Pros:Excellent value; the clarity required of professional monitor headphones, great for any listener.
Cons:The headband's grip could be tighter.
The Bottom Line: Any beginning sound producer/engineer will do great with these. Just the same, any listener will appreciate the vivid, realist reproduction of music.
The K-240 Monitor headphones are the 600-Ohm version of the model line. During the years, there were several other -240 models released: K-240 Sextett (with additional six mini diaphragms inside the cups), Studio (the current 55-Ohm production model), DF (with frequency response adjusted to match psychoacoustic model of human hearing), a few just named.
Recommend this product?
K-240 Monitor are professional studio monitor headphones which have been something of a standard equipment for musicians recording their parts when bleeding does not matter. The K-240 Monitor are semi-open circumaural headphones, passing sound through, which makes them unsuitable for singers recording their parts in studio - microphones can pick up the sound being spilled. For isolated sound monitoring, AKG made the K-270/K-271 and K-170/K-171 series of headphones.
Closed headphones however tend to sound darker and more murky than open ones. The K-240 Monitor design is quite successful in the combination of circumaural sound delivery, with a smooth, undisturbing bass, and the free-air drive of the open design.
According to AKG, the K-240 Monitor requires 11 V to be driven to 200 mW pressure (loud). This pretty much excludes portable players from driving the headphones at any volume other than "barely audible" without a dedicated headphone amplifier. Many soundcards will also have trouble driving the K-240M, but (surprise) the Apple Powerbook/Macbook notebooks and most likely desktop systems will drive them at listening volume.
The K-240 Monitor are an excellent choice for mixing/editing with a computer, however there's a minor issue. The high impedance (600 Ohm at 1 KHz) makes a dedicated headphone amplifier capable of delivering about 11-12V max. a requirement. There are inexpensive headphone amplifiers produced by Behringer (less than US$50 retail) and Samson (and many others), also most stationary amplifiers or receivers will drive the K-240M. Apple computers will also benefit from a dedicated headphone amplifier in-between the headphones and the line output. The Head-Fi forums ( http://www.head-fi.org/forums ) are full of discussions of, ads for and references to headphone amplifiers and their manufacturers, portable and not-so-portable.
As for sounding, well, there's only one requirement for monitor sounding - "truth". The AKG K-240M fulfil that requirement. In fact, many semi-professional producers unfamiliar with the AKG line of studio products might be astonished with the clarity and vividness of sounding. The K-240M sound live - in that, they're also a great choice for an audiophile on budget. No consumer headphones can be compared with the K-240M - the difference in fidelity and transparency is so great.
Another interesting note (MP3, AAC) is that compressed audio actually sounds softer and less disturbing through the K-240M (common misconception is that faithful audio gear makes MP3 files sound awful); all of the defects and distortion become more obvious, but in a pleasant, smoother, truthful way. They do not get in the way of the main audio or occlude it, as may happen with consumer headphones. Consumer headphones sound harsher exactly as they only present fragments of the full sound spectrum.
According to the AKG Studio line booklet, the K-240 Monitor have been discontinued as a mass production model, but they are still available on request. Just the same, there are several overstock/demonstration/used sets for sale. Those might cost under US$100.
The sensitivity of those headphones (20-20000 Hz) is enough for studio recording/overdubbing, CD mastering and mixing.
All-in-all, excellent value for the money. Highly recommended for the aspiring/beginning sound engineer or musician, and for any audiophile/listener looking for a not-so-expensive set of headphones. By this it is meant - music does sound vivid, live in these headphones, not just a copy of a once-live recording. What these headphones reproduce is what the recording engineer/composer had conceived.
The only tiny flaw with the K-240M is that the headband's arc doesn't press on the skull as tightly as it could have. AKG's designers have preferred comfort, so the headphones may require pressing against the head for that complete transmission of low-mid frequencies.