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AKG K240 MKII Headphones

  1. kAbUZi
    Solid Starter Headphones
    Written by kAbUZi
    Published Dec 29, 2011
    Pros - Comfort; Midrange; Clean strong bass; Non fatiguing sound
    Cons - Rolled off highs; Not easy to drive
    After getting a FiiO e10, to bypass the crappy onboard sound on my computer, I was looking for some headphones to replace my Sennheiser HD485's and to kind of justify the purchase of the DAC/amp. After perusing the forums I noticed a trend about the AKG 240's, they pop up only now and then as a recommendation, but, at the same time, they seem to be consensually regarded as solid headphone. This sparked my interest  as some other more recommended models (such as the M50) seem to be cast in a hype light, users generally usually either really like them or have a special dislike for them. So what makes them such consensual entry level cans?

    I guess comfort play a big part in this and, in my view, these headphones are very comfortable. They are light and the pads are big, perfectly circumaural. The adjustment mechanism is seamless, as you just slide them on your head and that is it, no further specific adjustments are needed. My head, apparently, is rather small and the headband barely slides along the rails, so I can foresee some adjustment for people with smallish size heads, as the phones won't sit properly and might slide off with movement. In my experience they do slide off a bit with sudden or continuous movement especially in a downwards motion, such as reading or writing.

    Now about the sound, the first I noticed when hearing them was that it has a much classier bass than the HD 485, which has a very boomy bass, it might not be as strong as the Sennheiser but I feel that it is quite powerful, without interfering in the mid range, very contained especially upon comparison with the HD 485's.

    As for the mids, clear, forward and engaging. To my untrained ears, they seem very smooth and detailed.

    If I were to stop here considering I was looking for a headphone purely for watching films, it would be a, as our eastern friend might have said, 'great success'! :) Particularly if you factor in the generous vertical soudstage, IMO, it didn't feel very 3-dimensional though. Having said that, I also wanted an all-round musical headphone.

    But when it comes to highs, again in my (beginner's) experience they seem to cutoff very early (if there's one thing these headphones are not is harsh). This does not let you engage in some particular music genres, such some types of jazz and classical. But the fact these headphones are darker also has a flip side as I can have long music sessions without fatigue, or just have the music playing as background for hours and hours. The only music that actually did not sound good to me through these was MGMT, I don't know why exactly but some of the songs came through as very distorted.

    I have to mention I am bit puzzled as to why these are considered studio headphones. Although they are detailed they seem to be lacking on the treble department. I can see them being great at radio stations for example, but not for mastering sound. This is not in itself a bad thing, I for one, would label them as detailed fatigue free headphones. :) And as such, I can see as it as consensual quality entry level headphone. You don't get the full spectrum of sound , but you get hours of enjoyable music listening (and movie watching) in a comfortable package, and I believe it is indeed a nice first 'good' headphone, because of its particular signature I now have a clearer idea of the kind of sound I want to try next. From reading the forums I am thinking a Grado or Grado-like headphone along with the AKG K240 would make a great 'budding audiophile' pairing, and provide a bit of insight to what sound you might want from your headphones.

    I paid 110 euros ($140) for these, but as I am comfortable with the pleather (the velvet pads are still in the box) I might as well could have bought the Studio version which is cheaper. I definitely recommend the 240's as a starting point - wish I could have payed a little bit less though (who doesn't :) ).

    The headphones have had about 200 hours of use, I did not notice any significant effects of burn-in (which was done mostly with me listening to music :) ), but then again I was not looking for them.

    This is my first review and I am not audiophile, so pardon in advance for any (un)technicalities and/or ranting.  Hope you enjoyed it and that it is of some use. Leave me a comment below.
      Stang6435 likes this.
    1. our martin
      the akg 450s sound like grados but with a good deep bass you should give them a try if you get the chance...
      our martin, Dec 30, 2011
    2. kAbUZi
      Added to my headphones to try list :), thank for the tip! This is the first I heard about the 450's.
      Right now I am finding my newest acquisition the Brainwavz H3 (aka Fischer FA-004) quite a nice complement to the AKG 240's.
      kAbUZi, Dec 30, 2011
  2. exnx
    Great entry headphone for aspiring audiophiles
    Written by exnx
    Published Oct 22, 2011
    Pros - comfort, soundstage, mids, highs
    Cons - needs amp to be driven well
    Like many others, it seems, these are my first pair of good headphones. Going into my audio engineering college program, I needed a pair of headphones and these were one of the ones they recommended. They looked amazing, and were guaranteed to be the best pair of headphones I'd heard, so I got them!
    What's in the box? You get the cans, two sets of pads (one pleather, one velour), two cords (one long straight one, and one coiled) with gold-plated 1/4" jacks, a gold-plated 1/8" screw-on adapter, and a large AKG sticker ([​IMG]).
    How do they feel? In a word: comfortable! After using plenty of $30 Sony headphones with terrible plastic headbands that start to hurt like hell after 20 minutes, wearing these AKGs was such a pleasure. I'm able to wear the K240 for as long as I want or need to. After using both, I've decided I like the velour pads more than the pleather. I have a pretty small head and the velour pads seem to be a tiny bit thicker, which results in a more snug fit for me. That said, the way these are made, I imagine anyone would find these comfortable and well-fitting. The headband is kind of hard to describe in words, but it honestly doesn't even feel like there's anything on top of your head, which is the biggest contribution to their comfort.
    Regarding portability. . . Since I use my K240 for school as well as leisure, they see plenty of travel on a daily basis. This is where these headphones fall a bit short. The headband is absolutely amazing when it's on your head, but it definitely wasn't built to sit around your neck. In reality, whenever I take these headphones with me, I've got them on my ears. The semi-open backs enable to me to hear what's going on around me just fine, and it's more comfortable to have them on than around your neck. If you're looking for a pair of on-the-go headphones, these are sadly not for you. However, taking them from place-to-place isn't such a bad experience.
    What's the sound like? The mids and highs really shine through with this headphone. I find that female vocals especially sound really great. The stereo spread is good and gives you a good soundstage. If you haven't had a pair of decent cans before, yes it's true, you will start hearing parts of songs you may not have noticed before. It's a great feeling, and after listening to music on these for a while you'll start to feel like you're finally listening to music the way it's supposed to be heard. The sound isn't very fatiguing either, but I guess that's a personal thing. I find that I can listen to music longer on these than any other headphone I've tried in the past before feeling like I need a break.
    Bass heads should probably look elsewhere, but that's not to say these don't deliver any bass at all. I find the low end to be. . . "appropriate." Yes, there are moments where I wish there was a bit more punch and impact, but the sound can be very warm depending on what you're listening to. A slight boost in the low end of your EQ can help warm it up to suit your needs. If you're totally into genres like dubstep, hip hop, or other heavily bass-oriented music, you might find these frustrating at times. That said, I've listened to everything from acoustic to electronic to drone metal on these and it's all sounded great.
    Perhaps the biggest hurdle with the sound is being able to drive it. Since I'm still somewhat of a newbie, I don't have a headphone amplifier yet. Plugging the K240 directly into your iPhone will not give you amazing results. You'll have the volume at max and it won't be quiet, but it definitely won't be loud. I have a stereo receiver at home, and plugged into that the K240 really comes to life. If you've got a headphone desktop or portable amp, you're set. If you don't have any kind of amplifier to accompany these, you'll only get half of what they have to offer. I would say you probably don't need anything too intense to power these things well, and there are some pretty cheap entry-level amplifiers that I expect will work fine.
    Are they worth it? For $175-$300, depending on where you find them, I'd say these are a good deal. I actually spent more than I probably should have on mine. I got them for ~$280, but with a lifetime parts and labour warranty (which I will likely never use, bleh). Even at that price, I consider it money well spent, because these headphones instantly got me interested in the audiophilia scene.
    The bottom line is that this should be read as a success story. I love these cans and hope that this review encourages another aspiring audiophile to choose these as their entry headphone.
    1. bcasey25raptor
      Good review. I enjoyed reading it.
      bcasey25raptor, Oct 23, 2011
  3. sweetholymosiah
    Another first...
    Written by sweetholymosiah
    Published Jul 15, 2011
    Pros - As if the sound originated all around you.
    Cons - Now I have no life.
    I found these phones in the local classifieds. Basically unused... I dunno if Audiphiliacs accept a lifetime of musical sound gear experience as righteous enough. I also have a pair of Alesis active monitors, but these are my first real headphones.  Oh wait what about the stream of them I used as a child for keyboard lessons and jamming. 
    I'm having trouble faulting these suckers. They've sent me scrambling for better connections to the digits man! These do not show their potential with an ipod or sound card. I guess I don't need to tell you guys that!
    Warm. On the head. It is summer, but these pads are like nice gloves. They'd be great for a snow storm. Semi Open though, so the wind....
    The musician stands beside me with these AKG headphones, as long as the recording is high quality.
    Even low quality stuff is more fun, for a short while.
    Dare I look for a better sound then the MKII??
    Since I found these 'used' I paid $120 for them.
    5 stars for value.
  4. Charun
    Good overal quality headset
    Written by Charun
    Published May 3, 2011
    Pros - extermely comfy, good response to music "more detial"
    Cons - 55ohms ;(
    Yes first set of quality headphones, the sound just keeps getting better and better, burn in went nicely, responses to bass better every time I use them,

    Only problem I have with is that the low resistance (55ohms) and my big amp don't like the low end at high volumes, they defiantly go loud enough to do some damage with little distortion in the left speaker with bass overall very pleased :) next set is going to be the AKG 702's :)

    I had the choice between discounted M-audio Q40's and these I chose these for the pure over better sound and comfort vs Q40's nice kick in low end but they where very tight on my skull/ears thus only wore the for about 30minutes or so with my ears bloodshot and hot as the Akgs I can wear for hours on end without an issue also had chance to test them out before I bought anything sat in the store with nice powered amp couple CD's weighting out the cons/pros of each set

    EDIT- added:

    Well only real difference apparently is the rating (55ohms vs 600ohms) I think the 600 are more suited for actual studio work, working much more powerful amps/desks so they can pushed higher for louder volume to see how it sounds at that sort of volume (check for distortion and impurities), also I think the quality is about the same, AKG made these to replace the 600 version, but as for real-world applications home use..etc the 55ohms version is better for low-powered devices (ipods, cellphones, mp3's, crappy pc sound cards (lol)  etc..), also IIRC, the 600 studios have been discontinued, this is what managed to found just did bit of research, but either way I recommend any "audiophile/studio-phile" headphones be powered by a decent amp, which drastically increases your overall enjoyment of the headset and making it much more worth the cash.
    1. JamesMcProgger
      anyone know how would this compare to the vintage K240 600 ohms?
      JamesMcProgger, May 3, 2011
    2. Charun
      Well only real difference apparently is the rating (55ohms vs 600ohms) I think the 600 are more suited for actual studio work, working much more powerful amps/desks so they can pushed higher for louder volume to see how it sound at that sort of volume, also I think the quality is about the same, AKG made these to replace the 600 version, but as for real-world applications home use..etc the 55ohms version is better for low-powered devices (ipods, cellphones, mp3's, crappy pc sound cards (lol) etc..), also IIRC, the 600 studios have been discontinued, this is what managed to found just did bit of research, but either way I recommend any "audiophile/studio-phile" headphones be powered by a decent amp, which drastically increases your overall enjoyment of the headset and making it much more worth the cash
      Charun, May 19, 2011
  5. Phait
    Bang for you buck
    Written by Phait
    Published Mar 3, 2011
    Pros - Clear mids and highs, appropriate bass, instrument seperation
    Cons - Shallow cups
    First off, I am by no standards a veteran audiophile: I have only, within the last half-year, started my journey into the world of hifi sound.
    To begin - the positives. The mids were stunning, a quality that extended up through the highs. The bass, some call it lacking and some plenty, was just right for me, I call it proper.
    Like the reviewer above me, I also found the shallow cups a bit uncomfortable, but it was nothing unmanageable. Their size is fine for home use, but portable use isn't really practical.
    The sound stage and instrument seperation is wonderful. I regularly listen to my favorite classical pieces over and over and just focus on certain instruments each time.

    Well that's my two cents, but everyone likes their own sound, so if you think the k240 mkii's are for you, go for it! If you don't like them you can always put them up on the forums here and odds are someone will buy them.
  6. 2enty3
    A good, general choice for your first step into audiophilia.
    Written by 2enty3
    Published Nov 10, 2010
    Pros - Good mid-high range, stylish AKG look, comfortable, many accesories.
    Cons - The cups might be too shallow for some, otherwise i have no complaints .
    These were my first pair of quality headphones. and overall, I find them to be very good.
    They are very comfortable, and they come with 2 different set of earpads, pleather and fabric. It also comes with a coiled cord along with a straight cord, which allows for flexibilty in different situations.
    After finally being able to compare the quality of the 240's versus A700's and XB500's, i have found the errors in my previous review. The 240 actually has a rather nice amount of bass so most songs have the kick they need. For People who enjoy the Hearing Guitars scream or enjoy soothing vocals, these are a great pair for you. Even for the Heavy Metal, Headbangers; there's enough bass for you to rock your head to screeching guitars and lose your mind.
    Of course these go well with Pop music too. Since pop relies mostly on vocals and mids, these help accentuate the best part of the song. Jazz also plays along with these rather nicely, mostly due to the clean, crisp, sound created by the semi-open design. The sound stage is above average but nothing mind blowing.
    Some tips and info for new audiophiles though:
    semi-open does leak quite a bit of sound, so it could be a disturbance to others.
    An amp might be needed, for it is rather quiet.
    Not the most portable pair. Possible, but rather bulky.