My own comforting gift to myself for sort of surviving a dreadful autumn (health-wise) was the very green very lovely but making me look a bit funny AKG Quincy Jones line Q701’s. If you haven’t seen them or read about them, they are a spin-off from the reference class K701’s. The sound is slightly warmer with the Q701’s and while I don’t get the perfect boost from my NuForce DAC, (really waiting for my LeadAudio DAC…) my stereo puts out better with the V-Can dac, and they sound great on both system even though they are still a bit from the best. Compared to the K550 which are my closed headphones in reference class the base is a bit more withdrawn but not weak. The sound is balanced and indeed warm. It also have a really nice clarity. The sound is much clearer than my old AKG 242 HD that sometimes tended to – in comparison – be a bit muffled.
Listening to pop, rock is all very fine. Sometimes though you might wish for a more prominent bass. Going for some old Metallica I prefer my Sennheiser HD25-II’s since the bass is more rapt. Still, the Q701 handles Metallica without any real problems. The bass is there and the drums comes out just perfect – every hit well defined, and James’s guitar is sounding great – still the mood would call for a bit baser and colder sound IMO.
For me however, it is listening to either classic music or my own ‘masters’ like Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Pearl Jam, PJ Harvey, Ute Lemper, Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell solo albums. A variation in song and instruments that really makes these cans shine. Now don’t get me wrong – the cans delivers the shit when it has to – White Limo by Foo Fighters is a tight experience filling your head with the fist pumping spirit of rock. It makes you feel like a scramble behind the set in Shoot to thrill and System of Downs’s Aerials feel spacious and furious as ever – but man – listening to Dire Straits ‘once upon a time in the west’ intro sends shivers up my spine. Eddie Vedder’s ‘Rise’ is totally bliss. Marillion’s ‘That time of the Night (Short straw)’ is a rich composition brimful of feelings.
I have just to say that they all come to shame as I listen to ‘Into my arms’ with Nick Cave. Just saying, these cans delivers more of what you really like and if you have a decent source – they will treat you well. Once I get my LeadAudio DAC I will try to follow-up more in details of my different cans.