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Solid Starter Headphones

A Review On: AKG K240 MKII Headphones

AKG K240 MKII Headphones

Rated # 46 in Over-Ear
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Price paid: $140.00
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Pros: Comfort; Midrange; Clean strong bass; Non fatiguing sound

Cons: Rolled off highs; Not easy to drive

After getting a FiiO e10, to bypass the crappy onboard sound on my computer, I was looking for some headphones to replace my Sennheiser HD485's and to kind of justify the purchase of the DAC/amp. After perusing the forums I noticed a trend about the AKG 240's, they pop up only now and then as a recommendation, but, at the same time, they seem to be consensually regarded as solid headphone. This sparked my interest  as some other more recommended models (such as the M50) seem to be cast in a hype light, users generally usually either really like them or have a special dislike for them. So what makes them such consensual entry level cans?

I guess comfort play a big part in this and, in my view, these headphones are very comfortable. They are light and the pads are big, perfectly circumaural. The adjustment mechanism is seamless, as you just slide them on your head and that is it, no further specific adjustments are needed. My head, apparently, is rather small and the headband barely slides along the rails, so I can foresee some adjustment for people with smallish size heads, as the phones won't sit properly and might slide off with movement. In my experience they do slide off a bit with sudden or continuous movement especially in a downwards motion, such as reading or writing.

Now about the sound, the first I noticed when hearing them was that it has a much classier bass than the HD 485, which has a very boomy bass, it might not be as strong as the Sennheiser but I feel that it is quite powerful, without interfering in the mid range, very contained especially upon comparison with the HD 485's.

As for the mids, clear, forward and engaging. To my untrained ears, they seem very smooth and detailed.

If I were to stop here considering I was looking for a headphone purely for watching films, it would be a, as our eastern friend might have said, 'great success'! :-) Particularly if you factor in the generous vertical soudstage, IMO, it didn't feel very 3-dimensional though. Having said that, I also wanted an all-round musical headphone.

But when it comes to highs, again in my (beginner's) experience they seem to cutoff very early (if there's one thing these headphones are not is harsh). This does not let you engage in some particular music genres, such some types of jazz and classical. But the fact these headphones are darker also has a flip side as I can have long music sessions without fatigue, or just have the music playing as background for hours and hours. The only music that actually did not sound good to me through these was MGMT, I don't know why exactly but some of the songs came through as very distorted.

I have to mention I am bit puzzled as to why these are considered studio headphones. Although they are detailed they seem to be lacking on the treble department. I can see them being great at radio stations for example, but not for mastering sound. This is not in itself a bad thing, I for one, would label them as detailed fatigue free headphones. :-) And as such, I can see as it as consensual quality entry level headphone. You don't get the full spectrum of sound , but you get hours of enjoyable music listening (and movie watching) in a comfortable package, and I believe it is indeed a nice first 'good' headphone, because of its particular signature I now have a clearer idea of the kind of sound I want to try next. From reading the forums I am thinking a Grado or Grado-like headphone along with the AKG K240 would make a great 'budding audiophile' pairing, and provide a bit of insight to what sound you might want from your headphones.

I paid 110 euros ($140) for these, but as I am comfortable with the pleather (the velvet pads are still in the box) I might as well could have bought the Studio version which is cheaper. I definitely recommend the 240's as a starting point - wish I could have payed a little bit less though (who doesn't :-) ).

The headphones have had about 200 hours of use, I did not notice any significant effects of burn-in (which was done mostly with me listening to music :-) ), but then again I was not looking for them.

This is my first review and I am not audiophile, so pardon in advance for any (un)technicalities and/or ranting.  Hope you enjoyed it and that it is of some use. Leave me a comment below.


the akg 450s sound like grados but with a good deep bass you should give them a try if you get the chance...
Added to my headphones to try list :), thank for the tip! This is the first I heard about the 450's.
Right now I am finding my newest acquisition the Brainwavz H3 (aka Fischer FA-004) quite a nice complement to the AKG 240's.
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