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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. Tom-s
    It's good practice to give them a completely new cord and make them dual entry, as the wire from left cup to right entry point measures 10-25 ohm or something.
    A good microphone cable Canare is best here. Don't forget an adaptor from XLR to banana/spade to connect them to your speaker terminals directly :wink:
  2. kid vic
    The added resistance is better imo, it'll help keep the noise floor down. Good thing I've already got the speaker adapter ready.
  3. richard51
    I Listen to my AKG K 340 from the headphone out of my vintage SANSUI AU 7700
    for one year now....The sansui can drive them very well, but the upgrading from cleaning the source dac, the electrical line of my house and the audio grid also was out of this world upgrade,like day and night...Recabling is not necessary for me i mod them, and i add some stones and crystal at the end of the original cable and around the cups....The AKG K 340 was very sensible and is so good now that i cannot imagine better natural rendering of the timbre and voice in a speaker-like holographic soundstage slightly out of the head...

    I know for a fact that all reserve or criticism of this mighty headphone are a consequence of an improper amplifier and a non cleaned audio grid and a noisy electrical grid... With a good implementation this can is literally like my speakers taped around my ears with a soundstage better than the K701 and a perfect imaging, and voices like liquid gold honey and a holographic naturalness so realistic than my other cans sound like trash... The truth is that the majority of owners who have sold them had never truly listening them at their peak potential... Nobody sell an astounding TOTL headphone for peanuts, with used valued price between 100 or 200 bucks, with a sound equal to the best headphone there is, except the insatisfied owner who had never listen really to them, because they are REALLY difficult to drive not only qualitatively speaking(very sensible to source and noise) but also quantitatively in power terms... Thanks God I own them...

    AN IMPORTANT NOTE: My Sansui amplifier is one of the top SS.amplifier of his era,driving the AKG K 340 with it without my passive stones cleaning grid never give me the Magical potential sound of this headphone that I listen to, writing this post...I understand now why many advise to drive them with a top of the line tube amplifier...I advise also that, to the newcomer who will buy this sublime headphone, because nobody will go to the extreme and try a stone grid with his SS. vintage amplifier...Then buy a powerful tube amplifier, this headphone is so good you will give up paying multi thousand dollars for another headphone...When you listen to a speaker-like totally musical headphone you know that this is the end of the road … This is for me....
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
    abman likes this.
  4. richard51
    Yesterday after all my final experiments with cleaning the audio line and the electrical line, I listen to my AKG K 340, and guess what? For the first times I listen really to then at their peak potential... The positive : they are transcendentally beautiful holographic, for the first times in my life I enjoy music without reservation about the sound....Here is the test for you AKG K 340 lovers ,if you want to know if you are able really to drive them adequately: Buy on TACET Vivaldi 4 seasons by Stuttgart chamber orchestra...Tacet is a polish audiophile productor of music of the highest quality entirely registered with TUBES...With the AKG K 340 you will hear holographic musically sublime higher frequencies that will sound in one second like blue ice ou sun-like hot rays in 3-d... The experience is so vivid that even my MISSION speakers sound like trash after that, I will not speaks of all headphones I have ever listen to that are also at a lowest level... It takes me 1 year to obtain that results with my SS. Sansui AU 7700...I recommend or suggest a high quality tube amplifier for that true marvel AKG K 340...I know why some people prefer them to Stax...

    Tacet is described here on youtube:

    The negative point: even my speakers are no more appealing,not so much for jazz but the silky highs of a violin in Vivaldi with the K 340 is no match for my speakers...And I dont have the money to buy multi- thousands dollars Tannoy or Harbeth
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2019
  5. Miori
    It seems Is possibile to reach Nirvana in different ways with these... And also possible being addicted...:smile_phones: I know it is not a top class Gear but It works IMG_20190218_210240.jpg
  6. richard51
    Miori do you listen to holographic high frequencies in 3-d with ice-cold blue highs one second and the next moment that red sun-like ray highs frequencies,with the other frequencies like mountains supporting these peaks in a 3-d natural rendering of the instrumental timbre with the Burson? With the Sansui it takes me all my cleaning methods...For verification buy Vivaldi seasons on Tacet, one of the best audiophile cd i ever had ...:L3000: Ok! perhaps i had smoke too much weed....But the AKG are truly beautiful now...
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2019
  7. Miori
    Yes maybe too much weed....
    How many are you seing?
    If 1 it's all right
    If 2 maybe smoke a bit less
    If 3 or more stop smoking soon!

    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019
  8. richard51
    Where is the fifth?
  9. Miori
  10. Krassi
    Hi everybody! i just decided to get my a vintage AKG collection starting with getting me a pair of K340, K400 and K501 soon.
    Since i am from Germany its easy to get my hands on them on ebay.

    So i did a lot of research about those cans and the K340 sounded pretty crazy from the concept of combining an electrostatic with a dynamic driver.. reminded me of chifi IEM weird frankenstein mutations that are flooding the IEM market at the moment.

    I got my pair from a collector from vienna and usually have my E1DA Powerdac balanced stuff. So i had to undust my Khadas/Atom combo for this.
    Ok they are hell hard to drive.. atom makes them just loud enough to be loud. But as i read with more power the sound of those headphones will scale.

    ...then i tried some Jazz music with vocals.....what can is say... those cans blew me away..
    Classic music, Kraftwerk, 70s Soul and disco, Tangerine dream,.... the Instrument separation and clarity together with this wonderfull sound... i was really amazed.

    ..and then came the shock.. i plugged my pdv2 with my hifiman subdaras with chinese electro acousti cable 175, dekoni pads, a very good preset that uses vinyl like compressor and autoeq settings, blbalbalbalbalb....
    blabla ......it sounded flat and dull in comparison!!!

    i would love to have a photo of the look on my face when i switched between them.. the stock k340 beat my sundaras with all the tweaking crap hands on.
    Ok some brutal bass is the limitation on the k340 but as i read with dampening and all the mods this can be changed totally..

    Those Headphones are amazing and i will put more money in them and mod them fully!

    Also K400 are nice! got them today.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2019
    forestitalia, Baycode and Tom-s like this.
  11. Tom-s
    I'm also a big fan of these headphones (also collected toooo much, sold a few, kept a few). Any transformer coupled amp goes down in power when impedance goes up. And the K340 has some nasty big impedance spikes in the frequency response. This is what makes them so hard to drive (for most amps). So even with the amp you mentioned, it may satisfy you, it may not.
    I've found the best marriage with these are Output Transformers Less tube amps. These don't run out of juice at higher impedances, they just push it harder. And so they keep on driving the K340 on every frequency.
    The Bottlehead Crack and K340 were my first amp/headphone setup years ago and are still my most used these days. Before that i used a 70's receiver from Kenwood.
    Various other TOTL AKG's, Beyers and Sennheisers (even HD800, AKG K1000) are second choice (and mostly used with other amps). All sorts of other amplifications has come and went again.
    Started tube amp design for myself and still haven't found anything better (even with various 300B output tube options).
    Some amps match well with certain headphones. I think OTL's match well with K340's.
    Baycode likes this.
  12. Krassi
    Realy thanks for your experience @Tom-s !!

    this is very interesting for me and i guess ill buy me the chinese thx deathstar smsl sp200 deathstar in 1-2 months...
    i never imagined i need more than my E1DA 9038s for mobile and Pdv2 at home.... but no.... those headphones need some magic!!

    my pink "hifihappy funny happy bubble" of appreciation bursted like that guy in predator 2 or 3 .. yeah that guy that just his chest exploded and you loved that scene as a child.... well i did.. i could not believe how a headphone that could actually be as old as me (1977)

    really my 2019 hifiman sundaras sounded like a heroin bum on Valium compared to these f

    i got akg k400 today i a very good condition
    Nice! ..different..but the comfort is imense

    best regards, daniels!

    EDIT: Removed the weird crap i wrote on two bottles of nice austrian white wine.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2019
  13. Krassi
    @Tom-s may i ask you what could be a recommendation in OTL Amps that dondt break the bank? I dondt want to spend more than 300 bucks and it can be used and ugly looking :wink:... there is the darkvoice tube amp mentioned and other things.
    i just want to drive vintage AKG headphones with this amp and try planar cans too.

    regarding modding them i found this headphile website with the full pricey package..i dondt need a cable and wood on them really that covers the akg logo...
    Most photos of old k340 modding threads are gone sadly here.

    What i read is that dampening them is one of the biggest improvement with less sacrifice.
    Removing that ugly plastic grills that touch my ears all the time and getting some good ZMF or yaxi pads will also be nicer.

    A friend of mine can do me a mmcx plug mod on both sides.. yeah i really want mmcx because i got 3 endgame cables with mmcx that work on every headphone and IEM i own. And i dondt want those antenna like mini xlr plugs..in my lowrider sofa position this would be super annoying :wink:

    sorry for the drunken crap i wrote yesterday :wink:
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2019
  14. JadeEast
    For mods biggest thing I think is redoing the cotton stuffing. Take out what's in there and either re-fluff it or get some new stuffing in there. Adding more should tame to top a bit and firm up the bass. Until you get too much stuffed in there and it'll sound a bit dead. Some people liked the idea of taping the back to make them sealed cups. I've tried a bunch of things there and I think I've got a couple circles of felt. Redoing the elastics can get back some clamp in the headphone that helps the bottom end. I added dynamat sound deadening to areas around the capusle holding the driver and some spots on the first inside baffle as well as on the rear of the driver capsule centre. I did the grill removal and by pass the transformer. I wish I'd held back on those as I'm not sure they were that important but no way to realistically go back. You can test the grill removal a bit by using washers to take up the space of the grill baffle and use the stock screws. I like the k340 but it is coloured in it's presentation. They leave a bit of a mark each recording.
  15. Krassi
    cool thanks for that tip!

    i havent opened them yet to confirm if its a bass version.. but it sounds not really thin to me.. compared to my sundaras its a touch less bass..... yeah sundaras... damned now they are cursed as flat dull headphones even with intense E1DA powerdac vinyl like compressor autoEq blablbal.. meeeehh ..*sad noises... hifi is really as cruel as grafics stuff.. the moment you hear and see something much better you instantly dislike the up until now 100% maximum standard for you ...

    regarding the grill i found a 3D printed version that can be exchanged without unremoveable destruction of the original ( https://www.shapeways.com/product/KMY3FK923/akg-k340-driver-grill-mod?optionId=95400574)
    Some thing that really hit me like a truck is not only the dampening with Sorbothane dampening stuff or a similar german product...

    ..but the stuff with stacking magnets!! this sounds insane...
    Really after two days of listening to the k340 with just a khadas DAC/ JDS Atom combo i get sad when i put on my Sundaras with a ****ing 200 bucks neotech super cable and all that crap....

    really... i changed my music taste to much much more jazz Maximum What Flac stuff lately and those cans can deliver... yes they do.. i think i got a very nice pair from that Austrian crazy collector that has anything AKG and vintage related from vienna...

    right now i am thinking of burning lots of money for a nice custom DYI german highend tube amp on local ebay small adds instead of a chinese crap thing...

    ...puh.. damned .. i want those things to be on maximum endboss "this is now really the final form"... i think they can..

    .. jazz on those has such a goosebumps live feeling and really good electronic music with no silly bass emphasis is also made for those...

    regarding the not done rubberband redoing i have a simple working solution..
    the "putzlappen mod" ( cleaning cloth mod done with 2 needles ).. exactly enough clamping missing from the worn out rubberbands..
    [​IMG] https://up.picr.de/37486520nj.jpg
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2019
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