AKG701 vs. Grado 1000 vs RS1 anyone?

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saisunil

AKG701 vs. Grado 1000 vs RS1 anyone?
« on: 22 May 2007, 07:24 pm »
Hi,

Has anyone compared the following from musical point of view, ideally if someone owns or has owned all or a couple of these at one point or the other:
AKG701
Grado 1000
Grado RS1

I currently own AKG701 and use them with Dr. Xin LE amp and iMod (lossless) as source. The sound is quite good but lacks presence factor at low listening volumes.

Thanks
Sunil.


aerius

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Re: AKG701 vs. Grado 1000 vs RS1 anyone?
« Reply #1 on: 22 May 2007, 10:24 pm »
From a musical point of view, the RS-1 is worlds ahead of the others, though many would disagree with me on this.  For lack of a better term, the GS1000 does not have the Grado soul & magic, yes it does the usual "audiophile tricks" but there's not much feeling & emotion, and there's not much of a connection to the music.  I hear the music, but I don't feel the music.  The K701 which I had for about a month was even worse in this respect, it was about as appealing to me as sleeping with a frozen corpse, not that I'd know anything about sleeping with stiff cold bodies, but you get the idea.

With that said, if you value a flat frequency response and don't like colourations, the RS-1 is not for you.  The RS-1 will always have a warm thick midrange, a bit of a mid to upper bass hump, and slightly tipped up highs along with a small soundstage.  That's just the way it is.

Syrah

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Re: AKG701 vs. Grado 1000 vs RS1 anyone?
« Reply #2 on: 23 May 2007, 06:40 pm »
Hi Aerius.

I hear it depends on your head shape, but I found the RS1s intollerably uncomfortable.  The first five minutes sounded great, after that ear agony took over.  I tried Grado's other head foams that they sell - a very slight improvement in comfort, but at the price of sonic degradation.

If you're like me, you're willing to suffer for your passion.  But these even hit my limit.

Many other users report no problems at all in comfort, so one size doesn't fit all, but it's something to keep in mind.

Cheers,
Syrah

Thelonious Monk

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Re: AKG701 vs. Grado 1000 vs RS1 anyone?
« Reply #3 on: 25 May 2007, 05:14 pm »
even if grados did have comfort problems for me, i would take ANYTHING over the k701/gs1000. two of my least favorite headphones..

NotoriousBIG_PJ

Re: AKG701 vs. Grado 1000 vs RS1 anyone?
« Reply #4 on: 25 May 2007, 06:12 pm »
I would take the rs-1's by a mile. They are the only can of the 3 that get the midrange right.

Biggie.

senad

Re: AKG701 vs. Grado 1000 vs RS1 anyone?
« Reply #5 on: 26 May 2007, 07:20 am »
How long have you had your K-701? They take a lot of time to brake in and show their full potential, 150-200+ hours. As for the midrange, aside from the fantastic soundstage most of the comments I've seen note midrange as a strong point. Anyway, most of the people either love them or strongly dislike them. If you haven't put many hours on your pair, give them a chance and brake them in first before getting a new ones. Low range should improve and become tighter; not earth-moving but solid. Most headphones don't benefit much from break-in, but this one apparently does tremendously.

If not, I'll buy them from you for the right price!  :wink:

lifewithmusic

Re: AKG701 vs. Grado 1000 vs RS1 anyone?
« Reply #6 on: 26 May 2007, 10:12 am »
I've not compared these directly, but here's what I have compared.  The 501 smokes the Senn 600 in every way except power efficiency, and maybe a bit of ear comfort.  The 701 best the 501 by small or larger amounts in all areas.  A friend has loaned me his 701s for weeks of listening. The 701 is more comfortable than the 501.  Surprisingly, the 701 also bests an old pair of Stax SR-44 electret phones.  The 701 is certainly as fast, more dynamic, maybe a little clearer, and has better base.  I've listed several times to the RS1, but never in my own home.  I've never been impressed by them.  Those are my thoughts and experience for whatever its worth.

aerius

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Re: AKG701 vs. Grado 1000 vs RS1 anyone?
« Reply #7 on: 26 May 2007, 04:50 pm »
I had a K701 on loan for about a month (temp trade for a modded Grado 225), the owner said they had roughly 1000 hours on them.  I'm firmly in the camp of those who think AKG was on crack when they made their new flagship 'phones.  Let's just say I like the K701 about as much as I like the telemarketer dickwads who call my home.

saisunil

Re: AKG701 vs. Grado 1000 vs RS1 anyone?
« Reply #8 on: 26 May 2007, 04:57 pm »
Thank you all for sharing your impressions / opinions - they are all valid and important.
NOTE: Can you please also post amplification used along with source, for a more valid comparison. Thanks.

I have had AKG 701 for about 6 months now - they do need to break-in before they open up.
They also seems to like good amplification.

I was at the home entertainment show a couple of weeks ago and I had a chance to listen to my 701 through Earmax tube headphone amp.
Earmax Pro (mid level offering) sounded really good but ran out of steam. It did not have enough gain and the distortion level was noticeable close to max volume. I was able to to A-B comparison with my Xin Macro 4 LE right there. Earmax Pro had a good tone but overall Xin had more headroom and much lower noise floor.

Next came Earmax Pro Anniversary edition ($1600) - what a revelation. Amazing sound. It sounded like $20,000 sound system. I say that because I had been listening to various systems at the show.

Realizing how important a role amplification played in headphone listening, a couple of days ago I ordered the Mapletree HD2 Tube headphone amp. $600.
I also sent the AKG701 to moon Audio for re cabling (Silver Dragon) - also ordered the silver mini cable.

I have owned and enjoyed Grado 80 some time ago - but they were not too refined - so I replaced them with Senn 595 and then with AKG701.

I am happy with AKG701 - they are very flat, linear and gives me a true window to the source. I'll alter the color of the sound through selection of tubes.

I would like another headphone to go with portable iMod -> Xin Macro LE amp.
It seems that Grado 1000 is going to more like AKG701 but not as flat and they may not have the Gardo midrange magic either.
I do not have an opportunity and listen to them side by side - hence I am seeking everyone opinion.

Perhaps I should go for RS1/RS2 for a different flavor. What are the real difference between RS1 and RS2. Are they too close.
Is it worth extra $200 going from RS2 to RS1.

So AGK701s are now here to stay. Now - should I want another headphone - would RS1 or G1000 make a right choice?
Any impressions?

Thanks
Sunil
« Last Edit: 26 May 2007, 07:28 pm by saisunil »

Jon L

Re: AKG701 vs. Grado 1000 vs RS1 anyone?
« Reply #9 on: 26 May 2007, 07:06 pm »

Realizing how important a role amplification played in headphone listening, a couple of days ago I ordered the Mapletree HD2 Tube headphone amp. $600.
I also sent the AKG701 to moon Audio for re cabling (Silver Dragon) - also ordered the silver mini cable.


I think you did the right thing.  As you can see there are people who violently hate K701 as well as who hate Grado's. 

I owned RS1 and K701 at the same time, as well as K1000, all run off of my Almarro A205a MkII.  I would recommend the K1000 with proper amp  :thumb: but since money/availability is an issue, a recabled K701 with a good tube amp certainly will be a great choice, especially if you already like K701 sound. 

The RS1 does have that biting-into-ripe-fruit deliciousness in the midrange, there are significant flaws such as the uneven, peakier low-treble/upper-midrange with attenuated ultra-high treble that didn't justify for me keeping them, especially at their price. 

MarkR7

Re: AKG701 vs. Grado 1000 vs RS1 anyone?
« Reply #10 on: 26 May 2007, 09:39 pm »
Another vote for the AKG K701s here. 

I've owned the Senn HD650, Grado SR225, and have heard the Grado RS-1s, but for my taste, the K701s hit it on the head.  Coupled with a Singlepower PPX3 Slam, the midrange is spot on and bloomy, while the highs are extended and the bass is there too (I'm not a bass hound), all while the soundstage is nicely layered.  SWEEEET!

Russell Dawkins

Re: AKG701 vs. Grado 1000 vs RS1 anyone?
« Reply #11 on: 27 May 2007, 07:18 am »
I have had experience with models close, but not identical to these.

In 1992 I owned a pair of the top of the Grado line - I think it was the RS1, but I may well be mistaken. They were expensive, especially for the time at around $800, and had the polarity invert switches on each non-resonant metal earpiece. I found them immensely entertaining in that they were capable of going very loud without getting edgy and had a very nice midrange quality. Brass instruments were particularly good on them.

The highs were good if not noteworthy but the bass was the reason I sold them. Fun though it was, I found it not sufficiently informative for my needs which included checking the bass component of a signal to help with microphone placement when on location recording gigs. In this it reminded me of early 70s JBL loudspeakers and my B&W 805s which I ultimately sold for the same reason. I would describe the bass quality as slightly colored and "one note", but in a very pleasant way.

I had a pair of AKG 501s at the time and felt they were more realistic. They may not have been able to play as loud, but that was OK for me. They were very significantly more comfortable to me, though. Sonically, they sounded slightly scooped (a broad shallow depression centered on about 600 Hz) - almost the inverse of the Grados which sounded like they had a rise of the same type in the same tonal band.

I feel my Etymotic Research ER4Ss are in a completely superior league tonally and will play as loud as I can stand without distortion, with the huge (for me) advantage of 35 dB of ambient noise isolation.

For an over-the-ear headphone I believe the now-discontinued AKG 240 DF is easily the most accurate and pleasant sounding, but it is not a sealed back type and requires a serious amp.

I also own a pair of K-1000s which have many of the qualities of the Grados but lack the visceral bass and are very comfortable for a couple of hours. Generally, though, they are  utterly impractical except for their extreme novelty value, and that makes them worth keeping for me, since I paid only $350 from a studio going out of business 10 years ago. Mine are now permanently powered by a dedicated Sonic Impact amp which works beautifully with them.

I consider the Sennheiser 650 very strange. I borrowed a pair to take to Armenia for an orchestral recording a couple of years ago and though I did not power them with anything exotic - just various pro grade headphone amps such as come in devices like the Alesis Masterlink, the Metric Halo processor and a Soundcraft mixing board, the contrast between my ER4Ss (which sound exactly like the AKG 240 DF in tonal balance) and the 650s was unbelievable. It sounded like 2 or 3 layers of heavy blankets had been put over my head, or like the highs had been cut by 6-8 dB across the board. The AKG 240 DF had served as a de facto studio reference for almost 20 years when it was discontinued, presumably for its difficulty in being driven due to its high impedence.
« Last Edit: 27 May 2007, 03:26 pm by Russell Dawkins »

Imperial

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Re: AKG701 vs. Grado 1000 vs RS1 anyone?
« Reply #12 on: 27 May 2007, 12:30 pm »
The RS-1 and RS-2 is good, I currently use a pair of RS-2's in my headset system.
But I'm contemplating getting them re-cabled.
I also tried the RS-1's but found them a bit less involving than the RS-2's actually.
What are my options in re-cabling a set of RS-2's ? Who does it?

Imperial

Jon L

Re: AKG701 vs. Grado 1000 vs RS1 anyone?
« Reply #13 on: 27 May 2007, 04:26 pm »

In 1992 I owned a pair of the top of the Grado line - I think it was the RS1, but I may well be mistaken. They were expensive, especially for the time at around $800, and had the polarity invert switches on each non-resonant metal earpiece. I found them immensely entertaining in that they were capable of going very loud without getting edgy and had a very nice midrange quality. Brass instruments were particularly good on them.

The highs were good if not noteworthy but the bass was the reason I sold them. ...

I had a pair of AKG 501s at the time and felt they were more realistic. They may not have been able to play as loud, but that was OK for me. They were very significantly more comfortable to me, though. Sonically, they sounded slightly scooped (a broad shallow depression centered on about 600 Hz) - almost the inverse of the Grados which sounded like they had a rise of the same type in the same tonal band.

I feel my Etymotic Research ER4Ss are in a completely superior league tonally and will play as loud as I can stand without distortion, with the huge (for me) advantage of 35 dB of ambient noise isolation.

LOLROTF!!

That Grado you're talking about are not RS series but the HP-1(HP-1000)!  The King of All Grados of All Time in the minds of many, including me.  You essentially jus said Ety ER4S embarrasses HP-1, which will induce violent convulsions over at Head-Fi.org :)

Oh, yeah, I've owned HP1000 and still own Etymotics, but no way is Etymotic superior.  The main problem is HP1000 is very finicky about headphone amps, but with the right amp (Dynahi, etc), it sounds unbelievably pure.

Russell Dawkins

Re: AKG701 vs. Grado 1000 vs RS1 anyone?
« Reply #14 on: 27 May 2007, 04:53 pm »
LOLROTF!!

That Grado you're talking about are not RS series but the HP-1(HP-1000)!  The King of All Grados of All Time in the minds of many, including me.  You essentially jus said Ety ER4S embarrasses HP-1, which will induce violent convulsions over at Head-Fi.org :)

Oh, yeah, I've owned HP1000 and still own Etymotics, but no way is Etymotic superior.  The main problem is HP1000 is very finicky about headphone amps, but with the right amp (Dynahi, etc), it sounds unbelievably pure.

Thanks for the clarification re: HP-1. I just don't think about these much since I sold them.

Sorry, for me the ER4Ss sound pure and the Grados sounded like they're rounding the leading edge of the waveform, like many amps do. If I have to choose between flattering and accurate, I have to go with accurate.
Do you own the Etymotic ER4Ss, or a different model, and which tip do you use - the foam, flanges or custom mould?

After about 5 years of enjoying the competitive advantage that using the Etymotics in my work gave me, I advised an engineer friend to whom I had sold the Grados about them. He immediately bought a set and feels exactly the same way as I do, so I guess headfi.org can have a laugh about that, too! :D

Another example: I was listening to the Florida Philharmonic's recording of a Mahler symphony which I admit to having bought because I wanted a reference for a good recorded orchestra sound. This was recorded with Schoeps microphones entirely - the KFM6 sphere for a main and wide cardioids for accent mics. I was listening on the Etymotics and was knocked out by the actual texture of the string sound. This was a revelation to me as it was, to coin a number, easily 30% better than the best I had previously heard, and the main difference, apart from scrupulous attention to details, like mic cables, preamps and A/D converters was the mics themselves.

Later I listened again on my Harbeth HLP3s which are respected nearfield monitors currently selling for around $2000/pr. The magic I had heard on the Etymotics was totally missing - I never would have given this recording a second listen if that had been my only experience of it.

Thelonious Monk

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Re: AKG701 vs. Grado 1000 vs RS1 anyone?
« Reply #15 on: 28 May 2007, 12:20 am »
the k501 is much better than the k701 in my opinion. i imagine that the hp1000 is much better than the gs1000, too. haven't heard the hp1000 so i can't comment on them vs the etys. i much preferred my grado sr225 to my er4s, although the er4s was certainly more accurate. couldn't quite convey the sense of fun grados give with rock music though.

saisunil

Re: AKG701 vs. Grado 1000 vs RS1 anyone?
« Reply #16 on: 30 May 2007, 03:21 am »
Thank you all for sharing your views.
No two people have same music or listening tastes - so we have different brands appealing to us all in our own ways.

I agree - I really enjoy my Ety4P - directly through ipod or through Xin Head Amp.
Kind and willing Dr Lloyd will be proving both 1/8" and 1/4" headphone jacks for my listening pleasure as well as A-B comparison.

I am waiting to receive my AKG701 re-cabled by moon-audio.
I think I am going to stay put for now.
Looking at the frequency response Grado SR125 look most interesting and least colored.

Thank you all.

dumdum

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Re: AKG701 vs. Grado 1000 vs RS1 anyone?
« Reply #17 on: 2 Jun 2007, 05:03 pm »
I only tested out all those Grado's, Senn's and AKG at a headphone shop in Tokyo.  For me K701 was an easy choice.  I reckon it is the most natural of all and is really comfortable.  I am driving it only through the DAC1 without special headphone amp.  That is the can I use for all sort classical and jazz, and can listen to for hours.  I reckon most of my friends' choice on cans depends a lot on what kind of music they mostly listen to, thus so many people just need 2-3 cans.

I keep the Grado's SR60 for TV and movies though.

I always wonder how much difference a re-cable K701 can have on this nice natural can.

aerius

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Re: AKG701 vs. Grado 1000 vs RS1 anyone?
« Reply #18 on: 2 Jun 2007, 11:18 pm »
I always wonder how much difference a re-cable K701 can have on this nice natural can.

I've heard the K701 with a Cardas cable, it's a little fuller sounding and less painful than the stock one, but I still didn't like it.

saisunil

Re: AKG701 vs. Grado 1000 vs RS1 anyone?
« Reply #19 on: 4 Jun 2007, 01:23 pm »
I always wonder how much difference a re-cable K701 can have on this nice natural can.

I've heard the K701 with a Cardas cable, it's a little fuller sounding and less painful than the stock one, but I still didn't like it.

Hi Aerius, can you please share with us - amplification and source used during your audition of K701.
I did A-B K701 with three different amplifiers and they all sounded different from good to excellent to amazing.

As mentioned earlier - music, like food, is a matter to taste. Some like Grado and some like AKG or Senn or Beyerdynamic. So to each his/her own. Each one of us are trying to find our own holy grail of listening to reproduced music.

Cheers
Sunil.