If you’d like to see the final shootout of all K600/700 AKG models, go here: AKG K612 vs. K712 vs. K702 vs. K701 vs. Q701 In there I give my all impressions and rankings in one place!
Hey there friend, and Welcome aboard!!
Before we get into the Best Headphone Amp for the AKG K701 & K702, grab a snack, sit back, and relax because.
I’m Here to Help!!
Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!
Even before owning a K702, I kind of had a good idea of how it was going to sound.
Once I purchased the headphone for myself, all that research proved fruitful and all of my findings were pretty much spot on.
I bought it for a specific purpose (Console/PC gaming) and was aware of some of its perceived flaws.
Those flaws are definitely apparent, but they aren’t deal-breakers.
They’re minor gripes to an otherwise fantastic headphone.
Both the K701 and K702 sound about the same. The difference between them is that the K702 has a bit more bass emphasis and its Soundstage isn’t quite as unnaturally wide as the 701’s.
Still, the differences are fairly subtle in passing.
- Recommended: What is Soundstage?
Like the HD600 and 650, there are a plethora of amps that work well for the K701 & K702.
It used to be said that both the K701 and K702 are notoriously hard to drive.
That turned out to be a myth, and even though both do need some sort of amplification, you don’t have to go crazy trying to find the perfect pairing.
In reality, they aren’t that hard to drive.
A lot of amps will work very well for both of these headphones. After demoing 60+ amps at the time of this writing, I’m fully convinced that the differences between them are extremely subtle.
Before we delve into pairings, it’s important to discuss headphone Impedance and Sensitivity ratings for these 2.
Headphone Impedance & Sensitivity
They both come in at 62 Ohm Impedance, which is basically just a measure of resistance.
It determines how much your headphones will resist the power fed into them by an Amp.
- Higher number? It will resist more.
- Lower number? It will not.
Sensitivity is a measure of efficiency.
How efficient is the headphone at using the power it receives from an Amp?
Higher number = more efficient. Lower number = less efficient.
The sensitivity for both of these monsters is around 91dB/mW. That’s very low, and not efficient at all.
Because of this, both headphones will require some power from an amp to reach a listenable level.
The good news is that at 62 Ohms, they won’t resist that power much at all.
HIFIMAN headphones are also notorious for being inefficient, oftentimes coming in at around 93dB.
My Sennheiser HD600s sit in a weird middle ground at 97dB and 300 Ohm.
So the main takeaway is that you’ll need some sort of amplification for both the 701 and 702, but don’t go ape shit about it alright?
Lol. The E10K will still drive it plenty loud enough.
A lot of amps will sound great as well.
I’ve done quite a bit of research on the matter over the years, and this list will be the definitive guide on what you should go with.
So sit back, strap on, and get ready! This will be an exhaustive but thorough list.
By the time you’re finished, you should have a fantastic idea of what to go with.
I will also update the post as I try more pairings.
Let’s take a look!
JDS LABS ATOM
Note: Objective 2 has been discontinued.
These 2 would be a logical step up from the K3 or E10K and are currently my all-time favorites as far as pure black sound goes. What does that mean? It means whatever I say it means!!
Haha just kidding.
It means that the sound is entirely neutral and uncolored, so what you hear is how the headphone actually sounds – no added flavors, colors, or preservatives. 😛
Think of these amps like buying organic; everything is mad natural homie!
The ATOM has no business being as cheap as it is, and the same goes for Objective 2.
When you listen through these amps, it kind of feels like you’re in a studio space rather than listening through a set of headphones.
Don’t wet yourself or anything though.
It’s not like actually being there, but you do get a sense that there are depth and width to the soundscape.
With a headphone like the K702? That’s certainly a great thing.
If you’re just starting out in the hobby, I’d probably look to either of these first.
They provide just about the cleanest sound I’ve ever heard, but at the same time are dirt cheap and provide plenty of juice for any headphones.
That’s quite a … power-packed combination, friend!
There’s a reason a lot of people copy the open-source schematic that’s now been around for quite a while; it just sounds right. No distortion, no hiss, nothing. It’s almost hard to believe how much clarity is present when you pair it up with a K702, HD600, or HD650.
FiiO K5 Pro
- Note: Also check out the updated K7.
This little buddy can do basically anything, and sounds great with a K702 for both music and Gaming!
It has an Optical Input, a Coaxial input, a USB Type-B Jack, and a DC15V power jack in addition to a set of RCA inputs and outputs.
This means you can connect it to anything in a studio or gaming environment, and it’s simply one of the most versatile units I’ve ever tried.
I listened to quite a few albums out of it, which I will list towards the bottom.
The overall sound is slightly north of neutral (meaning not entirely neutral but pretty close to it).
Just know that the K5 Pro has quite a lot going for it and will always prove useful in any type of listening situation.
AudioQuest DragonFly Red
Every time I plug in a DragonFly and listen, it’s like I’m getting a bit of an upgrade.
I still can’t tell if this is in my head, but the same thing has happened every single time: The sound opens up, it’s a bit smoother, and the song almost expands like the universe or something.
Whoa, man. The universe. It’s like, vast and stuff.
Vast is a great way to describe the DragonFly Red. This little thumb drive is an Amp/DAC combo rolled into one.
Yeah, that’s right, you heard me correctly, BUB. A thumb drive.
Plug this bad boy into your laptop, grab some headphones, sit down, and shut up.
Why? Because you’re in for the ride of your life. Listening now with the K702 sounds magnificent, as per usual.
With the K702, you’re always getting this uneasy feeling that something is in the room with you.
The DF Red doesn’t help this sentiment any.
I’m constantly wondering if the sound is coming from the headphones or outside of them.
If you live in a remote area and listen at night, it’s particularly unnerving.
I’m enjoying this pairing more so than some of the other amps I have at my desk. It’s extremely immersive with the K702 and sounds really lush and expansive.
So turn that frown upside down!
Let’s look at some other Amps now!
Other Potential Pairings
As mentioned above, I did a lot of research on this over the years.
Here I will list out everything I came across, with the amps towards the top getting the most mention followed by the ones toward the bottom with the least amount of mention.
- Heed Can Amp. This seems to be one of the most recommended pairings with the K701, but it’s much harder to find nowadays.
- Creek OBH-11.
- Vioelectric V200. I reached out to Vioelectric about possibly sending this one for a demo. They responded, but the conversation kind of went nowhere – sort of like that girl you’ve been talking to who went cold like your mom’s leftover meatloaf. 😛
- Asus Xonar STX.
- Questyle Audio CMA 800R.
- Benchmark DAC-1.
- Musical Fidelity X CAN V3/V8.
- Matrix M Stage.
- Aphex Head Pod.
- Woo Audio WA-6.
- SPL Phonitor.
- Schiit Valhalla.
- Burson HA160.
- Auralic Taurus.
- Leben CS300XS.
- Cary SLI-80.
- Lake People G103P.
- Schiit Lyr.
- Neco Mosfet V2.
- Neco Portable V2.
- JDS Labs cMoy.
- Titanium HD.
- Trends Audio PA-10.
- Tascam UH7000.
- Mix Pre-D.
- Meridian Explorer.
- RSA Intruder.
- RSA Raptor.
- Val E10 Vacuum Tube Amp.
- Corda Classic.
- Meier Aria.
- Darkvoice 337.
- Art 406.
Don’t forget to leave me some love! <3
I don’t want you to get carried away in trying to find the perfect pairing. There are simply too many amps out there for all of that nonsense.
If I had to recommend one to get you started, I’d go with a K5 Pro.
The important thing to remember is that all of the ones I’ve tried sound good with my K702. Any perceived differences are very slight and may be all in my head.
Also remember that the K702 does need some power, but it isn’t that hard to drive – even a K3 will do the trick, and that Amp does have less power than its older brother (E10K).
That said, my recommendation today is the K5 Pro as it’s basically a perfect product.
Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve gotten some valuable information out of this article on the best headphone amp for the AKG K701 & K702.
Which of these would you be inclined to go with? Do you have any suggestions? Be sure to let me know!!
If you have any other questions or feel I’ve missed the mark on something, leave a comment down below or contact me!
I very much look forward to speaking with you…
All the best and God bless,
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