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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. FastAndClean
  2. FastAndClean
    HE500 is better, but i cant use my k4 anymore, the headband snap, poor plastic
  3. FastAndClean
    i can send you the drivers if you want
  4. richard51
    Sorry.... And thanks:beerchug:
  5. kid vic
    Trippy, I love my K340's but I haven't posted hear about them yet..
  6. richard51

    After many days of modding the Akg K 340 i must say, for the future owners of this absolute TOTL headphone, that the difference between a ****ty sound and a TOTL one with these cans is 2 things : a speakers amplifier with a good headphone out like my Sansui Au 7700 but MORE IMPORTANT THAN THAT : damping them at the interior of the cups with sorbothane duro 70 1/10 inches with self-adhesive, and also around the cups some 4 or 6 patches of sorb. compressed with some elastic band , i know that many will mock that but i add some stones(agate+shungite) on them and sorbothane around the end of the cable, also put off the wool, and cut the plastic grid and replace it by a nylon of a woman underwear glued on the residual plastic ring, for example :ksc75smile: ....

    Modulo all that this headphone is unbelievably superior to my 2 Stax and hifiman he 400 and also to the beyerdynamic dt-150 ,not by a thin margin but by many notch, this can are TOTL for less than 200 bucks,if you are lucky....Dont dream anymore to many thousand dollars headphones if you are not loaded with money, buy them and modded them like i described, you will be in heaven, they crush, even my audiophile Mission Cyrus 781 top of the line of Mission speakers already modded by me, with their superior musicality.... I ask to myself what would be the price of a can that are better than them with jazz voices for example? Many thousands bucks and i have no doubts about that.... All reviews of these cans that are not superlative are only testimonies of bad synergy, bad sources, bad amplifiers, with no modding.... Trust me after 7 years i have the ONE, 3 weeks ago i was thinking that perhaps the modded beyerdynamic dt-150 or my Stax Sr-5 were the best i have ever have, now not anymore by an incredible difference in all aspects of the sound....All reviewers that speaks badly of them truly had never listen to them at their optimal level...:L3000:

    Some recommand a tube amplifier, the last i own was the Ember and my Sansui headphone out is better than it with my he 400 and the Akg K 340 with the sansui sound warm organic, tubelike, without any trace of harshness, or analytical dust, only total fluidity with very good bass and my version is the bass light one (for sure they will be very bad for some bass heads)....I am certain that a good tube amplifier is better than many ss speakers amplifier with them, but the Sansui AU-7700 is so good that any other top of the line Sansui will also be an exception to this consensus about tube amplifier ...I cannot pinpoint any too big and too evident defect about the modded AKG-K 340 now that some reviewers complaint of, except before i modded them they sound with the many evident defects some described.... Rightly modded and rightly driven you forget any residual slight defects they can manifest...Be it the discrepancies of the crossover in them, or the slower bass sound compared to the highs(Tylls review)...Their equilibrium at last with the right amplifier and mods are their redemption to the BEST buy quality/ price ratio in the TOTL realm of superior headphones....

    After all they crush all my cans and my speakers in musicality because of their mastership of the mid-frequencies where almost all the music and voices are most of the time and this said without speaking of their spatial imaging power that make them more like a pair of speakers than a pair of headphone.... By the way the soundstage is not small and can be big but not artificially big , the soundstage has always detailed depth and can be wide also if the music ask for it....I think that any classical lover or musician, any jazz lover or musician, would be in love with them like i am already....:beerchug:
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2017
    abman likes this.
  7. richard51
    THERE IS AN ENIGMA ABOUT THIS HEADPHONE that surpass in pure musicality and realism all my other headphone by a great leap and even the AKG 701 quincy jones model that i have listen to ...They were revolutionary design at the times of their conception 1978...Some very knowledgeable people bought them and sold them many times, insatisfied but some always in love... Some even say they are 3 different models, some other experienced owner though negate that they are 3 different models...The reason for all these contradictions i think is the cup design and the damping method are not at the level of the revolutionary hibryd technology they incarnate for the first time... I think that probably they are only one sound and one model that vary greatly only because of this imperfect design and the various aging levels of all components , and because this headphone is very sensible to source,and hard to amplify, but also because of the various thickness levels of the pads, position of the ears, the varying capacity of the damping material inside (wool) people who try different examplars of this headphone concluded that they are 3 models with 3 different sound (mine has the green driver and are supposed to be the bass-light model)... Then the explanation for me is simple, what explain the enigma around the adoration and sometimes simultaneous insatisfaction and the contradictions that comes from this headphone and the different level of appreciation is the solid but very clumsy material design around the 2 cells, electroacoustic and dynamic one...

    I takes different roads to improve the can by cutting the plastic grid and keeping the residual plastic ring with a nylon textile glued on it to separate the driver from my ears, i put sorbothane inside the cups and in this residual ring, after that i remove the cotton wool that was the damping material inside inefficient now...I put sorbothane on the exterior cups also with an elastic band around to compress it, i put also 2 kind of stones on the side of the cup,another kind inside ( remember that all my system gear, from the electrical panels to the headphones is damped with stones and crystals that act also like some filtering device for removing some EMI) i put some wool under the pads to make them less symetrical pads...At the end this AKG paid under 200 bucks crush ALL my other headphones to dust with a REAL headstage and an imaging power without peers, the midrange frequencies are so fluid and detailed that voices sound like revelation of heaven... Having them it is like to have speakers taped around the head ( in fact they are the only can i have listen to that sound like my speakers literaly ) and sound comes almost like from in front of the head and all that without absolutely no fatigue...I am certain that to beat them we must pay way more than a thousand dollars and some people here and on other forums that know what they speak of,say that they are indeed unique, thanks to them, i have bought the 340 with faith in their review....

    I read somewhere, i think it is the designer of the Mojo dac that said that, it seems that one of the most difficult thing to get right with an headphone is depth imaging,miraculously this can has a remarkable depth imaging,and to my ears sound way more naturalistic for voices and timbre than my other headphones....
    But BEWARE nude without mods, they does not sound near to their potential....After mods with their used price around 200 bucks they are for me the greatest deal in headphones,they deliver music,not sound frequencies, if you want to focus on details like with a microscope or hyper bass go somewhere else,they have plenty of details and bass indeed (the bass of this can is for me more detailed or lifelike than my he-400) but not at the price of erasing the "delicatesse" of the music....If you dont have 2000 thousand dollars to buy an headphone, i say to you DONT BUY THE LAST HYPE BUY VINTAGE, and smile...
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2017
  8. richard51
    In fact,the power conditioner being in the middle,between upstream the central electrical panel of my house and downstream the AkG k 340, i verify this week that ANY modification i implemented or modified with damping method,or filtering one, on any piece of gear or location,or cable, from the electrical panel all along the stream, completely affect the character of the headphone and is reflected by it ... It seems that this headphone is particularly very sensible to not only the source, the amp,and the synergy of the gear, but to ALL mods on any gear located all along the stream....All headphones are like that for sure,to some degree,BUT not at this level of sensiblity....Not surprizing that no review do complete justice to this marvel....:L3000: Think about that, they are no comparison between them and the he-400, and compared to it my 2 Stax sound artificial on all counts...

    Indeed they are product that are absolutely not ready to be used and judged immediately right from the box, be sure that the AKG K 340 is one of those,like a beast waiting to be changed in a prince...I am astounded by the difference of the sound i obtain in the last weeks with it....It takes many experiments to discover how to make it sound right....It sound exactly like my speakers now with voices improved compared to the speakers and with the same kind of depth imaging, more holographic though...
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017
  9. pcourtney
    I have had a few K-340's over the years, spreading the word, about 10 years ago I managed to buy a NOS pair in Germany - still in the box, never used, and they sound really good

    but I tend to agree with you that they need the odd mod here and there to sound their best :)

    about 2 years ago I received a Popcorn Hour A-500 Pro, it was $399 on kickstarter , I was not expecting too much, but I plugged my 340 into it and listened to all my ripped SA-CD's and CD's with a big smile on my face, immersed in the wonder of great music, which is how it should be


    if you can get the chance to listen to some well produced music with the A-500 Pro and your 340, you will like the SQ, it is very good indeed !
    richard51 likes this.
  10. richard51
    Thanks for the infos....I wish you the best...

  11. catscratch Contributor
    Had multiple K340s over the years, modded and unmodded. The best I've heard was a stock pair, slightly bright but with very nice mids and highs. I think I gave it as a gift to a mastering engineer friend who hated all AKGs, just to prove him wrong. I kinda miss it. Most other pairs I've heard, including modded ones, were kinda crap TBH. Muddy, and a bit uneven.

    The strength of the K340 (the good one) was that it had warm mids and sparkly, detailed highs, and that it combined a sharp leading edge with long trailing edges, sounding both precise and fluid. However, the L700 does that, without trying to match multiple drivers, so for me it has rendered the K340 chase kinda redundant. Still a cool headphone and an interesting bit of headphone history.

    I would estimate that the condition of the pair is just as important as mods to how it sounds.
  12. richard51
    Your impression are right for the sound, but with the mods, mine are imaging like speakers+ this liquid precise sound that you speak about.... My Stax SR-5 are way less impressive than the AKG ... Then I am not sure that they are outclass, certainly not by almost all under 1000 dollars headphones... The L700 are way costlier without mentioning the price of a good amp for them.... I pay 100 dollars for the AKG... :ksc75smile:

    By the way listening to them in a non treated against vibrations system and mostly in a non cleaned electrical grid system, without damping them rightly, I am not sure that you listen to the same extraordinary cans I listen to...The physical design of this headphone necessitate a right damping mods, +the cutting of the plastic grid....Without speaking of a very good and powerful amplifier....Not an headphone amplifier for sure....
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
  13. pcourtney
    the Stax SR-L700 model is superb, one of my buddies got a pair in Asia for about $1500 USD when they first came out, they are wonderful to listen to, but to my mind the 340's are more lush,sorry but I cannot explain it any other way, but I am pretty sure the SQ on the L700 is more accurate and refined :)
    richard51 likes this.
  14. richard51
    I am certain that you are right for the L700, they cannot be way less than the AKG, better? I dont know.... For the discussion I must say that there is NO comparison between the AKG before and after the modifications I put on them.... More, there is no comparison between the AKG in a cleaned audio system and in a not cleaned one... The AKG are sensible to the source , to the amplifier also,but so sensible because their original design was not sufficiently damped, and was akward (the plastic grid for example)... And when at last the electrical grid where the audio system is embedded is cleaned they shine.... They sell 100 dollars used... what is the price of the L700 + a good dedicated amplifier?

    The Akg for me are so good they produce a natural sound, with non fatiguing highs, a clear bass presence,but first and foremost the better imaging,a 3-d holographic sound field around the head ,speakerlike, I have listen to with no comparison with my 2 Stax system...If you dont have that with your AKG it is caused by the muddy electrical grid where your system is embedded,and, or because the vibrations plagued all pieces of your system, and, or at the end because your headphone is not rightly damped nor rightly modified....For the L700 I am then sceptical...
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
  15. richard51
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