AKG 240S Need amp to shine etc ?
Nov 1, 2007 at 5:14 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 21

Sweet Spot

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 16, 2003
Posts
1,401
Likes
10
I was in the Guitar Store on 14th St (union square) the other day and saw a decent standing rack of cans to try out. Amongst them were Denon 1000's some Sennheiser 280's, a couple pair of different ones that I can't remember but weren't much worth mentioning if I recall, and a pair of AKG 240s's.

Despite the loud ass crap music that was blasting from the iTunes loaded PC next to me (that I turned down a bit) I found that the 240's sounded fabulous ! Lush airy highs and very smooth mids and what seemed to be very controlled and pretty tight bass. They were super comfortable, and whatever music it was I was listening to (a live track with some great percussion) had some real life to it with these !

I tried to ask one of the salesmen what it was hooked up to (sources etc) but he seemed high as a kite and was kind of an AZZhole with a response like "i dunno" in a really lazy way then just walked away. He didn't even look at me when he answered. Jackass. Anyway, I was wondering what you guys think about how they hook these things up in store, and whether or not the 240's need an amp to really hold their own ? I think that for the price they'd make some incredible cans for home listening. I really want them, badly.

Thoughts ?
 
Nov 1, 2007 at 6:05 AM Post #2 of 21

facelvega

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Apr 20, 2006
Posts
3,207
Likes
19
The 240S respond more to amping than most headphones in their price bracket, so in terms of getting their full capacity yes they do need an amp.

They have a bit of an odd signature that some really like and others just find not flat. With a decent amp, I'd take a 240S over an HD595, but I may have extreme tastes in that particular comparison.
 
Nov 1, 2007 at 11:36 AM Post #3 of 21

pez

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jul 30, 2007
Posts
2,192
Likes
23
OMG, you just finalized my decision. I'm asking for a pair of AKG 240 S's for X-Mas along with a "Caffiene" Amp from PenguinAmp.com.
 
Nov 4, 2007 at 9:33 AM Post #4 of 21

ounkchicago

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 28, 2007
Posts
239
Likes
0
Quote:

Originally Posted by facelvega /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The 240S respond more to amping than most headphones in their price bracket, so in terms of getting their full capacity yes they do need an amp.

They have a bit of an odd signature that some really like and others just find not flat. With a decent amp, I'd take a 240S over an HD595, but I may have extreme tastes in that particular comparison.



QFT.

The K240 Studio are an odd beast. They don't require amplification... BUT they respond extremely well to amping. This is indeed rather unusual for a can in the $90-$120 price range that you can buy them for. It is my opinion that a K240 Studio is best matched with some light, high-quality amplification. They should work well out of a $200-$300 quality home amp. You could give them better amplification, but the level of improvement starts to taper off. If you plan to use them unamped all of the time, there are probably better cans for you than the K240 Studio.

And yes, the sound signature is rather odd. First, you really get the sense that this is a studio monitor. I could see some people listening to these and saying that they're not really musical or audiophile quality. Second, you have these insanely nice mids (perhaps a hint at the "AKG house sound") but some uncharacteristic bloated and muddy bass and slightly rolled off treble. The main benefit of amplification is to correct these problems slightly, although the problem will never completely go away.

Finally, the K240 Studio is an extremely popular headphone even though there are many Head-Fiers that do not like them (and understandably so). There are a lot of threads on Head-Fi about the K240 Studio, but not that much information outside Head-Fi.
 
Nov 5, 2007 at 3:57 AM Post #5 of 21

Daveze

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 23, 2007
Posts
249
Likes
11
I'm presently quite infatuated with my pair of K240s. The only amp I have at the moment is a Go-Vibe 3, so its not the world's greatest amp but they're matching quite well at the moment.

I've got a few Mini3's approaching completion, so I'll hopefully be able to provide an opinion based on them soon (providing they pass testing).

I agree with ounkchicago's comments, they're begging for something to come along and dictate the bass. Have you removed the foamie protector bits? I did that a few hours into burn-in and the highs were brutal, they've since calmed down quite nicely.
 
Nov 6, 2007 at 6:52 AM Post #6 of 21

Sweet Spot

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 16, 2003
Posts
1,401
Likes
10
Interesting. Then I'd love to find out exactly what the Guitar Center people are using to amp their cans on the rack, because none of those negative qualities were audible to my ears. In fact, I'd say they sounded remarkably close to neutral, with emphasis on the airy mid section. Mids are certainly sweet as hell, that's for sure. I found the bass very controlled, and a far cry from bloated.
 
Nov 6, 2007 at 8:34 AM Post #7 of 21

ounkchicago

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 28, 2007
Posts
239
Likes
0
Quote:

Originally Posted by Daveze /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The only amp I have at the moment is a Go-Vibe 3, so its not the world's greatest amp but they're matching quite well at the moment.

...

I agree with ounkchicago's comments, they're begging for something to come along and dictate the bass. Have you removed the foamie protector bits? I did that a few hours into burn-in and the highs were brutal, they've since calmed down quite nicely.



I think any quality amplifier, at any price point, vastly improves the K240 Studio. I don't know much about the Go-Vibe 3, but I typically use my K240 Studio with my Meier Corda Headsix, a *tiny* 9V battery powered amp. Using the K240 Studio, I've tried the Headsix vs. my desktop Creek OBH-21SE and they didn't scale that much further with the Creek. Subjectively speaking, I would say that the Headsix gives me about 60-80% of what the Creek gives me (with the K240 Studio). So there is additional scaling, but not as much as say a K701.

I have a Little Dot MK III and MK IV SE on order and should be arriving in 2 weeks. I'll try them out with the K240 Studio, maybe there will be some nice synergy there.... hard to say until I actually listen.

I've never tried the foam mod. I use my K240 Studio at work for the following reasons:

(1) Minimal sound leakage to nearby people (semi-open design)
(2) High comfort
(3) Low listener fatigue

I'm concerned that the fatigue factor will increase with the foam mod so I've tried to stay away from that. But I could see why you might like it.
 
Nov 6, 2007 at 8:40 AM Post #8 of 21

ounkchicago

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 28, 2007
Posts
239
Likes
0
Quote:

Originally Posted by Daveze /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I'm presently quite infatuated with my pair of K240s.


You're not the only one! I use these for 3-6 hours a day easily (at work). I think I spent about $100 for my K240 Studio, only to follow that up with a $150 Meier Corda Headsix and a Stefan AudioArt Equinox Cable (the one for the K271 but fully compatible, paid $90 used). Yikes! [Insert expletive about Head-Fi here]

But it's oh so worth it for those mids... I dream about those mids sometimes... okay that's a lie but they are darn good mids.
 
Nov 6, 2007 at 8:46 AM Post #9 of 21

ounkchicago

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 28, 2007
Posts
239
Likes
0
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sweet Spot /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Interesting. Then I'd love to find out exactly what the Guitar Center people are using to amp their cans on the rack, because none of those negative qualities were audible to my ears. In fact, I'd say they sounded remarkably close to neutral, with emphasis on the airy mid section. Mids are certainly sweet as hell, that's for sure. I found the bass very controlled, and a far cry from bloated.


That's interesting... when you say "remarkably close to neutral," what exactly do you mean? Neutral compared to what?

I do think they have an emphasis on the mid section. I also think that under some configurations, the bass is out of control with interferes with the best quality of these phones, which are the mids. So if the setup controls the bass (without completely squelching it), I think one is much more likely to enjoy the K240 Studio.
 
Nov 7, 2007 at 12:42 AM Post #10 of 21

Daveze

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 23, 2007
Posts
249
Likes
11
Quote:

Originally Posted by ounkchicago /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I'm concerned that the fatigue factor will increase with the foam mod so I've tried to stay away from that. But I could see why you might like it.


Its a simple and reversible mod, if you don't like it just put them back in. Though, if it ain't broke it doesn't need fixing.

I'd love a second hand Equinox cable. I made my own using some quite thick, cheapo cable and its not bad but an Equinox would be nicer.

I received a Mini3 in the mail today...the headphones are now making sweet, clinical love with my ears at the moment. Sure the highs get a little confused and the bass has an annoying habit of stepping on everything but they're definitely a pleasurable listen.
 
Nov 7, 2007 at 7:51 AM Post #11 of 21

Sweet Spot

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 16, 2003
Posts
1,401
Likes
10
Quote:

Originally Posted by ounkchicago /img/forum/go_quote.gif
That's interesting... when you say "remarkably close to neutral," what exactly do you mean? Neutral compared to what?

I do think they have an emphasis on the mid section. I also think that under some configurations, the bass is out of control with interferes with the best quality of these phones, which are the mids. So if the setup controls the bass (without completely squelching it), I think one is much more likely to enjoy the K240 Studio.




Granted that the noise around me might have been a big factor in how I perceived what was coming out of the 240's, but to my ears, the only factor which stood out in the frequency range was the mids. Everything else seemed to be flat sounding but in a very natural way, the way you'd expect monitoring headphones to be. Compare it to say.. the Sony V6's except instead of the treble being emphasized, it's the mids. And then tighten up the bass a bit, and there you have it. I also mean that aside from the mids (again), nothing seemed obviously colored, to me.

Now, a question for you owners... What do they sound like going portable, but unamped ? Out of something like an iRiver IHP 120 or an iPod 5th gen ?

edit: I'd also like to state that I find them to be a lot more musical sounding than the V6's.
 
Nov 7, 2007 at 8:30 AM Post #12 of 21

ounkchicago

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 28, 2007
Posts
239
Likes
0
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sweet Spot /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Now, a question for you owners... What do they sound like going portable, but unamped ? Out of something like an iRiver IHP 120 or an iPod 5th gen ?

edit: I'd also like to state that I find them to be a lot more musical sounding than the V6's.



Unamped they are usable but they don't really shine. I think you can do better for the money if you want something portable and unamped. They are also not the most portable cans. They're large to put in a bag, and it's difficult to wear them around your neck since the drivers don't rotate.

I think of the K240 Studio as primarily studio cans, secondarily home/office cans, and only lastly (for lack of anything better) portable cans.
 
Nov 7, 2007 at 8:37 AM Post #13 of 21

ounkchicago

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 28, 2007
Posts
239
Likes
0
Quote:

Originally Posted by Daveze /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I'd love a second hand Equinox cable. I made my own using some quite thick, cheapo cable and its not bad but an Equinox would be nicer.

I received a Mini3 in the mail today...the headphones are now making sweet, clinical love with my ears at the moment. Sure the highs get a little confused and the bass has an annoying habit of stepping on everything but they're definitely a pleasurable listen.



...

not sure what sweet, clinical love looks or sounds like.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sweet Spot /img/forum/go_quote.gif
edit: I'd also like to state that I find them to be a lot more musical sounding than the V6's.


What do you mean by musical?

When I think of the word musical, I think of a sound that resembles what I expect music to sound like. With this concept of musical, I don't think the K240 Studio in stock form is a very musical can, but the presentation of the midrange is indeed very musical. Instruments in the midrange (for example, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, and piano) sound extremely musical in the sense that they are an uncanny representation of what they sound like in person. On the other hand, many instruments in the bass region sound slightly artificial to me (again, before recable), even with a good amp.
 
Nov 7, 2007 at 1:03 PM Post #14 of 21

Daveze

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 23, 2007
Posts
249
Likes
11
Agree with the above comments regarding portability. They're my work cans that I take home for the weekends, I end up feeling like a **** walking around with them on, especially as when they're round your neck, you can't actually turn your head properly.

Just noticed that you use a Rockbox'd H20 as well. I'll try to offer you a fair assessment when I get to work tomorrow.
 
Nov 7, 2007 at 1:08 PM Post #15 of 21

Daveze

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 23, 2007
Posts
249
Likes
11
Sweet, clinical love looked like me sitting at my desk, eyes closed and a hand conducting the string accompaniment to Coheed and Cambria (Good Apollo, part I). If it wasn't for the fact that I was flat out busy most of the day, I could've easily got nothing done just listening to Coheed all day.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top