Pros: Clean, Clear, Natural Sound, Thick & Creamy Mids, Good Tonality & Resolution, Spacious/Airy Soundstage, High in Detail, Good Amount of Accessories
Cons: Plastic Build, Bass-Lacking
Review on the AKG K240 MK. II
It's been a while since I wrote up a review, and well...I'm back again with another write up!
Lately, I've been on the prowl for a pair of headphones that offer the open/semi-open back design, as I was curious about these types of headphones. Coming from a pair of V-Moda M100's, I was really after a quality alternative to the closed-back, bassy headphones. A wide soundstage and a clean sound has been something I like to look for when it comes to buying an audio product, whether it be an amp or a pair of IEMs/Headphones. I was talking to a friend a while back, and I've been recommended to check out the AKG range, in which I did, and I was pretty happy with what I had found! If I had the cash, I'd happily fork it out for a pair of AKG Q/K 701/702, but sadly, I only wanted to play around with only approx. $200 this time round, so the AKG K240 MK. II were my pick of choice. But thankfully I didn't follow the crowd and grab a pair of Q/K 701/702, because these K240's are a stunner of a deal! They were a pair of cans that had relatively good reviews here, on Head-Fi, as well appealing to my eyes with their detachable mini-XLR to 3.5mm cable, so from there, I quickly searched around for a local seller in Australia.
Maybe after a week or so of hunting, I came across this store that goes by the name of, Store DJ. I visited their website to have a browse around for what else they might have, and to my surprise, they had quite a wide range of headphones! It was an easy site to look around, and seeing that they were local to me (Melbourne), I decided to just pick up the phone and give them a call to get a hold of these cans to save me from the hassle of dealing with the wait of the emailing process. I surely did not make a wrong decision when I decided to call these guys up, because their service was pretty awesome, I'll give you that. They were very friendly to deal with, and had my stuff shipped out momentarily after receiving my bank transfer as a form of payment. The only hiccup we had here, was the fact that my payment was sent just before the weekend, so I kind of had to wait off the weekend as they weren't working to be able to send my product off, but that doesn't really matter, haha.
I know in Melbourne, Australia, us Head-Fi'ers have a few local audio stores, so if you guys don't already know about Store DJ, check them out, because I haven't heard of them before, but after my encounter, I'll recommend them to any one of you Melbournians who are in need of headphones. They have quite a lot, as I had mentioned earlier.
Oh, and I forgot to mention. Free shipping, guys! The process was pretty swift, and we all love free shipping, haha.
Here are the links to the products:
The AKG K240 Mk. II Headphones - https://www.storedj.com.au/products/AKG-K240MKII
The UDG Hard-Shell Case - https://www.storedj.com.au/products/UDG-U8200BL
Something else that I aimed to achieve from buying these headphones, is that I wanted to make a neutral & natural sounding rig, consisting of my C5, which I find is neutral, and this AKG headphone, which many state to have a "natural" sound.
Anyways, enough of my background on these headphones, and now, it's time to get to my pictorial unboxing!
Here's a few pictures I took whilst I did my quick unboxing of the product, and apologies for not having proper lighting, as it was a rainy day, and so I had to do the photographing inside the house.
(All photos from this unboxing/review were taken with a Nikon L310)
The beast in it's plastic wrapping!
The back of the box
What is found inside the box
Plastic wrapped velour pads! (Yay!)
Unwrapped, naked, velour/velvet pads:)
Some literature for you to read, and a huge sticker to stamp on your forehead
Coiled cable with 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter
Stripped of it's plastic exterior packaging (With 6.3mm adapter ON)
Now, with it's 6.3mm adapter OFF
The beast, itself! (With it's super long straight cable)
Here's a headphone case I also picked up from Store DJ to conceal my K240's
Pretty quality case, I'd say. Very good hard case.
Here's more angles of it
What's found inside the case - More literature, and a remoavable zip compartment
The AKG's in the case! (Just need to tuck in the mini-XLR connector socket of the headphones, and you'll be set!:)
So, as you can see, the headphones come in your typical cardboard box, but it does come with a fair amount of accessories, so I was satisfied with that.
Now..time to review this pair of headphones!
I'll start off with the specs for those who are interested.
Circumaural, Semi-Open, Dynamic
15Hz - 25kHz
Maximum Input Power
Gold-Plated 3.5mm Stereo Mini Plug with 1/4" Adapter
9.8' (3m) Single-Sided Cable
8.5 oz (240g)
(I couldn't find much specifications on the internet in regards to these headphones, but this was the best I could find)
I should mention, that through this review, I used a rig, which includes: The iBasso DX50 as the source and the JDS Labs C5 as the amp (being a 55 ohm headphone, I felt an amp was necessary to get the best out of them).
Build Quality & Design/Comfort Factor
There, you can slightly see the recessed, 3-pin mini-XLR port
Mini-XLR connected the port on the headphones
Design...These cans definitely have your usual "AKG" look, which is not a bad thing, because I do support this type of unique design. The headband, and the cabling from one cup to the other, is done very discretely, so to speak, which makes this headphone look somewhat modern, as well as having a touch of vintage. The way in which AKG made the little holes, encircling the centre of the ear cup, was a nice touch to the "semi-open" style. Much better than a massive, gaping hole with grills, although I too, like that design also. With the addition of the metal accented circle around these little holes, it adds a bit of coloration to the overall appearance of the K240's - otherwise, these headphones would be very monotonal in terms of colour, and that wouldn't make for a very interesting design.
The headband, although does not contain any padding or made of real leather (not too sure on this one), still gives this headphone a nice sleek look and feel. Aside from not being padded, the headband offers great auto-adjusted comfort when the headphones are worn, so all is good when it comes to this.
Bird's Eye View of the headband
Side-View of the headband (Sorry for the dust particles that can be seen! Was hoping my camera wouldn't pick that up, haha)
Being an over-ear headphone, these are bound to offer extreme comfort - in which they do. The earpads, being my favourite part about the headphones (more so, the velour pads), were easily found to be comfortable for hour-long listening periods.
As said in my Build Quality talk, it is very well made, in terms of design AND comfort. Looks great, and feels great. I especially appreciate the added velour pads. Soft and extremely comfortable, and also contributes to the improvement in sound quality, is indeed, a very good bonus. The faux leather/leather/pleather earpads were also soft and comfortable, were no match to the velour pads.
Now, the cable. Very simple, yet effective design. Looks elegant as can be, yet functions just as well as any other high quality cable. Solid as well as being flexible, was something I really liked about the stock cables. They feel nice in the hand, and do not feel like they will break after a short period of usage.
Overall, under this sub-topic, I was very happy with the build (for most parts), the quirky design structure, and the amazing comfort. Really is a headphone to consider when you're after a fancy looking pair, or just want something that sounds classy. Speaking of which, time to tell you guys what I thought about its sound quality!
In short, I'll say these headphones sound very natural and spacious, as well as being very clean and clear, due to its semi-open back design, in which it allows a lot of air flow into the holes on the side of the ear cups. They have a very good melodic rhythm and tonality, as well as having distinguishable layering within the space between each instrument. Somewhat, these K240's will pass for being analytical sounding, as they are very transparent, and the bass is not all up in your face, and not only that, but the resolution of the sound is pretty astounding.
Before I bought these, I always feared that any open/semi-open back headphones would offer a thin mid range, but I was dead wrong in that respect.
Instead of explaining it all here, I will do it under each range (Lows/Mids/Highs) below...
To me, right off the bat, I found the low range to be rather lacking than usual. It just isn't there, but this does not necessarily mean it's a bad thing. I am aware there are people out there who are not a fan of bassy headphones, so these might be for them. Although, the sub-bass is almost completely depleted, the soft bass-punch is, and it is pretty mellow. Probably not the headphones for bassheads, but it will do for any listener who want to not be fatigued after hours on end. Its entire low frequency is just very subtle, so it'll assure you will not be having any headaches from the pounding bass, of let's say, the M100's. There's not much to speak about this range, as like I said just then, it's kind of "missing".
Since I'm coming off from a pair of bass monstrosity, aka, the M100's, I was easily not impressed by what the AKG attempted to pump out, as "bass". In saying so, this did not mean I was just going to let myself down with these bass-lacking cans. I was kind of happy that I chose a pair of headphones that sound different from the M100's, because that was my intention in looking for a pair like these. Obviously, being well adjusted to the M100's, it was expected of me to find some way to bass boost these AKG's to give them a better kick than what they offered. This was where my JDS Labs C5 comes in, because that neutral sounding amp houses a Bass Boost switch, which I used with these K240's, and guess what? My K240's now sound even sweeter with that "oomph" from the bass boost. It wasn't too boomy, but it just gave the AKG's the life it had required to fully satisfy me.
Some might be wondering by now, why I named this review, "The Definition of Tranquility", and it is really kind of because of the lows which make me say the sound gives the appearance of tranquility. Just so free of harshness, and smooth (without the boost of an amplifier)..especially the mids which I will now go on to.
This is where these K240's really shine. Their thick, full-sounding, rich and creamy mids is where it is at! AKG totally did it right when they came to this frequency range. (Kudos to AKG)
Well, it should be known that the mid range of these cans perform flawlessly! It is just so smooth, and natural, it really puts you in the mood, like you were listening to your artists singing in an theatrical scenery. Very lively sounding, and it was a good thing, I was wrong about the mid range, when I said it might be lacking. For me, especially with R&B singers, and more so, female vocalists, sound superb with these headphones. The details within the vocal are brought out, and well textured, such as to when you hear the rasp in the singer's voice, or when they just finish the ending of a word, you'll pretty much hear these minor feats. But vocals is not just the only thing it brings out. The acoustics within a track is much more natural sounding. It doesn't sound too thin and metallic, but it does give the "strumming" experience. I'm not too sure if I'm making sense there, but what I mean in simple form, is that the layering is done right, so you'll hear the separation between each instrument/string being plucked, and hence, it doesn't sound all clustered together. Those were the few things that really stood out to me.
To be full-sounding is one thing, but to flow is another. And well, these AKG's do just that. They allow the mids to flow freely, and that's what really gives the headphones an edge in smoothness.
Sparkle, sparkle! Because that's exactly what the high frequency range of the K240's do. They do make these headphones sound bright, and that is a good thing for me, because that's the type of sound I prefer. A touch of glimmer, and it sounds fresh as a pine. The cymbal clashes with these headphones sound so crisp, it would be hard for one to not resist. Besides that, I'm not too sure what else could be discussed here, as what I planned to say, was mentioned above, and really, all that should be noted about the highs, is that these headphones are relatively treble-happy, so bright in that case, and that's all there is to it for me.
Brief Comparison to the V-Moda M100
Alrighty...Here's something I wasn't originally going to do, but because the C5 gave the K240's such a good boost in bass, that I felt it was alright to compare these to the basshead's, and my beloved, V-Moda M100's.
Now that the bass is comparable, let's begin with the lows.
Well, this is easy. This round goes straight to the M-100's, because there isn't anything to compare it to. The bass of the M100's just hits so hard, with such texture and clarity, and no muffle; it really isn't worth comparing to the AKG's attempt at having a touch of bass.
Round Winner: V-Moda M100
This is can be a close battle, although the K240's mids are just much more detailed, and rich in thickness, that it in a way, can make the M100's sound a bit thin and of less cleanliness.
Round Winner: AKG K240 MK. II
Hmm...both cans are great performers when it comes to refreshing highs, and to be honest, I can't exactly put my finger on choosing between these two. I'm sure most will say the AKG's will take the winning in this category, but I'm still on the fence, so I'll throw this down as a tie.
Round Winner: AKG K240 MK. II & V-Moda M100
So in the end, I'd say it really comes down to whether you'd want a "house party"/basshead sound (M100), where the experience is fun and engaging, but may get tiring, OR, an "orchestral/theatrical" sound, where it is forever mellow and soothing (K240 Mk. II), but it lacks the "fun" factor, which I know, is important to some.
Well...I don't even think this part was necessary, haha. The M100's will be taking this one home, because it may as well be the king of the hill when it comes to military-grade durability.
Round Winner: V-Moda M100
For this part, I think it strongly comes down on preference, because although some will prefer the vintage-style look, some others will disagree and say that the sleeker, sharper look is preferred. It really isn't something for me to determine, but for the sake of my comparison, I'll say they both appeal to me equally, in very different ways.
Round Winner: AKG K240 MK. II & V-Moda M100
Over & Out,