In this review, we are going to be looking at the AKG K240 Studio headphones. Another example of the quality of headphones that are available today. In the last 50 years, headphones have changed. They were once almost exclusively the tools of people in various working environments.
In recording studios, TV and working for airlines, the armed forces and telephone companies. But, not anymore. They have become the property of the consumer. We all have them in varying degrees of quality, and we use them in the gym out running and even in the water. We can connect our phones and have worldwide connections.
But they’re still predominantly there for one reason – to listen to music. And the quality with which we can now listen has become very sophisticated. AKG is one of the world’s best with a reputation few can match. Their headphones are found in studios all over the world. But before we get to our AKG K240 Studio Review, who are they?
In Europe in 1947, countries were still coming to terms with the aftermath of a war that had torn the continent apart. From this destruction, some great companies evolved. AKG was one of them. Established in Vienna in Austria in 1947, they have become legends in the audio industry with the professionals.
From the very beginning, they have had this appreciation of what sounds good. And it’s that, that drives them onwards to perfection. When you match that desire with great designs, meticulous craftsmanship, and innovative ideas, you get AKG.
Microphones that are industry leaders and the measure to which others aspire are just part of it. Headphones that the professionals use are another. Someone once said of AKG phones, if you are not a pro don’t bother. You are not good enough to appreciate how good they are.
Fortunately, now we mere mortals can share in the audio experience. Since the 70s, they have set the bar very high in professional headphone standards. In ’74 came the 140. In ’75, the K240 monitor. They became one of the most used sets of headphones in recording studios all over the world. As Tina Turner once said, ‘Simply the Best’ and she was probably using a pair of AKG headphones when she recorded it.
So, let’s have a closer look…
The AKG K240 Studio headphones are the updated version of the legendary classic AKG K 240 Monitor. Headphones you still find in many recording studios all over the world. They are semi-open, over-ear headphones that are designed to work in professional environments.
They are designed for mixing and mastering and for excellence of sound in the playback stages. Made for critical listening, the sound is outstanding, balanced, and defined. You can hear every nuance present in the music. This, while it is being recorded, and then again in playback.
As we said, designed for critical listening, these show up everything, good and bad — a masterclass of sound reproduction.
These have a build that is worth some consideration. On the face of it, the styling might not look so impressive but stay with us. They have a dual purpose in their design. They have to be tough enough to take the many hours of use that they are likely to get. But they also have to have a comfort level that is quite high and not be too heavy or uncomfortable to wear.
AKG has achieved both we think with a headband that is self-adjusting and ear pads that sit nicely over the ears.
For those that like their headphone construction metal-based, there will be some disappointment here. Though, as we said, stay with us. These are predominately plastic in their build. The adjustments are plastic, as are the tubes over the headband. The ear cups have metal-looking rings, but we think they are plastic as well. It is, though, it must be said, a quality polymer-type plastic. It is not going to snap or wear.
The weight. They weigh just 0.53 of a pound. What you do not want is phones that are heavy. Headphones that after a couple of hours of listening, feel like you have a brick in your head. Not the case here at all. The ear cups have gimbals that rotate smoothly and feel like they belong to a more expensive set of phones. The design function works well, and they are flexible and very lightweight.
An important point to note. The head strap itself is not what you might call padded at all. It is a suspension strap held in its tension by small cylinders and elasticated stringing. This ensures a smooth adjustment to fit.
They have a strong yet flexible build, and the non-twisting headband allows you to use one ear at a time for listening if required. There is a 3-meter input cable that is detachable. The cable and the phones have mini XLR connections that give you good secure contact and fit. The plugs are convertible if necessary.
The cable is made from 99% oxygen-free copper, and each end has gold plated plugs.
As with most things, items can wear out or get accidentally broken. With the AKG K240 Studio series, the cable and earcups are all replaceable.
They feature a semi-open-air design with 30mm XXL transducers with AKG’s patented Varimotion diaphragms. They deliver a very wide dynamic that is incredibly accurate. This gives an open sound that is very natural. This is assisted by a venting design that is acoustically-tuned.
The Varimotion technology produces a diaphragm that is thinner and very supple towards the outside. This gives an increase in bass response because of its flexibility. Towards the center, the diaphragm is thicker and less flexible. This makes it less resonant and creates accurate mids and well-defined highs. With the size of the transducers comes a sound that is three-dimensional and more lifelike.
This newer 55-ohm lower impedance version gives you substantially higher volume levels in a studio environment. Noticeable, especially with keyboards, drum machines, and other external devices. The performance level reaches a professional level, even in your home studio.
The design and the build of the AKG K240 Studio headphones is a great balance. It combines a high-end top of the range open-back design with a standard closed-back sound. The result of this is a set of headphones that give you accurate highs and the detailed lows that an open-back design gives you.
It combines that with the isolation that is needed for tracking, making them, in many ways, the perfect design. And with being so lightweight, courtesy of its largely plastic build, they give a great performance. Something that you might expect you would get from a set of headphones bearing the name AKG.
We always think that headphones with this design of headband do not look very comfortable. We were very wrong about that, and we think the reason for that is the suspension-style headband. Probably more accurate to call it a head strap.
It has nothing in the way of padding and is just a simulated leather-look band. The headband is actually one of the few parts that have a metal design. The very flexible steel inside allows it to fit comfortably.
The earpads themselves also do not look like they are well-padded. They are though very light, and the band and the cups soon conform to your head shape.
The headband being self-adjusting does make for a naturally comfortable fit. No playing around with controls or using and pulling extendable arms here. So whilst it is light on padding, it is a comfortable fit. Perhaps padding isn’t actually needed because of the headband’s suspended design.
The earpads are circumaural, which means they are around the ear, and they cover the ears nicely. They are not using too much clamping to remain in position, so do not feel tight. This also means that your ears are not going to get hot after many hours of use.
We mention again the gimbal-type suspension of the ear cups that lets them conform to the size of your ears. Without the clamping action, we also previously mentioned, you can use them for hours. They have a foam interior covered with a leatherette material.
Some studio people like to use one ear to hear certain aspects of playback. As we have already said, this is possible, but the design required doesn’t affect the comfort level. Flexible but strong, tough enough to handle rough handling, AKG got the comfort versus strength equation about right.
But now we move on to what AKG really does best. The soundstage of these headphones is quite remarkable. The sound just seems to float around you. The detail is exceptional, and it really comes down to one aspect. The mids are excellent. The Vocal sounds were clear and precise, drums, cymbals, and orchestra near-perfect and the guitars just great.
These represent a sound you would expect to get from a much more expensive set of headphones. They have a frequency range of 15 Hz to 25,000 Hz.
The semi-open design structure and the very efficient transducers give you a dynamic range that is very wide with great sensitivity. There might be a reason why all this sounds so good. But here we may lose a few readers. Because if you like your music bass-heavy, it is time to move on elsewhere. So Hip-Hop or Drum and Bass adherents are going to need to look at other potential alternatives because these are not going to fit the bill. Any big bass sound is not present.
The bass has been rolled off quite dramatically. The lower frequencies that are present are very gentle and well-defined. It is there, but it is not punching hard. The result is the mids never get crowded and are allowed to shine.
If you like orchestral or acoustic-based music, you will be enthralled. Classic rock sounds great too. They will work for most styles, but in some genres, they might sound a little different. Something you may have to get used to. Perhaps they sound how the music actually sounds and not how some manufacturers of headphones want us to hear it.
They are bright and crisp, and some might think they are a little thin if you’re used to other phones with a heavier soundstage. They produce a detailed audio experience that is not going to suit some, but for us is outstanding.
AKG K240 Studio Pros & Cons
- Very detailed, crisp sounding audio.
- Comfortable and lightweight.
- Solid build quality.
- Poor noise isolation,
- The flat response will not suit some.
Are You Looking For More Excellent Options?
If you for some quality headphones for the studio, it’s worth checking out our in-depth reviews of the Best Studio Headphones for Home Recording or even the Best Headphones for Rock Metal Music on the market. You may also be interested in some other studio favorites, the Sony MDR 7506 or the Beyerdynamic DT990.
If you need them for something else, then how about the Most Comfortable Headphones, the Best Waterproof Bluetooth Headphones, the Best Waterproof Headphones, the Best Headphones with Microphone, the Best Headphones and Earbuds for Sleeping, or the Best Headphones under 100 dollars on the market.
When AKG makes headphones, they make them sound how they think music should sound. There is nothing flamboyant about the AKG K240 Studio in its design or the way it sounds. The design is functional and made to go to work. It isn’t supposed to look pretty. That is not what AKG is about. They leave that to others.
What they are about is sound, and these do the business on that front. They are a great-sounding set of phones that are very detailed. They carry on the AKG K240 Monitor tradition in that respect. That will be enough to satisfy a lot of people. Comfort levels are good, which is enough, and they are lightweight. Lengthy listening periods will not then be a problem.
Finally, though, we come to the price point. This may well be one of the most staggering elements of this review. We don’t think you will find another set of headphones perform at this level for even twice the price. It is quite amazing how these can be offered at such a price.
Would we recommend them? Most definitely!