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AKG K340 Electrostatic Phones

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by tdl-speakers, Mar 1, 2009.
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  1. colinharding
    I've been switching back and forth for a few days now between not having the screens (still original plastic grills) and having them.  If I don't have them on I've nothing to replace them with so I just screw the driver down with some screws of smaller length, put the pads on and listen.  However, because the screen is absesent there isn't any backing for the pads (i restuffed mine so that they are much plusher) to push on, thus my ears hit the electrostatic drivers. With the screens this is fixed, my ears are a comfortable distance away and the sound is much more spacious as I'm not right against the drivers.  So far tho, I've not noticed a huge difference in sound quality with the screens on or off, sounds pretty much the same to me.  I'll still rescreen them i guess, but has anyone really noticed a marginal sound difference between having the plastic screens and not having them?
  2. Roby_caste

    Since you noticed no significant difference and screens do keep your ears away from the transducers, I guess that it's better to let the plastic screens on. I have no experience of this mod alone.  As I didn't modify myself the cans, I couldn't check the impact (pos or neg) of each mod, but all together several mods (recable, bypassing the circuit of the dynamic driver, changing the filling of earcups and taping up the back of the housings and remove the plastic screens) made a noticeable difference.
  3. rhythmdevils
    I didn't notice much difference with the stock vs cloth screen either.  I actually thought that if anything, it sounded better with it stock.  I don't think holes like that actually affects the sound as much as you'd think.  It's hard to tell though because it takes so long to switch screens.  I think the screen mod is more important with Sextetts, where my ears hit the stock plastic grill, and new cloth screens give them more room.  But both headphones were designed and voiced with these plastic screens in mind.
  4. Roby_caste
    To judge any single big or little mods is fiendlish difficult and never objective. I'd dare say that every single mods adds and subtracts in the same time, influencing several different parameters. Cans are not exceptions. But, colinharding found the screens useful to keep ears off the transducers and this is a main plus. I would opt to let the screen on (and recable the k-340).
  5. colinharding
    A recable would be quite nice actually as the stock cord doesn't seem all that meticuously engineered.  I'm sure that all the mods make much more difference than just a screen swap, but I keep finding myself wondering if I would like the result.  The phones, in stock form, are voiced quite nicely and I really enjoy do enjoy them, I haven't heard a modified pair so I cannot comment on the difference.  If anyone would care to comment I'd be very interested in the comparison.  As for the recable, does anyone have a diagram for those of us that aren't extremely technical [​IMG]  
  6. koshman
    I was looking for a K340 thread to share my impressions and found this one.
    On Friday I received a pair of K340 bought on a local auction site for a low low price of ~$80. I was pretty excited getting such a bargain and couldn't wait to listen to this classic legendary headphone. I have a quite old and somewhat beaten-up small DIY headphone amp, which I was sure isn't enough to power them, but I was hoping to at least get a glimpse of their potential. I picked them up from the post office on Friday morning and was able to get 10 minutes of listening time before having to head for work (also they are in mint condition save for elastics). I thought they sounded great, but as I haven't listened to them properly I was afraid it might just be the well known "new toy" thing so I tried to stay unbiased and not form any premature opinion. I don't have to tell you how impatient I was the whole day itching to spend some serious listening time with them.
    Well, it's Sunday evening and I have another pair on its way to me from German eBay :) These are the best headphones I have ever heard. Period. Of course, I haven't tried many truly high end pairs, but I absolutely love these. Before I got the K340 I have tried several pairs that I liked, but each of them had its strengths and weaknesses: K400, my old favourite - incredibly wide soundstage, lush midrange and very natural, but not that detailed and with rolled off highs; SA1000 - very detailed, great extension in the highs, but sometimes too bright, sibilant and not too musical etc. I also have older DT990/600ohm, K260 and listened to my father's K701 and HD565 Ovation, but neither of them really did much for me. I have to admit that I was beginning to be a little skeptical that there even was any "higher-fi", because everything sounded to me quite similar with no clear winner including the established K701, Beyers etc.
    The K340 are the first headphones that when I put them on and pressed PLAY, I stopped thinking about what they did well and what not and just enjoyed the music. They sound so effortless and natural that I just listen with my jaw on the floor speechless. You may think I'm exaggerating, but it's true - these are the first headphones about which I can safely say that they are (for me, of course) miles better than any other I've heard. Maybe it's that I heard K701 on a wrong amp or something, but the K340 wipe the floor with them.
    Anyway I'm really happy I discovered these magical headphones and most importantly that they renewed my confidence that there really is more to discover in the world of audio and that the relative mediocrity of budget-fi is only the beginning. I see Staxen in my (admittedly distant :) ) future and am planning the Ming Da tube amp as my next purchase. I must say I'm hoping that my current DIY amp is not doing the K340 justice, because if I'm happy with them now I can't imagine how great they will sound from a proper tube amp :D
    To conclude - I'm sure these headphones are not perfect and definitely are not the most comfortable ever, but they opened my eyes and ears to something new and better and, as I hope, paved way for even greater things to come in the future.
    PS: I'm really sorry about this looong post. Add: do you really find them heavy?? They certainly are heavier than most phones at 390g, but I barely feel them in use...
    homeros8000 likes this.
  7. Wildstar
    Don't know whether to congratulate you or not, as you can deduce from my thread :p

    I'm surprised you don't find them heavy, especially with the run down elastics. You should replace them ASAP, they're much more confortable with proper elastics.
  8. koshman
    Actually I put together an interesting looking colourful construct form ordinary rubber bands, which works decently [​IMG] But I will surely buy proper elastics soon.
    Btw, well, I understand from your thread that you've always liked them only want an alternative (an upgrade possibly) [​IMG]
  9. rhythmdevils
    I can only imagine what AKG could do with this idea today, with updated drivers and crossover and a better fit.  But then Harman would be involved and they surely wouldn't voice them as well, which IMO is more important than the technology.
  10. Wildstar
    Well, they're not gonna last forever, AKG stated the electrets have a 30 year shelf life, and they have no replacements. I can't say that I notice any difference in their sound since I was a kid, though.
    Having a HD595 in the house is what spiked my interest -- it has a wonderful midrange and a very pleasing warmth, and although the K340 wipes the floor with it, it makes me notice that the K340 isn't perfect. I'd like to have K340 detail, speed, dynamics, wideband, soundstage, but with the Senn's warmth, I suppose [​IMG]
    I think the only reason hybrids were made was because Nd magnets didn't exist. Nowadays, it doesn't make sense, on paper, to make such an expensive system just for a little bit of treble, when you can have a strong field (and thus have a lot of room to adjust parameters) in a purely dynamic design.
  11. IBMprest
    Hello Friends,
                        I have two console amps, a 6v6 with around 7 wpc and an el84 with 15 wpc.  The 6v6 is dead quiet and I'd rather modify and use it for the k340s' instead of the el84 but after reading this post I'm surprised it may not have enough power.  Are we sure about this, after all, I see some folks are having good success with their SE Triode amps. BTW, I'm planning on only soldering a 1/4" phone connector directly from the OPTs. Should this be enough?  Anyone else using a quad of 6v6 with their electrostats?
               Thanks for this great thread!
  12. rhythmdevils


    Well there are very very very very very very very few headphones with as good a balance as the K340 so I don't think ND magnets whatever they are have done that much.  Headphones may be able to extend further into the treble, but they don't seem to be able to do that in a flat, smooth or balanced way. 
    The K340 is a bit brighter than I would prefer, but it still has great balance compared to plain dynamics.
  13. Prog Rock Man
    This thread needs more pictures.....
    4878237137_866fc306d2_z.jpg    4878238225_b8f9024e48_z.jpg
    They major on clarity and treble and I am glad they don't make them like that any more. That makes them very special!
  14. tdogzthmn
    Pics can sometimes be a bad thing.  I miss my K340 again.

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  15. rhythmdevils
    I saw a really nice pair in the F/S forums. [​IMG]
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