AKG is one of the world’s premier headphone brands. The original K240 was a revelation when it launched decades ago. It rapidly became a staple for many professionals. But does the latest incarnation of these headphones live up to the previous model’s success? Read on to find out.
AKG K240 MKII
The AKG K240 MKII takes an existing winning formula and updates it for the modern era. All the hallmarks that made the original a success are still present. Below are the quick highlights before we take a closer look.
The AKG K240 MKII is an aggressively priced headphone option for any studio. Below we take a deeper dive into what these cheap semi open headphones have to offer.
One of the hallmarks of the original K240 was the exceptional sound quality. Perfectly suited to serious studio work. But equally pleasant for day-to-day listening.
The top end demonstrates a high level of clarity and precision. Not sharp and non-fatiguing. Something many neutral focused headphones suffer from. The mids are equally clear with plenty of tonality and warmth. Mid-tone details don’t get lost and you’ll be able to make mixing decisions confidently.
The AKG K240 MKII features a very natural and neutral sound profile.
Bass tonality is the weakest component of the soundscape. The small drivers struggle with sub-bass. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. The more restrained bass output allows you to focus on the mid-range and top end. But if you work with bass-heavy genres these are not the best headphones for you.
Precision delivery is a highlight of these headphones. Frequency response across the full range is neutral and accurate. Very important for analytical work or detailed mixing applications.
The soundstage and spatial audio performance are also up there with the best. Thanks in no small part to the semi-open design.
For serious work, these are quite capable. And at this price point, they are easily one of the best semi-open headphones you can buy today.
Another excellent element of the AKG K240 MKII is the high level of comfort.
Let’s start with the headband. While at first glance there is minimal padding you’ll come to rapidly realize why. This headband is self-adjusting and comfortably adapts to your head. The wide headband also minimized pressure. Excellent execution.
Moving onto the ear cups you’ll have access to two types of padding. The leatherette option will be familiar if you’ve used any other headphones in the past. They offer a stable and comfortable fit with just the right amount of resistance. The velvet earpads up the comfort level but are prone to trapping dirt and sweat.
The wide headband provides a stable and comfortable fit.
Both of the ear pads are easy to remove and replace. So there is no issue trying out both before selecting your favorite.
The large circumaural ear cups offer enough space to accommodate most ear types. But if you do happen to have larger than normal ears you may find it harder to get a precise fit. Heat build-up is also minimal thanks to the semi-open design.
These are also lightweight which further adds to the comfort levels. If you need a pair of semi-open headphones for long sessions these are a great option.
The AKG K240 MKII doesn’t stray far from the styling I’ve come to expect from AKG headphones. The large headband features the AKG logo. Running alongside the headband is the familiar guiding rails.
Accents are kept to a minimum with restricted splashes of blue. These are not unattractive headphones but equally, they are not as stylish as other options on the market.
The patented transducer delivers great performance in the mid-range.
The patented Varimotion 30mm XXL transducers are well constructed and feature good seals and positioning. But considering how small they are it is no surprise there is underwhelming bass response. This is further highlighted by the frequency range of 15Hz-25kHz. Plenty of room up top but not as tight in the low end.
Detachable cables always earn extra points in my book. Plus you’ll have the choice between two cables. The locking mechanism is secure and dependable.
At 55 ohms these play fairly nice with lower-powered devices. You’ll still experience a bit of drop off but for most day-to-day applications this is fine. For best performance, I’d suggest running these through a headphone amp. Especially in a studio setting.
Unfortunately, these do not collapse making them not an ideal choice for travel. Considering the semi-open back design you’ll be unlikely to want to use these out and about anyway.
Isolation is weak as you’d expect from a semi-open pair of headphones. There is a slight amount of buffering from exterior noises. But expect others to be able to hear what you are listening to. Likewise, you’ll have some awareness of your surroundings.
While not groundbreaking in appearance the AKG K240 MKII is a capable and feature-rich pair of headphones.
This area is a little hard to judge. Much of it depends on how you use headphones. If you are particularly rough with your cans I’d have some concerns with these. But if you are reasonably careful with your gear these are a decent choice.
At this price point, I don’t expect supreme quality materials. Yet the AKG 240 MKII still provides quality beyond what I expect.
Component quality is repectable but the plastic feels a little flimsy.
Yes, there is an abundance of plastic and it does feel a little thin. Slightly flimsy in feel yet they still manage to hold up after a lot of use. I think the choice in plastic was critical here. Light yet durable enough to handle frequent use.
Earpads are high quality and replaceable which is great for extended longevity. Connection points are also solid and the mini-XLR point is dependable.
The two included cables are also good. You’ll have a long 9.8′ (3m) straight cable and a coiled cable that extends to 16.4′ (5m). No complaints here.
From a value perspective, the AKG K240 MKII is an appealing option. It doesn’t sport the extreme price of many high-end studio cans. Especially in the semi-open back section of the market.
But despite the more conservative price, it has impressive features and performance. Great sound, high comfort level, and respectable build quality.
The AKG K240 MKII comes with a good range of accessories.
The inclusion of spare ear pads and the choice of two cables are also welcome. But it is worth noting that these headphones don’t come with a pouch or case. Considering you’ll be unlikely to take these out and about it isn’t surprising.
It’s a solid value proposition that strikes a fantastic middle ground. Affordable yet capable.
The latest iteration of these legendary headphones has already earned many fans. Plenty of 4 and 5-star reviews. Impressively these also have gathered plenty of positive reviews from industry experts.
Are Semi-Open Headphones Worth It?
Most headphones on the market are closed-back options. These provide great isolation but do come with some drawbacks. The heat build-up in your ears is often the biggest problem. Bass frequency build-up is also an issue. This leads to a claustrophobic sound which may lack accuracy.
Semi-open headphones are great for serious studio work.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have fully open headphones. These provide a natural and breezy soundstage. But they often lack punch and by design are not good choices in noisy environments.
Semi-open options aim to give you the best of both worlds. A decently spacious soundstage. Some isolation. And a high degree of comfort. If you can’t choose between open or closed-back a semi-open option is a great choice.
If you are in the market for semi-open headphones there are some interesting alternatives. Below are some other headphones worth considering.
Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro Review
Beyerdynamic is another popular headphone brand. Their studio headphones are some of the best in the industry. The DT 880 Pro features fantastic build quality and great sound.
- Fantastic balance across all frequencies. Very neutral and great for studio work.
- Super plush earpads and a relaxed fit for supreme comfort.
- More expensive than the AKG K240 MKII.
Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro
AKG K240 Review
If you want to save some money and don’t care about accessories the base model AKG K240 is perfect. It still offers superb sound and comfort but at a much lower price point.
- Affordable headphones that still offer excellent neutrality in their sound profile.
- The headband provides great stability without a lot of pressure.
- Suffers from the same lackluster bass response as the K240 MKII.
Samson SR850 Review
The Samson SR850 is clearly inspired by the AKG K240 MKII. It offers a very similar design but at a much cheaper price point. But the appearance is where the similarities end.
- Respectable sound profile that is quite neutral. However, they are a little bright at the top end.
- The ultra-low price point makes these an enticing option for budget-conscious buyers.
- While these are semi-open they do trap heat more than other options on the market.
Should You Buy?
You can’t go wrong with a classic. Even more so when it comes to a refresh of an already well-established offering.
The AKG K240 MKII remains one of the very best semi-open headphone options available today. A fantastic sound profile that is accurate but not lifeless. The comfortable fit and replaceable components also add to the appeal.
If you want a dependable and precise pair of semi-open headphones the AKG K240 MKII is among the best out there.
AKG K240 MKII