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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. roBernd
    Hi, I sniped some K340 on German ebay... and I'm testing them atm.

    They have been recabled by the former owner with a somewhat cheap straight cable (5m, lol)
    To my ears it sounds like the right side is a tad louder when it comes to mids + highs
    So I was wondering if his job was screwing with the electec-drivers.
    I thought it might be the song I was listening but I'm not quite sure after testing with several other tracks.
    So I tried downloading a mono mp3 and equalized it a bit to make the highs more prominent than everything else.
    (As far as I know, they tweet from +4khz upwards)
    I got my brother to listen to them but I made a mistake and told him that I believe the right side was louder... he agreed.
    Now I'm testing with audacity with
    600hz equal sound
    3khz right side louder
    9khz right sides equal
    12khz left side louder
    15khz left side louder
    16khz both sides equal
    17khz about the same
    all this was measured with removing one cup side and switching ears... and I'm not sure if any measurement was right at all.
    My mind might be playing tricks with me... but
    is there a way to physically see/test if any driver is broken/damaged?
    here have a pic as a tiny thanks.
  2. koshman
    A cool amp. What is that?
    PS: I had the same feeling about channel imbalance with one of my K340 pairs, but when I put them on reversed I felt it sounded exactly the same so in my case it was probably just my ears playing tricks on me...
  3. IBMprest

  4. IBMprest
    1. wht
    2. /custom/huddle/headfi/img/badges/badge_100.v1303923353.png
    4. offline
    1. 492 Posts. Joined 4/2009
    2. Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    Originally Posted by jp11801 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    I recommend a decent quality 20 watts or greater speaker amp. The 340s sounded their best out of my RWA sig 30 or my Fisher kx100 integrated tube amp.

    Just to be clear, do you mean that your 340 is connected directly to the speaker-out terminals of the amplifier?

    If yes, did you connect the positive-outs of the left and and right channels of the amplifier to a headphone jack via two separate wires soldered to the respective left and right plates of the jack while the negative-outs of both channels are connected to the jack via two separate wires soldered to the "common" negative of the jack?

    Excuse~ Moi Mon Freres,
                                          There seems to be some reluctance to answer these questions and I'm guessing the few who know aren't monotoring this forum closely so I'm about to solder a jack directly to the speaker outputs and test with a cheap(er) pair of low impedance phones.  I might fry  "em but that's our sacrifice to science.
                                          I'll post the results...

  5. IBMprest
  6. HiFlight
    I drive my balanced K340's directly from the speaker terminals of my Virtue 2.2 which outputs about 45 wpc.   The sound is magnificent.  My mods are the balanced dual-entry (4-pin XLR) re-cable, screen mod, and the great earpads that are available from KT88.   They have a much larger opening than the stock pads and do not cover any of the bass driver openings.   In addition, they are very comfortable.   He doesn't always have them available, but they are a great upgrade from stock. 
    If one changes the connector, it is extremely important to make sure that the new connections are correct as far as L and R and of equal importance, the phasing must also be correct or one will lose imaging and have vague L/R orientation. 

  7. IBMprest
    I love this guy!!!
  8. roBernd
    Hehe, don't actually know much about that. (They told me to never ever open it :p)
    Several of my friends developed and build it for my birthday this year.
    Back to Topic.
    What was I thinking yesterday... all day studying let me forget about the most basic tasks.
    So, I opened the can's today and used my multimeter.
    Using the solder joints as a reference on both sides, it turned out that the louder~ish side has a problem with either the connection or died several years ago...
    Don't wanna fix or doctor a lot, it might be futile and the cans look quite beat from the inside.
    Better contact the seller...
  9. zomg
    Anobody tried to amp these with the E9?
  10. rhythmdevils
    That's not going to work very well.
  11. Wildstar
    I do.
    I must say I've never tried any other amp. I recon it has enough power, good dynamics and speed. However the K340s ruthlessly reveal all the E9's sonic limitations: lack of treble extension, light bass and lack of detail. It also has a kind of "metalic tinge" to the sound.
  12. rhythmdevils
    It may not sound bad, but I think they would sound a lot better with more power.  I haven't tried it yet though.
  13. zomg
    Good to read that, I may pull the trigger on them if I find a good deal, I was just wondering if that was pointless to even try with my (only serious) amp.
    I've read the whole thread and I'm really curious about them.
  14. colinharding
    Well in light of the recent re-cabling and direct amplifier connection thread posts I thought I'd share some of my impressions of the K340's as I have modded them and run them through my hot-rodded Acrosound amp.  Let me first digress, my previous system consisted of a Darkvoice 337 (tung sol 5998, Jan philips metal bottom wgt's in back) with replaced caps and carbon resistors, a NFB-2 DAC and Amarra via an optical output from my Macbook pro.  The sound out of the stock K340's was lifeless.  Very dull compressed sounding with no real magic or music coming through.  On the other hand my Senn HD650's sounded much better, but I would contribute most of this to their "house sound."  The hp's were very detailed, but just bland, it was almost as if eating your favorite main course without utensils or spices.  You got a taste of what the meal may taste like, but it isn't finished and the enjoyment of eating is stripped without the utensils.  With this in mind I modded the phones by bypassing the XO's and re-wiring them with vintage Western Electric wire.  They are now terminated for binding posts, banana plug style and I run them off of the EL84 Acrosound amp.  The Darkvoice and NFB-2 stil in the system, the phones were at least three fold over what they used to be.  What was a bass light almost anemic sounding headphone became a Senn 650 bass quality syrupy smoothness.  The headphones sound incredibly smooth with a level of detail and extension that is astounding.  Everything has been moved from right around my ears to the farthest depths of the cups.  Sound-stage is huge and warm with the twinkling electrostats tickling the highest extension.  I have since upgraded my DAC to a theta ds pro basic III and have realized the shortcomings of my Audio gd.  With a capacitor-less design the DAC is neutral but overly compressed sounding, there is no life in the machine; just 0's and 1's.  The Theta is not 24bit but bits are cheap and I've realized almost difference between 16 and 24 as it seems the recording quality is the bottleneck and not the amount of bits present.  With the theta the phones are alive with music.  The audio gd presented the phones like walking into a doctors office filled with black and white paint while the theta takes the same office and infuses it with "life" coloring the walls a deep red and the sofas a brilliant green.  By comparison the Senns sound almost the same as they did with the NFB-2.  Still wanting a bit more smoothness in the phones I took the DV 337 out of the equation and picked up a Uesugi Bros-1 preamp which I modded with hovland musicaps.  I cannot begin to describe the realism these phones produce with music.  No longer does it seem that they are dreadfully underpowered or the sound is being squeezed through a sieve.  The headphones are spacious and although incredibly smooth I'm hearing details I've never before picked out in my music.  Very warm, with a nice mid-range bloom but the headphones (even when loud) are never harsh, everything sounds just as it should to my ears.  Anyway I guess my point is that these phones need quite a bit of power and IMO I did not feel that the DV could provide quite enough juice.  I've also run them through a class D solid state (bel canto) and it has produced wonderful sound.  I would recommend and balance on your amp though as the bypass mod seems to yield a slight volume difference, I'm still figuring this one out though as it doesn't make too much sense as to why that happens.  Could very well be my ears though lol.  One more thought, of any headphone I've tried these are the MOST source dependent phones.  Sometimes I feel like I am listening to the equipment and not the phones.  The sound changes drastically between amps, dacs, preamps, when coupled with the phones.  A boon to some but a pain for most as we struggle to find the right gear, hopefully I'm on the right track now though hahaha.  
    For those interested I do have both the DV (with a slew of tubes) and the NFB-2 for sale.  Both wonderful equipment for their price with lots of potential with mods.  I have put the DV back to its original status but may be willing to mod for those interested.
  15. pcourtney
    just been listening to my K340's for over 3 hours this evening, easy simple setup I have, just line out from my Sony Discman D-33
    and my stock headphone amp, a Musical Fidelity X-CAN V2
    the "Whitney The Greatest Hits" album was the highlight of the evening, I am sure I was in the same room at Whitney Houston for an hour tonight :)
    so glad I did not sell my K340 phones, must do some simple mods over the next few weeks, where is K88 (Anatoli) when you need him ?
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