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Newbish Experience / AKG K240 MK II Mini Review

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Hello - am new to head-fi, these forums and never considered myself to be much of an audiophile (many of you might call me a noob).  I've been absorbing as much as I could from the last several days, preparing myself for my purchase of new headphones.  Rather than continue to lurk, I want to quickly share some "noobish" experiences related to my quest and eventual purchase, which would primarily be used at the office.

 

My musical tastes are all over the place and although raised with an appreciation and "musical" aptitude (incl. vocal training, piano and classical guitar lessons for several years), I was intimidated by some of the technical terms tossed like soundstage, forward sound, separation.  After having auditioned a number of different products and talking to someone who could take my layman explanations and tie them to official (and scientific) terms, my experience became a lot easier.  So for other first timers, you have to try to have a chance of understanding what it all means.

 

Also, I expected finding something that would be an effective all-rounder might be a challenge.  My tastes are all over the place and were recently described as "a good taste in music," because I shared a common appreciation for the likes of U2, Ting Tings, Barenaked Ladies, Saint-Germain-like Acid/Lounge Jazz, 70's Funk).  "Fidelity" I think he called it. After telling him what I liked (hearing vocals and not being distracted by the music) and what I didn't like  (harsh trebles hurt my ears, unnatural / muddy bass), the direction to recommend was easier. 

 

After a few different units, I came to the AKG K240 MKII and quickly knew I had found the right headphones.  They have handled everything I have thrown at them (using the iPad and mixed-quality tracks as a source). Although I like bass to an extent, they hit where they need to and are not exaggerated (either in power or duration).  Also, high-hats/cymbals don't hurt my ears, although I can clearly hear them.

 

To offer a few comparisons, I also tried:

 

ATH-M50 - As others have said, found the vocals were too subdued (recessed midrange?) and was struggling to hear the vocals in many tracks (Little Fluffy Clouds by The Orb is one example).  Bass also seemed rather artificial (listening to some live tracks from Live was unbearable).  I liked how I was completely isolated from the going-ons around me, but felt a little too removed from the environment.  The owner is big on guitar work, analyzing music to death, and working in isolation, so I can understand how these might work for him.

 

Grado SR-60i - way I would describe the experience is being enveloped by the music, but not lost in it.  Sound quality wise, I had to turn the volume up quite a bit to hear it, and when I did, there was no bass at all (example - intro to Renegade from Styx).  I understood why this was the case, though (because they are open backed and all of the distractions from the office could get through).

 

Problem I had with both of the above (and other cheaper headsets in the past) is that I felt like I was being distracted and couldn't concentrate on work while listening.  With these AKGs, I can listen and work freely without any hardship.

 

Also allowed a colleague to try them a short while after returning to the office with them.  He's been having similar troubles finding a good all-rounder (tested with some different choices of music, including some country tracks I might dare to call bluegrass, piano jazz, Evanescence and Eddy Vetter).  Suffice to say that after 15 minutes of testing, he's also sold on them and is going to order a pair).

 

So thank you to all who's input I've perused and reviews read - I expect this may become more of a hobby than originally expected.

 

F.R.

 

 


Edited by FortyRock - 5/17/11 at 1:24pm
post #2 of 23

An excellent first post and welcome to Head-Fi!  As a fellow K240 owner(the studio version) I agree with all of your points and I feel they're a bit underappreciated around here.

post #3 of 23

I personally think the K240 II (or Studio) is the most underrated headphone on Head Fi.  I prefer them to all of the K501/K601/K701/702.  The Q701 comes close, but I still prefer the balance of the K240 to the "treble emphasis" even of the Q701.

 

post #4 of 23
I had the Studio a while back and gave it away, with some regrets. Nice first post, I might look into the MKII sometime.
post #5 of 23

Nice intro post!! They are great hp's for opera, piano and orchestral music. A nice investment. 

post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Brown View Post

I personally think the K240 II (or Studio) is the most underrated headphone on Head Fi.....

 



Maybe because they need good amp to really shine, on amp like fiio e7 I think Grado sr60 are sounding better .

 

I plan to write review of k240 mkII on my own in future.

post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Brown View Post

I personally think the K240 II (or Studio) is the most underrated headphone on Head Fi.  I prefer them to all of the K501/K601/K701/702.  The Q701 comes close, but I still prefer the balance of the K240 to the "treble emphasis" even of the Q701.

 



X2, plus I also prefer them over K-500's

 

I still use them as my headphones while listening music in the bedroom. I bought and sold a lot of headphones, but wouldn't even consider selling the K240's.

 

post #8 of 23

Definitely agree that these headphones are totally under-appreciated here. The Studio version can be had for as little as $70 if you look around. The only difference between the MK2 is that they don't have the extra pads or cables. Most people don't know it, but the Beyer Dynamic DT-880 pleather and velor pads fit! Whatever you do, DON'T try to put your already used Beyer pads on them because it will stretch them out and ruin them!!

 

Strangely enough these headphones seemed to have a lot of bass right out of the box, but later on I got the impression that it had much less after burn-in. Maybe I just got used to the sound.

 

Like the HD-598 they're an all-around good headphone that will work fine for many genres. They're even good for gaming! You can even upgrade it's cable quite easily by making your own.

 

BTW did you ever see this chart? They look somewhat similar. The SRH-840 was also another favorite before I found the KRK KNS-8400 and DJ100.

 

I actually prefer the K240 Studio over my Sextett LP! The sound is much more clear on the Studio, but I could have a really terrible pair of Sextetts.

 

graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=2611&graphID[]=913

post #9 of 23

Long live the K 240 MK II! Thanks for posting OP.

post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 

Hi all - OP again :)

 

Thanks for the welcome and words of encouragement.  Although I've always trusted my ears, HiFi (or Head-Fi, rather) is still new to me.

 

A few targeted responses:

@proglover - I listened to them in bed last night - too bad the open design allowed me to hear my wife's snoring :)

@tdockweiler - these charts are daunting to me and typically have no idea what I should be looking at.  In this case, though, I do see the similarity you're pointing out.  Also, sometimes it does seem like the bass is waning a bit.  I figured it was either the HPs getting worked in, my ears getting lost in the moment and focusing on other sounds, or just fatigue.

 

As expected, this is starting to turn into an obsession.  I dug up my old iPod 5th Gen 30GB and have archived a number of CDs to FLAC using XLD, and producing AAC 320 files for playback on the iPod. (I tried 192 and 256 first, but surprisingly I could actually tell the difference between them in blind tests).

 

For fear of going a little OT, it does raise a question for me, though.  Even with original source material, I'm hearing what might be a little distortion on certain tracks/instruments.  Logs show no errors, and volume not turned up excessively and most commonly heard in the tamborines or some male vocals.  Otherwise, material is static free. Could this be because the source (iPod) is having trouble feeding the headphones? 

 

If so, will dig further into portable AMPs (recommendations always welcome as from what I can see, there aren't too many options here in Ottawa, Canada.  So I expect I'll have to buy blind via mail order and really don't want to negatively impact the sound it took me so long to find).  I am heading down to Syracuse, NY this weekend though, if that opens up any opportunities.

 

Cheers,

 

F.R.

 


Edited by FortyRock - 5/20/11 at 8:51am
post #11 of 23

^ hehe, lol

 

it's not Pro-Glover, but Prog-Lover (Progressive)dt880smile.png  (if it's a joke, it's a nice one beerchug.gif)

post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Proglover View Post

^ hehe, lol

 

it's not Pro-Glover, but Prog-Lover (Progressive)dt880smile.png  (if it's a joke, it's a nice one beerchug.gif)

 

hehe - have no idea where those caps came from  (that's my story and I'm sticking to it) :)


Edited by FortyRock - 5/20/11 at 8:48am
post #13 of 23

@ProGlover  

post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:

Originally Posted by FortyRock View Post

 

For fear of going a little OT, it does raise a question for me, though.  Even with original source material, I'm hearing what might be a little distortion on certain tracks/instruments.  Logs show no errors, and volume not turned up excessively and most commonly heard in the tamborines or some male vocals.  Otherwise, material is static free. Could this be because the source (iPod) is having trouble feeding the headphones?


Going to try to answer my own question here after having looked it up elsewhere (cause like many, I hate it when it seems like people aren't doing anything to help themselves find the answer(s)).

 

1) This distortion is actually called clipping

2) Mostly noted as the instrument or sound just not sounding like it should

3) Music with more dynamic sounds will tend to show it more

4) Amp should help (and also help me avoid having to turn the volume up when I feel like I'm not hearing what I should)

 

So did I get it right? confused.gif

 


Edited by FortyRock - 5/20/11 at 9:55am
post #15 of 23

I had the Shure 440's then the 840's and while the graph above shows that they should sound a lot like the K240's, mine most certainly did not.  Too "trebly" for me.  Not enough bass, very nice mids, and too much treble.  Kind of like they were titled towards the top end.  One reason why I like the K240's so much is that they have a better balance for what I'm looking for in a headphone.

 

Yup, my K240 Mk II's also had too much low end out of the box and not much treble.  Burned them in over 2 nights, and they got a lot more balanced.  I've read that others here have had the same experience.  The Studios and Mk II's do not sound that great out of the box, but after burn in, they do change.

 

Don't let anyone let you that burn in is a figment of your imagination because these AKGs are a prime example that it's real.  BTW, I was going to sell mine, when someone else here mentioned that they balance out after burn in.  Mine only took 15-20 hrs with just regular music a little louder than I ever listen.  (I don't burn in headphones, I pummel them into submission.  smile_phones.gif)

 

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