In the world of sub-$100 studio headphones, competition is tough. However, the K240 Studio from the Austrian brand AKG emerge as one of our favorite budget picks, thanks to suave design and huge sound. AKG emphasize that this semi-open-back pair is an update of their classic AKG K240 Monitor pair – so what’s new?
Despite coming in at well under $100, this is a stylish pair of phones! It’s difficult to criticize the wide appeal of a black and gold color scheme, which the K240 Studios pull off very well. In addition to looking good, this is a very practical pair too, with a self-adjusting non-twisting headband that fits snugly, and is strong and flexible enough to allow for single-ear listening.
This is complemented by the over-ear cups, which offer soft leather cushions and a ‘gimbal-type suspension’, allowing the cups to conform to your ear size and shape without too much pressing. In short, they are very comfortable! For an affordable pair, the overall build quality feels very rugged too – certainly capable of withstanding a long day in a busy studio.
Attached to this set of cans is a 3-meter cable made with 99.99% oxygen-free copper, along with gold-plated plugs on both ends (note that this set includes a screw-on 1/8” to 1/4” adapter). This cable conveniently detaches, although is a little on the thin side for our liking.
Getting technical, the K240 Studios feature advanced XXL transducers with Varimotion diaphragms. What does that mean? Essentially that, on the outside edges, the diaphragm is thinner and more elastic, leading to a more powerful bass response. Meanwhile, in the center, the diaphragm is thicker and less resonant, for more accurate mids and crisp highs. Finally, there is a 15Hz to 25kHz frequency response and an impedance of 55 ohms – so a bit of juice is needed to run these, although still easily driven through a smartphone.
The tech specs promise a lot and we are pleased to say that they deliver. They offer such a flat response that you almost forget this is a sub-$100 pair. The bass has great punch but it’s not overly rumbly (some may see this as a downfall, others won’t), while the mids and highs are just beautiful. Of course, the semi-open-back design also leads to a more natural and open sound, but it comes with the typical sound bleed you would expect from this style, so use in a quiet environment is key.
For under one hundred bucks, the specs, design and components on offer here are very surprising. With such a robust build and spectacular audio replication for the price, it’s no wonder the K240 Studios are such a popular pair. They aren’t good for travel or noisy environments due to their semi-open-back design, but if you are a home user or studio technician, this is an affordable pair you’d be foolish not to add to your shortlist.