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Matching Headpone Amp for AKG k702 Audio Interfaces
Old 7th July 2014
  #1
Gear Head
Matching Headpone Amp for AKG k702

Hi Guys,
I have the Profire 2626. My headphone is the AKG 702. There is a really annoying problem that the headphone amp of the Profire 2626 is not able to drive the 702 properly.

This is very obvious when you are programming your music, and everything seems to distort very quickly, where in actual, the audio hasn't distorted. I did read in some forum somewhere that this happens when the headphone amps distort in spite of the headphones having more capacity to be driven.

The major consequence of this is that, if you are working jointly with other music producers or programmers, and when you hear your work alongside theirs, your tracks will sound very thin, and very low in volume and fullness.

If somebody who has Technical Know-how of how to correlate the specs of your headphone amp to your headphone, please share it. It would be great help, if anyone could explain these tech-specs in plain english. Thanks in advance

1) Which headphones would be best suited for the Profire 2626?
2) Which would be the Cheap'n'Best headphone amp for the AKG K702
3) Which headphone amps would be best for the K702
4) Will the Audio Technica ATH-M50X suit the Profire 2626 Headphone Outs?

Specs Of the Profire 2626 Headphone Out
Headphone Outputs at Maximum Volume into 32 Ohm Load
Frequency Response : +/- 0.4dB, 20Hz to 22kHz
Dynamic Range : 110dB, A-weighted
Signal-to-Noise Ratio : -110dB, A-weighted
THD+Noise : 0.007% (-83.0dB), 1kHz, -1dBFS
Max Output Level into 32 ohms : +6.8dBV, typical
Power into Ohms : 150 mW into 32 Ohms
Output Impedance : 75 Ohms
Load Impedance : 24 to 600 Ohms

Specs Of the AKG K702
Audio Frequency bandwidth : 10 to 39800 Hz
Sensitivity headphones : 105 dB SPL/V
Max. Input Power : 200 mW
Rated Impedance : 62 Ohms

Specs Of Audio Technica ATH - M50X
Driver : 45 mm
Magnet : Neodymium
Voice Coil : CCAW (Copper-clad aluminum wire)
Frequency Response : 15 – 28,000 Hz
Maximum Input Power : 1,600 mW at 1 kHz
Sensitivity : 99 dB
Impedance : 38 ohms
Old 7th July 2014
  #2
Gear Head
If it's better to keep the 702 and add a headphone amp, which one would you guys suggest ? (Cheap and Best)

I just remembered going through the various topics in the GS forums and hearing a lot of good things about the "Schiit" products.

Also am considering the "Presonus Monitor Station V.2"

I know that both are not in the same area of practical uses, but if you would consider one over the other, what would be your reasons for it?

Also, which one among these 2 would suit the k 702.

Please do share your thoughts and views.
Old 7th July 2014
  #3
Old 8th July 2014
  #4
Gear Head
Guys.......... Somebody .........?????
Old 8th July 2014
  #5
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monkeyxx's Avatar
I'm not much a fan of Presonus gear including their headphone amps, Schiit sounds more my speed.

I am driving mine with an Emotiva DC-1. Really it's a DAC and preamp, but, it's got a good headphone out, too.

SM Pro are fine by me on the cheap, they have several models to choose from.

I love my K702, best headphones I've had yet
Old 8th July 2014
  #6
Gear Head
Monkeyxx, Thanks for the reply and input. Is the Emotiva DC-1 pro grade? Because this article seems to refer to it as "consumer level" - Emotiva Stealth DC-1 DAC/Preamp Review | Audioholics

Or, is it still better than Presonus although being a consumer level product.
Also how would you rate the Schiit stuff to the SM Pro stuff?

If considering SM Pro, then for my needs, the Q-Amp is enough. It's specs for Hdphone outputs is as follows

Q-Amp HEADPHONE POWER AMPLIFIER OUTPUTS:

1/4” and 1/8” stereo outputs

Max. output level [email protected] Ohms (max [email protected] Ohms)

Output impedance 22 Ohms

Max. gain +20 dB


and for the SM Pro HP6E the specs are :

Nominal output @ 32Ohm 600mw per channel

How does this relate to the K702, or what does these figures mean to the K702?

Also where can I buy the Emotiva DC-1 online?
Old 8th July 2014
  #7
Lives for gear
 

Your 2626 *should* have no problem driving those cans. If it can't it's either faulty or poorly designed. Personally, I'd be trading it in for a better interface with a decent on board head amp. If you want to add a decent head amp to the 2626 then itall depends on budget. Eg you could hook up a decent DAC or monitor controller via S/PDIF. I'm using a Dangerous D box like that with my RME FF800. If you want a line input head amp, I think there's a decent one on the Drawmer MC2.1. DACS Headmaster is nice. But like I say... you could just get a better interface - anything from RME, Focusrite, Mackie, Tascam and many others will happily drive those cans.
Old 8th July 2014
  #8
Gear Head
Hi Mixedup,
My whole doubt about the headphone amps of the 2626 came from from me noticing that the Hdph amps on the 2626 were distorting way before the k 702 could even stretch fully. You may be right about the 2626 being faulty. Mine is a 2nd hand unit that I had bought from a studio where they were selling off their equipments as a whole. Of-course, the 2626 was not their main interface. 2 of it's volume dials are noisy and give pops and clicks. So i don't use those 2 channels. I'm not immediately in the financial position to buy a new interface. Otherwise I would have without any second thought, bought an RME or UAD. To be able to work on my immediate projects, I do need a solution that is not very costly and effective too. That's why I'm considering this option. And moreover I thought a HdPh amp would not go waste.
Old 8th July 2014
  #9
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DirkP's Avatar
 

I have the K-701 and a budget solution would be the Presonus HP-4. It has more than enough power to drive the K-701 or even older 600 Ohm headphones. Although the 701 and 702 are "just" 62 Ohm they need a lot of power.

Dirk
Old 8th July 2014
  #10
Gear Head
Thanks DirkP,
Do you know anything about the Schiit Magni or Vali. How good would they be, compared to the Hp-4, since they fall into the same price range ($100-$130)
Old 8th July 2014
  #11
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DirkP's Avatar
 

Although Presonus is marketing the hp-4 as being "loud enough to explode the oysters in a Po’ Boy sandwich" comparing the tech specs, the schiit has more power. I don't know the Schiit Magni or Vali.

But both are very different: the hp-4 has 4 headphone amps with individual volume control and it has a monitor out with a separate volume control to connect your monitors if you use the monitor out of your interface or mixer to connect the hp-4.

All I can say is the hp-4 is loud enough (even with my old 600 ohm K-240) and sounds good and undistorted even at high volume settings and it doesn't hiss.

Even during tracking with the 701 I never have to set the volume higher than about 12 (mid-position).

For comparison:
If I use the Focusrite Forte with add. power, I often have to nearly max the volume if I use the 701 just listening to music a bit louder.

The headphone amps in the SPL Crimson are loud enough even for the 701, but weaker than the hp-4.

Dirk
Old 8th July 2014
  #12
Gear Head
Thanks DirkP,
Thanks for the info...
Old 8th July 2014
  #13
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monkeyxx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam 99 View Post
Monkeyxx, Thanks for the reply and input. Is the Emotiva DC-1 pro grade?
The Emotiva is top class, I don't know where the "consumer grade" idea came from, that's completely bogus. You must be thinking of Presonus. To me the Presonus company completely typifies what I think of as "pro-sumer" gear. You also need to understand that audiophiles are strange people. Audiophile standards are even more subjective and finnicky than even recording folk. It's pretty common to see an audiophile completely dismiss high end gear as junk, and to write long reviews of $15,000 power cables. Cables.

The DC-1 is built well, and over-engineered, from being differential, to using a huge power transformer, top shelf op amps, etc.

if you want to read test results, its specifications far exceed any testing standards.

There is no comparison to Presonus, SM Pro, etc. The Emotiva gear is miles ahead. It sounds even better than my Steinberg UR824, for example, and leaves the Echo Audiofire so far behind I got rid of it.
Old 8th July 2014
  #14
Gear Addict
Aphex Headpod has a ton of volume (i.e. headroom), sounds pretty good and is not expensive.

You can spend a LOT of money on a headphone amp. I have K702s and don't really see the point of spending twice the amount of money they cost on a headphone amp...

Tony
Old 9th July 2014
  #15
Gear Head
Just searched about the Aphex Headpod 4, and everywhere, everyone saying good things.
Is the DAC on the headpod that good? And will that small box be able to drive the K702 with ease?
It looks like everyone seems to think so. Except this guy who wrote a review of the headpod 4 at amazon

"The Aphex amp produces noticeably clean audio, although less volume than I expected. Equivalent volume as what my Korg keyboard puts out with 38 Ohm headphone."
(http://www.amazon.com/Aphex-HeadPod-...ews/B007J27REY)

Anybody else care to chime in on the Aphex Headpod 4?
How does it fare against others in it's price range?
Old 10th July 2014
  #16
Gear Head
???????.......Guys......Somebody?
Old 10th July 2014
  #17
Gear Head
 

I can recommend the Aphex Headpod.
I have the AKG K701 'phones, which have the same power requirements as the K702.

The Headpod is connected to my Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 via the Saffire's S/PDIF output to the Headpod's S/PDIF input (I believe there is a breakout cable for the Profire that provides a S/PDIF out?) therefore utilising the DAC in my interface.

As has been said, the Headpod provides plenty of power without distortion and at a great price.

Before I had the Headpod, I used to have to crank the volume on the Saffire to get a satisfactory level.

I'm not a pro/expert.

Just thought my personal experience might be useful.
Old 10th July 2014
  #18
Gear Head
Thanks thamn,
But one doubt,
Quote:
The Headpod is connected to my Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 via the Saffire's S/PDIF output to the Headpod's S/PDIF input (I believe there is a breakout cable for the Profire that provides a S/PDIF out?) therefore utilising the DAC in my interface.
.
Which interface's DAC where you referring to?
Would'nt the Audio interface's DAC be bypassed when you take a digital out. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
Old 10th July 2014
  #19
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam 99 View Post
Thanks thamn,
But one doubt, .
Which interface's DAC where you referring to?
Would'nt the Audio interface's DAC be bypassed when you take a digital out. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
I could be mistaken and my apologies if I am, but I was under the impression the DAC in the Saffire/Profire was used.

Again, I'm no expert, but I've had no gripes with the sound quality with my set-up in this manner.

There, of course, is the option to connect via TRS, which, if I am incorrect in my initial thinking, would be utilising the DAC in your Profire.

In my humble opinion you can't really go wrong with the Headpod.

(I would like to stress that I don't work for or represent Aphex in way).
Old 10th July 2014
  #20
Gear Addict
I use the audio out of my MOTU 828Mk2 into the headpod audio ins. Conversion obviously performed by the interface.

Tony
Old 9th February 2015
  #21
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam 99 View Post
If it's better to keep the 702 and add a headphone amp, which one would you guys suggest ? (Cheap and Best)

I just remembered going through the various topics in the GS forums and hearing a lot of good things about the "Schiit" products.

Also am considering the "Presonus Monitor Station V.2"

I know that both are not in the same area of practical uses, but if you would consider one over the other, what would be your reasons for it?

Also, which one among these 2 would suit the k 702.

Please do share your thoughts and views.
I too am not a big fan of Presonus as I own the Central Station. For headphones it has plenty of power for my K-702's, but to much "color" and it really lacks in resolution no matter what is feeding it.

I also use a Schitt Assgard ver.2 at home along with a Micromega MyDac with much better synergy.

For $349, I would HIGHLY recommend the Schitt Valhalla 2 with the K-702's.
With them and a good front end dac, you could definitely mix with these for hours with little fatigue. This amp also drives my Audeze LCD-2's beautifully.

I realize it's not cheap at $349, but it will build a foundation for years to come and on whatever system you bring with it.

Cons: No XLR inputs, just RCA's
Pros: It can double as a very transparent monitoring preamp to your powered monitors and/or power amplifier. Hope this helps.
Old 9th February 2015
  #22
Lives for gear
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
Now that this topic came back up, the Tascam UH-7000 is just fantastic with headphones, AKG 702 in my case.
Old 8th May 2015
  #23
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JLiRD808's Avatar
I'm very curious about those using DAC's to headphone amps.

Is ur DAW able to SEE the DAC, and can u select it as the output? Do you set up a separate headphone output in your DAW's mixer that goes to the DAC solely? Do you send your main stereo monitor output to a different interface?

Thanks...I have no way of experimenting with this without actually buying something :P
Old 8th May 2015
  #24
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monkeyxx's Avatar
Ok the Tascam UH-7000 is my solid favorite with the K702 right now. It sounds so realistic and lifelike I sometimes forget I'm wearing headphones, sounds like speakers! You could actually mix on this combo, I think. For $400 it's a no-brainer. And then you get two transparent preamps on top of that, bang.

There are lots of ways to use these stereo DACs with a DAW. If I'm using Apollo as my main interface, I'll send the SPDIF out of Apollo to the DAC, and assign it as the output in my DAW.

If I'm using the DAC standalone, in my case the Emotiva and the Tascam both work as USB interfaces, so I can use them that way, too.

The routing is all very simple stuff in the DAW, Cubase in my case.

The headphone outputs mirror the main outputs usually on the smaller DACs so you just plug in the phones and go. No special routing required. Some interfaces do have individual headphone DAC channels and you can assign those pretty easily in that case. Usually within the interface software console, not the DAW. Very basic stuff, no need to worry.

I love the way all these things can connect together however you want or need them to. The trickiest part is getting the digital connections just right. The TASCAM for example, requires special cables for SPDIF mode. It's not really a hard task, you just need to wrap your head around ADAT, SPDIF, toslink optical, RCA/coax, BNC, AES. Just a few formats, cable types, and connector types. Not too much to learn.

But once you've got the right cabling in place it's all downhill.

The UH-7000 with a laptop and some K702 would be a smashing and fairly compact setup for traveling audio work, or smaller location sessions such as overdubs or stereo recording. The only thing it's really missing is a DI input.

I'm just so blown away by this thing I keep talking about it. The K702 are pretty exciting as well.
Old 9th May 2015
  #25
Lives for gear
 
JLiRD808's Avatar
Any reason that ur particular to the UH-7000's headphone output? Is it putting out more mW than standard interfaces <$350? Have u compared it to several others?

I've contemplated the K702's. Not sure my Presonus HP4 is adequate for my HD650's--I'm only on about 30hrs of break-in though.
Old 9th May 2015
  #26
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monkeyxx's Avatar
Yes, it sounds way better than anything else. I've compared to UA Apollo, Emotiva DC-1, Steinberg UR824, and an SM Pro amp with Echo Audiofire. The Tascam is my favorite, it's spectacular. Presonus is not even worth mentioning in the same sentence, so here's a new sentence for that, one of the worst I've heard. Also yes it gets loud enough to make you deaf, very very high output.
Old 10th May 2015
  #27
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JLiRD808's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
Yes, it sounds way better than anything else. I've compared to UA Apollo, Emotiva DC-1, Steinberg UR824, and an SM Pro amp with Echo Audiofire. The Tascam is my favorite, it's spectacular. Presonus is not even worth mentioning in the same sentence, so here's a new sentence for that, one of the worst I've heard. Also yes it gets loud enough to make you deaf, very very high output.
Thanks for ur responses monkeyxx. Can I ask you, do u feel comfortable mixing on that UH-7000/K702 setup?

Also, regarding the DA converters on that UH-7000, I saw in your other post that they're not actually Burr-Browns, but that they are AKM AK4114VQ. Do you know how those compare to the Cirrus Logic CS4398's? That is what I am currently on with my Emu 1212m. I'm wondering if it's time to upgrade the 1212m AND the Presonus HP4 :P

http://www.cirrus.com/en/pubs/proDat.../CS4398_F2.pdf

Thanks!

Last edited by JLiRD808; 10th May 2015 at 05:57 AM..
Old 10th May 2015
  #28
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monkeyxx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLiRD808 View Post
Thanks for ur responses monkeyxx. Can I ask you, do u feel comfortable mixing on that UH-7000/K702 setup?

Also, regarding the DA converters on that UH-7000, I saw in your other post that they're not actually Burr-Browns, but that they are AKM AK4114VQ. Do you know how those compare to the Cirrus Logic CS4398? That is what I am currently on with my Emu 1212m

http://www.cirrus.com/en/pubs/proDat.../CS4398_F2.pdf

Thanks!
If you'll review that thread you will see I am embarrassingly mistaken!! The UH-7000 uses Burr Brown converters, the AKM is an interface chip.

I do feel comfortable mixing on the K702, UH7000 setup. But I always prefer mixing on speakers, no question, so I don't have much experience with headphone mixing in general. In my world it would only be very late at night, or in a strange location during travel of some sort. Usually that's not the case, I fire up my big rig of speakers and power amps for most mixing. But the UH7000 and K702 sound phenomenal together.

The Tascam UH7000 exists at a very strange price point that almost puts it in the "low end" category, but it's one of the most "high end" sound systems I have ever heard, even compared to my Steinberg, Audient, and UA Apollo interfaces. It's deceiving to the uninformed, but once you have heard it, there is no question about it, it sounds as good as you might ever need or want. There is an "analog" quality to the sound that is reminiscent of any fine vinyl record playback system or transformer mixing console or whatever.

The only thing left for me to be curious about is the DA-3000 PCM DAC and stereo recorder from Tascam. Or super high end stuff like Lavry, Prism, Benchmark, Lynx, Forssell whatever. But I feel like the ethical and financial reality I live in, I should probably champion the Tascam as king of sounds. In my world, value and price point are critical factors, and the Tascam excels in this category. I am not a high income personality and I don't own any professional businesses, but I do love the highest quality sound, so I am always looking for the things that meet both of these categories. I can safely say that the Tascam UH-7000 is one of the best I have heard.

There are some quirks to the design and software, but they are workable and do not negate the value. You just need to figure out how it works in your own setup. In my case, that meant padding down the outputs with -24 dB line pads, and using it as an SPDIF expansion to my Apollo as the main recording interface with custom digital cables. I have used it as a stand-alone interface but I prefer the power and channel count of the Apollo, so the UH7000 becomes a digital slave to my main system. It is my preferred DAC for listening. The Emotiva DC-1 also gets used for some listening. I guess I'm pretty spoiled, really.
Old 14th May 2015
  #29
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JLiRD808's Avatar
I'm trying to decide between the UH-7000 & the iD22 (and possibly iD14 when it comes out), and headphone output's pretty important for what I do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
...the UH7000 and K702 sound phenomenal together.
Just wondering monkeyxx, u have experience with the HD600/650?

Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
In my case, that meant padding down the outputs with -24 dB line pads.
Whoa...why's that exactly?

THANKS!
Old 14th May 2015
  #30
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monkeyxx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLiRD808 View Post
I'm trying to decide between the UH-7000 & the iD22 (and possibly iD14 when it comes out), and headphone output's pretty important for what I do.



Just wondering monkeyxx, u have experience with the HD600/650?



Whoa...why's that exactly?

THANKS!
The iD22 would be better for tracking because you can expand it with ADAT to ten inputs. The Tascam maxes out at 4 inputs using the AES/SPDIF expansion. This may or may not matter to you.

The UH-7000 has a superior DAC to my ears. If that is your main purpose, by all means choose the Tascam over the Audient.

I padded down the XLR audio outputs because I wanted more usable range on the front panel volume control. This does not affect the headphone level, only the speaker level. I have a pretty powerful stereo amplifier (Emotiva XPA-200) so I was getting way too loud of a volume on most of the knob before I added the pads. It still gets loud, but not annoyingly so. Better range on the knob, mainly, more usable area to turn in.

I've never tried HD600 or 650. I'm curious about them, certainly, but I'm so satisfied with the K702 it might be some time before another headphone purchase.
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