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Headphones to use with Kronos?

 
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blazerunner
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Joined: 15 Nov 2017
Posts: 206

PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2022 3:53 pm    Post subject: Headphones to use with Kronos? Reply with quote

Hello everyone,

I'm back again with a new question. This time it's about what you use to listen to your Kronos with.

I have normally used AKG K240's to both record and mix music with my Kronos primarily. I have enjoyed these headphones thoroughly. They gave me a well rounded point of view of where my sound was sitting. They do alright for most things except 808 bass I can never seem to get them to carry those signals well enough.

Long story short I've used these headphones for years (I own a few pairs of them) and one of them broke. I decided to replace the broken pair by purchasing a new K240 headset and a K92 headset.

I'm not familiar with the AGK K92's but I wanted to try a different monitoring headset to if I might get a different perspective on sound I might have been missing with my K240's.

The K92's I tried with the Kronos only seem to focus on the "High" range of the sound output and are very tinny. The Mid and Low range of the spectrum seem to have dropped off entirely. It sounds bad...very bad... not even good enough for monitoring.

I plugged the headset into my Tascam DR-40X I use to record ideas on and it seemed to be balanced better. None of the tinny stuff... just a solid flat sound. It even worked with the EQ presets on the device.

I had a DR40 before I worked that in to death and forcefully had to by the DR40X the replacement model as the DR40 was discontinued. Blah blah what's the big deal about that? Well the DR40 was a more colorful unit from Tascam. It didn't have EQ settings it was stagnant and but gave a balanced output sound. I used my K240's with this model and it sounded quite well overall but it was very colorful almost like post mixed recordings.

The DR40X I don't know what Tascam changed but they made it a very FLAT sounding unit. They added in a series of preset EQ's you can switch between that will give you mid,high,low ranges etc.

The K240's sound terrible on the DR40X and even worse with any of the EQ settings.

When I tried my new K92's on the DR40X it was the opposite experience of how they sounded when I used them with my Kronos. They were flat but balanced when I used them with the DR40X and even the EQ settings that didn't work so well with the K240's seemed perfectly made for the K92's. Vocals were clear, audio was clear, everything sounded like a good flat "Pre Mixed audio".

So now that I've bored you with all those details back to the Kronos. The K240's sound great in them aside from leveling basses which is a bit dicey but the K92's sound terrible. These are both monitoring headphones aimed at giving a flat sound for mixing.

Is there some sort of ideal output setting that should be used for the Kronos headphone jack when using monitoring headphones? or a headphone amp or something to improve the headphone monitoring experience I'm having?

The relevance of my DR40 is that I mixdown my Kronos demo songs into it using my AKG 240's. The mixes are very "true". Everything sits exactly where it should be to the point that some recordings with vocals on them actually sound almost like finished songs even though they're not. These are mixes comings straight from the Kronos's sequencer into a recording random device. So there is a lot to be said about the precision of the Kronos's mixing and sound output capabilities.

So the question again is knowing how precise the Kronos can be with the K240's what might be throwing off the K92's from achieving the same result when plugged into the Kronos? Why would they be displaying a different spectrum of sound when they're receiving the same audio output signals and is there any way to "customize" the Kronos's headphone output to suit the headset being used with it?


Side note: I've tried many different brands,manufacturers over the decades for keyboard monitoring and that's a long and scary tale but I enjoy the AKG's because they don't lie to me and then throw off the sound when you finally play it on a speaker. I'm sure some of you have your favorites too I'd like to hear about those as well if anyone has some insight and experience into the headache of finding good keyboard monitoring headphones.
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voip
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Joined: 27 Nov 2014
Posts: 3228

PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2022 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The K92 are closed back whilst the K240 are a semi open design. The trouble with closed back headphones, is that the "cabinet" behind the diaphragm is exceedingly small, leading to quite a pronounced resonance quite high in the frequency response, which can colour the sound considerably. Open field, and semi open are far better in this regard, based on experience.
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KK
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Joined: 13 Oct 2016
Posts: 1168

PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2022 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many parameters can affect how given headphones will sound. The design is one and personal taste/preference is a very big one as well. Another is the impedance matching between load and source, which means that the same headphones can sound quite differently depending where you plug them.

We could discuss for pages about specs and theory to try to find how impedance, inductive reactance and so on affect the frequency response of speakers/headphones. In the end, it is so much easier to simply try different headphones for a given source, in this case the Kronos. When I bought mine, since I didn't have the budget for good quality monitors, I opted to buy excellent headphones so I could hear this great instrument in all its glory. After trying 7 or 8 different sets, I ended up choosing the Shure SRH840 because to my ears they had the best compromise between giving excellent response (flat with just a tiny extra bass color) to acoustic/piano/etc and electronic/synths sounds. Actually, when playing low Moog notes with something like a Lucky Man sound, I have to make sure the Kronos volume doesn't exceed halfway or my ears could start bleeding. Cool

A very important thing here is that it doesn't mean these headphones are so much better than the Sennheiser or Beyerdynamic or others I tried in the same price range. It simply means that to my ears they seem to be the best sounding - or who knows, maybe the best impedance-matching load for the source (Kronos). In the end, someone else would have probably thought differently and chosen different headphones.

Back to some obscure theory, in your case on the load side we have the K240 with its 1 kHz impedance at 55 ohms, whereas the K92 is 32 ohms. My Shure are just in between at 44 ohms. Now for the source, the Kronos output shoots 60+60 mW at 33 ohms. Compare this with your other source DR-40X at only 20+20 mW for a similar 32 ohms. From this data and your previous comments, maybe the K92 are overwhelmed by the Kronos 60 mW output and end up responding poorly because too close in impedance with the source (usually not recommended) at this amplitude. Of course, it could also be something entirely different. Wink
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soarsco



Joined: 29 Jun 2021
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2022 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I'm using headphones, I use my AKG K712s and have been pleased with the sound.
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blazerunner
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Joined: 15 Nov 2017
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2022 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the helpful replies and suggestions. I ended up ditching the K92's and grabbing another pair of K240's. K92's were beautiful but I could never find a solid answer from any source if they required a headphone amp or not and I didn't want to spend $100 on one from AKG to find out.

The K240's have served me well. Nicely balanced no complaints. Mixes stay very solid and accurate. I'd love to try some other headphones. Nearest music store that has any to try is extremely far away so I like going by what you guys suggest.

I live in my headphones. No privacy for monitors at the time. So a headset is my life line and if they sound crappy it throws me off quite a lot but hey that's any of us right?
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nitecrawler
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2022 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

blazerunner wrote:
Thanks for all the helpful replies and suggestions. I ended up ditching the K92's and grabbing another pair of K240's. K92's were beautiful but I could never find a solid answer from any source if they required a headphone amp or not and I didn't want to spend $100 on one from AKG to find out.

The K240's have served me well. Nicely balanced no complaints. Mixes stay very solid and accurate. I'd love to try some other headphones. Nearest music store that has any to try is extremely far away so I like going by what you guys suggest.

I live in my headphones. No privacy for monitors at the time. So a headset is my life line and if they sound crappy it throws me off quite a lot but hey that's any of us right?


Agree totally! They are what I use as well.
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voip
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Joined: 27 Nov 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2022 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Based on the manufacturer's impedance specs for the K92 and K240 headphones, and for the Kronos' headphone circuit output impedance, the power delivered by the Kronos to the two headphone types should differ by less than 0.3dB.

AKG state the headphone sensitivity for the K92 to be 113dB for 1V input to the headphone terminals which, at 32 Ohms impedance, equates to 31 milliwatts (15.0dBm), and for the K240 the sensitivity is 104dB for 1V input which, at 55 Ohms impedance equates to 18 milliwatts (12.6dBm).

The net result of combining the above figures is this. When the K92's are connected to the Kronos, they will be louder than the K240's by around 7dB. So, if the K240's are loud enough, the K92's will be louder still i.e. no further amplification would be required.

There are some assumptions made in the above calculations. The manufacturer's sensitivity figures are quoted for a 1kHz tone, whilst the impedance may not actually be equal to the quoted figure at this frequency.
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