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AKG K240 Studio | Comparison & Review

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

 

AKG K240 Studio | Comparison & Review


So, I've tested the AKG K240s again.  I say "again" because these were actually my first decent headphone, before the AD700s even.  This was many years ago, back when I barely knew anything about headphones and wasn't aware that sites like Head-Fi existed.  I now have A LOT more experience with different headphones and I can gauge their sound more easily.  

 

 

Comfort 

 

  • I'll just get this out of the way and say that unfortunately the comfort is absolutely a deal breaker for me, all because of the shallow pleather pads.  I would never use them for very long in real-life as my ears get hot, itchy, and ache after just a few minutes of wearing them.  I should know since I used to own a pair.  Those same pads pushed me to trade them for another headphone - the CALs.  CALs are definitely comfier with roomier ear cups and better pleather.  You can get velours for the K240 (which will no doubt change the sound as well) but I personally never bothered with it as I'm not that invested in them.

 

 

Sound

 

The K240s are warm and dark with a thick full sound that's pleasing and non-fatiguing thanks to smoothened highs.  It has a medium sized soundstage with decent imaging.  The signature sounds similar-ish to a slightly warmer-tilted and muffled version of the K702 Anniversary.  There are definitely some technicality deficiencies on the K240s when you compare them to the flagship AKGs (some muddiness, slow speed, smaller soundstage, less separation, worse extension with rolled off highs and sub-bass).  The K240 are 55 ohms and take about 2 less "o'clocks" then the Anniversary on the volume dial.

 

When compared against the CALs, I find the CALs to be more V-Shaped with sharper treble and stronger bass quantity.  The K240 is more balanced IMO, and I generally prefer their sound.  The CALs are more "fun" though, which makes them more suited for certain genres whereas the K240 are more general "all-rounders."

 

 

Bass

 

  • They K240 have a satisfying low-end with decent thump to the bass.  While I wouldn't exactly call them bass-heavy (like I would the CAL!) they might give that impression because of their dark sounding frequency tilt without much high end to balance out the lows.  In reality they're similar to the anniversary and HD650 in terms of bass amount - a little tasteful emphasis but not really a "bass-heavy" emphasis.  The Anniversaries do have just a bit more bass quantity, but it's also lot faster, tighter, and of a higher quality.  The K240's bass is a bit slow and doesn't have great texture or variety to its sound (not that I'm expecting it to at its price!). The K240 definitely has more bass then the Q701.  The CAL has stronger bass then either AKG (the CAL is officially "bass-heavy" IMO).  I personally think the CAL has a little too much bass for most gaming (to the point where it can be obtrusive.)


Mids

 

  • The mids are pretty thick, full, and warm/dark sounding.  I think they stand out a little bit more because there isn't as much treble to balance them out.

 

 

Treble

 

  • The treble is a little rolled of and recessed.  The Anniversaries are noticeably airier, and that's kind of saying something as the anniversaries are already on the warmer side of the spectrum for me.  I personally need more air than the K240 have to offer, especially for things like Classical music.  This rolled off high end makes them sound a bit muffled at times, but it does give them a smooth non fatiguing signature.  You'll be bothered by something else (pads!) before the treble bothers you.


Soundstage

 

 

  • The soundstage is medium sized and imaging is pretty decent.  Sounds transition fairly smoothly through the space.  The imaging tries to behave in a similar style to how the x70x images, but it simply doesn't have the same soundstage space or separation to work with, so it comes of sounding a little unremarkable in the end.   I think it does a pretty good job of imaging with what it's given to work with though.

 

  • The K240 soundstage is larger than the CAL, and I find the imaging is better too (I find the CAL a bit un-smooth and jumpy when panning around).  I would recommend the K240 over the CAL for gaming (although K240 is semi-open, and CAL is closed - so they're not exactly in the same category).

 

  • I'm 99% sure the HD5xx beats the K240 for soundstage size and accuracy (seeing as the PC360 had an excellent soundstage that held it's own against the Q701).  So I wouldn't really recommend the K240 for competitive gaming.  For single player though, the K240 is full and thick which will give them a more fun and immersive sound at the expense of a less impressive soundstage.
     

 

 

So to sum up: They're pretty warm with a thick full sound, a bit of fun bass emphasis, and smooth treble.  They have a medium sized soundstage with decent imaging, but nothing spectacular.

I do like the signature and sound coming from them, but I personally want more air, more soundstage size & separation, and better technicalities (faster articulation, speed, bass quality and texture, greater detail and refinement, etc.) which, guess what...is EXACTLY what the Anniversary gives me.

 

...Also, did I mention I hate the pads?  angry_face.gif


Edited by chicolom - 5/15/13 at 1:37am
post #2 of 18

Awesome review. biggrin.gif

 

I assume this applies to all of the K240 variants like the K242HD? 

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by viralcow View Post

Awesome review. biggrin.gif

 

I assume this applies to all of the K240 variants like the K242HD? 

 

Thanks.

 

I think they're all the same.  I remember looking into it at one point and getting a consensus that they were all the same base headphone.

 

Some of them come with velour pads though, so I would expect those to sound a little different.

post #4 of 18

Hey nice review chicolom. I currently have the akg k240 and was thinking of upgrading to the Q701. I was just wondering is the Q701 earcups bigger? Cause I have a fairly large head and I feel that the akg k240 sometimes "crush" my head. Also my ears are a little too big so it doesn't fit in the earcups perfectly. How would the Q701 deal with these problems?

post #5 of 18
If you use the official AKG K240 velour pads, your sound signature won't change too much, as they have been designed to keep the sound signature intact. The main difference I noticed when listening to a K240 with velour pads is that the treble was a little more pronounced and airier, the bass was very slightly quieter, while the whole sound got a bit more of an edgy quality to it. They will therefore also sound a little quicker, but these differences are overall rather small. I'd say that the K240 with velour pads beats the K240 with the pleather pads, but it is still a mid-fi headphone that does not compete with the likes of a DT880 or HD600.
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by slayerming2 View Post

Hey nice review chicolom. I currently have the akg k240 and was thinking of upgrading to the Q701. I was just wondering is the Q701 earcups bigger? Cause I have a fairly large head and I feel that the akg k240 sometimes "crush" my head. Also my ears are a little too big so it doesn't fit in the earcups perfectly. How would the Q701 deal with these problems?

 

Yes, the Q701 ear cups are way bigger.  The K240s cups are shallow and cramp my ears, folding them back with annoying pressure.  With the Q701s my ears barely touch anything.  I'm not sure about actual head-fitting size between the two.

 

FYI the K702 anniversary is closer in signature to the K240s.  The Q701 further deviates from the Anniversaries by adding a lighter, more clear, and open sound.  It also has a little larger sounding soundstage, extra airiness, and more detail in the treble.

I'm not saying you should get the Anniversaries - I'm just saying that if your goal was to upgrade while staying similar to the K240 signature, the anniversaries would be more similar then the Q701s.  I love the Q701 too though. 

 

The only difference between the Anniversary and the Q701 is the pads BTW.

post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by chicolom View Post

 

Yes, the Q701 ear cups are way bigger.  The K240s cups are shallow and cramp my ears, folding them back with annoying pressure.  With the Q701s my ears barely touch anything.  I'm not sure about actual head-fitting size between the two.

 

FYI the K702 anniversary is closer in signature to the K240s.  The Q701 further deviates from the Anniversaries by adding a lighter, more clear, and open sound.  It also has a little larger sounding soundstage, extra airiness, and more detail in the treble.

I'm not saying you should get the Anniversaries - I'm just saying that if your goal was to upgrade while staying similar to the K240 signature, the anniversaries would be more similar then the Q701s.  I love the Q701 too though. 

 

The only difference between the Anniversary and the Q701 is the pads BTW.

Huh interesting, I'll be sure to take that into account whenever I decide to make the purchase.

post #8 of 18

Do you think the akg k240s is significantly better than the Q701 and is worth the upgrade?

post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saleri View Post

Do you think the akg k240s is significantly better than the Q701 and is worth the upgrade?

 

I've a K240 (and a k271 either) and Q701

 

I think it worth, soundstage is amazing, clear and light (the bass is there, but not enough for some..), vocals definition, instrumental seperation are superb!

 

I agreed with chicolon :

 

 

The Q701 further deviates from the Anniversaries by adding a lighter, more clear, and open sound.  It also has a little larger sounding soundstage, extra airiness, and more detail in the treble.
post #10 of 18

BTW I'm not sure if anyone knows this, but the DT-770 pleather pads fit the K240 Studio. Even the velours fit.

 

Just as a warning though..if you use them on your DT-880/770, trying them on the K240 ruins them due to stretching.

 

I do wonder how a K240 Studio with DT-880 velours would sound like. I think the DT-770 Pro 80 velours would be best since I think they may be a bit harder.

 

I tried the Gel pads but they didn't fit.

 

 

 

The K240 Studio was once an old favorite. I went from the SRH-840 to M50 and then to the K240 Studio. You can get the Studio often for around $75 and it's a steal for that price.

 

I think the K601 might be closer in sound to the K240 rather than the Anniversary. Not 100% sure since it's based on memory.

 

For those on a serious budget and can't afford a headphone over $100 the K240 Studio isn't that bad for gaming. I preferred it to the HD-555, but not the 598.

 

Not sure if anyone noticed, but the K240 Studio has a nearly identical frequency graph as the SRH-840 on Headroom's webpage!

 

 

I clearly remember the K240 Studio being quite bassy the first few days, but after a week it seemed to sound more normal. It's especially good for male vocals too.


Edited by tdockweiler - 5/29/13 at 11:22am
post #11 of 18

Does the k240 studio and mkii variant sound virtually identical? Because i just got the k240 mkii and to my ears they have a V shape response. Not that much of bass, but the highs are very prominent and sharp, i thinks there's some kind of peak in the treble region.

 

My Shure srh440 sounded warmer and darker in comparison, WTH? I'm using the velour pads and coiled cable (not the straight one). The mids sound a bit distant  (a bit sibilant, on the thin side), maybe it need burn in?

 

If the k240 studio indeed sound the same i just cannot agree with this review.


Edited by rhiga - 6/5/13 at 11:39pm
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhiga View Post

Does the k240 studio and mkii variant sound virtually identical? Because i just got the k240 mkii and to my ears they have a V shape response. Not that much of bass, but the highs are very prominent and sharp, i thinks there's some kind of peak in the treble region.

 

My Shure srh440 sounded warmer and darker in comparison, WTH? I'm using the velour pads and coiled cable (not the straight one). The mids sound a bit distant  (a bit sibilant, on the thin side), maybe it need burn in?

 

If the k240 studio indeed sound the same i just cannot agree with this review.

 

I think they're supposed to be the same.

 

Velours will definitely change the sound though, usually making a headphone brighter and airier.  Strange though, there might be a peak in the treble somewhere, but overall these sound pretty dark and warm to me. 

 

confused.gif

post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdockweiler View Post

BTW I'm not sure if anyone knows this, but the DT-770 pleather pads fit the K240 Studio. Even the velours fit.

 

Just as a warning though..if you use them on your DT-880/770, trying them on the K240 ruins them due to stretching.

 

I do wonder how a K240 Studio with DT-880 velours would sound like. I think the DT-770 Pro 80 velours would be best since I think they may be a bit harder.

 

I tried the Gel pads but they didn't fit.

 

I have the Beyerdynamic pads fitted to my AKG K240. I think the sound is pretty good, and it's definitely more comfortable. The old pads were shallower and my ears brushed up against the driver. I'd like to say I hear a difference with these pads but to my ears I really just think they sound normal. 

post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by chicolom View Post

 

I think they're supposed to be the same.

 

Velours will definitely change the sound though, usually making a headphone brighter and airier.  Strange though, there might be a peak in the treble somewhere, but overall these sound pretty dark and warm to me. 

 

confused.gif

I did a little burn in overnight and put my fiio e11 in low power mode and low gain, changed to pleather pads and now i'm getting a much warmer and bassier sound, dramatic difference here. Now i'm hearing the big bass and warm mids people were talking about, maybe the k240 are very picky about sources, amps or burn in?

post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhiga View Post

I did a little burn in overnight and put my fiio e11 in low power mode and low gain, changed to pleather pads and now i'm getting a much warmer and bassier sound, dramatic difference here. Now i'm hearing the big bass and warm mids people were talking about, maybe the k240 are very picky about sources, amps or burn in?


The K240s are an extremely picky headphone and it's also an highly transparent headphone, I had the chance to listen to a fully-recabled balanced K240 MKII on a very high-end system and it was amazing, so I am well aware of their true potential, it's a better headphone than most give it credit for. Changing cables, burn-in, amps, sources, etc. can completely change this headphone. My K240s have changed quite a bit since I started messing with cables, etc. They actually have a good amount of subbass now and have gained more texture throughout the entire sound spectrum, more extension, etc. They aren't very airy but the imaging and soundstage has improved. They sound thicker, warmer, and more textured than they used to. I am also starting to hear things on them that I never heard on them before on many different songs. They aren't the most fond of badly mastered and overly compressed audio, but are more forgiving than some other headphones I have heard.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chicolom View Post

 

I think they're supposed to be the same.

 

Velours will definitely change the sound though, usually making a headphone brighter and airier.  Strange though, there might be a peak in the treble somewhere, but overall these sound pretty dark and warm to me. 

 

confused.gif


Yes, they are the pretty much the same headphones, I have owned both, but not at the same time so I can't say for sure, I have noticed slightly better build quality with the MKII though. There is a large spike in the 10khz region, similar to the DT 990s treble spike, but the spike isn't as wide as the DT 990s spike. I can clearly hear this spike on both the pleather and velour earpads, it is a little more present on the velours. Also the velours have a smaller hole in them and that makes the velours more uncomfortable than the pleathers to me. Also I find the soundstage and imaging a little worse on the velours than the pleathers, probably due to the velours smaller hole.

 


Edited by kman1211 - 6/13/13 at 2:26pm
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