Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 57
  1. #1
    Ajani
    Guest

    First Impressions of My New AKG K701s

    I got my AKG K701s yesterday and spent last night listening to them instead of testing out a new bed with the wife (much to her obvious disapproval)... I drove the 701s directly from a Squeezebox Classic (playing Apple Lossless files) as I don't have a headphone amp yet (I'm considering either a Benchmark DAC1 or Musical Fidelity X-CAN V8)... I also tried driving them with the headphone output of my laptop, but it sounded vastly inferior to the Squeezebox ... To say that I'm thoroughly impressed with the 701s so far is a major understatement... I finally understand the reason some people prefer headphones to loudspeakers as the value for money is so much better...

    I'll save giving a proper review until the phones actually have sufficient hours of break-in... but I will say that I have NEVER heard so much detail while listening to music before... not even in $10K systems (using Floorstanders) that i auditioned.. which is exceptionally impressive given that the Squeezebox Classic and AKG K701 retail for a mere $750 total...

    Before you decide to sell your expensive speaker setups there are a few caveats I must mention: 1) Headphones are detail masters, but soundstage can be beaten easily by loudspeakers 2) While headphones can produce the deepest bass (10hz on the K701s), they can't give you that kick in the chest that deep bass on a huge floorstander/sub would - since the sound is going directly to your eardrums... 3) You look like a tool with a massive pair of headphones on your head....
    Last edited by Ajani; 11-18-2008 at 06:54 AM.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular elapsed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    542
    Ajani, congrats on the new cans! I had my first chance to audition the 701's last month, with a Naim Headline 2 amp. Very, very impressed with the build quality, and found them much more comfortable than Grado RS2's, and a great price to boot. Both were new out ot the box (hard to judge without break-in, though my speaker system at home still beats out any cans I've heard except for Stax), so I'm looking forward to auditioning the AKG 701's again against Senn 650's, hopefully both sets broken in

    What were your deciding factors on choosing these headphones?

    cheers,
    elapsed
    Last edited by elapsed; 11-18-2008 at 06:20 PM.
    Fidelity Acoustics RFM-2 speakers
    Naim CD5x cd player
    Naim NAC 122x pre-amp
    Naim NAP 150x poweramp
    Naim FlatCap-2x power supply
    Naim Stageline N phono stage
    Naim NACA5 speaker cabling
    Naim Hi-Line interconnect
    Chord Crimson interconnects
    Rega Planar 3 turntable
    Goldring 1042 cartridge
    Squeezebox 3
    Oppo DV-983H dvd player
    Harmony 890 remote
    Quadraspire Q4 shelving
    Wiremold L10320 power strip

    System Picture #1 | System Picture #2 | System Design

  3. #3
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    St. Louis, MO, USA
    Posts
    10,178
    Elapsed, post back or start a thread with your review, but either way I am very interested in hearing how the 701 compare to the Senn 650.

    Have you heard Stax? I'd love to hear a pair.
    Mark Levinson #512 SACD & 532h power
    Pass Labs XP-10 preamp
    Clearaudio Performance DC & Maestro v2 E, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    JBL 4367's & SAM3ha
    Revel S30's & SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
    Transparent cables / Tributaries HDMI
    PS Audio Quintet & Surgex SA15&20

  4. #4
    Forum Regular elapsed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    542
    I've had two mind blowing audio experiences in my life.. the first when I auditioned the speakers I now own with a Naim stack three years ago (which led to two years of saving to buy that very system!), and the second when I first auditioned a pair of Stax. Absolutely unreal headphones. It was as though I was in an auditiorium, the most transparent audio experience I've ever had.

    Only problem is that no headphones I've heard since have come even remotely near.. So I've become very indifferent on almost any auditions for a while now. But that being said, I had also just auditioned the AKG 701's right after spending a half hour with a beautiful pair of $30,000 Marten Bird loudspeakers on a Naim system, so it was hard to compare!

    I'll definitely report back on the 650's, but I'm begining to think I may have to hold off on any headphone purchase as my expectations have become unrealistic!

    cheers,
    elapsed
    Fidelity Acoustics RFM-2 speakers
    Naim CD5x cd player
    Naim NAC 122x pre-amp
    Naim NAP 150x poweramp
    Naim FlatCap-2x power supply
    Naim Stageline N phono stage
    Naim NACA5 speaker cabling
    Naim Hi-Line interconnect
    Chord Crimson interconnects
    Rega Planar 3 turntable
    Goldring 1042 cartridge
    Squeezebox 3
    Oppo DV-983H dvd player
    Harmony 890 remote
    Quadraspire Q4 shelving
    Wiremold L10320 power strip

    System Picture #1 | System Picture #2 | System Design

  5. #5
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    3,275
    Congrats Aja,

    I've heard Senns, Stax(s), 701, and others side by side.
    $2000 Stax makes you forget you are listening thru headphones with freakish transparancy, but 701 had greater pin-point accurancy. I think they are all great cans. Great choice you've made!

    I would love to see you'll end up with on a head-amp. If you go with a Benchmark, will you be going with the one with USB?
    For the same price, you may want to at least consider Consonance Cyber 10.
    It has USB inputs, Class-A amp, and option to go with a pair of 95+dB HE speakers is very tempting. Woo Audio 6 with upgraded caps looks great too.

    Congrats again,
    JRA

  6. #6
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    St. Louis, MO, USA
    Posts
    10,178
    I had a pair of AKG cans, my HD600's were way better in every aspect but they were 3 times the cost of the AKG model I had. I'm interested to see if the higher end AKG are in the 600 league. The Senn's seem to have a larger more open sound stage than most headphones.

    One important thing, I have several pair of Senns and even the portables need a break in period, so if the 650's are out of the box I guarantee they aren't going to sound right, or as they should. Most of my models got close enough after about 24 hours that I began to use them.
    Mark Levinson #512 SACD & 532h power
    Pass Labs XP-10 preamp
    Clearaudio Performance DC & Maestro v2 E, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    JBL 4367's & SAM3ha
    Revel S30's & SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
    Transparent cables / Tributaries HDMI
    PS Audio Quintet & Surgex SA15&20

  7. #7
    Forum Regular elapsed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    542
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Elapsed, post back or start a thread with your review, but either way I am very interested in hearing how the 701 compare to the Senn 650.

    Have you heard Stax? I'd love to hear a pair.
    Actually speaking of, here was my review that I posted over at Head-Fi last month:

    So a couple of nights I ago I finally got to audition headphones through a Naim Headline2/NAPSC2 system, with the same Naim CD5x/FC2x source as my present system.

    The showdown was Grado RS2 vs AKG K701. Both were new out of the box, without break-in. I was very impressed with the build quality on the 701's. However, I much preferred how the RS2's performed. Overall I found the 701's much more comfortable than the RS2. The store didn't carry Senn HD-650's (these are ridiculously overpriced in Canada!), but I would still like to audition RS2's vs 650's if I have an opportunity.

    However, I wasn't blown away with the RS2's through a Headline as I was the first time I heard a Stax system. Can't recall if they were SR-303's or SR-404's, but they absolutely floored me, it was as if I was sitting in a concert hall. This was with an SRM-310 driver unit.

    Am I asking too much of the RS2's or HD650's?
    Fidelity Acoustics RFM-2 speakers
    Naim CD5x cd player
    Naim NAC 122x pre-amp
    Naim NAP 150x poweramp
    Naim FlatCap-2x power supply
    Naim Stageline N phono stage
    Naim NACA5 speaker cabling
    Naim Hi-Line interconnect
    Chord Crimson interconnects
    Rega Planar 3 turntable
    Goldring 1042 cartridge
    Squeezebox 3
    Oppo DV-983H dvd player
    Harmony 890 remote
    Quadraspire Q4 shelving
    Wiremold L10320 power strip

    System Picture #1 | System Picture #2 | System Design

  8. #8
    Ajani
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by elapsed
    What were your deciding factors on choosing these headphones?
    Unfortunately for me, I live nowhere near HiFi stores anymore (so I'd have to jump on a plane or boat to do any auditioning) meaning that I had to bite the bullet and order off the net... so it meant basing my decisions on reviews (both professional and user reviews) on the sound quality of the phones... In the approximately $500 price range for 'Reference' headphones the 4 top contenders, based on reviews, were Sennheiser 600 and 650, Grado RS2 and AKG K701...

    Reading reviews, it appeared that most people either seriously preferred the AKG or the Senns (few people seemed to really love both)... The Grado RS2s (and RS1) were generally not regarded as sounding much better than the cheaper 325i, so I was afraid to toss the extra money on them and risk possible disappointment...

    In the end I picked the AKGs based on 1) treble clarity (I love Monitor Audio Speakers and to a lesser extent B&W, so the supposedly warmer sounding Senns seem unlikely to float my boat) 2) Comfort - since I spend a lot of time listening to phones I couldn't afford to wear anything that would have a vice like grip on my head.... Let's be practical here: it's pointless having the most brilliant sounding gear if they are too uncomfortable to use... 3) Shamefully, I have to admit that the amount of praise that the AKGs gets in Stereophile made me really want to know if it lives up to the hype... 4) Since the new AKG 702s are coming out, I was able to get the 701s for just $300, which really just sweetened the deal...

    After 2 nights of listening, I'm still very very impressed with the phones... I can't wait till they're broken in and I get a decent headphone amp to drive them!!!

    More reviews to come....

  9. #9
    Ajani
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    If you go with a Benchmark, will you be going with the one with USB?
    Nope... I already have a Squeezebox Classic, which by all accounts is a better way to transport a signal to the Benchmark than a USB connection... I think that a Benchmark DAC1 $1K + a Squeezebox Classic $0.3K is a much better deal than a Benchmark DAC1 USB $1.3K..

    I'm still not decided on what Headphone amp to get though... from what I've read, the Musical Fidelity X-CAN V8 is supposed to be a magical match to the AKG K701 (and since I really like Musical Fidelity gear, it is very very tempting)... but the Benchmark has the obvious advantage of also being an excellent DAC.... Not to mention the hundreds (or maybe thousands) of other headphone amps I've never even heard of...

    So for now my top contenders are:

    Benchmark DAC1 $1K - Headphone Amp & DAC
    Musical Fidelity X-CAN V8 $550 - Headphone Amp & either Musical Fidelity V-DAC $300 or Cambridge Audio DACMagic $400 - DACs

  10. #10
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    St. Louis, MO, USA
    Posts
    10,178
    PS Audio has a $999.00 headphone amp. I'd like to hear one of these expensive head amps to see how good they are.

    I've got an older X-can and it sounds good with my HD-600's. When seeing how much these head amps cost and compare that to what other electronics you could buy for that money, they should knock our socks off. We're paying the price of a nitch product though. The X-can was very useful in listening to different interconnects. It was amazing that not only did some RCA cables change in response but changed the soundstage. Once you settle on a combo you might want to experiment with some cables.

    Just as a side note, and I know you just quoted a reviewer, but I didn't think the Sennheiser's were warm. To me the 600's have an extended high end with an incredible tightness of bass for a headphone. The aren't overly bright, I'd place them more in a neutral area. I also like how Senn's make you feel you are in the music with a nice large open sound. Grado is quite a different sound than Sennheiser, it wasn't my cup of tea at all.
    Mark Levinson #512 SACD & 532h power
    Pass Labs XP-10 preamp
    Clearaudio Performance DC & Maestro v2 E, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    JBL 4367's & SAM3ha
    Revel S30's & SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
    Transparent cables / Tributaries HDMI
    PS Audio Quintet & Surgex SA15&20

  11. #11
    Ajani
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    PS Audio has a $999.00 headphone amp. I'd like to hear one of these expensive head amps to see how good they are.
    So would I.... Next time I take a trip to Puerto Rico or the US mainland I'll try to audition some of these products...

    The only issue for me is that at $1K, I find the thought of getting the Benchmark DAC1 so much more appealing... since I at least know that it will be an excellent DAC and useful Preamp, even if I ultimately prefer the sound of a different Headphone Amp... so I can buy the DAC1 confident that I can make use of it one way or another... but $1K for a straight headphone amp is unnerving...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    I've got an older X-can and it sounds good with my HD-600's. When seeing how much these head amps cost and compare that to what other electronics you could buy for that money, they should knock our socks off. We're paying the price of a nitch product though. The X-can was very useful in listening to different interconnects. It was amazing that not only did some RCA cables change in response but changed the soundstage. Once you settle on a combo you might want to experiment with some cables.
    The first thing I'll test will be the difference between the freebie cables I got with my Squeezebox and some Audioquest GSnakes I have...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Just as a side note, and I know you just quoted a reviewer, but I didn't think the Sennheiser's were warm. To me the 600's have an extended high end with an incredible tightness of bass for a headphone. The aren't overly bright, I'd place them more in a neutral area. I also like how Senn's make you feel you are in the music with a nice large open sound. Grado is quite a different sound than Sennheiser, it wasn't my cup of tea at all.
    Actually, there's supposed to be substantial difference between the Senn 600 and 650, with many people clearly preferring one or the other... Both have enough fans, that I'd like to audition them one day... I'll hopefully get to try out some Grados too... though to be honest, the look of the Grados gives me a bad feeling... when I see headphones encased in genuine Mahogany, my first thought is "RIP-OFF", but who knows? I might be suprised...

  12. #12
    Forum Regular elapsed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    542
    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    I'll hopefully get to try out some Grados too... though to be honest, the look of the Grados gives me a bad feeling... when I see headphones encased in genuine Mahogany, my first thought is "RIP-OFF", but who knows? I might be suprised...
    I honestly can't work out why Grado has such a strong following, the RS2's were very uncomfortable headphones, couldn't imagine wearing them for more than an hour! When it comes to purchasing headphones, I would say that comfort is just as important as sound quality!

    cheers,
    elapsed
    Fidelity Acoustics RFM-2 speakers
    Naim CD5x cd player
    Naim NAC 122x pre-amp
    Naim NAP 150x poweramp
    Naim FlatCap-2x power supply
    Naim Stageline N phono stage
    Naim NACA5 speaker cabling
    Naim Hi-Line interconnect
    Chord Crimson interconnects
    Rega Planar 3 turntable
    Goldring 1042 cartridge
    Squeezebox 3
    Oppo DV-983H dvd player
    Harmony 890 remote
    Quadraspire Q4 shelving
    Wiremold L10320 power strip

    System Picture #1 | System Picture #2 | System Design

  13. #13
    Ajani
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by elapsed
    I honestly can't work out why Grado has such a strong following, the RS2's were very uncomfortable headphones, couldn't imagine wearing them for more than an hour! When it comes to purchasing headphones, I would say that comfort is just as important as sound quality!

    cheers,
    elapsed
    I'm 100% with you on that... I wear my headphones anywhere from 15 minutes to a few hours at a time... so the thought of using anything uncomfortable is absurd...

    For someone who only occasionally uses headphones to listen to 1 or 2 tracks, then I suppose an uncomfortable set could work... but I see no reason why manufacturers shouldn't put heavy emphasis on making their products comfortable in the 1st place....

  14. #14
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    St. Louis, MO, USA
    Posts
    10,178
    I saw a Benchmark One pre in a musicdirect emailer, is this something new or was the Benchmark always a preamp. It shows this thing with a set of XLR and RCA outputs to drive an amp. This would be the total package for you Ajani and ideal for those who use the media storage for source, providing they like the sound. The Benchmark also mentioned having a proprietary reclocking feature. This is something I think all DAC's need if the manufacturer has the ability to do it right. A friend of mine says he can't hear any difference in transports and he has a very good ear. I can hear a difference in transports. The difference I believe is the reclocking that his Levinson DAC does. With this reclocking almost anything should be able to be used as a transport. It is my presumption, not tested as I don't have this type of DAC. I put a cheap TDK CD recorder to my CJ DAC and it was not good, the sound was thin and not at all characteristic of the DAC with other transports. I mean it's digital there has to be something that accounts for the difference. I suspect that there is way more to "jitter" than what we know.
    Mark Levinson #512 SACD & 532h power
    Pass Labs XP-10 preamp
    Clearaudio Performance DC & Maestro v2 E, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    JBL 4367's & SAM3ha
    Revel S30's & SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
    Transparent cables / Tributaries HDMI
    PS Audio Quintet & Surgex SA15&20

  15. #15
    Ajani
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    I saw a Benchmark One pre in a musicdirect emailer, is this something new or was the Benchmark always a preamp. It shows this thing with a set of XLR and RCA outputs to drive an amp. This would be the total package for you Ajani and ideal for those who use the media storage for source, providing they like the sound. The Benchmark also mentioned having a proprietary reclocking feature. This is something I think all DAC's need if the manufacturer has the ability to do it right. A friend of mine says he can't hear any difference in transports and he has a very good ear. I can hear a difference in transports. The difference I believe is the reclocking that his Levinson DAC does. With this reclocking almost anything should be able to be used as a transport. It is my presumption, not tested as I don't have this type of DAC. I put a cheap TDK CD recorder to my CJ DAC and it was not good, the sound was thin and not at all characteristic of the DAC with other transports. I mean it's digital there has to be something that accounts for the difference. I suspect that there is way more to "jitter" than what we know.
    The Benchmark Pre is the latest model... There are now 3 models in the Benchmark DAC1 line:

    The Benchmark DAC1 $995 - Dac, Dual Headphone Amp and Preamp (for digital signals)
    The Benchmark DAC1 USB $1295 - same features as DAC1 + USB input for computer
    The Bencmark DAC1 Pre $1595 - Same features as DAC1 USB + analog inputs (makes the preamp more flexible)


    The Benchmark is supposed to be excellent at jitter rejection... In addition to jitter though, I suspect that many cheap transports are not good at reading all the data off the CD in the 1st place... (kind of like a skipping record)... so even if jitter is negated by the DAC, you might still find that a proper transport sounds better than a cheap one...

    A good alternative to a cheap cd/dvd player as transport is a media server/streamer such as Squeezebox or apple airport express, simply because they send out bit perfect signals (once you ensured that the music was ripped bit perfect to the hard-drive in the 1st place)... so all you have to worry about is jitter, which can then be negated by an appropriate DAC...

    More and more, the DAC1 looks like my best option... since I eventually plan to rebuild my stereo sometime after I've finished my headphone setup.... The DAC1 is just how I want a source component to be: impeccable test measurements, detail and neutrality.... if I want to tailor the sound, I prefer to do it with the speakers and amplification....

    I guess the only real decision left is whether to buy the DAC1 with the Black or Silver faceplate...

  16. #16
    Ajani
    Guest
    So I took the plunge and ordered a Bencmark DAC1 in black... hopefully it should be here in a few days... So I'll give my opinion on the:

    AKG K701 using my HP Laptop as DAC and Headphone Amp
    Versus
    AKG K701 using my Squeezebox Classic as DAC and Headphone Amp
    Versus
    AKG K701 using my Benchmark DAC1 as DAC and Headphone Amp

    And the Million Dollar question (non-audiophiles/normal people want to know):

    AKG K701 & Benchmark DAC1 Versus my $15 Panasonic headphones and my laptop...

    Should be a fun shootout... stay tuned...

  17. #17
    nightflier
    Guest
    Congrats on the AKG701s. I own those, a number of in-ear headphones, the Grado SR225s and the Ultrasone HFI-780, so the AKG are my most expensive cans. I use a Creek OBH-21se headphone amp to drive them.

    Regarding comfort, there is no denying that the AKGs are far more comfortable. But I will say that upgrading the earpads on the Grados makes a world of difference. Still not a s comfortable as the AKGs, but it's a huge step up from the stock foam pads. The Ultrasones are also very comfortable, but they have a very different sound.

    The Grados are still my favorite cans when I am auditioning cables and components. They just seem to put you closer to the component. The AKGs have become my TV cans, especially when I can't do the surround thing because the kids are sleeping. My pre/pro has a "fake" surround feature for headphone listening that is OK for those occasions. The AKGs excel in clarity and since I can't hear or feel the subs, they offer the best bass possible in a headphone, IMO.

    The Ultrasones are more for music listening, especially for things like DSOTM and SACDs with a lot of ambient sounds like live recordings because they do a better job of surrounding me with the music. I think of the comparison as the difference between planars and box speakers. That said, I'm not even half as familiar with the Ultrasones as I just got them and they probably need some break-in. Likewise, I'm just now starting to appreciate planars (they take a whole lot of tweaking), so take that comment with a grain of salt.

    Regarding and amp, it does make a substantial difference. Between my pre/pro and the Creek driving the AKGs, it's a significant difference in bass, heft, and scope. I haven't heard the Benchmark, but I can extrapolate a few things from what I've read. It's definitely on the analytical and precise end of the spectrum, definitely not warm. I've also read that many older (and more expensive when new) used amps are a better deal. The MF 8 is, BTW, a significant improvement over previous generations, and a bit warmer than the Benchmark. But there are others and I would definitely want to hear a significant improvement over my little Creek before I spend $1K on one (that's what I plan to spend on a 46-50" TV).

    Regarding looks, I have a funny story. I was in the middle of watching a movie one Sunday afternoon, when I remembered I hadn't picked up the mail from Saturday. So without thinking about it, rather than putting the headphones down, I unplugged them and walked out to the mailbox with the cans on my head. My Neighbor who was working in the front yard yelled at me: "Hey princess Leia, where's your lightsaber?" Long story short, don't wear them anywhere where people can see you - you'll look like a dork. By the way, the Grados don't look so hot either and the Ultrasones are just barely passable.

  18. #18
    Ajani
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    Congrats on the AKG701s. I own those, a number of in-ear headphones, the Grado SR225s and the Ultrasone HFI-780, so the AKG are my most expensive cans. I use a Creek OBH-21se headphone amp to drive them.

    Regarding comfort, there is no denying that the AKGs are far more comfortable. But I will say that upgrading the earpads on the Grados makes a world of difference. Still not a s comfortable as the AKGs, but it's a huge step up from the stock foam pads. The Ultrasones are also very comfortable, but they have a very different sound.

    The Grados are still my favorite cans when I am auditioning cables and components. They just seem to put you closer to the component. The AKGs have become my TV cans, especially when I can't do the surround thing because the kids are sleeping. My pre/pro has a "fake" surround feature for headphone listening that is OK for those occasions. The AKGs excel in clarity and since I can't hear or feel the subs, they offer the best bass possible in a headphone, IMO.

    The Ultrasones are more for music listening, especially for things like DSOTM and SACDs with a lot of ambient sounds like live recordings because they do a better job of surrounding me with the music. I think of the comparison as the difference between planars and box speakers. That said, I'm not even half as familiar with the Ultrasones as I just got them and they probably need some break-in. Likewise, I'm just now starting to appreciate planars (they take a whole lot of tweaking), so take that comment with a grain of salt.

    Regarding and amp, it does make a substantial difference. Between my pre/pro and the Creek driving the AKGs, it's a significant difference in bass, heft, and scope. I haven't heard the Benchmark, but I can extrapolate a few things from what I've read. It's definitely on the analytical and precise end of the spectrum, definitely not warm. I've also read that many older (and more expensive when new) used amps are a better deal. The MF 8 is, BTW, a significant improvement over previous generations, and a bit warmer than the Benchmark. But there are others and I would definitely want to hear a significant improvement over my little Creek before I spend $1K on one (that's what I plan to spend on a 46-50" TV).
    Based on initial reviews of the Benchmark I'd expect it to be analytical and precise... and that the Musical Fidelity X-CAN V8 would have better synergy with the AKG K701...

    Then I read more reviews and found that both user and professional reviews of the Benchmark seem to contradict each other quite a bit... For example in the original review of the Benchmark in Stereophile, John Marks found that it sounded very similar to his reference Marantz SA14. Later in the Stereophile review of the Marantz SA8001, Jim Austin couldn't distinguish between the Marantz SA8001, Benchmark DAC1 and Marantz SA15S1... Since I've never heard Marantz CD players described as analytical and precise, I find the comparison somewhat puzzling... (also, I rather like the sound of Marantz CD players)

    I've also read user reviews on Head-Fi.com where some claim that the Benchmark is a mediocre headphone amp, while others think it's great value for money...

    So I'll really just have to wait and see (hear) the results for myself... but the reason I feel comfortable shelling out the money for the Benchmark, is because I know I'll at least get an excellent source... so I can always purchase a Musical Fidelity X-CAN V8 or some other amp later on and just use the Benchmark as a DAC.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    Regarding looks, I have a funny story. I was in the middle of watching a movie one Sunday afternoon, when I remembered I hadn't picked up the mail from Saturday. So without thinking about it, rather than putting the headphones down, I unplugged them and walked out to the mailbox with the cans on my head. My Neighbor who was working in the front yard yelled at me: "Hey princess Leia, where's your lightsaber?" Long story short, don't wear them anywhere where people can see you - you'll look like a dork. By the way, the Grados don't look so hot either and the Ultrasones are just barely passable.
    Yep, the AKGs will make a grown man look like Princess Leia... these phones are definitely not for use when jogging down the road or trying to look cool...

  19. #19
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    St. Louis, MO, USA
    Posts
    10,178
    Why didn't you go for the $1599.00 version?
    Mark Levinson #512 SACD & 532h power
    Pass Labs XP-10 preamp
    Clearaudio Performance DC & Maestro v2 E, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    JBL 4367's & SAM3ha
    Revel S30's & SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
    Transparent cables / Tributaries HDMI
    PS Audio Quintet & Surgex SA15&20

  20. #20
    Ajani
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Why didn't you go for the $1599.00 version?
    It's an extra $600 for features I don't want:

    1) I would never use a USB connection, as My Squeezebox is a much better Transport (so that's a wasted $300)

    2) I have no analog sources, as I'm 100% into Music Servers (so that would be another $300 down the toilet)...

    3) With that $600, I can always buy the Musical Fidelity X-CAN V8, if I'm not 100% happy with the headphone amp in the DAC1.... Or even a pair of Sennheiser 650s, so I can alternate headphones... Or just keep it in my pocket and buy a load of new albums in the next few months...


    The $1,595 Benchmark DAC1 Pre is great for people who have a CD/DVD player they use to play their CDs + some tracks on their computer that they want to play + a turntable/tuner/cassette deck...
    Last edited by Ajani; 11-25-2008 at 07:40 AM.

  21. #21
    Ajani
    Guest
    I just received the DAC1 from UPS... So I should be able to post some initial impressions either tonight or tomorrow morning....

  22. #22
    nightflier
    Guest
    Something fun to do this weekend, then...

  23. #23
    Ajani
    Guest
    Well I've had the DAC1 up and running for about an hour and a half now, so time for some early impressions:

    Bright my @$$.... Unless the product gets bright after burn-in (which seems unlikely), then I have no idea why anyone would consider the DAC1 to be bright... considering that I'm using it with the AKG K701, I was a bit worried that the sound would be bright and overly-analytical... But so far I would describe the sound as neutral and detailed... No harsh treble or bloated and boomy bass... but true deep bass and excellent treble extension...

    Build quality is also excellent... it looks and feels very solid... definitely not a product you need to hide behind your amp.... frankly, I think it looks pretty cool in the Black finish without the rack handles.... I think I'll put up some pics of it soon...

    My initial impression of the DAC1 is very positive... but I'll have to reserve giving a proper review until both the DAC1 and the AKG K701 have had some real burn-in time... so far I have maybe 24 hours on the AKG K701 and 1.5 hours on the DAC1...

    My preliminary conclusion (may change with burn-in time): If you like digital and solid state, then I suspect you'll be very very happy with the DAC1, if you lust after analog and tubes then I doubt the DAC1 will convert you...
    Last edited by Ajani; 11-26-2008 at 04:40 PM.

  24. #24
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    St. Louis, MO, USA
    Posts
    10,178
    Let the system play over night to get some break in time.
    Mark Levinson #512 SACD & 532h power
    Pass Labs XP-10 preamp
    Clearaudio Performance DC & Maestro v2 E, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    JBL 4367's & SAM3ha
    Revel S30's & SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
    Transparent cables / Tributaries HDMI
    PS Audio Quintet & Surgex SA15&20

  25. #25
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    France
    Posts
    2,523
    Congrats on finally getting some real gear. I bet you've been eagerly awaiting. When is the 2ch setup arriving?

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •