese imports.

Here is a HLLY DAC/Headphone amp

and here is Fidelity Audio's DAC

I would imagine that the 2 week wait is to import it from China possibly....

There are loads of Chinese headphone amps which are clones of Lehmann's and Graham Slee's etc check out the Matrix M-stage or the little dot range of products, you will get more for your money than paying over the odds for products from 'Fidelity Audio'
 

datay

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Nov 19, 2008
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Sizzers said:
I rather like Floyd Toole's take on "breaking-in" hi-fi on Roth Audio's website here. The last 5-lines sum it up perfectly!
So what? I wasn't marshalling arguments for or against "break-in" as we know them all already. Womaz has nothing to lose from continuing to leave his headphones on overnight for the next few days and I am suggesting he does so.
 

Inter_Voice

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Oct 5, 2010
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eggontoast said:
I know that Fidelity Audio offer a 30 day money back guarantee but.......I have just been looking around their website and a couple of their products just look like re-branded Chinese imports.

Here is a HLLY DAC/Headphone amp

and here is Fidelity Audio's DAC

I would imagine that the 2 week wait is to import it from China possibly....

There are loads of Chinese headphone amps which are clones of Lehmann's and Graham Slee's etc check out the Matrix M-stage or the little dot range of products, you will get more for your money than paying over the odds for products from 'Fidelity Audio'
Yes, they look very similar but it is highly likely that HLLY just clone the design and apperance of DAC-150. I notice that the opamps used in the two products are not the same. I don't think Fidelity Audio just import HLLY as their DAC-150 as it will certainly destroy their business if someone finds it out. There is no reason why a small company take such a risk. For DAC-150 Fidelity Audio does not mention any waiting time but for HPA-100 or 200 it is mentioned they are built to order and required 10 days to delivery. I have confident that HPA-100 and 200 are Fidelity Audio's own design and products.

May be Andrew of WHF can clarify with Brent of Fidelity Auidio if he knows him :)
 

Womaz

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Dec 27, 2011
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I cant explain the improvement, and to be honest I have always been cynical about the "burn in" philosophy, but what else can it be.

When I first got them obviously I compared them to my Grados as I had just spent nigh on £300 so was looking for a big step up. I did not feel it was there. They were bettter but not worth the outlay I thought.

Since then I have left the playing for what must be 200 hours plus.

I decided to compare them with my Grados again, and as I said the difference was huge, there was a masive improvement.

Vocals sound much clearer, and with like electronic dance music and synthesiser pop tracks they sound amazing.....and now I am delighted at the price/ improvement ratio.

I cam only put it down to the "burn in".........and yes I was a cynic too.
 

Sizzers

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Jun 20, 2008
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Womaz said:
I cant explain the improvement, and to be honest I have always been cynical about the "burn in" philosophy, but what else can it be.

When I first got them obviously I compared them to my Grados as I had just spent nigh on £300 so was looking for a big step up. I did not feel it was there. They were bettter but not worth the outlay I thought.

Since then I have left the playing for what must be 200 hours plus.

I decided to compare them with my Grados again, and as I said the difference was huge, there was a masive improvement.

Vocals sound much clearer, and with like electronic dance music and synthesiser pop tracks they sound amazing.....and now I am delighted at the price/ improvement ratio.

I cam only put it down to the "burn in".........and yes I was a cynic too.
Just my take on it and I don't believe in "burn-in" - speakers, headphones, amps, CDP's etc etc.It was myself who copied in an email from AKG on this very issue who said it wasn't necessary, and here is a copy of their reply: WG: AKG K702 "Burn-In" Thu, 24 Feb 2011 16:56 GMT Dear Malc, Thank you for contacting AKG. Congratulations on your new AKG headphones. From our experience and knowledge we cannot confirm that there is a burn in effect of the transducers taking place. Normally the sound of headphones changes only over many years and then mainly caused by the ear pads (less low end since the ear pads get more densely by sweat etc.). However, during the first hours of use of headphones, the ear pads - in the beginning a little stiff - start to accommodate to the users ears and head and the sealing becomes better, as a result the bass can be increased a little, on the other hand the distance between the headphones and the ear may become closer, i.e. fewer air volume between ears and headphones is available and thus less bass. Kind regards Horst Burghauser AKG intl. hotline hotline@akg.com

Just my take on it and I don't believe in "burn-in" - speakers, headphones, amps, CDP's etc etc.

It was myself who copied in an email from AKG on this very issue who said it wasn't necessary, and here is a copy of their reply:

WG: AKG K702 "Burn-In" Thu, 24 Feb 2011 16:56 GMT Dear Malc, Thank you for contacting AKG. Congratulations on your new AKG headphones. From our experience and knowledge we cannot confirm that there is a burn in effect of the transducers taking place. Normally the sound of headphones changes only over many years and then mainly caused by the ear pads (less low end since the ear pads get more densely by sweat etc.). However, during the first hours of use of headphones, the ear pads - in the beginning a little stiff - start to accommodate to the users ears and head and the sealing becomes better, as a result the bass can be increased a little, on the other hand the distance between the headphones and the ear may become closer, i.e. fewer air volume between ears and headphones is available and thus less bass. Kind regards Horst Burghauser AKG intl. hotline hotline@akg.com
 

Womaz

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Dec 27, 2011
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Anyway it does not matter what the reason is but there is a considerable improvement in sound....very very noticeable....and I am delighted :dance:

:dance:

:dance:
 

eggontoast

Well-known member
Feb 23, 2011
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Inter_Voice said:
Yes, they look very similar but it is highly likely that HLLY just clone the design and apperance of DAC-150. I notice that the opamps used in the two products are not the same.
It's possible I suppose but since modifications are Fidelity Audio's business I would be more inclined to think that they import the DMK-IV DAC and modify the op-amps, and USB receiver etc to 'higher grade' components.

Inter_Voice said:
I don't think Fidelity Audio just import HLLY as their DAC-150 as it will certainly destroy their business if someone finds it out.
Not necessarily if there honest about it.

Inter_Voice said:
There is no reason why a small company take such a risk.
Well there is, R&D takes a lot of time and even more money. If you can already buy the basis of a decent unit then modify it and make improvements it would save a lot of cash.

Inter_Voice said:
May be Andrew of WHF can clarify with Brent of Fidelity Auidio if he knows him
Since you have just purchased from them why don't you ping him an email linking this thread, he may want to comment for himself.
 

Sizzers

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Jun 20, 2008
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Womaz said:
Anyway it does not matter what the reason is but there is a considerable improvement in sound....very very noticeable....and I am delighted :dance:

:dance:

:dance:
GOOD!!! lol
 

fidelity audio

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Dec 6, 2010
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Hi

The HPA-100, HPA-200, PRE-120, all the psus, clocks , low noise regs etc are our own design and build. They are taking up to two weeks from order due to a high demand thanks excellent magazine reviews.

The DAC-150 is in fact built by HLLY for Fidelity Audio to our design change and specification (we were impressed by the HLLY version and set about changing it to meet the sound quality we were looking for). There are changes to the power supplies, opamps and many different capacitors. We also re engineered the USB input to use the 24bit chip. Hlly simply build it for us. They have however been a bit naughty and started stating a few of our specs on their own version eg the 24bit USB. All other aspects of the unit remain different. We have gone down a legal route with them but it is proving difficult.

Fidelity Audio is open and frank on the phone about all our products as honesty is always the best policy.

regards

Brent

Fidelity Audio

[NOTE FROM MODS - AS PER HOUSE RULES, HAVE FLAGGED UP TRADE STATUS IN YOUR SIGNATURE. THANKS]
 

Sizzers

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Jun 20, 2008
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Hi Womaz.

Off-topic but I filed away your recommendation of First Aid Kit "The Lion's Roar" on Atanas Rangelov's Leema post from last night. Never heard of them before but took a punt on it today and I absolutely LOVE it! The production is awesome so would just like to say thanks!
 

Womaz

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Dec 27, 2011
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Hi Sizzers

No problem at all, pleased you like it.

They are two swedish teenage sisters I believe.....with a country feel to the music. Not normally my scene but was recommended in the NME so I took a punt also. Love it!!
 

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