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AKG K340 Electrostatic-Dynamic: Sell or Mod?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I bought my pair of AKG K340 headphones around 1985.  They still look in as-new condition, and have given me a lot of enjoyment over the years, but I really haven't used them must for about the last 20 years.

 

here's my dilemma.  I am just getting back into headphone listening, first with a Xonar Essence STX card driving them from computer (Foobar through WASAPI).

 

The sound is much as I remember, but here is my feeling on the sound:

 

Pros:

 

*Expansive soundstage

*Sound is generally very sweet.

*Incredible clarity in the upper registers.  Instruments have bite, yes smooth clarity.

*Can generate excitement (except for rock) at low volumes.

 

Cons:

 

*They are bass-shy.

*Overall tonal balance is a bit "thin"

*Transients seem to have extra treble energy, making them sound too "fast".  This leads to fatigue and ear ringing at higher volumes.

 

 

On classical music (except for being a bit too low on bass drums), these phones are amazing -- as long as I don't turn the volume up too loud.  On some voices, it is wonderful -- on some voices the tonal balance isn't great.  Rock can sound okay, but the low bass, and the high-frequencies-on-transient issue makes this not good for anything with a lot of percussion.

 

There seems to have been a modding community in the past for these.  Is it worth it?  I also hear that they need to be driven with low-impedance amps (which the STX is not - 10 Ohms) to get proper frequency response. 

 

I am considering selling them, and possibly getting a Sen HD800 -- which is almost my perfect headphone, if it weren't for that darn sibilance!

post #2 of 10

Considering their value to collectors, I would sell it. 

Modding it (destructively)  will kill most of it's re-sale value, and any mods you make won't make a huge overall difference to the sound, unless you actually put different drivers in or something. 

 

I also thought the HD800 was too sibilant for my taste. Have you heard the HE-500? I preferred it over the HD800. 

post #3 of 10

I assume you are getting a full sized headphone amp for your next headphones? in that case you'll need the money. Sell them. 

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
I think I've decided against the mod route. They sound good as is, and I don't think the mods will change the character of the drivers. At best they could improve the bass.

I'll find a replacement first, and then sell them, though I don't know how much I could get. Until then, I'll listen to albums that do sound great on them.

The HE500 sounds interesting, though I am still thinking about HD800 with a cable upgrade.
post #5 of 10

The K 340 have some big issues with driver ringing, so successful mods might improve the sound by a fair bit.

 

Also, they seem to often have a channel imbalance in the upper mids, so a convolution mod could probably improve imaging.

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vid View Post

The K 340 have some big issues with driver ringing, so successful mods might improve the sound by a fair bit.

 

Also, they seem to often have a channel imbalance in the upper mids, so a convolution mod could probably improve imaging.


I don't hear any channel imbalance issues.  I agree with the driver ringing, but most mods I've seen have to do with the plastic screen, and the cabling.  Neither of those will address any under-damping of the driver.

post #7 of 10

They need an amp with balls to shine, some tube OTL amp will drive them just great, doesnt have to be to expensive either.

 

About the mods. I owned stock and modded and love stock more, all about the prefferences, so, try them on a good matched amp first, before you decide anything.

post #8 of 10

Yeah, I'm not sure that there are any ready-made mods to specifically target the ringing. Means any mods like that will require creative thinking and some effort.

post #9 of 10
post #10 of 10

Here is one that you can try for your K340

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/653862/antique-sound-lab-mg-head-otl-mark-ii-w-nos-new-old-stock-matched-tubes

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