Why not step up to the Sennheiser HD600/650? I currently own the HD555 and formerly owned the HD600 (wasn't listening to headphones much when I switched). Both have similar warmth, but the HD600 is much higher in resolution across the board. At used prices, you could pick up a pair of the HD600 for a little over $200.
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I've just sold AKG K701 in favor of Senn HD650 and regret it.
AKG can only be upgraded by better AKG. Hearing microscopic studio noises, sighs and EVEN overdubbing glitches makes them the most accurate and addictive headphones ever had been over my ears. Once you get used to them, it's like a drug. Another advantage of K701 that they are much cheaper used than HD650. Senns I guess more popular but not any better(at least to me)
I own the k702's but I can't use them. I bought them because my Rogue Cronus Magnum has a headphone jack but unfortunately it bleeds through my speakers so I'm hearing from inside and outside of the cans. Also the Rogue just doesn't have the guts for the AKG 's. They need power. That plus the fact that the sound bleeds through enough to wake my wife in our first floor master bedroom is a deal breaker for me.
I will say this about the AKG. My son brought over his Darkvoice headphone amp awhile back so I could have a proper listen. I played some Joshua Redman through the AKG 's and I could not believe how amazing it sounded. My son and I both agreed that Jazz sounded better through the AKG 's. We also thought that his heavy metal sounded better through his 650's. I think it depends on not only what you listen to but also your amp. If you like Jazz the AKG's win. Rock and metal go to
Sennheiser. Not sure about classical but I think you could go either way.
I can highly recommend the Final Audio Muramasa VIII - they are outstanding. If these are a bit pricy they have some cheaper options which are excellent. Some are available through ebay.
Failing this have you tried suggesting ear plugs for the missus.
By miles the AKG k701 is better than the Sen HD650.
The AKG is much more dynamic, transparent and extended. I find the 600 & 650 headphones to be thick and dark with little headroom.
If you want to hear that HD650 "sound" done well try the Audeze headphones which have a thick and dense sound, but not at the expense of detail or dynamics.
Today's K701 isn't hard to drive. I'd say they're much more sinsitive than Senn HD650 that do require some guts at the jack. They're just 64Ohms with pretty hight db sensitivity per mw/cm. I sometimes use them in the office with Fiio usb headphone amp that could pump the volume audible 10' away clearly.