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View Full Discussion There are a couple of things I would like to share my thoughts on in here.
1. Rattling and distortion are two different issues altogether.
- Rattling sound sounds like a helicopter blades / flapping sound while
- Distortion is either insufficient drive from sound card, not using an amp to drive the headphones, or simply sound source itself is distorting. In the thread there are those who are sharing links to signal generators to check for the driver issues.
I think at that with that many units shipped, there are bound to be problems. The industry threshold is about 5% which means at 2000 units, there is a possible chance that 100 units will experience some issues with the product (even cars, phones and other brand of headphones, loudspeakers) and when you come across such issues, while it is unpleasant, I am sure AKG will do their best to rectify the problem. I don't work for either Massdrop or AKG, but from a customer point of view, I had my fair share of lemons and manufacturers are usually quick to rectify the issue. They spent so much money on marketing and press, and I don't think anyone is crazy enough to shoot themselves in the leg by putting out a bad product and do nothing about it when the complaints come in.
So instead of reacting to hysteria, it is better to test and check if the problem lies with the headphones or it is with the playback source. The K7XX needs to be driven by an amp to achieve a decent sound, and it is surprising that it sounded so much different after 72 hours of burn in.
I did not check for rattling/distortion when I first got my set. I burn-in for 72 hours with frequency sweeps first, then started playing back music from my familiar set up (iPod+amp) to check for any problems and nothing was found. The K7XX is quite unforgiving for bad recordings and it is just revealing. Some bad recordings that were not revealed by more forgiving headphones are now revealed, and that does not make the K7XX a bad headphones. It is clearly written on the headphones that this is a reference headphones. So in this case, this might not be the kind of headphones that some of you guys are after. In that case, you might be better off returning them to Massdrop/AKG and ask for a refund.
I love the sound of the K7XX, it compliments the many other pairs of headphones/earphones that I have and it sounds really good with acoustic-vocal tracks. Though I would put them as "general listening" headphones since I am not a bass-head. But sound is subjective. What works for me might not work for you.
Burn them in, then listen to them through a proper amp-ed sound (not direct from your soundcard cranked up to 80%) and go check out some of the links here for the signal generator, and then listen in a quiet room (these are semi-open cans by the way, outside sound can be heard through the earcups) to check if they are ok. I believe more people would find that they are. And please please please remember to listen at a decent volume. Hearing damage from headphones is going to be the leading cause of deafness in our generation.
Thank you for reading this and I hope you will enjoy your new purchase.
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My set up (for reference)
Source : Either from my MacBook Pro (optical out) or iPhone (USB)
Amp : TEAC HA-P50 or FiiO E17 (through E09k dock)
Never directly connected to the iPhone or MacBook Pro.
Link for sound generator :
There are many out there, so Google for them.
Understand your opinion, but a computer's volume control =/= amplification. The sound level you can achieve at your computer (Win/Mac) volume control set to 60% and external amp at 30%, someone can get the same level from setting computer volume to 100% and amp at 5% for example. It's just needing less amplification. You can then control the desired amplification level on the amp. This means your DAC is receiving the signal in it's 'untouched' state (if I can use that term), and then the AMP is controlling the output level.
Sound cards and on board chips have different specifications now, so we can't use a blanket theory of all on-boards 'can't drive' a good quality headphone (like the K7XX). Some cards/on-boards can, some can't.
I have zero distortion from using my on-board. However my on-board is from the new z97 MSI chipset (ALC1150 Codec) which has a dedicated isolated circuit, and is fed it's own power input directly from the PSU via a 12v rail instead of relying on the motherboard's power distribution from the 24pin 12v (which is distributed amongst various components).
I have used a DAC/Amp (not the best ones out there though) and I realized I didn't need the volume level the amps provided and direct feed from the analogue out of the computer provided me with perfect sound level and sound quality.
My rattle tests are performed using the frequency sweepers. The volume level is set to my everyday listening level, not some absurd high level just to push the headphones.
Having said that, so far I have been listening to bunch of Dubstep tracks to burn them in; some of these tracks have impressive sweeping sub-bass. They sound brilliant, and I will comment if the rattle effects in normal everyday use for movies/music/gaming or not once I complete regular burn-in.
I agree, satisfaction to sound level/quality is completely subjective. So far, I love the sound am getting from them, but this is only from 3-4 hours music last night. I will be checking them in movies and games to get to a final conclusion.
Hey, I just have the E17. Could you tell me if there is a difference in SQ between running E17>E09>K7xx and just E17>K7xx? I am sure the E17 has enough power to drive the K7xx, but I am looking for an excuse to get the E09 :D
Think of the E09k as a booster. And the large knob on the E09k makes it easier to make adjustments of volume. I have always hated the E17's buttons.
Another thing which other audiophiles always fight me for, is the ability to do "double amping". Technically, when you use the combo, you "should" put the E17 into "bypass" mode and let the E09k does the amplification work, but what I found interesting is that when you don't, you can :
1. Lower the levels on the E17, thus having an attenuation for those really loud earphones like IEMs.
2. The sound signature changes, and that actually sounded a little better on my K7XX, despite being able to pick up some distortion when listening at higher volume, which thankfully I don't.
Doing something "wrong" sometimes have its benefits. And it brings the sound in the K7XX closer to your head. Some will disagree, but in sound, I personally find that there is no right or wrong, it is what sounds pleasant to me that matters.
Otherwise, Beatles will be considered garbage because of their low fidelity recording. But many are still enjoying them right?
So there you have it. A justified review for buying a E09k. Please don't hate me. ^_^ Happy New Year.
I totally agree with you on this. But rarely (or only recently) computer manufacturers started using headphone amp circuits on their products and that is why generally I would advise against using your computer's direct headphone out to drive higher ohm headphones.
And then there is the external headphone amp. These are usually made from much higher quality amplifier circuits and designs, and they will drive your headphones with ease. Those exotic models that costs as much as a set of car rims would be able to sweeten your sound significantly, and we know that is a good thing (though not good for the wallet).
I appreciate your correction on the computer headphone output. Indeed like the MSI (I have the Ghost) gaming laptops recently started using HP amps, and they sound pretty decent, even at higher volume. I think mine has a Soundblaster board on it.
That's one of the reasons I got the e09k, the buttons on the e17 are terrible... Have you seen the e17k? It has a volume wheel now...
Yup. The thumbwheel they implemented. But still not an ideal solution. They should hire someone with an idea about ergonomics. On the other hand, considering the price that they are sold for, I should not be complaining. Ha ha ha.