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AKG K702 vs. AKG K240-DF vs. Focal CMS 40 Desktop Synthesizers
Old 17th February 2012
Gear nut

Thread Starter
AKG K702 vs. AKG K240-DF vs. Focal CMS 40

Dear Gearslutz users,

maybe somebody has the same experience, I would be very grateful for any comments/suggestions. In my small home studio, I'm using Focal CMS 40 speakers and AKG K702 headphones for work. I'm pretty happy with their sound, whether it's studio monitors or headphones - it's balanced, clean, neutral. Period. I'm working mostly with electronic music, but not limited to

However, when working and listening with AKG K702s, how could it be that most of the electronic music sounds compressed (I can confirm that the dynamic range of most of the electronic tracks I'm listening to is pretty low - loudness war is present, I know), instrumental separation is difficult, there also seems to be lack of music dynamics in overall, but when compared to another high quality recordings with much higher dynamic range, which are not that compressed, they just sound awesome with my headphones - there's dynamics and life in the music, the instrumental separation is pretty good, the listening is much fun - I just can't understand this. I'm not saying that I do not enjoy listening to electronic music with my AKGs. But when listening to same electronic music with Focals, suddenly the dynamics is somehow there, the instrumental separation is pretty good and the tracks do not sound that compressed as I've mentioned with AKGs - I just can't understand this twice And the last surprise, Focals do tell me when there's overcompression too, not that I want to say that they're somehow masking what I've described above. It feels like the AKGs' strength is on microdynamics and Focals' in macrodynamics - they're a perfect duo. If one of them can't reveal something, the other one will do.

To make a conclusion, could it be that the AKGs just tell you the simple truth in overall - when the recording is bad, overcompressed and suffers from dynamics, you'll just hear it. Period. On the other side, could it be that the Focals are a little more forgiving and better suited for working with electronic music, i.e. creating some kind of artificial layering/imaging so that you can hear more deeply into the music, something like a polarization filter for music? Or is it something else?

Does somebody have a similar experience? Can somebody please comment on this? Can anybody tell the difference between AKG K702 vs. AKG K240-DF - how does it compare and which headphone from these two is a better complement to studio monitors?

Best regards,
Old 17th February 2012
I think the AKG 240DF (600 ohm) is the better headphone - more even tonal balance and very low distortion. I hear the 702 as slightly scooped.

I have not paid attention to the compression effect you mention, so cannot comment on that, except to say I do almost all of my mixing and mastering work with speakers (K+H 0300s).
Old 20th February 2012
Gear nut

Thread Starter
Well the mystery seems like it's been solved for now

I've been trying some VST plugins to simulate the sound of my studio monitors with headphones and I've been able to closely match that sound - I think it's all about the stereo separation and imaging. With proper simulation I'm able to dig into the mix partially, as I've described in the first post of this thread.

But this makes me somehow conclude that headphones alone would probably never be able to reproduce stereo imaging at the level of studio monitors and thus mixing would be a little bit tricky

Anyway, the 112dB Redline Monitor is an awesome plugin - I strongly recommend it for anybody trying to reproduce sound of his/her studio monitors on headphones.

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