Review: AKG K240 Studio Monitor Headphones

The AKGK240 are a cost effective but high quality pair of semi-open monitor headphones. These were my first major purchase when I started out over 15 years ago replacing a cheap set of headphones I had been using for monitoring mixes. Being so young (just 19) at the time I was not really aware of how much of a difference a good pair of cans could make until I put these around my ears.

The K240s are still in use today in my studio and still sound as crisp as when I purchased them (I think) but they are showing their age with cracked leather ear cups and replacement internal pads. Still they perform well and have stood the test of time.

If you read up on the specs of these headphones they boast a very good frequency range and response. When I first purchased these I did not have a proper audio interface for my PC and was instead using a home stereo as an amp. When I connected these to the headphone socket I immediately heard the loud noisy "hiss" from the amp which I had not heard before. The hiss was normal but prompted me to invest in a proper audio interface and probably helped me kick start a professional setup.

Quick Glance

Price: $110-$180 (Old model but can still be found)
Pros: Very good quality, comfortable, clear sound
Cons: Light on Bass end reproduction
Rating: 7/10
Manufacturer: AKG
Model: K240 (Discontinued)
Link: http://www.akg.com/K240+Studio-1039.html?pid=1195

The Sound

The high end detail from these headphones is crisp and accurate. After using standard headphones for years and struggling with mixes having too much bass or too much high end in hats etc. I was able to finally get a more level playing field and it has probably been one of the best initial purchases I made. After a good 15 years of abuse the sound is still just as clear and I always enjoy running through a mix on them. I don't rely on headphones alone, I also use studio monitors, but for fine detail or quiet mixing they have been invaluable.

If there was something i had to point out as a downside it would that the low end is just a little dull. I managed to compensate and always check mixes on speakers but if you are expecting to really hear that thumping from EDM productions then they may disappoint. The lower end is a little dull but is certainly not vacant. Any productions using large amounts of low end simply need reference monitors or checking on a system with a Sub. The headphones will help mainly in the areas of high detail and space which is where most of the work (for me) is focused.

These are semi-open headphones that allow for external sound to enter when you are wearing them which also leads to sound escaping from them easily. While they may not be the best choice for a recording booth they are great for multi-task situations where you need to hear the mix and then listen to someone else without taking them off. When there is sound flowing into them though, you will hear nothing at all from the outside world.

The Quality

One of the things that sold these for me when I was in the music store was the detailed quality. Being young and very poor, spending $180 on headphones for a hobby seemed like a hell of a lot of money but when I saw the headphones I knew I would have something that would last. Some of the promotable quality features are that the main cord, ear cups and inner foam are all replaceable and the replacement parts are available from various online sources pretty easily. With a good 15 year run and being treated with care they are still in top condition. The cable has been yanked, caught, rolled over and tangled that many times ut still works just fine. The ear cups show no signs of cracking or deterioration and the main frame and headband are as new still. The cable has a 3.5mm plug with a screw-on 6mm adapter which saves any movement and crackling from a poor connection.

The only thing to have worn out over these years are the inner ear cup pads which simply deteriorated from having sweaty ears in them for over a decade. As they crumbled inside some of the bits got caught in the driver and caused them to crackle. I first thought the headphones were finally dying so actually invested in new KRK headphones as a replacement but I decided to open the headphones up and clear them out and got some new pads and they were good as new. Still going strong.

Features

Here are the standout features of these headphones:

  • Frequency Response: 15-25000Hz
  • 3m Detatchable Cord
  • Auto-Adjusting Headband
  • Steel Wire Sturdy Supporting Frame
  • Large Semi-Open Over Ear Cups
  • 3.5mm plug with Screw on 6mm Adapter
  • Serviceable Ear Cups, Cord, Pads

In the box you get the headphones with cable and 2 x screw on 6mm adapters. That is pretty much it. You are buying headphones and no extras so no carry case or inline volume control for these.

Comparison

I own a pair of KRK KNS-8400 monitor headphones and a pair of Sony MDR-7506 monitor headphones and I Still prefer the sound of the AKG over the others. The AKG are more comfortable than the other headphones and are much better for long periods. The sound to my ears is crisper and easier to settle into. The KRKs do sound a fraction better in the lower register but overall the AKG still get my vote. Even as gaming headphones and listening to normal music they are very suitable.

Value

I would have to say that these are probably the most value for money piece of hardware I have in my studio. These cost me about $180 12 years ago and are still in top condition after being used for probably thousands of hours. They have survived through a lot and continue to offer the same quality sound as when I purchased them. You can now pick these up around $110 and they are well worth the cost. The newer MKII version appears to have a slight style facelift and an extra feature that switches off the headphones when they are removed from your head but they appear to still be the same drivers and cost $110 more. If you are looking for a good quality set of monitor headphones and don't have mountains of cash to spend, these are worth a look in. If I needed to select another pair to replace these I would probably select these over again mainly because of the quality and amount of use I know I can get. 

 

Last modified on Friday, 06 November 2015 17:34

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