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NovusBogus
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AKG cans and sound fidelity

Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:57 pm

I was at my parents' house over the holidays and while I was there tried out the AKG 240 mk2 headphones my mom got for her new recording studio. I don't consider myself a hardcore audiophile but the music sounded muffled and rather indistinct compared to the Sony MDRs and Audiotechnicas I'm used to. Is this an open vs closed back thing? An AKG thing? Just got a lemon? I was under the impression that 240s were pretty good.
 
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Re: AKG cans and sound fidelity

Fri Jan 06, 2017 1:50 am

Might just be what you're used to. Doesn't AudioTechnica have a reputation for sounding a little "bright"? At least that's my (fuzzy) recollection from back in the day. Their phono cartridges definitely tend to emphasize the high end.
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Re: AKG cans and sound fidelity

Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:17 am

AKG rates them as 55 Ohm, and there are some musings about poor performance when not properly amped. Might check that first?
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Re: AKG cans and sound fidelity

Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:23 am

I suppose that's a possibility too, though off the top of my head I'd expect it to affect bass response more than treble.
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Re: AKG cans and sound fidelity

Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:55 am

One of the Head-Fi posters mentioned that it sounded 'muddy', and that a cheapo FIIO amp fixed it up. Others mentioned the cans having a 'burning in' period.

Most of it sounds like mysticism to me, but impedance is something that can be objectively checked with regard to the source.
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Re: AKG cans and sound fidelity

Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:05 am

Yeah, I'd expect boomy, muddy bass from an impedance mismatch.
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Re: AKG cans and sound fidelity

Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:25 am

The impedance mismatch (under-powered), at least in my experience, will give some headphones that "muddy" or "quiet" feeling. I wouldn't necessarily expect something boomy from an under-powered pair of headphones. It could be the case. I don't know why type of work your mother does, but if that recording studio is her living, I would have expected a higher-end headphone. That's not to say you need some $1k+ headphone to do real work, but those AKG's don't jump out at me or anything.

My personal recommendation is that an AMP will do some good at about 30+ Ohms impedance, but isn't necessarily needed until closer to 100. As others have said, even a cheap Fiio should give them some more life. FWIW, I would have expected that in a recording studio she is already plugging into a good source that is AMP'd. You may just not like the signature of those guys, who knows.

@JBI - In my experience it depends on model (for AudioTechnica). For instance, the ATH-M50 (x/s/etc) are really bright. There are other models that aren't so much.
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Re: AKG cans and sound fidelity

Fri Jan 06, 2017 4:52 am

I have some experience with AKG, and actually the higher end do not sound as good as some of the cheaper ones.

701 sound very bright and detailed, and those give listening fatigue quite quickly, but they are extremely comfortable. No muddiness, but as said, too bright. I hear the 702's are the same.
K 273 Pro, are studio headphones and are much, much better. Far more neutral, and can be quite addictive. No muddiness. Bas is well separated from the rest, they remind me of also of the very neutral Ino Audio piP speakers I used to own. Currently I use these and have no desire to look for alternatives.

I have also tried Beyer Dynamics 909 studio headphones and they have a very loudness type of character to its sound, singing voices like for instance in Depeche Mode's Black Day sound colored. They are extremely impressive at first but once the less than neutral sound is discovered they become a bit of a pain in the ass to listen to.

I use Soundblaster ZX as a source, with neutral settings (some of the default settings are less than audiophile friendly)
 
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Re: AKG cans and sound fidelity

Fri Jan 06, 2017 6:48 am

Kaleid wrote:
I use Soundblaster ZX as a source, with neutral settings (some of the default settings are less than audiophile friendly)

Everything should come with default settings set to flat. Sure, I'll run EQ (since my headphones/speakers aren't the best), but that's something I need to set up for myself; I don't want the manufacturer second-guessing the rest of my equipment or how I want things to sound.
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Re: AKG cans and sound fidelity

Fri Jan 06, 2017 4:14 pm

just brew it! wrote:
Kaleid wrote:
I use Soundblaster ZX as a source, with neutral settings (some of the default settings are less than audiophile friendly)

Everything should come with default settings set to flat. Sure, I'll run EQ (since my headphones/speakers aren't the best), but that's something I need to set up for myself; I don't want the manufacturer second-guessing the rest of my equipment or how I want things to sound.

Well, the EQ is flat but crystalizer and some bas adjustments are on as default and if speakers are selected it by default chooses 5.1 which isn't the same as most have either which would be 2.0. It's not a problem for me but I think some users might find the audio a bit odd incase they do not check the controlpanel. Other than this it is a great card.
 
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Re: AKG cans and sound fidelity

Sat Jan 07, 2017 2:52 am

It could be the amp thing, as I was running them off a normal PC headphone jack. They're plugged into an amp in the recording booth.

I do definitely agree on the wearability aspect, they were phenomenally comfortable and very light.
 
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Re: AKG cans and sound fidelity

Sat Jan 07, 2017 5:18 am

Kaleid wrote:
Well, the EQ is flat but crystalizer and some bas adjustments are on as default and if speakers are selected it by default chooses 5.1 which isn't the same as most have either which would be 2.0. It's not a problem for me but I think some users might find the audio a bit odd incase they do not check the controlpanel. Other than this it is a great card.

Crystalizer needs to DIAF. What an ill-conceived, marketing-BS-driven, total piece of crap. "Sound Mangleizer" would be a better name for it, but I guess that wouldn't make for very good marketing copy.

If bass adjustments are on by default, then for all intents and purposes the EQ is not flat even if they don't specifically refer to it as "EQ". :roll:

NovusBogus wrote:
It could be the amp thing, as I was running them off a normal PC headphone jack. They're plugged into an amp in the recording booth.

Ability of PC headphone jacks to drive headphones varies. I miss VIA's onboard audio codecs; they seemed to be better at directly driving headphones than Realtek. In some cases you can improve the sound by enabling Realtek's integrated headphone amp (all of their codecs made in the past half decade or more support this AFAIK), but that's still not a substitute for a real headphone amp.
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Re: AKG cans and sound fidelity

Sat Jan 07, 2017 5:31 am

My Z170-AR has ASUS' Crystal Sound 3. It ain't perfect, but it is able to properly drive my 300 Ohm Sennheiser HD600 cans- and it's based on a Realtek solution.

But I wouldn't put it past an OEM builder to put out something only capable of pushing IEMs or a VOIP headset.
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Re: AKG cans and sound fidelity

Sat Jan 07, 2017 5:52 am

Airmantharp wrote:
My Z170-AR has ASUS' Crystal Sound 3. It ain't perfect, but it is able to properly drive my 300 Ohm Sennheiser HD600 cans- and it's based on a Realtek solution.

But I wouldn't put it past an OEM builder to put out something only capable of pushing IEMs or a VOIP headset.

The DAC in modern Realtek audio codecs is reasonably competent; but the output stage struggles to drive some headphones decently. I believe Asus CS3 incorporates an additional op amp (essentially a dedicated headphone amp) onto the mobo.

I also recall being somewhat surprised, upon seeing one of Realtek's reference design schematics, by the values of the DC blocking capacitors on the analog outputs. Definite potential for low-frequency rolloff on lower impedance headphones.
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