AKG K 270 Studio


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Mids and bass are exceptional.
Cons: Rolled off in the upper-treble.
I've been out of the headphone game for some time now, focusing on my 2-channel speaker setup rather than headphones for the last two years. The last headphones I bought were a pair of ESW9 for $80 four months ago (audio-technica warehouse sale ftw). Though I have  been slowly but surely making my way back to headphone listening. I was browsing ebay and came across an auction with 5 minutes left for the K270 Studio dual-driver headphone. I was interested in owning a pair because of their rare design and for the sake of furthering my own headphone collection. I honestly didn't expect much in terms of their sonic capability, given the reviews for them are so polarizing. I decided to buy them, waiting until the last 20 seconds to place the winning bid for $65. :)
When I plugged them in and listened for the first time, I was pleasantly surprised. More full and musical than I was expecting. However, as the headphones warmed up from being on my doorstep all day, they started to really, really shock me. I started to become immersed in my music in ways I haven't experienced since I got into hifi equipment. I guess their sound signature just works for me. On the warm side, yet somehow detailed in its own way. The highs are a bit rolled-off, so if you are into hyper-detailed treble extension these aren't for you. However, this is where the weakness ends. The mids and bass response on these are among the best I've heard on headphones. Three days later and I still have the same impression.
Vocals sound warm, natural and placed right where they should be. Very representative of the recording. I am beginning to see what the famous "akg mids" are all about. The soundstage is large, as most people have stated. However soundstage isn't exaggerated unlike some headphones (k702 for me). It just seems accurate. Attack and speed are quite good, spreading the work between two separate transducers.
Bass frequencies are the most amazing part. These extend lower than any headphone I own, and seemingly without attenuation. Yet these are not "bassy" headphones by any means. They just have the ability to play back exactly what's in the recording. This makes me realize that many of my other headphones are clearly rolled-off in the low-end in favor of more forward mids and treble. Listening to large orchestras where double bass and bass drum are prevalent results in a skull-rattling experience. This may sound unpleasant, but it's definitely not. It's what you would actually feel listening to a live orchestra. Hearing the low-frequency echoes and vibrations of the venue is an incredible experience. On the flip-side, if a recording is not bass-heavy, these headphones will represent that fact. They will sound tight, agile and controlled.
The result is a (nearly) full spectrum of sound with extremely good separation and little distortion. Probably one of the reasons that I get so immersed in the music with these. Being able to hear every single instrument individually is part of what we audiophiles crave, and these truly offer it.
That's about it, just wanted to share my excitement and opinions on this headphone. Probably the best money I've ever spent on a piece of audio gear.
Wonder why the K-271, supposedly an incremental upgrade, have gotten to sound thinner, more melancholic, and lost the bass?
Not sure, since I've never heard the K271. It's possible that AKG wanted to move to a more analytical sound. I'm sure there are more accurate designs than the K270, but they happen to be very musical to me.
Your description sounds more like older AKG designs, e. g. K-240 Sextett, K-141 first edition, etc.


100+ Head-Fier
Pros: flat response, good isolation
Cons: weird highs (just like almost any AKGs)
Best closed headphones I had heard - very flat response, almost no midrange distortion, very easy to drive (good for portable), good soundstage (definately better than K240), good isolation, but weird treble (big hump around 10kHz - just like K240 and almost every other AKGs).
When I bought them they sounded terrible, because drivers were connected incorrectly and were working against each other - after reconnecting it sound wonderful.
Also earpad in good shape are necessary for good sound quality!!
If you are looking for good neutral sounding closed cans just look for these! (K271 are different, so look for second-handed K270)


New Head-Fier
Pros: Comfort, low impedence, sturdy, pro-looking
Cons: Mid-rangy, big
The AKG K270s are the classic, big huge studio headphones.  There is little doubt if you see someone in these cans, they're tracking tasty licks on a new album.  Despite their size, they do tend to push in the mid-range frequency.  This might be by design in order to push them as vocal tracking headphones but if you just want to listen to music this is a minus.  On the plus side, these are 75 Ohms making driving them from even an iPod or portable music source no problem - something you will not do with the better sounding K240s.  These are sealed and from my experience they do a good job of isolating the playback track out of the recording microphones for most tracking, be it vocals or acoustic guitar.  The K240s will bleed somewhat if you're really pumping playback to the talent while tracking - these will virtually eliminate that.  If you want to track recordings and isolate the bleed from playback these will do nicely.