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AKG K240 too quiet? Do I need an amp? A sound card?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

So I just joined the Head-fi forums after reading two buying guides for headphones. I settled on the AKG K240's. I like them, but I get some interesting results, that I'm sure will make sense to someone more experienced than I.

 

- When I plug them into my android, I get mediocre volume, they just don't get very loud.  (i.e. If I turn them up all the way they get to a decent  volume IMO.)

 

- When I plug them into my wife's iPhone, I get good volume. If I turn it up all the way it gets a little uncomfortable, not melting my brains by any means. 

 

- When I plug into my PC, (which is what I bought them for) I get mediocre volume again. I have to turn it all the way up to get a volume I'm ok with. I would like it louder.

 

My old headset is a creative Fatal1ty MK II gaming headset, which from my extensive reading in the last two days is a cardinal sin for which I am still repenting. However, they are much louder than my K240's.  So I was wondering what my best option is for upping the volume.  I am inexperienced here, but am wondering if an amp would solve it? Also I was considering a new sound card that may have an amp built in, I'm using the onboard sound on my motherboard atm.  

 

Any thoughts? 


Edited by phearbot - 8/11/12 at 2:32pm
post #2 of 16

Yes, the K240 Studio definitely needs an amp unfortunately. I have the same problem on my pair from portable devices.

Even an E5 or E6 may help.

post #3 of 16

 The K240 is a cracking headphone that can deliver results way above its price point.

 

 Your issue is two fold - 1) not enough amplification and 2) onboard sound and the $5 DAC in your

 android is not going to give you much in the first place in regards to the digital to analogue

 conversion phase.

 

 If you need something portable and really want to hear them at their best, bite the

 bullet and seek out a second hand Fostex HP-P1 to use with your wife's iPhone.

 The combo DAC and head amp inside will really show you what they're capable of.

 

 Unfortunately, nothing exists in terms of compatibility for your Samsung Galaxy at this stage,

 

 

700

post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by phearbot View Post

So I just joined the Head-fi forums after reading two buying guides for headphones. I settled on the AKG K240's. I like them, but I get some interesting results, that I'm sure will make sense to someone more experienced than I.

 

- When I plug them into my android, I get mediocre volume, they just don't get very loud.  (i.e. If I turn them up all the way they get to a decent  volume IMO.)

 

- When I plug them into my wife's iPhone, I get good volume. If I turn it up all the way it gets a little uncomfortable, not melting my brains by any means. 

 

- When I plug into my PC, (which is what I bought them for) I get mediocre volume again. I have to turn it all the way up to get a volume I'm ok with. I would like it louder.

 

My old headset is a creative Fatal1ty MK II gaming headset, which from my extensive reading in the last two days is a cardinal sin for which I am still repenting. However, they are much louder than my K240's.  So I was wondering what my best option is for upping the volume.  I am inexperienced here, but am wondering if an amp would solve it? Also I was considering a new sound card that may have an amp built in, I'm using the on-board sound on my motherboard atm.  

Get an Asus Xonar DG sound card, it's DAC is better then the one built into your motherboard.

And get the Fiio E11 portable headphone amplifier, you can plug it into the Xonar DG and your Android phone.

post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the replies! I was looking at the Xonar DG actually... 

 

I'm really not too worried about usage with my Android and what not, I was just seeing if it was always low volume. I tested on my macbook air and it was plenty loud. I'm guessing Apple doesn't go cheap on their sound hardware. 

 

I was reading in this thread (http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1910718) about specs on on-board sound cards and it seemed spec wise that my audio should be better than the Xonar DG, but the Xonar DG has really good reviews, and also comes with Dolby Surround which I was trying to learn more about. Could anyone set me straight on this one? My onboard audio is:

 

ALC889
Output: 24-Bit, 192KHz, 108dB
Input: 24-Bit, 192KHz, 104dB

 

KHz wise it appears to me that my on board is higher quality, but I don't know anything about it. Thanks again.

post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by phearbot View Post

Thanks for all the replies! I was looking at the Xonar DG actually... 

 

I'm really not too worried about usage with my Android and what not, I was just seeing if it was always low volume. I tested on my macbook air and it was plenty loud. I'm guessing Apple doesn't go cheap on their sound hardware. 

 

I was reading in this thread (http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1910718) about specs on on-board sound cards and it seemed spec wise that my audio should be better than the Xonar DG, but the Xonar DG has really good reviews, and also comes with Dolby Surround which I was trying to learn more about. Could anyone set me straight on this one? My onboard audio is:

 

ALC889
Output: 24-Bit, 192KHz, 108dB
Input: 24-Bit, 192KHz, 104dB

 

KHz wise it appears to me that my on board is higher quality, but I don't know anything about it. Thanks again.

Chances are you will not need to go higher then 96Khz, music is only 44.1Khz.

Motherboard's usually come with very low cost DACs (Digital to Analog Converters) that barely do the job.

So the Xonar DG "should" come with better audio quality then your motherboard's built in audio.

 

A good quality 96Khz should sound better then a low cost cheap 192Khz

Also the Xonar DG's half-way decent headphone amplifier should decently drive the K240s while your E11 recharges it's battery.

Or for around $13-$15 you can get a simple AC battery recharger and two spare batteries (BL-5B).

post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Chances are you will not need to go higher then 96Khz, music is only 44.1Khz.

Motherboard's usually come with very low cost DACs (Digital to Analog Converters) that barely do the job.

So the Xonar DG "should" come with better audio quality then your motherboard's built in audio.

 

A good quality 96Khz should sound better then a low cost cheap 192Khz

Also the Xonar DG's half-way decent headphone amplifier should decently drive the K240s while your E11 recharges it's battery.

Or for around $13-$15 you can get a simple AC battery recharger and two spare batteries (BL-5B).

 

Is there a good alternative to the E11 that doesn't use batteries for a desktop?  These really aren't for portable use. I'm wanting to use them on my computer, although regrettably I may end up returning them as they have a lot of sound bleed which doesn't bother me, but the wife isn't a fan.  I'm sure I can find another pair of cans that don't bleed as much. Anyone have any thoughts?  Really these are for 75% gaming and 25% music. 

 

Also, if I were going to be getting any sound card $50 and under is the Xonar DG the one? $25 on amazon seems more than reasonable.

 

And for anyone really, any thoughts on "Dolby Headphones" technology?


Edited by phearbot - 8/11/12 at 7:43pm
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by phearbot View Post

 

Is there a good alternative to the E11 that doesn't use batteries for a desktop?  These really aren't for portable use. I'm wanting to use them on my computer, although regrettably I may end up returning them as they have a lot of sound bleed which doesn't bother me, but the wife isn't a fan.  I'm sure I can find another pair of cans that don't bleed as much. Anyone have any thoughts?  Really these are for 75% gaming and 25% music. 

 

Also, if I were going to be getting any sound card $50 and under is the Xonar DG the one? $25 on amazon seems more than reasonable.

 

And for anyone really, any thoughts on "Dolby Headphones" technology?

The Xonar DG is a good value at $26.

What is your budget for headphones?

I like having Dolby Headphone, movies (DVD & Blu-ray) use Dolby audio tracks.

Dolby may not make as much difference for PC gaming.

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 

Initially my budget was $80 - $100, but I'm not seeing a huge difference over my Creative Fatal1ty MK II, which worries me because maybe I just have bad ears or something lol. So I'm thinking I may go up a little higher. Under $100 would be nice, but I'm a little open to like $150ish. 

 

I ordered the Xonar DG, we'll see if it helps. I'll give it a go for sure before I return these guys, I want to love them.. Just not feeling it yet.

post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by phearbot View Post

Initially my budget was $80 - $100, but I'm not seeing a huge difference over my Creative Fatal1ty MK II, which worries me because maybe I just have bad ears or something lol. So I'm thinking I may go up a little higher. Under $100 would be nice, but I'm a little open to like $150ish. 

 

I ordered the Xonar DG, we'll see if it helps. I'll give it a go for sure before I return these guys, I want to love them.. Just not feeling it yet.

Sometimes the Xonar DG comes with a $10 mail in rebate.

post #11 of 16

Doesn't the Xonar DG come with an amp? I have one myself but I have just been told that it increases the gain.

post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 

@ PurpleAngel, you're right. There is a $10 rebate, so I'll be getting it for $15. Sick deal.

 

@ Supertoaster, I don't know much about amps at all, but from what I've read about the Xonar DG is the amp gives you 3 different gain levels. Is that all an amp does is give you gain? Or is there a little more to it?

post #13 of 16

I know for a fact from a very creditable source that inside the 240's there is a chip that can be romoved that will bring the headphones up to the volume of other headphones. Like the akg 280's. They are soft for a certain studio purpose. There is nothing wrong with them and they dont need an amp. I dont know where the link is to instruction on how to remove the chip. I came online to look for the link and saw your question. Send me the link if you find it first.

Thanks

post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by colette View Post

I know for a fact from a very creditable source that inside the 240's there is a chip that can be romoved that will bring the headphones up to the volume of other headphones. Like the akg 280's. They are soft for a certain studio purpose. There is nothing wrong with them and they dont need an amp. I dont know where the link is to instruction on how to remove the chip. I came online to look for the link and saw your question. Send me the link if you find it first.

Thanks


There is 100% no chip inside of them. I've recabled mine before. I'm not sure where you came up with this nonsense. In my experience you do need an amp with the K240. For me it was the rare case of lack of volume. My Q701 actually got louder from the same source.

Portable devices are not a good idea for them.

post #15 of 16

Not sure where else to complain, but the E11 really doesn't do much for my AKG K240 Studios volumewise. With my Sansa Clip at +0 dB, the volume is about as loud when I have my E11 on volume 7 (8 is max and not recommended). It works great with my Jaycar (Brainwavz HM5) and Sony V6 though.

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