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Looking for a portable similar to the AKG 240 studio in audio quality

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hey all,

As the title says, I'm looking for something comparable to my AKG 240 studio headphones, but more portable.


That doesn't mean I'm necessarily tied to the AKG 240 sound.  I've owned them for about 3 or 4 years now, and enjoy them very much,  but I don't have much to compare them to.  I can't really think of anything, sound-wise, I don't like about the AKGs - there may be better headphones, but until I hear them, I'm happy with what the AKGs provide.


I can try to make some comparisons, but I haven't used anything I've felt was comparable to the AKGs; the other headphones I've used worth mentioning are the Koss PortaPro and the Yuin PK3.  Due to comfort issues I have with earbuds, I haven't used the PK3s in too long to really say much about them other than that I seem to recall them producing a good, clear sound that I enjoyed; currently I can't find them to try again.  I've been using the PortaPros as a replacement to them because they are more comfortable to me, but if I recall correctly, the PK3s sounded better.  I feel the PortaPros could also use some improvement so far as comfort is concerned; after some hours, they tend to hurt my ears; I think I prefer circumaural headphones.  I also find it tiresome to have to reattach the speakers every time I transport the PortaPros and they pop off.


I find the AKGs to be a comfortable fit, a little loose, perhaps, but I suppose that's better than having my head in a vise.  I also like that they seem to be built very well, and to my understanding all parts are replaceable (if you can find them, which I'm not sure how easy that is since I think these headphones have been replaced by new models).

I'm not sure what to say about the sound other than what I've said before, but I'll try.  The bass is probably not the heaviest, but it's quite enough for me, I don't like crazy bass.  I'm not sure how to rate the mid or treble, other than to say that they seem to come through clearly for me without being annoying.

My one main complaint about the AKGs, may be an unfair one - after a few months of admittedly heavy use, the pads got stiff and cracked.  I'm not sure if this is a normal period of time for this to occur (if so, I retract that complaint).  One thought I had is that my skin is a bit on the oily/greasy side, and perhaps that would have an impact on the longevity of these pads.  Offhand, does anybody have any knowledge/advice on this topic?


I listen to a variety of genres.  Examples of artists I listen to:

Melodic Metal/Progressive: Blind Guardian, Angra, Iron Maiden, Queensryche, Sinergy, Royal Hunt

"Industrial": Rammstein, KMFDM, The Kovenant, Nine Inch Nails, Front Line Assembly, OhGr

Rock/Pop: David Bowie, Queen, The Doors, Scandal, Nightwish, Bjork

Classical: Beethoven, Mozart, etc... the well known stuff mainly


What I really don't listen to, are country/western and rap.


To summarize, I enjoy impressive vocals with fast or busy music behind them, but that's not all I listen to.


If I were to describe the perfect headphones for me, they would handle fast/busy music with clarity and detail, have a bass that can be heard but not dominate, and do justice to the vocals I enjoy.  So far as comfort goes, they would be circumaural, fairly light, and the speakers probably shouldn't sit closer to the ear than the AKGs.  So far as portability is concerned, the more portable the better, but I'm open to anything that's reasonable to transport frequently; I can make some allowances for improvements in sound, comfort and build quality.  I would prefer, but don't require, a detachable cable, but if the headphones aren't too expensive, I would be willing to forgo that.


Budget depends on what I'm getting.  At around $100, I'd settle for something better, all around, than the PortaPros.  Around $200, I'd hope for something comparable or better than the AKGs.  I'd also start expecting build quality such that I could expect the headphones to last years.  My AKGs have held up very well; I tend to be cautious with my stuff, but I've used them for basically everything, and at the computer, their cord tends to get run over, and that has pulled them off the desk a few times, to no noticeable detriment, I'm happy to say.

I'm willing to spend upwards of around $300, but I'd have to be pretty confident that I was getting something with sound and comfort enough to justify the money - after all, I am very happy with my AKGs that cost ~$100 years ago.


Edit: I'm not sure if it's important, but I'm using a Cowon S9 without a headphone amplifier.  It seems to drive the AKGs pretty well at 35% volume for modern recordings, or about 50% for older ones.


Thanks to all for your time and advice.

Edited by noct - 7/14/12 at 11:22am
post #2 of 8

If you're willing to consider supra-aurals, you might want to look at my recent roundup review:




I've spent a lot of time with monitor-type headphones, so I understand what you like about the K240's.


Most "smaller" circumnaurals are still a bit bulky as portables. But some that I would consider are:


Creative Aurvana Live! (uses the same drivers as my personal favorite, the Denon D1001, which is discontinued)


Incipio F38 (basically identical to the Fischer Audio FA-004, but about half the price)

I own a pair of FA-004's and they sound a lot like a good monitor headphone. But they are not especially comfortable.


Beyerdynamic DT235

I have the earlier DT231 model and think highly of them. The only downside is that they have an 8 ft. cable.


Maxell DHP-II

Shockingly good sound quality, but not known to be very durable. Lots of reviews of them here.


Those are all very budget friendly. If you're really willing to spend $200-$300 I would strongly consider:


Beyerdynamic DT1350


Beyerdynamic T50p


Sennheiser HD25-1 II


I have listened to all of those and they are top-notch.


Bowers and Wilkins P5 is another to look into. Most people love them, some do not.


One last thought, I would stay away from any of the V-Moda portables, such as the M-80. They are really well made, but very bass heavy and it doesn't sound like you want that.




Good luck in your search!

Edited by postrock - 7/14/12 at 2:22pm
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your input, postrock.


I suppose it makes sense that there would be relatively few options in terms of portable circumaural headphones, though I wish that were not the case.  I am still favoring circumaural, but I may have to consider supraaural.  It may be that some light supraaurals with a not very tight clamp would be acceptably comfortable, so long as they won't be falling off.


You've definitely given me a few things to consider.  I've gone through the options you posted, here and in your link; probably I'll go through them a few more times, do some research and see if any of them appeal to me.


So far as spending $200-$300, I'm definitely willing to spend the money on the right set of headphones.  It's funny - I really didn't know what I'd get when I spent ~$100 on the K240s, but they satisfied me enough that I'd still have been happy if they'd cost twice that.  Again, there could be something better than the K240s, but they blew away everything I'd been exposed to in ways I couldn't have expected before I heard them, as I'd never really listened to music on quality headphones before.  Actually, their predecessor was a cheap speech recognition headset with one of the speakers broken and mute... I know, I know! :)

If I can't find a set of headphones that are very close to what I want, I'll settle on something a something comfortable, portable and decent sounding, but less expensive.


Thanks again for your suggestions, postrock!

post #4 of 8

IDK if they are similar in sound quality to the AKG's but the Incipio F38 have been getting pretty good reviews for SQ. They are only 29.99 on Amazon and have like 5 different colors if you like that sorta thing.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Another suggestion for the Incipio. They do get pretty good reviews. I looked at them before and had ruled them out for some reason, but I'll have to take another look, as I don't currently remember why I decided against them, and they sound like they could be a nice bargain.


Thanks for the suggestion!

post #6 of 8

I was looking at a response graph and these have a more of a V shaped curve while the AKG's are studio monitor's so they will have a more flat response which is more true to real life (If you use bass heavy headphones to mix a song, there will be a ton of high end and not a lot of bass because of how much bass you hear). So if you will be using them to record and mix music, I would go for a studio monitor (ATH-M50's,   other AKG headphones, Superlux, CAD etc.) while if you prefer whats known as a "fun" sound a V shaped response curve might be better.  Depends on your preference.

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

That's a good point. I'm not looking to use the headphones I'm buying now for mixing music, just listening.


My primary concern, sound quality wise (and what I've enjoyed about the AKGs), is being able to make out the details of my music in all the different frequency ranges, while still being pleasant to listen to for long periods of time.


I'm not terribly concerned with the headphones being transparent, so long as they don't give me the impression I'm missing anything.  I don't feel the need for extremely strong bass; I suppose I'd say I prefer extension over quantity, and since I listen to music with fast bass, it would have to be tight/controlled.


Out of curiosity, is it practical to adjust a flat response curve to v-shaped, or a v-shaped curve to flat, with equalization?

post #8 of 8

I wouldn't know if you can adjust a flat response headphone to a V shaped curve. I imagine you could, but I also feel it wouldn't sound great. But I don't know. Same with the V to the flat. I guess for just listening, v shape would sound more fun, while a flat response could sound boring after a while.

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