7/6/20. Article cleanup. Sensitivity rating at 104 should have been by the volt, not mW. I changed it to the actual mW spec which is around 91dB. The K240 is a very inefficient headphone that does need some power from an Amp.
2,102 word post, approx. 3-4 min. read
Hi friend and Welcome!
Let’s start with a quick chart. I’ve highlighted the main difference for you!
AKG Pro Audio K240 STUDIO Over-Ear, Semi-Open, Professional Studio Headphones
Before we get into the AKG K240 vs. K240 MKII Comparison, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..
You’ve come to the right place!!
What I will bring you in this review
Normally I would review both headphone separately, but being that these two models are identical sound wise (with a few technical differences), I will outline the K240 and then compare it to the K240 MK II towards the end.
The AKG K240 is one such example of a product that has stood the test of time for many years.
It’s important to understand that there are a lot of gimmicks in the audiophile world, and when it comes to headphones it’s no different. This is why honing in on products that have been around for a long time is key.
The 240 fits that bill beautifully. Let’s get into why!
Sound & Imaging
Having one of these as your main reference headphone is like being friends with that quiet old soul who’s intelligent but yet humble. He doesn’t draw unnecessary attention to himself, but is always there to help with sound advice (no pun intended).
The K240 mirrors this effect. The entire sound signature is calm, peaceful, and laid back while still remaining effective in what it sets out to do.
The treble is detailed and crisp, but it doesn’t get out of line or ever sound sibilant; an issue with most entry level headphones I’ve tried (even ones I really enjoy)! What does Sibilant mean?
Rather, the K240 works as a headphone you can listen with casually, or as a serious reference headphone that will easily reveal flaws in your mix that can be remedied quickly.
These are also great for just kicking back and relaxing with some of your favorite tunes.
Imagine putting on a pair of headphones and hearing music for the first time again; even with old favorites long since forgotten about. There are really only a handful of cans that do this extremely well. The K240 is definitely one of them.
In listening to old Soul and Rock music, I got a sense that I was picking up on subtle details previously unaccounted for in other headphones of the past.
It reinvigorated my love for music and made me appreciate all over again a sound that stays true to the recording. Everything is brought out so wonderfully that it’s hard not to actually smile as you’re sitting there jamming out.
This was especially true with older music like Smokey Robinson & The Miracles as well as Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. Stuff like that. It’s like the 240 was made for these genres.
The Soundstage? Even better.
There’s a width and depth here that is almost unrivaled by any headphone; much less something below $100.
You start to hear things to your left and right that seem like they’re in the room with you. It’s subtle, but definitely noticeable. There’s a sense that you’re in a live environment rather than a studio space, bedroom, etc.
This is in part why the K240 sounds so detailed and engaging. The sound is given ample room to breathe and express itself.
With Gaming and movies this is especially true as well. The K24o is the type of headphone that will make you stop and analyze the ambient music on your Playstation 4 Main Menu. It’s just that good.
Do make sure that you have adequate amplification for Gaming though. This isn’t the type of headphone you’re gonna want to plug into the controller. There’s simply not enough juice to drive it properly. More on that in a bit!
But are they comfortable? How’s the build?
Build & Comfort
Comfort has always been so so with the K240 to be honest.
It’s not that it’s bad, but the ear cups are pretty shallow and they feel kind of cheap. The headphone itself is mostly made of plastic and feels very light.
However, there are people who have had these for years and years without an issue. I myself have owned 2 iterations of the K240; The original 600 Ohm 240M (pictured below), as well as the newer K240 Studio version.
Both the K240 Studio, M version and K240 MK II all have the same great sound and look almost identical with a few very minor differences.
Note how shallow those cups are. I hate to insult one of my favorite headphones of all time, but it has to be said.
Build for me was deceptively good. I felt like I could drop them without having to worry about it too much, but they are going to feel like a toy you’d find in your local Wal-Mart.
I suppose the lightweight nature of them lends itself very well to long term comfort, so I can’t complain too much. I feel like your mileage may vary here.
The original model of these was called the AKG 240 Sextett, and came out in 1975. The longevity factor in each of these models overall is quite good when it comes down to it. For instance, I bought a K240M (pictured below) a few months ago for $35 shipped on eBay. Think about that for a second: We’re talking about a headphone that came out over 30 years ago. That’s longevity if I ever heard it.
If you want to know more about the original K240 Sextett model, click here!
Just be aware that neither the K240 Studio or K240 MK II are actually made in Austria anymore. They are designed in Austria but made in China. This may affect the aforementioned longevity a bit, but it’s hard to say one way or the other.
The 240M was made in Austria and is indicated as such:
Fortunately, the headband padding is what really allows these to receive a pass from me with regard to comfort and build.
It’s a hammock design and needs no adjustments whatsoever. Just plop it on your head and feel it self adjust to your big melon. 😛
Aside from that, the 240 Studio comes with a detachable mini XLR to 3.5mm jack as well as a 1/4″ adapter for beefier amplification.
Speaking of, let’s talk a bit about that!
To be honest, these are pretty inefficient, and will sound super quiet out of your phone, laptop, or mobile device. An amp is mandatory. How to choose a headphone amp!
With 91dB of Sensitivity, they will really need a lot of power from said amp to reach peak loudness too. Plugged into a source with no amp will leave you frowning and wondering where your money went. Learn more:What is Sensitivity in Headphones?
An overall great choice for many different entry level to mid level open back models is the FiiO E10K. Check out my official FiiO E10K Review too! It provides a total of 200mW of power, and does power my HD600’s pretty well. Keep in mind though that those have a 97dB Sensitivity. They need less power to reach optimal levels; around 20mW. The K240’s are going to need around 79-80mW. Huge difference!
Because of this, I would invest in something more beefy for these. An amp like the DragonFly Red or Objective 2 from JDS Labs are both perfect solutions that will serve you well for a long time. It provides a ton of power into all Impedance levels, and it’s sound is completely neutral and clean.
The Objective 2 outputs:
Max Output (33 Ohms): 613 mW
Max Output (150 Ohms): 355 mW
Max Output (600 Ohms): 88 mW
This is plenty of power for the K240 and will make a great pairing!
With that, let’s look at some Pros & Cons of the K240..
Detachable cable. The mini XLR connector feeds from out of the headphone cup, into your standard 3.5 mm, and comes with a 1/4″ adapter. A lot of people like the XLR aspect to it.What is XLR?
Replaceable components. Pretty much any piece on the AKG K240 can be replaced or modded.
An overall flat and neutral sound signature. Great for mixing, and excel at lower volumes.
Incredible treble detail, some say even better than the Q701.
Good for a lot of different applications and musical genres. More on that in a bit.
Has a nice warmth to it, with a certain “body” and fullness on acoustic guitars and vocals. A certain groove if you will.
A unique sound that many have come to adore. It really starts to open up after the 200 hour burn in mark.
This section is for conflicting viewpoints.
Some say they are comfortable, others can’t stand them. This has to do mainly with the size of the ear-cups. If you have small ears, you’re in business. For larger Ross Perot sized ears, they don’t fare as well.
Manufacturing quality has suffered over time being that these are now made in China.
All plastic and extremely light. Some have had problems with various pieces breaking off. Overall the set feels cheaply constructed. I did not have any issues in my time with either the M version or the Studio version.
The faux leather can make your ears sweaty after prolonged listening sessions.
There have been complaints of one ear crapping out over time.
How about a video?
Credit to my boy @Metal571. Check him out on Twitter!
The K240’s do well in a variety of different instances. I’ve seen them endorsed for:
Guitar tracking and Mixing
Not as good for:
When I had them, I mostly listened to Prog Metal/Jazz Infusion (like Chon/Plini), some Rock, Indie Pop, Oldies etc. They will do well with most genres and seem to excel with older Rock, Jazz, Classical, and Soul music in particular.
I did enjoy them with Rap & some Hip-Hop, but I wouldn’t buy them solely for that purpose.
Similarities & Differences
Sound-wise, these two headphones are pretty much identical.
There are 2 main differences to speak of here:
Choice of cable. The MK II comes with 2 cables, a coiled version and a straight version.
2 included sets of pads. You have the choice of an extra set of regular pads and a nice comfy set of velour pads. ‘MERICA!
I really do love the K240’s, and would recommend them wholeheartedly without question. The build is flimsy, but they are studio legends. Extremely flat and accurate sound, no sibilance, a fantastic mid-range and a ridiculously low price.
Bass heads look elsewhere. These are more than anemic in the bass. It’s LIGHT. This is probably the leanest bass response I’ve ever heard out of a headphone. Still, if you can get past that and appreciate more subtlety and nuance in your low end, you’ll find they’re an incredible value and will serve you well for a long time.
Stu is determined to help you make sound decisions, and strives to deliver the best and most in depth content on the internet! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, pray, rap, make beats, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His sense of humour, coupled with a knack for excellence and strict attention to detail are what allow him to stand out in an crowded industry.