Home Before You Buy Series Before YOU Buy A K240, READ THIS!!

Before YOU Buy A K240, READ THIS!!

by Stuart Charles Black
AKG K240 Review

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Ah, the AKG K240; one of the most polarizing headphones in existence. What makes it stand out? Who is it for? Is it worth a purchase? All of these answers and more, comin’ up.

Greetings bass head and Welcome aboard. Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions leading to a beautiful audio experience that will make you fall in love with music, all over again, so…

At A Glance

Preview
AKG Pro Audio K240 STUDIO Over-Ear, Semi-Open, Professional Studio Headphones
Title
AKG Pro Audio K240 STUDIO Over-Ear, Semi-Open, Professional Studio Headphones
Color
Black/Gold
Weight
8.5 oz / 240 g
Fit
Circumaural
Type
Semi-Open Back, Dynamic
Materials
Plastic, Faux Leather
Connector
Detachable Mini-XLR, 3.5mm termination
Headband Style
Hammock Style, Self-Adjusting
Impedance
55 Ohm
Sensitivity
Around 91dB/mW
Frequency Response
15Hz to 25kHz
Primary Use
Mixing/Mastering/Reference, Older recorded Rock
Cable Length
9.8 ft.
Cable Detachable?
Folding?
Amplification Required?
Prime
Price
$69.00
Preview
AKG Pro Audio K240 STUDIO Over-Ear, Semi-Open, Professional Studio Headphones
Title
AKG Pro Audio K240 STUDIO Over-Ear, Semi-Open, Professional Studio Headphones
Color
Black/Gold
Weight
8.5 oz / 240 g
Fit
Circumaural
Type
Semi-Open Back, Dynamic
Materials
Plastic, Faux Leather
Connector
Detachable Mini-XLR, 3.5mm termination
Headband Style
Hammock Style, Self-Adjusting
Impedance
55 Ohm
Sensitivity
Around 91dB/mW
Frequency Response
15Hz to 25kHz
Primary Use
Mixing/Mastering/Reference, Older recorded Rock
Cable Length
9.8 ft.
Cable Detachable?
Folding?
Amplification Required?
Prime
Price
$69.00

Video Discussion

Coming Soon!

In The Box

AKG K240 Studio Professional Semi-Open Stereo Headphones

Gold-Plated 1/4″ Adapter

Detachable Cable

Limited 2-Year Warranty

Specs/Graph

Shoutout to Crinacle for the graph! This is Crinacle’s graph. There are many like it, but this one is his. ?

What makes the K240 stand out?

AKG’s K240 is a prime example of what we talked about in the HD600 Discussion Video; that is, the propensity for a headphone to sound a certain way upon initial impression, and then sounding kind of different as your brain gets used to the new stimulus. And no, we’re not talking about government handouts here either. xD

This article was inspired by a recent conversation I had with someone about their dissatisfaction with the K240 after purchase.

Hey man, i’m in a weird position. this is yet another source praising the k240. I recently purchased the chinese 55ohm version. but the issue is that they just don’t sound good and not at all like people describe them.

I came across a few reviews describing exactly what i’m experiencing. most notable is voices in podcasts and similar sounding very muddy and distant and in some progressive metal certain characteristics of guitars (growling throaty) are non-existent without EQ. also classical music becomes very muddy and everything seems muffled and indirect. it just sounds wrong. not open at all. more like listening through a thin wall. it’s warm but i can only get certain details when i turn up way too much and even then i need EQ to really perceive them properly. now, i’m no audiophile and very new to this but as a musician and music lover i feel like i can’t be THAT off.

is it possible that they are faulty or maybe that the chinese version just isn’t the same? i’m about to replace them by ATH M40x or Sony MDR-7506 but i still kind of want to find out, if i’m crazy. i just can’t understand how this is supposed to be “flat”. also have tried amping and the difference was too small to really solve the issue.Philipp Hertzfeldt

My response:

Hey man! They could be faulty, but you bring out a great point about the K240 that I’ve been recently noticing. Keep in mind that I do have the K240M 600 Ohm version, but yeah, it’s definitely not a sound signature for everyone. I also completely see where you’re coming from as I’ve experienced those same sorts of sentiments as well in my own listening.

Looking at it objectively, I think the 240 is a highly specialized headphone and works extremely well for some things, and perhaps not nearly as good for others. For instance, Motown, older recorded rock, soul, oldies, etc. sound really good with a 240. Modern music not as much. I do think vocals can sound a bit too pushed back at times, but the overall sound is incredibly natural. I’m listening now and there’s just something I really like about the signature even though it does sound really weird when you first put it on. If I’m honest, yeah, it doesn’t sound “correct”, at least in terms of what we’re used to. Our ears expect a rise around 3k and the 240’s dips in that area while rising back up around 5-7. That’s what I measured anyway in my 240 Review and comparison to the 850.

Crinacle’s graph shows a rise around the presence region but still has the 7k peak as well. This discrepancy could be the model difference but probably boils down to measuring inconsistencies. Getting a good seal is quite a challenge, but there are so many other factors that come into play. I do really enjoy the headphone for the most part. It’s super relaxing and the treble is incredibly non-fatiguing. It’s a sound that will either grow on you or you just won’t ever end up liking it. I’d give it a bit more time. If you still don’t like it, I’d probably recommend for you an SHP9500 or 7506. Both are headphones everyone should have regardless. Let me know if I can help you choose between the 2. I’d consider 9500 first.Home Studio Basics

AKG K240 Review

It made a lot of sense to me, and as much as I didn’t want to admit it to myself, I could totally understand why someone wouldn’t enjoy the headphone at all, at least at first.

The 240’s sound signature is most certainly neutral, but its peaks and dips occur in places that our brains really aren’t used to, at least in comparison to other more predictable sound signatures. I’m referring specifically to the 3.5kHz dip and 7k spike.

The bass is significantly rolled off, and the treble sounds very relaxed and almost dull in a sense if you’re listening to music that should sound more exciting or lively.

It’s not a headphone you’ll put on and immediately be impressed with. It’s more of a slow burn, but the kicker is that you’ll either come to love it or completely hate it.

Going further, the mid-range is something that takes quite a bit of getting used to.

Putting this headphone on after listening to brighter cans is most certainly an awkward experience. The mid-range sounds pushed back and distant, the sound seems boxed in and kind of muffled, and you almost feel like you’re listening to music inside a wooden box or something.

It’s hard to explain, but you’ll know it when you hear it.

Again though, once you keep listening and resist the urge to take it off, something happens.

Your brain adjusts to the unique sound signature and it starts to sound incredibly natural and right. I’ve always harped on the notion that the K240 is a somewhat specialized type of headphone; it does incredibly well with certain genres and sounds kind of mediocre with others.

It’s also completely honest and ruthless about the source. If the track was poorly recorded, mixed, and/or mastered, you’ll know right away.

Fortunately, genres like Motown, Soul, Big Band, Oldies, Jazz, Classical, and older reordered rock sound almost sublime with the K240. It’s as if the headphone was made for these types of music specifically.

You really get a sense of an instrument’s attack, sustain, and decay; most certainly the highlight of the K240. It renders instruments with incredible ease, precision, and clarity. Guitars and voices trail off and have a life to them. There’s an effortless portrayal of the sound that’s hard to argue with.

Jazz sounds incredible with the K240, in that, the gentle brush strokes are heard as they may sound in real life. Voices take on a more “live” flavor. The timbre of instruments and drums sounds more like real life than it does through a headphone’s drivers. What is a Headphone Driver?

It isn’t all good though. Sometimes the K240 sounds downright awful to the point where you’re clicking next inside Tidal or Spotify. Tidal vs. Spotify [Definitive Guide]

I think this can be true of all headphones though; how a track sounds ultimately have more to do with how it was recorded than it does with how the headphone makes it sound.

With modern, well recorded, and engineered music, it’s much easier to distinguish a headphone’s actual sound signature and unique qualities.

Even so, I think the K240 brings out those amazing qualities in the genres mentioned above better than most I’ve heard, which is why I believe it should have a place in most people’s cabinets.

Comfort & Build

AKG K240 Review

What holds this one back is comfort; the earcups are incredibly shallow and your ears will start digging into the drivers – which are only separated from your ears by a thin piece of cloth. What is a Headphone Driver?

You’ll find yourself adjusting and re-adjusting after about 45 minutes, relieving your ear lobes and getting some fresh air to them.

Not the most ideal design choice, but remember that this headphone originated in the ’70s and still somehow remains relevant after many decades – surely a testament to its sound and not its comfort level.

Even so, the hammock style self-adjusting K240 sits nicely on your head outside of the cup issue, and even despite its Playskool weight and feel, it’s an incredibly robust headphone all things considered.

I’ve owned a K240S and 2 different K40M’s with no issues at all. Related: AKG K240 600 Ohm vs. 55 Ohm

It seems like it would break down at the drop of a hat, but in my experience, that just isn’t the case. Its unlikely durability factor also makes sense when you consider that the K240M I currently have is almost 50 years old and still functions flawlessly.

Simply put, there’s a reason these things are still talked about now.

Amplification

I’d plan on investing in an Amp regardless of if you go with a K240 Studio, K240M, or some other variant.

I’ve found the K240M at 600 Ohm will resist power quite a bit, so make sure you’ve got a lot of gain to go around. What is Headphone Impedance? [Explained]

The K240 Studio has a modest 62 Ohm impedance but is incredibly inefficient at around 91dB/mW. It requires quite a bit of power from an amp to reach acceptable volume levels. What is Sensitivity in Headphones? [Explained]

Even despite this, I actually ran my first K240M out of an E10K and shockingly enough, it got loud enough.

Now, do I recommend you buy an E10K to pair with a K240M? Absolutely not. I just had it lying around and wanted to try it out for shits and giggles.

The point is to invest in at the very least, a K5 Pro, which provides plenty of power and a 2 gain stage. Learn more: Before YOU Buy A K5 Pro, READ THIS!!

Final Word

The K240 is most certainly a polarizing experience. You’ll either come to love it or hate it, but if you’re anything like me, it will certainly grow on you over time.

It’s incredibly easy to listen to, natural-sounding, and pure. It’s not a headphone I’m reaching for every day, but still one I go back to time and again when I want to put a smile on my face.

 

 

Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this AKG K240 Review & Discussion, and came away with some valuable insight.

If you love what I do here and want to support the blog and channel in a more personal way, check me out on Patreon and discover all the value I have to offer you.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

Does the K240 sound like a headphone you’d enjoy? I would love to hear from you. Until next time…

All the best and God bless,

 

 

-Stu

[Xtr@Ba$eHitZ]

Can’t decide which headphones to purchase? Interested in a complete buyers guide outlining over 40 of the best options on the market? Click on over to the best audiophile headphones to learn more!!

Be sure to also check out my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!

Photos

Coming Soon!

AKG K240

4.45

Sound

4.6/5

Build & Aesthetic

4.9/5

Comfort/Fit

3.8/5

Soundstage

4.5/5

Imaging

4.5/5

Pros

  • Great Soundstage
  • Perfect for Reference
  • Incredibly natural, lifelike sound
  • Built well despite it's Playskool feel

Cons

  • Bass is a bit anemic
  • Ear cups are rather shallow and comfort isn't the greatest

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2 comments

chris barnhart April 15, 2021 - 12:53 pm

I know i always have fun joking with you on you tube.. but i will be serious now. nice one about the 240M. it was my first headphone bought in 1988 in cali. Over the MANY years i ROCKED!!!! out with them for thousands of hours (yes, thousands) and eventually wore them out. i sent them to AKG and they said they normally would just suggest buying new, but mine were in such good shape that they went ahead and replaced the original “steel” cable with copper (in the 240s) and new drivers and pads. ( i was getting ear voltage shocks from the pads being shot). LOVED them , super lightweight, comfy and DURABLE!! i cant tell you how many times they were ripped off my head as i got carried away drinking and rocking out and walking to far away from the source, yet NEVER cutout on me at all. the cable is so secure inside. UNLIKE all the stories of sennheisers cutting out on people shortly after owning. after 20 years and a move to indonesia where actual mold grew on the earcups from the humidity, kid you not. i gave them away. i had the k701 at the time and as you know, one listen to them after i bought them spelled curtains for my 20 year old 240s.. better in every way… uhhhh for awhile until i gave those away to.. lol anyway, sorry for my run on… i could talk about the 240m with you for awhile for sure… so just wanted to say , good article my friend..

Reply
Stuart Charles Black April 16, 2021 - 6:07 pm

Aw thanks man! Yeah, we always have a blast just d***ing around on YT and being silly. It’s loads of fun! I too love the 240, although it can get really uncomfortable for me after a spell. Those shallow cups are really kind of showing their age, yeah mate?

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