AKG K 141 Mk. II


Not permitted to do trades.
Pros: Easy to drive, smaller for portability, great finish, great sound for the price, treble and midrange.
Cons: Long-term comfort, shallow pads, K 240 mk. II is better in everything besides portability, lacks bass punch
EDIT (9/23/2011) : After getting my hands on a couple of "Audiophile Reference" albums, I did more critical listening and added more impressions.
         (12/9/2011) : Finalizing review after gathering 200+ hours of use.

Hi guys, this is my first review, so forgive any mistakes. :). This is also my first headphone purchase beyond $60, so my thoughts about this headphone might not be as accurate compared to those with more experience. 

Setup : iBasso T4 > LOD > iPod classic "7G"

Build quality : These headphones are solidly built. Proper strain relieves, detachable cables, aluminum, and tough plastic materials used.  Rating : 4.5/5

Accessories : Extra (coiled) cable, threaded 6.3mm adapter, velour pads, and documents. Rating : 4/5 (would be a 5 if it had a stand or a carrying case)

Comfort : Ears start to hurt after 1-2 hours with pleather pads. Much lesser fatigue with velour pads, although your ears will be red when you take them off. Rating : 3.5/5

Sound : 

      Concise sound impressions : Soft, smooth bass with midrange focus, and laid-back treble. Has the speed to keep up with faster paced music, even unamped. Needs an amp to sound best. Great imaging and instrument separation. Shines with good recordings. It is like a baby K 701 (post burn in).

      Bass : The bass on these goes deep enough (except for Electronic music), but it doesn't hit very hard. Drums don't have a proper kick, unless you have a proper recording / good source and amp. But what you get is quality bass. It is never intrusive, it is always controlled and tight. Synthetic bass sounds somewhat thin, but EQing (J. River MC's Parametric EQ is very good at this) solves this. Too much EQ'ing makes the bass muddy, though.
    Midrange : The midrange sounds very natural in tone, but it is slightly forward. Upper midrange is somewhat sibilant unamped (on a somewhat bright source like the iPod), a warm amp such as the iBasso T4 changed this. It is very pleasing to listen to. Female voices sound better than male voices, but they aren't far behind in terms of realism. One of my favorites to listen on these are The Cranberries. Dolores O'Riordan's voice sounds as good as I have remembered listening to my dad's Hi-Fi when I was young. Beethoven's symphonies sound very spacious.
    Treble : The treble of these extends nicely, but they are slightly laid-back. They are fast, detailed but it is slightly laid-back. I like it for classical (in fact, this is THE sub-$150 headphone for classical, IMO), but it lacks the energy for Rock. It doesn't do micro-detail very well, though. It is forgiving of (not-so) poor recordings. 

      Soundstage : Soundstage isn't really large. It depends on the recording. For example, Beethoven's symphonies sound much more spacious than other songs I have tested them with. But it lacks depth, IMO. It sounds slightly 2D (except when you're listening to proper live recordings / audiophile recordings). 

Overall : Despite being a studio headphone, it is not analytical like some others. It is musical, forgiving of low-bitrate songs, and don't have much faults for the price (besides the slightly lean bass). Efficient enough to be used with an iPod, but benefits from amping. Being at the same price range as the AKG K 240 Mk. II, most people overlook this. But if you're looking for a much more efficient headphone to run unamped at the $100-150 price range (you can find them cheaper online, don't let what I paid mislead you, since I bought them locally from a store that sells recording studio gear.) thats especially great for classical / jazz / vocals, then look no further.

what's better, k141 or k240? [film editor]
also, do the k141s have the same fit as k142? I'm trying out the k142; couple hours later ears = OUCH.


New Head-Fier
A workhorse in on-ear format
Pros: safe tuning
typical AKG sound
versatile use
good monitoring tool
Cons: somewhat thin mids
can cause unpleasant pressure on the ears
high and low frequencies without large expansion
imaging and stage rather average
Rating: 7.5
Sound: 7.7


>> The AKG K141 MKII is a semi-open studio headphone with supra-aural earpads.
So it says in the German advertising text and here first of all no discrepancies between marketing claim and reality are to be recognized.

The K141 MKII is the successor of the K141 with detachable cables and slight design adjustments, which should increase the benefit. A workhorse that performs well in terms of sound, but cannot and does not necessarily have to serve hi-fi demands. It's a good tool for monitoring vocals and instruments, but you shouldn't take too much time when singing in or recording, because the on-ear is not one of the most comfortable.

Meanwhile the K141 MKII is no longer in production, so you can only fall back on remaining stocks and used models.


Probably the biggest change to the original K141 is the removable cable. With each 3m and 5m (spiral) it is too long for mobile use, but you are flexible in the studio and the K141 MKII can also work as DJ headphones, at least concerning the handling.
Two different pairs of pads are also included. The imitation leather (pre-mounted) and velour pads can be exchanged quickly. The imitation leather pads are slightly softer, but also less durable and more predestined for sweating on the ear. The velour pads are firmer, but have the better comfort characteristics for me.
An adapter from 3.5 mm to 6.3 mm is also included.

I usually have a hard time with on-ears. They can certainly be an advantage for me as a wearer of glasses, but the general pressure on the ear is usually too much for me to be able to listen to music with them for a long time. This is also the case with the K141 MKII, even though the headband is quite comfortable due to its flexibility. The pads are the clear sticking point for me here. Nevertheless, it is a pressure I can bear, even if I always perceive it and find it disturbing.

Apart from that the workmanship is solid, even if the K141 MKII does not come close to the valuable impression of the "bigger" series of AKG. Due to the half open construction, some music gets to the outside world and also the isolation to the inside is not very given, apart from the on-ear wearing.



The bass is not the voluminous one and certainly cannot satisfy the pure bass hunger, but it is very direct and on the point. Its qualities are more in the detail work, but it can still strike when asked. But then not to the full extent, because there is something missing in the subrange. Parallels can be seen here to the K702, whereby the bass of the K702 seems slightly slower, but sounds more natural, especially due to its reaction behaviour. The bass of the K141 MKII is a bit more crisp, but it lacks a bit of the atmosphere. Nevertheless, it is very appealing and quite musical.

In the mids, as so often, you can hear immediately that you have an AKG sitting on your head. On the positive side, they are not quite as obtrusive around 2 kHz as the K702, which gives it better audibility and better all-round qualities. On the other hand, they sound a bit thinner and not quite as homogeneous as on the K702. Apart from that they have a quite high degree of realism, even if I miss some body in the mids. At times they can appear a bit dull, but this is also produced in combination with the highs, as they are not the most sparkling.

Even if the highs lose a little of their effervescence and brilliance, they are extremely safe and therefore also perfectly suited for monitoring. Here it is not a matter of the finest micro details or the notorious need for ultimate resolution and level fidelity, which can quickly lead to exaggeration and fatigue. The K141 MKII's treble is very relaxed in this respect, like a K240 MKII for example, with the willingness to provide enough information to remain realistic and equally musical. Furthermore, the high frequencies fit in well with the neat overall sound presentation of the K141 MKII, without literally sticking out magnificently. Sibilants are also not an issue.

Despite the half-open construction, the stage has no special dimensions. For the monitoring requirements this is not necessary at all, because sometimes people are working in mono anyway, when they are not singing or playing along to a already mixed song.
But the stage is not claustrophobic or something like that, it's just in good average.

Imaging is not the best in the somewhat centered sound presentation, but instruments are still easily located and decently separated. Here, too, one can speak of good average. However, one should not expect a highly sophisticated, finely differentiated 3D image.


In conclusion, the K141 MKII is musically versatile, even if it does not have the most quantitative bass range and is more concerned with safety than throwing every detail or recording error around your ears. Of course, this is not an advantage for the purist, but it does allow the K141 MKII to "overdub" worse input material. Due to the high efficiency at relatively low impedance it can be operated spontaneously on a cell phone without any problems, but you should always be aware of where you are due to the weaker insulation caused by the construction. Due to the quite high contact pressure of the K141 MKII an unpleasant pressure can develop after some time.


Thanks to Sattler Electronic Showtronic AG for providing the test headphones.
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