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AKG K240 Studio Review

post #1 of 134
Thread Starter 
Just got a pair of akg k240 studios, and I'm going to do an in depth look at them. I will assess build, comfort, looks, sound, and features.

Build: Looking at them, I see no real build issues. High quality plastic, a ring of metal around the outside of the driver cover, and more high quality plastic outside of that. An auto adjusting fake leather headband makes it feel pretty good. Overall, not too bad for 80$.

Comfort: First off, the pads are a little shallow for people with big ears (me), but you get used to it with time. It has foam covering the driver, so it doesn't feel too uncomfortable. The pleather ear pads feel really comfortable, and are giant enough to fit any ears I've seen. The headband is unpadded, but I haven't had any comfort issues at all from it. The auto adjusting aspect of it is wonderful because you don't have to fiddle with the adjusters each time you go to wear them. Overall id say the comfort can be an issue if your ears stick out off your head a great amount, but other than that, these are very nice to wear.

Looks: They look like they were designed in the 70's... Which, they were. Of course, they added a few modern touches, like the clear plastic covering golden logos. They can gather attention quite well. It depends on your style. I myself find them to be pretty cool looking, but my sister thinks they are ugly.

Sound: Ah, the reason they are called headphones... The sound! Tracks I tested on: Black Magic Woman, by Santana: Very well designed soundstaging and placement on these. The guitar and chimes flip back and forth, and sound like they go from 20 feet away, right up to your face. The bass guitar seems to be coming from 10 feet away to your 5 O' clock position. The wind chimes... Ah, now they sound great. They add a mysticism to it, and sound very realistically portrayed. The keyboard sounds like it should, the two bongo strikes at 3:47 give out a wonderful echo off to your left. Vocals are a strong point, and give Carlos Santana's voice a jazzy, smooth appearance as it should have. Everything is well defined, separated, and has depth. Wonderful experience on these headphones.

Mysteries Of Night Town, by Omnitica: The mysterious beginning is well portrayed, with the footsteps of the person walking come from below you as they should. (they are your feet after all.) The bells in the beginning can easily become a mess if any notes are left to reverberate, but the open back design quickly disposes of them. The detail is wonderful. As soon as the bass line picks up, there is a barely audible wolf howl off to your right maybe 50 yards away, and quickly moves behind you, and disappears on your left. At 2:53 it does the same thing, but much more audible this time. The entire beginning actually gives you a feeling you are walking through creepy woods, from rustling leaves, footsteps, and eery chimes and synths to add to the suspense, right up until you open the gate to night town. The lock being removed and the door opening got me in a state of suspense, yet I've heard this song 20+ times. Love it.

Rage, by Moxix: The drum in the beginning is delivered perfectly, and the heavy breathing puts you in a state of fear. Then... Some stuff goes down. There is a heavy bass line that can easily cover up the sound of cymbals, but they were there, and audible. In the middle of the song, there is a downtime before the bass comes again. Right there is the sound of rain, and light synths playing, then dropping into a bass filled hysteria again. This was perfectly delivered. Again, good sounding.

Never Say Goodbye, by Bon Jovi: The emotion put into this song is so well portrayed, and these put that sound down correctly. Every instrument is detailed, and sounds so good. You can hear everything. The sound of an organ I had never noticed before... Wow. Every pluck on the guitars, every cymbal crash, every word... Wow...

Margaritaville, by Jimmy Buffet: His voice is well suited to these headphones. The acoustic guitars are great sounding, the little details... Ah, so many of them! The bass is a little recessed sounding on this song, but its still noticeable. These headphones sound great for this song!

Lyin' Eyes, by The Eagles: Guitars are good, you can hear the guitarists sliding their fingers along the wires. The only thing is that vocals sounded more distant than they should be, but no matter. Souded very good still. The slight piano touches throughout the song are easy audible, the instrument separation, again, is fantastic.

Welcome To The Jungle, by Guns N' Roses: Head bangin' pure octane fueled fun. Everything is audible. Everything is good. Axl Roses voice is harder than a lot of other voices to have sound great. I've found it either sounds too smooth, or too scratchy. These portray his voice beautifully and give it that feel that no other vocalist I've heard has had. Every instrument is wonderfully done, nothing jumped out at me as being badly done. Again, another enjoyable track.

Rhiannon, by Fleetwood Mac: Stevie Nicks voice is so full sounding, the guitar solo is wonderfully done, and slight chimes in the background are able to be picked out... Another song that is well detailed.

Conclusion and Features: These cans are a wonderful all rounder, and are very detailed for the 80$ price point, deliver flat sound, are pretty comfortable, and are lovely to look at. Ratings out of 10: Durability 7, looks 8, sound 8.75, value 10. Will post pictures below.
post #2 of 134
Thread Starter 
Oh I forgot features. It has a single sided, detachable xlr to 3.5mm cable, a 6.5mm adapter... That's it actually.
post #3 of 134
Thread Starter 
10245314_684521001640603_7908248405529326771_n.jpg10171888_681434171949286_4577475537915610312_n.jpg775670_679942288765141_1005495273_o.jpg
Edited by DisCHORDDubstep - 4/13/14 at 8:29pm
post #4 of 134
Thread Starter 
Oh, and driven off an e11 and with lossless audio. With somewhere around 75-120 hours of burn in.
post #5 of 134

Haha, interesting review. I feel like the lower-end AKG's are some of the most underrated budget headphone options out there.

 

How bad's the leakage on these things? I've owned the K142HD and they didn't leak much at all given their "semi-open" design.

post #6 of 134

I wouldn't call them flat, there is a prominent peak at 10K and the upper bass is quite boosted making them a little on the boomy side, but it doesn't affect the mids of mess up the treble at all. Just something worth mentioning from another owner who also has an HD280 Pro and an SRH440 for comparison points. I call the SRH440 "flat" at least to my ears.

 

Leakage is...pretty bad but not as bad as a fully open headphone. It hardly gets quieter when you put the headphones on vs. taking them off.

post #7 of 134

http://www.head-fi.org/products/akg-acoustics-k-240-semi-open-studio-headphones

 

copy and paste your review in here so you can star rate and more folks will see it!

 

Nice review btw!

post #8 of 134

Do we have a different kind..? The gold seems to be way more yellowish with yours, or is that because of the light/angle?

 

Anyways, great review, owning these myself. Wonderful how such a "cheap" headphone can still deliver such an experience.

post #9 of 134
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by viralcow View Post

Haha, interesting review. I feel like the lower-end AKG's are some of the most underrated budget headphone options out there.

How bad's the leakage on these things? I've owned the K142HD and they didn't leak much at all given their "semi-open" design.

Quote:
Originally Posted by metal571 View Post

I wouldn't call them flat, there is a prominent peak at 10K and the upper bass is quite boosted making them a little on the boomy side, but it doesn't affect the mids of mess up the treble at all. Just something worth mentioning from another owner who also has an HD280 Pro and an SRH440 for comparison points. I call the SRH440 "flat" at least to my ears.

Leakage is...pretty bad but not as bad as a fully open headphone. It hardly gets quieter when you put the headphones on vs. taking them off.
yeah, its not completely flat, but its only 4 decibels. Nothing too extreme. Still very much suitable to studio use... And yes. They leak quite a lot. They shouldn't even be called semi open, just open. Oh, Hawaii, I'm on mobile and it won't let me create reviews in the products page... Kind of stupid if you ask me. And it must just be the lighting making them look yellowish. Looking at it right now, its golden colored. Oh, metal, I looked at the goldenears.net review for these, and it says the bass isn't boomy, nor is it thin sounding. I myself find the bass to be that way too. Right in the middle. Not boomy, nor thin.
Edited by DisCHORDDubstep - 4/14/14 at 5:35am
post #10 of 134
Thread Starter 
... Although bass in the 20-100 Hz area is recessed quite a bit, but my music I listen to doesn't have a lot of instruments go that low anyways. If I listened to hip hop more often, that might be a problem, but dubstep relies on mid and upper bass, along with mids for most of the music. The genres id say work best with these?... Edm, 70's-80's pop and rock, orchestra, jazz, and whatever genre jimmy buffet falls in... The genres these are worst for? Hip hop, rap with a lot of sub bass... Anything with sub bass actually, although boosting the sub bass regions works...
post #11 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by metal571 View Post
 

I wouldn't call them flat, there is a prominent peak at 10K and the upper bass is quite boosted making them a little on the boomy side, but it doesn't affect the mids of mess up the treble at all. Just something worth mentioning from another owner who also has an HD280 Pro and an SRH440 for comparison points. I call the SRH440 "flat" at least to my ears.

 

Leakage is...pretty bad but not as bad as a fully open headphone. It hardly gets quieter when you put the headphones on vs. taking them off.

 

yep, same thing here, i have both the k240 and srh440 as well.


Edited by rhiga - 4/14/14 at 10:38am
post #12 of 134
Thread Starter 
That response is not flatter than the k240's lol. Look at it! http://en.goldenears.net/7264 that's the same decibel differences, just at different frequencies. Now look at the k240's on there. On the k240's, there is also less of a left and right channel imbalance. http://en.goldenears.net/17565 the k240 even is rated to be more natural sounding, less boomy, and more vivid.
post #13 of 134

That's not how they sound at all.

 

I always look at RAW FR graphs because I completely disagree with the kind of garbage HRTFs that get applied to measurements to different sites. For me, I'm looking for a gradual peak of about 10 dB at 4 kHz followed by a dip to flat centered around 6 kHz and then another boost to no more than around 5 dB at 10 kHz. The 440s fit this precisely. For me the K240s have a large upper bass warmth that is heavily boosted, VERY natural mids (I do love that part about them), but a grinding peak at 10 kHz that hurts after a while. The SRH440s sound incredibly neutral to my ears, regardless of what graphs say. I agree most with HeadRoom's K240 MKII graph (with 280 Pro for comparison. Keep in mind this is a tight 15 dB scale and is a raw FR with no HRTF):

 

http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=-2&graphID[]=2611&graphID[]=533&scale=15

 

5 dB boosted upper bass, perfectly natural mids with just the right hump centered around 3-4 kHz, but grating highs boosted by over 10 dB from flat. The 280s sound "dead" with rolled off highs, but a much more easygoing 5 dB peak at 10 kHz. They have scooped midbass and slightly boosted (MASSIVE in real life) sub-bass. I love the 280s for electronic music. I find the 240s best for classic rock from the 60s, The Beatles sound amazing on them.

 

The SRH440s sound most like the raw plot (in gray) on InnerFidelity:

 

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/ShureSRH440.pdf

 

We're centered around -25 dB on the raw FR graph. Super flat with a perfect 10 dB peak at 3.5 kHz, a return to flat at 6 kHz, then a gentler 5-8 dB peak at 10 kHz. There's not as much sub-bass roll off on these as the raw FR would indicate, they've still got plenty of bass. Just the right amount if you ask me. Quite simply, the SRH440 is one of the most neutral headphones in this price range without a doubt. That's about the best idea I can give you as to what all of these headphones I've actually owned really compare in real life, and I can back it up with RAW measurements because HRTF used between different FR graph sites can be quite different from each other.

 

This tells you nothing about the soundstage though. The K240s might have one of the widest soundstages in this price range, that's their strongest suit aside from their organic mids. I personally hate harsh upper mids. I once had an MDR-V6 which I sold after a short time because the 15 dB peak on just about every raw FR graph was just incredibly painful in real life. I have no clue why people call those neutral, they're not at all. Not to my ears. Just another comparison :)

 

I STRONGLY support people comparing headphones via raw FR graphs keeping in mind the kind of HRTF they want to hear. Raw FR graphs shouldn't be completely flat. I don't know if anyone else on the forum knows about this or uses this method often, but I figured it out for myself and it has worked really well for judging sound of headphones via graphs across sites...just not soundstaging or comfort obviously.


Edited by metal571 - 4/15/14 at 5:39pm
post #14 of 134
Thread Starter 
This is the reason I think the goldenears.net measurements might be a little more accurate. http://en.goldenears.net/388 it measures both perceived and actual response, and they use a dummy head that has mics inside of replicated ears. Just my inference... How does inner fidelity measure theirs? I agree with a few of your statements completely though. I'll have to try the srh440's sometime so I can compare and contrast, and then use them for fun and maybe studio use along with the k240's so I can pick out offending frequencies and sounds that one or the other might not catch well enough for me to hear it... Srh440's goin' on my list of to get...
post #15 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by DisCHORDDubstep View Post

This is the reason I think the goldenears.net measurements might be a little more accurate. http://en.goldenears.net/388 it measures both perceived and actual response, and they use a dummy head that has mics inside of replicated ears. Just my inference... How does inner fidelity measure theirs? I agree with a few of your statements completely though. I'll have to try the srh440's sometime so I can compare and contrast, and then use them for fun and maybe studio use along with the k240's so I can pick out offending frequencies and sounds that one or the other might not catch well enough for me to hear it... Srh440's goin' on my list of to get...

 

That's the same thing with the InnerFidelity plots. They might use a different HRTF though. The upper colored response is the perceived response according to their HRTF, and the gray line is the raw response recorded at a couple different headphone positions, which is why there are overlapping lines. The "perceived" response is just the raw response with an HRTF (head-related transfer function) applied to adjust the frequencies toward what you actually want the raw FR to look like. The goal is to shoot for a completely flat line after applying the perceived response function. I've come up with my own after trying enough headphones and comparing their raw responses which I described above.

 

The K240s are fantastic for tracking and checking mixes carefully. Their hyped highs are fantastic for singling out any noise, click tracks, or other offending details that mics can pick up, and the elevated bass can clearly show you if there's any hum going on. That's what I think AKG was going for. The semi-open design makes them actually usable for tracking at lower headphone monitoring volume while at the same time still open enough to sound more like near-field monitors than headphones. I'd say they're good for vocals since they don't completely block out all noise and let you hear yourself better too. They have uses, but if I want to hear the final mix without hyping, the SRH440s are shockingly good. I was very surprised just how much I preferred them to the strange M50 sound, which seems to have their upper mid hump go throughout 2-4 kHz. It just sounds wrong.


Edited by metal571 - 4/15/14 at 6:03pm
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