AKG K245 Review
With the models K175, K275, and K245, the Austrian manufacturer AKG has launched new studio headphones. While the first two headphones mentioned are equipped with closed ear cups, our test object AKG K245 represents the open design. Experience has shown that open headphone models are unsuitable for loud environments and microphone-based monitoring but are more likely to be found at the mixing station or during mastering. The following test aims to clarify to what extent AKG’s new studio headphones are up to these tasks and whether they meet professional requirements.
- extremely successful coordination of the frequency reproduction
- powerful and dynamic bass
- high wearing comfort
- robust and practical construction
- Folding mechanism
- exchangeable cable
- somewhat uncritical of sibilants
- Cable connection transmits structure-borne sound into the left auricle
Construction and processing
The secret of the open construction was already revealed in the introduction. Furthermore, the AKG K245 is equipped with a circumaural auricle. It has a sophisticated folding mechanism for space-saving transport or storage. One does not immediately discover or expect when looking at the filigree temple construction in a retro look. In addition to some plastic components, metal components are also used for heavily stressed elements and joints of the housing construction. The AKG K245 is a robust professional headphone despite its “airy” appearance. Visually and haptically, there is nothing to complain about with the neatly processed AKG headphones, which also applies to the high-quality cushioning materials made of soft synthetic leather.
The K245 is appropriately equipped and has a detachable spiral cable with an operating radius of around one to five meters when stretched. It is attached with a lockable mini XLR plug, while a gold-plated 3.5mm jack plug is located at the opposite end of the cable. A screw adapter (also gold-plated) is, of course, included in the scope of delivery of the AKG headphones, in which there is also a velvet-like bag for transporting the K245. Furthermore, according to the manufacturer, the interchangeable ear pads will soon be available as optional accessories.
Technology and key figures
The AKG K245 equipped with 50mm drivers is based on the conventional electrodynamic converter principle. The impedance follows the general trend and is only 32 ohms, enabling powerful playback of professional headphones even on “unprofessional” playback devices and smartphones. AKG specifies a transmission range of 15 Hz to 25 kHz, which, as usual, has hardly any meaningfulness concerning the reproduction character, as will be discussed in the practical part. Further technical information can be found at the end of this review.
Purpose of use
As an open-design studio headphone, the AKG K245 is neither suitable for the recording room with a microphone nor noisy environments. Instead, his potential workplace is in the direction of assisting with mixing, mastering, and editing. Therefore, in terms of its actual insulation behavior, the K245 tends towards the semi-open design, which, however, has no significant impact on the range of use of the studio headphones.
A defining feature of many AKG headphones has once again been incorporated into the new product line: the self-adjusting headband. This technology, used in various AKG models, has always worked reliably and promotes good wearing comfort. The load-bearing and usually much stiffer headband is located outside the usually somewhat more flexible headband. This headband usually adapts to the shape of the skull much better and presses significantly less than other solutions with a rigid bracket. It’s great that AKG remains true to this design! The circular ear cushions with an inner diameter of 5.5 cm also offer sufficient volume so that even large ears can easily find space in them.
For this test, the AKG K245 was operated on the following headphone outputs or amplifiers:
- UAD Apollo 8
- SPL Phonitor mini
- Lake People G93
In addition to various acoustic experiments (sinus sweeps, usual DAW activities), a cross-style mix of own and third-party productions (mastered and unmastered) was listened to and analyzed via the AKG headphones.
The frequency mapping of the K245 is very balanced and well suited for actively intervening in the mixing and mastering process. The accurate and, at the same time, very potent reproduction of the bass range, which some popular previous models (open design) from the Austrian manufacturer lacked in some cases, is surprisingly successful. Mids and highs are reproduced very naturally, which means that the ability to assess a mixture critically is given. However, in direct comparison to the much more expensive AKG K812, which is established in professional circles, there is a somewhat milder representation of the upper highs. This is not a fundamental flaw, but it does lead to a somewhat uncritical representation of sibilants. This is something you should be aware of when working with the K245 to make the right decisions.
Other playback properties
Otherwise, the open AKG headphones have all the attributes associated with headphones of this type. The sound image is transparent and characterized by a natural spatial impression with successful depth graduation and precise localization. However, as expected, the resolution does not quite come close to the level of the open reference headphones K812. This differentiation, which is not decisive for the battle, should not be overestimated! In its price range, the K245, whose rendering surpasses many direct competing models from other manufacturers, could well be called a reference. I find outstanding – regardless of the price range – the authentic reproduction of low-frequency impulses that reach the ear without noticeable compression artifacts.
A touch of criticism
The AKG hardly offers any cause for criticism, but the left auricle is somewhat susceptible to structure-borne noise as soon as you touch the cable. This is not a drama, but the noises caused by it can lead to misunderstandings, insensitive cuts, or the quality control of audio material.
The open-plan AKG K245 is, in my opinion, the most interesting model of the new series from the Austrian manufacturer, despite its limited use in studios. The playback properties are convincing and now offer, among other things, a sovereign bass response with open headphones, even in moderate price regions, which some users of the legendary K701 / 702 models may have missed – even if not all of them want to admit it. The attractive and inexpensive AKG K245 meets professional requirements in every respect and has a good chance of establishing itself as a future studio classic – be sure to check it out!