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.
- 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.
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."
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
Edited by chicolom - 5/15/13 at 1:37am