The AKG K240 is a mainstay in the semi-open-back headphone market, and for a good reason. They have become one of the most popular options with iconic styling, impressive sound, and a low price point. In this review, we take a closer look at what these studio headphones offer.
These versatile and capable headphones are among the most affordable semi-open headphones on the market. But despite their modest price tag, they still deliver exceptional performance.
For a set of headphones at a low price, the AKG K240 has a lot to offer. But as with any low-priced option, they are not without some faults. Let’s jump into the detailed review to see why these are so loved and some minor gripes that hold them back from perfection.
Semi-open-back headphones occupy an interesting space in the market. They aim to give you the open and airy sound features of open-back headphones while retaining some of the isolation and bleed resistance of closed-back cans.
It’s a tricky balance to get right, and the AKG K240 is perhaps the best example in the budget space to achieve it. First impressions mean a lot, and the K240 was instantly impressive.
The highlight is the impeccable neutrality across the frequency range, especially in the mids and highs. Studio headphones can fall prey to overt sharpness in the top end, which leads to listening fatigue, but the AKG K240 exhibits none of these traits. Accurate and precise in the top end without any tinniness to cause irritation.
That same level of precision extends into the mid-range. Wonderfully rich and dynamic in range and depth, these headphones offer superior translation of vocal elements. Subtle nuances that I had not heard before became instantly apparent. An excellent set of headphones for tweaking vocal recordings. Instrumental components were equally polished and impressive.
The AKG K240 offers superb midrange performance.
While I fell in love with the tonality and accuracy of the mids and highs, the low end disappointed me. These are semi-open headphones, so I wasn’t expecting rumbling bass. I was also looking for accuracy instead of the v-shaped curve that consumer or DJ headphones possess.
Regarding bass accuracy, the AKG K240 delivered, but I couldn’t help but feel underwhelmed by the lack of depth. Considering the small 30mm driver that runs the show, it isn’t that surprising, but something to keep in mind depending on your needs. If you work with bass-heavy genres, you’ll be better served looking into alternatives.
Other impressive elements of the sound profile are the excellent imaging and generously wide and open soundstage. The semi-open design is ideally leveraged to create a spatial environment that accurately represents elements in the stereo field without sounding distant and hollow.
Despite the lackluster bass response, the sound quality of the AKG K240 is exceptionally impressive, especially once you consider the super approachable price point these occupy. An excellent budget pair of studio headphones that you can accurately mix with.
With fantastic sound, the AKG K240 already earns much praise, but a pair of studio headphones must also offer high comfort. Once again, the AKG K240 doesn’t disappoint with a superb comfort level.
The ear padding is generously thick, offering a perfect amount of firmness. They are not overly hard where they would struggle to adapt to your head shape, but equally not too soft and squishy. The result is a comfortable and stable fit that accommodates a vast range of potential head shapes.
Despite minimal padding, the headband is very comfortable.
Supporting the comfortable ear pads is the broad headband. The minimal level of padding is deceiving, as I initially thought these might rest aggressively on the top of my head. But the combination of the width plus the adjustability ensured there weren’t any uncomfortable pressure points.
The semi-open design also ensures a high level of breathability to prevent heat build-up over longer sessions. This is especially handy in hot climates where other headphones can instantly become a hot mess that interferes with your ability to concentrate on the task at hand.
Aesthetic design is a matter of individual taste, so take the following opinion with a grain of salt. I’ve had more headphones come across my desk than I’d like to admit. In that time, I’ve seen everything from cheap, ugly, and tacky options to refined, slick, professional cans. These fall somewhere in the middle.
The design is instantly recognizable as AKG due to the wide headband and distinctive guiding rails. I’ve always liked this design, so I have no complaints there. The all-black frame is professional in appearance and doesn’t feel or look cheap.
The most noticeable design detail is the use of gold accents. This is where opinions are likely to split. After dealing with many plain and ordinary-looking headphones, I appreciate the splash of color that gives these headphones some character. But equally, some might find this addition a little tacky. Where you fall on this spectrum will come down to personal preference.
Attractive design with a splash of color.
As for technical design, the AKG K240 features patented Varimotion 30mm XXL transducers for delivering high accuracy and superb range. Combined with the semi-open design, the results are remarkably engaging.
Speaking of the semi-open design, there will be sound leakage, so expect people around you to hear what you are listening to. Likewise, these headphones are a poor choice for recording sessions where sound can bleed into your recordings.
The isolation is also passive and, due to the semi-open design, ineffective. If you work in a noisy environment, you’ll need to look at closed-back options that will provide greater isolation from the outside world.
These headphones also offer detachable cables, which is a fantastic feature. Not only does this allow you to replace the cable easily it also opens up different cable styles. While you only get a 9.8 ft. (3 m) straight cable in the box, picking up an after-market shorter or coiled option is easy.
Unfortunately, the AKG K240 headphones do not collapse, so they are not ideal for traveling. But these are semi-open cans, so they would not be my first choice for the road, even if they could collapse.
These are aggressively priced headphones, so my expectations were relatively low regarding quality. But the AKG K240 surprised me with the level of quality at this price point, and I’ve come across headphones double the price that didn’t feel as robust as these.
Keep in mind that this isn’t to say these are rock solid, but within the context of their price point, they are a lot better than many other options out there. The plastic frame is relatively robust, and with appropriate care, these will stand up to the rigors of frequency use. But these might not be for you if you are a little rough with your cans.
Good construction considering the low price point.
The ability to replace the ear padding also scores the AKG K240 some extra points in this area. Ear pads will inevitably become worn over time, so it’s nice to be able to swap these out quickly, and with different padding types available, you can customize these to suit your preferred style.
Likewise, the detachable cables earn a further few points in the durability department. We live in an age of disposable electronics, especially in the budget department. So, I highly appreciate cans with replaceable components: less waste and more money saved.
The headband features several potential failure points due to several moving parts. But I can’t foresee these becoming a problem until you’ve got a lot of use out of them. At this price, it’s hard to fault the AKG K240.
The enticing price is one of the most appealing aspects of the AKG K240 semi-open-back headphones. These have no right to be this cheap and yet still perform this well. Setting up a studio can be costly, so having options like this on the market is a blessing for any budget-focused producer.
The AKG K240 doesn’t come with any extra accessories.
These don’t come with additional accessories, so if you want a pouch, spare earpads, or cable variety, you’ll need to buy these separately. Alternatively, AKG does offer a more comprehensive option with the AKG K240 MKII that includes more accessories but maintains the excellent sound profile of the base AKG K240.
Simply put, these headphones offer excellent value for money. While there might be better headphones out there in both sound quality and durability, you’ll have difficulty finding anything comparable to the AKG K240 at this price point.
The AKG K240 headphones have been around for a while. In that time, they have accumulated a substantial amount of customer reviews. The results are overwhelmingly positive out of hundreds of reviews, with most people giving these 4 or 5 stars. If you want a pair of headphones that have proven themselves time and again, look no further.
The Importance Of Midrange In Audio
The AKG K240 semi-open headphones feature a clear, accurate, and dynamic midrange. This is essential for reliable decisions in this crucial range.
Midrange audio makes up about 80% of most productions and is the most prominent and noticeable range. That is why making correct mixing decisions in this range is vital. Vocals and the bulk of instrument tonality fall within this range, so any significant errors will be highly noticeable.
Many people focus on the bass output or the high-frequency clarity when assessing audio devices. While these elements are also essential, you should not discount the importance of a solid midrange. So if you spend a lot of time mixing, mastering, or monitoring, aim for a reliable pair of headphones with a dependable midrange, like the AKG K240.
The AKG K240 is an excellent pair of headphones, but some alluring alternatives are on the market. Below we take a quick peek at some other options worth considering.
AKG K240 MKII Review
The AKG K240 MKII is essentially the same pair of headphones as the base K240. But where these differ is the inclusion of some fantastic accessories.
- Includes a spare set of earpads and an extra coiled cable.
- Lightweight and comfortable with a more restrained aesthetic.
- While still affordable, these are noticeably more expensive than the base K240.
AKG K240 MKII
Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro Review
Consider the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro studio headphones if you have a higher budget. Exceptional sound quality and supreme comfort make the higher price worth it.
- A well-balanced sound profile that is neutral and offers better bass response than the K240.
- The ear padding is among the best in the industry. Super comfortable.
- The high impedance rating means these work best with a headphone amp.
Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro
Samson SR850 Review
The Samson SR850 clearly takes inspiration from the AKG K240 with a similar design, but the most appealing element of these is the super low price point.
- Detailed sound profile that is relatively neutral.
- The dirt-cheap price point makes these an excellent budget alternative.
- These feel a bit flimsy and not as well-constructed as the K240.
Should You Buy?
The AKG K240 is a superb set of affordable semi-open headphones. The excellent presence in the midrange and treble make these an enticing option for daily studio work that doesn’t involve bass-heavy compositions. The build quality is more than acceptable at this price, and the comfort level is above average. Add to this detachable cables and replaceable ear padding, and you have a winner on your hands.