AKG K240 MKII, K601, or something else?
Nov 6, 2008 at 6:24 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 10

A-tonal

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Dear forum,

I'm going to purchase new headphones but have a hard time trying to decide which phones fit my needs best. The local shops don't have anything, so I'm stuck with mailorder. The facts:
  1. Main use: listening to electronic music at home (IDM, Ambient, Electro, Synthpop, etc. - think soma.fm!) when I can't use my large stereo speakers (I'm a night-owl - my neighbours aren't)
  2. Secondary use: watching TV (usually not in my native language, so listening-comprehension is better via headphones)
  3. should not need a separate amplifier but have reasonable sound quality when plugged into the headphone jack of my Yamaha AX-596
  4. willing to spend around 150,-Euro, preferably at thomann.de
Due to a variety of reasons I've managed to break the list down to a choice between two headphones: the AKG K240 MKII and the AKG K601.

I've read all the contradicting reviews here and all over the web, but I still can't decide: go for the "groovalizer" K240 which propably does fit my musical taste (does it?), or prefer the more neutral K601 for a better overall but sometimes more boring experience?

Currently I have an entry-level AKG K66 at home (didn't expect I'd end up using it almost daily when I purchased it years ago for occasional use) and a first-generation AKG K26P for mobile use and the office. Despite all the negative reviews I really like the K26P, but then again I've never had hi-end or reference headphones.

Looking forward to your comments.
 
Nov 6, 2008 at 7:21 PM Post #2 of 10

xrfxlove

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I love my K240M 600ohms, even better than my friend's K701. I have not tried the K240 MK2 and K601, but K240M and K701 can work well in different kind of music, but they aren't easy to drive. anyway, I have no idea with your amplifier.
However, for electronic music, you also can try ATH A900 which I think better than K240M and K701 in this kind of music, or DT880/990?
 
Nov 6, 2008 at 9:08 PM Post #3 of 10

Tiemen

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I wouldn't call the K601 boring.
If there's bass in the recording, they will let you hear it. But not excessive. For me, they have enough PRaT for enjoying music.
Though I didn't listen to them with electronic. My preferences are pop, rock and americana.

This is what HeadRoom wrote about them, and I agree:

"Very Solid Performer at the Price; Well-Balanced & Dynamic Offering a Lovely Rounded Tone.

Oh, how hard life must be when you’re designed to be a major contender, but not to come in first place. The K601 is an absolutely marvelous headphone, well-controlled and dynamic, very evenly balanced with a nice sense of transparency and spaciousness in the presentation. But it falls just short of being totally first-class by lacking a bit in super-refined resolving power and nuanced detail resolution compared to its more spendy big-brother K-701 model. Though the highs remain quite clear and simple-sounding without being overly strident, they are also slightly recessed, lacking the supreme articulation of the finest, most nuanced low-level musical soundstage details as would be expected in full-on 'reference-class' headphones. This is actually only half-bad because when most cans fail in this region, they cover their shortcomings with harshly-rendered tonalities or over-bright, peaky highs. The K601 luckily seems to avoid this particularly troubling timbral signature. Frankly, we can’t think of a better way to fall slightly short of the mountaintop and still stay completely in the race. These cans are particularly recommended for those who seek a dynamic-sounding, well-priced headphone but want to avoid sharp, grainy scratchiness in the mid-ranges & upper treble frequencies. Keep in mind that a dedicated headphone amp is simply essential for properly powering the 120-ohm K601 when using portable audio sources like iPods, Mp3 players, and PCs/laptops ... A really inviting call-in HeadRoom price on these professional-looking cans, too!

These K601 cans have a number of unique features that create a pretty dramatic improvement over previous AKG 'best-of-breed' cans like the now-discontinued K501 model. The overall audio performance is nicely improved by a new AKG Varimotion™ diaphragm that is designed to provide better pistonic motion and acoustic control, and a revolutionary “flat wound” voice coil design allows for greater concentrations of the magnetic field in the voice coil thus driving the diaphragm with more authority and delivering a cleaner, more robustly articulate sound. Our experience with the K601 is that it requires a serious chunk of 'burn-in' time to fully relax and sound its very best, so please assume a minimum of about 300 hours of playtime before the full audio pleasure of these 601 cans is finally realized. The headphones are a conservative dark matte grey with chrome and lighter grey accents. If you like the color, you’ll love how amazingly light and comfortable these headphones are; great ergonomics & a supremely comfortable fit. An absolutely A-1 headphone and heartily recommended at the very nice price … excellent work, AKG geeks!

At around $125 or less, the Sennheiser HD555 and -- just over $200 -- the AKG K601 are really great headphones at their given pricepoints. The AKG K601 has taken over the roost as a nice well-priced alternative to the more expensive Sennheiser models. Sennheiser has head-dived into this wild 'n wooly mid-priced fray with the above-mentioned HD555, which is less expensive and a lot easier to power properly compared to the MUCH better-detailed but rather inefficient HD600 model. The HD555 remains a great full-size open headphone choice for starter audiophiles using portable audio players like laptop computers, MP3s, and iPods. One nice note: the AKG601 has the unique trait (for a headphone of this size) to be a pleasantly cool-on-the-head wearing experience. If you’re prone to major overheating in full-sized headphones, this may be a great choice for you.

Open Headphones, $200 and up:

Enter $220-$350 bucks headphone territory and you've suddenly climbed into lovely & rarified “Top Shelf” terrain. There are a number of close contenders in this category, the Sennheiser HD600, HD595, and the aforementioned AKG K601 among them. These headphones are great with the Sennheiser HD600 and HD595 holding down the polar ends of the sonic spectrum with, respectively, slightly 'warm' and lively/quick tonal signatures. The AKG K601 maintains a punchy & dynamic sound pitched right down the middle; perhaps just a smidgeon more neutral than the Sennheisers."
 
Nov 6, 2008 at 10:58 PM Post #5 of 10

A-tonal

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Thanks for the answers so far.

@Acix: you may be right about the K702, but when I said "up to 150 Euro" I didn't mean "up to 150 Euro per ear and then another 100 Euro". With a little less than 400 Euro they're way too expensive. Same goes for all the other alternatives mentioned so far. Each of them has a retail price of more than 200 Euro here (Germany, that is).

@Tiemen: thanks for the hint. I already knew that review, it's one of the reasons why the K601 is on my list. Still, I don't know how it compares to the K240, especially with that kind of music I listen to.

@xrfxlove: AFAIK each of the different K240 models (M, DF, Studio) has a very distinct sound, so a review of the M doesn't really help in my case. A900 and DT880: see above.
 
Nov 6, 2008 at 11:02 PM Post #6 of 10

Tiemen

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Since you live in Germany, why don't you grab a nice priced K240 Sextett from Ebay.de?
Could fulfill all your needs.....
 
Nov 6, 2008 at 11:51 PM Post #7 of 10

Acix

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A-tonal;4956227 said:
Thanks for the answers so far.

@Acix: you may be right about the K702, but when I said "up to 150 Euro" I didn't mean "up to 150 Euro per ear and then another 100 Euro". With a little less than 400 Euro they're way too expensive. Same goes for all the other alternatives mentioned so far. Each of them has a retail price of more than 200 Euro here (Germany, that is).

Well, You can go for the 240MKll. Or try the MB Quarts QP 250 (very fun cans).
I'm sure you gonna be very happy...

beerchug.gif
 
Nov 7, 2008 at 7:50 AM Post #8 of 10

Akselpaksel

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I have a K601, it sounds allright out of my old sony amp but i wouldn't use it with my TV. Not without an amp at least. So out of the two you've listed i'd go with the 240. But...I haven't heard it, i just know that the 601 probably isn't right for you.
 
Nov 7, 2008 at 8:44 AM Post #9 of 10

Jaska

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I have never used an integrated amp like the one you have in my living room setup, so I don't know what the possibilities are for you to connect the audio output of your television or STB (if applicable) to the Yamaha. Are you in fact using it this way? If so, or if you somehow do this, then I would not worry about integrated amp driving the K601; it should do the job quite nicely.

Other than the issue of driving the headphones in question, I would certainly give a strong recommendation for the K601. My ER-4S aside, these are probably, of all the full-size headphones I've ever owned, the best according to my own preferences. I think they represent very solid value for the money, too. Since you're in Germany, you should have no problems buying these through mail/web order and returning them for a full refund if you're not happy with them.
 
Nov 7, 2008 at 11:15 AM Post #10 of 10

Tiemen

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I used the K601 with the headphone out of a Denon pre-amp. It sounded great.
 

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