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Before we get into the AKG K240 600 Ohm vs. 55 Ohm comparison, grab a snack, sit back and relax because…
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AKG K240 Studio
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Today we’ll take a look at the K240M 600 Ohm version and compare it to the K240S (Studio, 55 Ohm). I’ve owned both and still happen to have the M version here at the crib.
Please also note that I didn’t take pictures of the Studio model back in 2016.
Let’s start with the build and comfort.
Both of these headphones are extremely lightweight, but for how cheap they feel in your hands, they seem to be built for the long haul.
Consider for a moment that the K240M I have is from the ’80s and still functions perfectly.
The cups are in great shape, the hammock-style adjustment still works just fine, and the wire, though not detachable, has held its solder all these years later.
Perhaps AKG knew something we didn’t?
I owned a K240 Studio version around 2016 and also had no problems, but do keep in mind it was made in China.
the studio version looks and feels like an exact replica of the 600 Ohm version with some minor caveats:
- The outside of the grille is slightly different on each.
- The K240M was made in Austria.
- The way the wire connects to the cup is a bit different and is detachable on the Studio version.
The hammock style adjustment and light weight mean these will rest on your head quite nicely, although the ear cups are kind of shallow and the padding is a very cheap feeling faux leather.
one of the main reasons I don’t use my 240 M version is because they get pretty doggone uncomfortable after about 30-45 minutes.
Definitely, something to keep in mind. You can always replace the pads, and I will update this if I do so.
As far as sound?
Do be aware that it rolls off considerably below 100Hz (roughly 10dB), with a flat mid-bass and some nice texture going on without the bloat that accompanies a lot of cheap entry-level products.
the sub-bass is definitely lacking in impact and slam, so keep that in mind.
It’s absolutely wonderful and makes up for the other minor shortcomings of this headphone. Instruments and vocals are given ample room to breathe and shine.
I will caution you that the mids after about 1kHz decline into 2kHz but come up at roughly 2.5k.
There’s another drop-off at 3.5k, and I’d be lying to you if I said this doesn’t make the sound signature come off as a bit odd at times.
You may experience a bit of dullness, but I wouldn’t call it a dealbreaker.
There’s a peak around 7kHz which ends up being a bit different than your typical rise at 9-10k.
This is in large part what makes the K240 sound so unique.
You’re not going to get the harshness that comes along with peakier high treble headphones, and the emphasis seems to be a tad different.
The K240 is certainly a more relaxed overall listen, but the detail and resolution are exemplary for a headphone in this price range.
it’s probably one of the main reasons it’s remained relevant for so long.
People continue to buy and discuss this headphone, and you’ll know exactly why when you hear it.
That is to say that the K240 seems to be a bit of a specialized headphone.
What I mean by this is that it works incredibly well for Older recorded music like Motown, Oldies, raspy sounding Classic Rock, and stuff that generally doesn’t have a lot of bass emphasis.
With these types of genres, the resolution is so good that I have a hard time putting it into words.
The K240 is simply one of the most revealing headphones in this regard and thus why I still recommend it to this day.
You will absolutely feel like you’re listening to old favorites for the first time, and I can’t recommend it enough for Motown specifically.
This is perhaps the main difference between the 2 headphones.
The AKG’s K240 model at 600 Ohm is going to resist power quite a bit.
This is why it’s super important to purchase an amp that will provide enough power into that Impedance rating.
By contrast, the 55 Ohm AKG K240 will not resist too much, but we still have another dilemma on our hands:
The misunderstood and dreaded Sensitivity rating.
- Related: What is Sensitivity in Headphones?
If you weren’t aware, Sensitivity is basically a measure of how efficient a headphone is.
The higher the number, the more efficient it is.
The lower the number, the less efficient it is.
- Anything over 100dB/mW is very efficient and does not need much power from the amp to reach acceptable listening levels.
- Anything around 97db/mW and lower is not efficient at all and does need more power from the amp to reach acceptable listening levels.
- 98-99 dB/mW is kind of a grey area in my opinion. If you have a headphone with a number like this, take a gander at the Impedance. If it’s a low-ish number as in the case of something like an M40x, you won’t really need an amp.
In the case of the K240, both the M version and S version have an extremely low Sensitivity of 91dB/mW, but with the 600 Ohm (M), not only does it resist power a lot, but it also requires more from the amp.
The HD600s at 97dB require 20mW to perform optimally.
Obviously, the K240 is going to require a bit more.
taking into account both its high impedance and low sensitivity.
So we need something beefy enough to power these.
What do I suggest, you ask?
I like the ATOM from JDS Labs. Plenty of power (136mW Continous @ 600 Ohm), dead neutral, perfectly priced. The ultimate solution.
Well that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this AKG K240 600 Ohm vs. 55 Ohm comparison.
Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!
Marvin, what do you make of all this? I would love to hear from you. Until next time..
All the best and God bless,
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Hi! Great review 🙂
I’m an AKG K240 studio 55ohm owner for some time and I love ’em. Which headphone amp would be good with them? I’m looking for a way to get some more punch from them – 2 days ago i’ve connected them to a very old 1970s Philips solid-state amp and the liveliness of drums and bass guitar blew me away.. but the sound was fatiguing my ears after couple of songs. The amp was broken & repaired etc maybe because it’s old the sound is getting distorted i don’t know. So now i’m looking to get that kind of power sound again but without headache 🙂
I’ve been reading some reviews of Schiit Magni vs Topping A30 and here you mentioned another one – JDL Labs O2 but it feels like you recommended it for 600ohm version?
Hey man! I think an Objective 2 or Atom would both be fine with the K240 600 Ohm. To be honest, I got a pretty decent level with the 240 600 Ohm out of a FiiO E10K of all things. Yeah sometimes I think specs are a bit overrated but in no way am I saying that’s the ideal pairing. It just so happens I have an E10K lying around and thought “Why not?” so I tried it and was surprised that it did sound loud enough even despite only pumping 200mW into 32 Ohms. Magni is okay; I used to have a Magni 2 but sold it. It’s not as good as an O2 or Atom. A bit grainier. No experience with the Topping. I would suggest a good DAC + Atom or Objective 2 and you’ll be set for a long time. I would go with Atom because it provides more power and you’ve got a pair of RCA ins and outs as well in case you ever wanted to pair it with some studio monitors. The inputs allow you to use RCA to RCA from another DAC as well, or you could simply use a 3.5 mil interconnect between devices. For instance I paired the Atom with a K3 from FiiO and loved it. Keep me posted!!
Hello there, I own a pair of AKG K240 Austrian made phones. I know that simply plugging them into my Sony 510 processor and trying to listen to my old record albums is not at all the ideal set-up.
I have been looking for a product that will help me to extract the best performance from them. Are you perhaps familiar with any of the products from Schiit Audio?
The JOTUNHEIM in particular is one that I’m considering.
I own their phono preamp called the MANI and I’ve been very satisfied.
Thank you for the article and for the time you put on with these products.
Hey man! You’re welcome! I don’t have all that much experience with Schiit products, unfortunately. I used to own a Magni/Modi 2 and ended up selling it once I heard better stuff. That amp was pretty bad when I look back on it. I’ve heard they really improved their product line, so you may have luck with some of the newer stuff. I have an AKG K240M myself! Great headphone. It does need a bit of extra juice. I run it mostly with a K5 Pro. Check out my article on that: Before YOU Buy A K5 Pro, READ THIS!! It has about 1.5W into 32 Ohm. It has a switch with 3 modes. low, middle, and high gain. I’m on the middle gain. I’ve never really needed the third which is one reason I recommend it a lot. It’s just a great product. 🙂 Let me know what you think.
I own an AKG 240 600Omh, and until I’ve paired it with a Lake People Phone Amp G3 Ampligor, I haven’t discovered its potential in musical performance.
Now it has a much more powerful and round bass, an equally smooth, detailed treble, and maintains and expands that magic in the middle. Very musical.
Hey man! Love the K240M 600 Ohm. So glad to hear you’re enjoying them! I’ve heard some things about Lake People and I think I reached out to them awhile back about a demo unit but unfortunately did not hear back. I guess it couldn’t hurt to try again!
The only issue with my K240M was that the guy who sold them to me failed to mention the slight buzz at very low volumes which was fairly irritating. I ended up selling them but would love to have another pair in the future. I also owned the K240S for awhile as well. You’re right though; it’s one of the most musical headphones I’ve ever had the pleasure of owning, which is why it’s in my Budget Kings series. if you ever want to take a gander. 🙂 Hit me up anytime you’d like to talk audio!
First of all, love your reviews, congrats and this is another, is another great one!
You say “With a good amp, be prepared to be blown away!”. I have the K240 MkII and I plan to buy an iFi ZEN DAC. Do you this this would be a good DAC/Amp to the 240’s (and the 702/712 I plan to buy later)?
Thanks and keep up the good work!
Hey man thank you so much! Yeah I think you will be fine with the Zen!! Where are you from?
I’ve been using my 240 Monitor 600 ohms for years. As I’ve gotten more and more into mixing and mastering, I’ve recently tried the Sennheiser 6XXs and Beyerdynamic 990 Pros. Both were so uncomfortable that I sent them right back. The clamping pressure was too much. Yes, I wear glasses and, yes, maybe I’m overly sensitive, and yes, maybe I could have bent them (as I see on Youtube), but I don’t think I should have to do this to get a comfortable headphone. Sadly, I was never able to give them a good workout as a studio headphone. So it’s back to my good ol’ 240 M’s. Bottom line is: get to know your headphones and they’ll work just fine.
Hey Greg! I’m really saddened to hear that about your 6XX! Please give it another chance! LOL. I’ve had my HD600’s since 2016 and couldn’t imagine life without them. They do open up over time, and yeah, the clamp is an issue at first. I happen to really love the snug fit of them because it feels like receiving a warm hug from an old friend, lol.
I do think you bring up a great point though, and that is: people are rarely satisfied with what they have and that’s certainly a huge problem in audio. They’re always looking for the next best thing; their next “fix”, but in reality, diminishing returns kicks in at around the $300-400 mark and there are few products above that threshold that are really worth the price. Yes, the audio improves, but at what cost? At that point, you’re basically mortgaging your life savings for an extra 1-3% increase in sound quality.
If the DT990Pro was clamping too hard, try the consumer version. According to Beyerdynamic, they’re the same headphone, but the consumer one has less clamping.