Review: AKG K240 MKII studio headphones with exchangeable cables

In the test: AKG K240 MKII studio headphones

I recently got myself a Groovebox from Novation (Novation Circuit Tracks) to make some electronic music. I am absolutely not a musician, but the possibilities of the device are fascinating and so it happened that I got the new version of the Novation Circuit (the "new" has the addition "Tracks"). Certainly there will be a layman's test report soon, but this post here is about headphones that I got for it: the AKG K240 MKII.

At just under 60 euros, the AKG K240 MKII are very inexpensive studio headphones, but they have a lot to offer (photos: Sir Apfelot).

At just under 60 euros, the AKG K240 MKII are very inexpensive studio headphones, but they have a lot to offer (photos: Sir Apfelot).

Why wired headphones and not the AirPods?

Very simple: The Novation Groovebox does not support Bluetooth and only offers a 3,5 mm jack socket to connect headphones or an amplifier. I suspect that Bluetooth is not so popular with music makers because it is always associated with a certain latency, which interferes with production.

So that I don't annoy other roommates with my unmusical toothless, I wanted to do without speakers and prefer to use headphones. And the AirPods are unfortunately out of the question because they only work via Bluetooth. The EarPods, on the other hand, would have been a choice, but they have a very average sound.

The cable of the AKG K240 MKII is connected to the headphones via a mini XLR connection and can be exchanged in the event of a defect.

The cable of the AKG K240 MKII is connected to the headphones via a mini XLR connection and can be exchanged in the event of a defect.

Studio headphones vs. "normal" headphones

The second criterion that was important to me when choosing the headphones is the neutral frequency response. If you generally wear headphones when producing music or audio that already have a bass-heavy sound, this frequency range will be underrepresented in the finished audio file because the headphones have artificially increased it.

For this reason, musicians and other audio producers like to use studio headphones that have a frequency response that is as linear as possible and thus a "neutral" sound.

As a result, of course, studio headphones sound less “good”, as many people equate strong bass with good sound. But the bass is not "amplified" here, as it is said of headphones from Bose or Beats, rather the bass range with studio headphones is at best just as strong and weak as the mids and highs. This gives them a rather neutral sound, which for most people can probably best be described with the words "clear, but boring".

For this reason, studio headphones for normal music enjoyment are only suitable for a few people or for music styles such as classical ... Most people will prefer other headphones that "optimize" the sound through their construction or electronics.

In the scope of delivery of the AKG K240 MKII, in addition to the coiled cable with a length of 5 meters, there is also a 3 meter long unspiralized cable.

In the scope of delivery of the AKG K240 MKII, in addition to the 5-meter coiled cable, there is also a 3-meter-long, non-coiled cable.

Technical data of the AKG K-240 MKII

In my opinion, the specs are less important than the sound of headphones, but I would still like to deal with these data:

  • Manufacturer: AKG
  • Model: K-240 MKII
  • Construction: Circumaural (Over-Ear)
  • System: semi-open
  • dynamic headphones
  • Nominal impedance: 55 Ohm
  • Nominal load capacity: 200 mW
  • Transmission range: 15 - 25.000 Hz
  • Sound pressure level: 91 dB / V
  • detachable cable, one-sided cable connection
  • 3m straight cable with 3,5 mm jack plug
  • 5m spiral cable with 3,5 mm jack plug
  • screwable adapter 3,5 mm to 6,3 mm jack
  • Weight without cable: 226 g
  • Weight with cable: 281 g
  • incl. 1 pair of velor ear pads
  • Source: Thomann or Amazon
  • Price: approx. 60 - 65 euros

From the price you can see that I looked around in the lower segment when shopping. I only need the headphones for my private music-making experiments and I think cheap headphones are enough for that.

Processing of the AKG K240 MKII

The AKG K240 MKII headphones are largely made of plastic, which I expected in view of the price, but also find it good because it makes the weight quite low. The headphones can be worn for a long time without being uncomfortable due to the weight.

There are lighter headphones, but these are mostly of the on-ear design, which I wanted to avoid for reasons of comfort.

Despite the large amount of plastic, the AKG K240 MKII looks very robust and the height adjustment of the ear cups is tight and by no means wobbly.

The height of the earphones can be adjusted to the shape of the head on two bars.

The height of the earphones can be adjusted to the shape of the head on two bars.

A Thomann customer wrote this nice sentence about processing:

Immediately after unpacking, I had to look at the bill again to make sure that I really bought the right headphones. I've already seen headphones that were much more expensive and made much worse.

So there is nothing negative to report about the processing. The soft band that rests on the head is pleasantly soft and - like the low weight - ensures good wearing comfort.

The padding of the headband is made of synthetic leather (as far as I can tell), but that pleases those who refuse to wear leather and is still very comfortable.

The padding of the headband is made of synthetic leather (as far as I can tell), but that pleases those who refuse to wear leather and is still very comfortable.

Interchangeable cable and ear pads

I think it is positive that the cable can be exchanged without any problems. It is connected to the headphones with a mini XLR connector, which clicks into place and can only be released by pressing a small metal button. Thanks to the standardized mini XLR connection, you are free to use non-AKG cables and by using a plug connection, defective cables can be quickly replaced without the entire headphones having to be scrapped.

Another advantage is the ability to change the ear pads yourself. The scope of delivery includes those with artificial leather that are already mounted, but you can also find a pair with a velvet cover.

If you prefer fabric to synthetic leather around your ears, you can also put on the supplied replacement covers for the AKG K240 MKII.

If you prefer fabric to synthetic leather around your ears, you can also put on the supplied replacement covers for the AKG K240 MKII.

AKG K240 MKII in the test: the sound quality

For me as a non-audiophile, it is always a bit difficult to judge the sound of headphones. It is good if you already have a few customer reviews at Thomann at hand. When it comes to audio equipment, I always value the reviews at Thomann, because I think there are more musicians there than at Amazon.

Not just good reviews of the AKG K240 MKII

When it comes to headphones, you will always find both very positive and very negative reviews. I think that is mainly due to the subjective feeling that every person has when assessing a "good sound" of headphones.

So you can find people who rate the sound of the AKG K240 MKII in the mid-range and tinny, but also those who perceive the sound to be very clear and balanced. Ultimately, you have to see for yourself how you personally perceive the sound.

Despite the negative reviews, I decided on the AKG K240 MKII because it received significantly more good than bad reviews and also because AKG has had a good name in the field of studio equipment for a long time.

Even if a lot of plastic and synthetic leather is used in the AKG K240 MKII, I still think the processing quality is very good, as the headphones look very durable.

Even if a lot of plastic and synthetic leather is used in the AKG K240 MKII, I still think the processing quality is very good, as the headphones look very durable.

Clear, balanced, slight weaknesses at very low frequencies

In my opinion, the sound is actually neutral and balanced, but I was able to determine with some tracks of electronic music that my Bose QC35 is better able to transmit extremely low frequencies than the AKG K240 MKII. But here I am again comparing “bass-heavy” headphones with studio headphones, which actually doesn't make sense.

This limitation only occurred with so few songs that you can actually live with it.

Finally, a nice rating from a Thomann customer, who is also more than twice as expensive AKG K702 available and so can judge both:

Compared to the K-702, hardly any difference can be heard. The K-702 is perhaps a bit more brilliant and also has a bit more space, but that really doesn't bother me at all. [...] With the headphones I heard details in the songs that I normally only hear when I'm at home alone and sitting in front of my system.

For my purposes, the AKG K240 MKII are more than sufficient, as I don't have high demands, but in the reviews at Thomann, a number of musicians and music producers also report that they have a very good sound for the price they have asked for.

For my purposes, the AKG K240 MKII are more than sufficient, as I don't have high demands, but in the reviews at Thomann, a number of musicians and music producers also report that they have a very good sound for the price they have asked for.

Low bit rate music doesn't sound good

What I also noticed is a "problem" that you have with all studio headphones: If you listen to MP3 with low quality, you can unfortunately hear the poor sound quality much more clearly than with normal headphones. I suppose this is because the medium and high frequency ranges are not regulated here.

In addition, the AKG K240 MKII may also resolve the background noise better than my Bose headphones. The typical crackling of too low a bit rate can be heard more quickly. But I see that as a plus point with studio headphones, because after all you want to find the “weak points” of your audio creations in order to fix them.

If you take a closer look at the AKG K240 MKII, you can already see that it is not a 500 euro headphone, but you hardly have to make any compromises in terms of durability and sound.

If you take a closer look at the AKG K240 MKII, you can already see that it is not a 500 euro headphone, but you hardly have to make any compromises in terms of durability and sound.

Conclusion: price and performance of the AKG K240 MKII

I bought the AKG headphones for 61 euros from Thomann and can only say: it's a bargain. I would not have expected the processing quality and the elegant and simple look at this price.

The interchangeable cable is also a nice goodie. The fact that two cables and two replacement covers for the headphones are included in the scope of delivery is perfect.

If you are looking for cheap, wired headphones without a lot of frills but with good wearing comfort, you should be happy with the AKG K240 MKII.

You can find it here at Thomann or Amazon for a price between 60 and 65 euros.

To connect wired headphones to the iPhone, you need the Lightning to audio adapter from Apple (Photos: Sir Apfelot).

To connect wired headphones to the iPhone, you need the Lightning to audio adapter from Apple (Photos: Sir Apfelot).

AKG K240 MKII on iPhone, iPad and Mac - possible with an adapter

So that you can use the headphones on the iPhone, you need the Apple Lightning to 3,5mm jack adapter. And please take the original from Apple. In my experience, all other audio adapters of this type will stop working sooner or later.

If you have a Mac or an iPad Pro with a USB-C interface, you need one USB-C to audio adapter - preferably also the model from Apple, although I believe that other adapters also work well here, since USB-C is not a proprietary Apple thing.

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