Did you find that they performed well without an amplifier? The impedance seems significantly higher than most headphones designed for portables.

Posted by Grant Hamilton on March 1, 2006 at 9:43 AM (PDT) Comment 1

These headphones require good clean juice and thus a high quality external amp is highly recommended (almost necessary) to get the best of these headphones. Without an amp, the sound is more constricted in dynamics.

I just got these myself, and man, these are the best dynamic headphones I have yet to hear under $1000. I like them more than the Sennheiser HD650 and Beyerdynamc DT880, my other favorites. They are catering to a neutral sound, the bass is very tight/clean and easily goes down to 20Hz without dropoff, the highs are crystal clear and the mids are luscious. Some people may want more bass if they are used to offerings from Sony or Bose, but these headphones have a very neutral, balanced sound. Despite the iPod white, they look great in person, and everybody who has seen them has said "those must be expensive" to me.

They are also comfortable...the self adjusting headphone is cool. All in all, these are reference quality headphones, and should be on your short list if you want one of the best headphones around

Posted by rt on March 3, 2006 at 9:24 AM (PDT) Comment 2

At the risk of repeating the above, I'll provide a quick laundry list of reactions:

- The K701s have a stunning look, somewhat large, with radial bars that entend over the top and automatically adjust to your head - a snappy and convenient design.

- Soundwise, these phones have an sparklng, extended high range with attractive mids and an integrated bass. Anyone looking for artificial "bass boost" lows will be disappointed. Instead, the K701s aim for a balance between great sound and sonic accuracy, and it sounds like they've just about achieved it.

- The velour earpieces are like pillows, and because of the phones' semi-open design, never seem to get hot. The gray pads, not unlike those found on premium Beyer and Senn headphones, have a certain amount of sound leakage, but that's a part of their design.

- These headphones do require a long break-in period. You'll start noticing changes in the sound at around 125 hours, but it starts settling in to its mature sound only after 300 hours. A few have said that it can take up to 500 hours. It's worth the wait.

- These are frequently compared to the Beyer DT880s and Senn HD650s - two premium headphones with strong adherents. It comes down to which kind of sound you prefer. The Beyers have an enviable evenness of tone combined with a musky, controlled bass, while the Senns are more full-sounding. I prefer the K701's approach, though there are times when I miss the Beyer's style of bass.

- You'll want to invest in a headphone amp. I enjoy the sound off my iMac with my special EQ settings, but an amp clears up the sound and adds punch

Overall, the sound of these headphones can be seductive.

Posted by poikkeus on April 5, 2006 at 10:07 AM (PDT) Comment 3

I would raise issue with ;
Compatible: iPod 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G/color/photo, mini, 5G, nano, shuffle

The K701 are mid-impedance, low-sensitivity phones. Not a good combination for the iPod. The iPod will drive anything up to 150-ohm level phones quite reasonably if they're fairly sensitive. The low sensitivity is what deadens the potential performance out of the iPod as far as the K701 is concerned. (the quoted sensitivity is not 105db/mw but rather 105db/V, and I think it could even be lower than this in real life)

I'm not saying it's unusable, but you are not getting the full benefit of what the K701 is capable of out of any iPod, and in fact any portable equipment. Even the 75 ohm Sony Qualia 010 is better powered by portables. Add a good portable amplifier and this problem does go away though.

I like K701's sound so far, but I'd have to say that the phone is very sensitive to positioning on the head, as well as to a lesser extent variations in physiology (i.e. your head/ear shape) as far as the final delivered sound goes. In that way, I think the design leaves something to be desired.

Given decent amping the sound I get, and as I summarised above your results may vary, errs towards the entertaining side of neutral. i.e. a well rounded bass with good impact, very clear yet not overwhelming mids which delivers instruments and vocals with excellent transparency, and trebles that ring out the highs very clearly yet avoids roughness or sibilance. The general response of the phone in all frequency bands is speedy, ensuring excellent detail rendition.

All in all, very agreeable and highly recommended... but out of any iPod, only if you're amping. If you're not getting the sound I've described on a home system, try moving the phones around your ear.

Posted by thedodgyguy on April 23, 2006 at 2:14 PM (PDT) Comment 4

what amp do you guys recommend?

Posted by spinny21 on November 3, 2006 at 11:10 PM (PDT) Comment 5

I would recommend the Headroom Micro Amp ($299) or if your budget allows it, go for Headroom Desktop Amp ($599). Check it out at

Posted by wizbyte on November 29, 2006 at 5:54 PM (PDT) Comment 6
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