AKG needs introduction. They have been pioneers in the professional audio sector since time immemorial, from making headphones for the most hardcore audiophiles and some of the best studio recording microphones in their class. His latest introduction is a pair of inexpensive portable studio monitoring headphones, the K361 and K371 priced at $ 99 and $ 149.
A clear departure from the high-end headphones that the company usually hangs out with. Today, we will review the smaller of the two, the K361, which is a very promising headphone under $ 100.
This unit is mine. No one has paid me or influenced me to write something good or bad about this headset. All thoughts and opinions are mine.
Build and Adjust: –
The closed back K361 is completely made of plastic to keep the weight down, which is remarkably light at just 219g. The rubberized plastic is of good quality and does not feel scratched. The padding on the headband is also rubberized and not foam, which is not as soft as I would like.
The padding of the headband is quite hard outside the box, but it softens with use. The headband could have used more padding on it. The ear capsules are oval in shape, fortunately the oval ear cushions are luxurious and flexible.
This results in very comfortable wear and the ear does not touch the edges of the pads. But on the other hand, the pads are not as deep as I would like them to be. After about an hour of use, the shallow pads press on my forehead, which in turn develops a hot spot. A warm and humid environment will make the pads sweaty. The headband height adjustment uses the standard click mechanism and has a lot of height adjustment.
But when lying down, the headband tends to slide off your head, requiring a few clicks of adjustment each time. The capsules also fold to form a “U”, which when packed in the included waterproof textured carry case makes it very easy to carry. The form factor when used is unobtrusive and minimalist, which does not attract public attention.
Unfortunately, the connector is the 2.5mm lock, which means finding an aftermarket cable is next to impossible. The 2.5mm lockout jack is a major hassle and not absolutely necessary in today’s headsets that primarily use the normal 3.5mm jack. Two straight 1.2m and 3m cables are included for laptop and studio / home use respectively, also a 1/4 inch adapter.
AKG K361 Amplification / Power: –
At 32 ohms and 112 dB SPL / V it means this headset will be powered by anything. An external amplifier is not required. Although I have a proper desktop setup that includes Schiit Modi 3, Schiit Loki, and Schiit Magni 3 that I use to power my other headphones, the K361 is easily powered by my smartphone, Nokia 6.1+.
The first thing that stands out is its power of resolution given its price. There are no uncomfortable peaks in the spectrum that catch your attention. The overall sound is balanced and I have very few things to complain about. A more detailed sound analysis is as follows:
Subwoofer impact is not something these headphones do. You can hear and feel the subwoofer frequencies on demand, with ease, and it’s relatively fast. But he lacks the blow and the blow The sub-bass rumble is rarely felt and lacks texture. Therefore, this earphone is not for bassists. The bass is controlled and does not flourish in the media otherwise.
The middle range is naturally represented. It is neither thick nor lush, nor is it embedded. Which results in a midrange that is neither congested nor thin. Voices come out a little warm compared to neutrals. Vocal separation is natural. It lacks a bit of medium low weight that makes the sound feel “light” and not the type with a growl and weight behind. I would have liked a little medium-low growl to the sound.
The recovery of details in the mid-range is notable for the price and even in higher price segments. Small details that would have been lost in the mix would otherwise enter the ear. I was surprised to hear such small details and nuances in the mix presented so easily that even the most expensive headphones barely got it, not to mention with far less texture and precision.
The maximums are remarkably transparent. It is slightly brighter compared to neutral but never uncontrolled and accurately reflects the quality of the recording. Cymbals, violins, electronic violins, and high-pitched vocals express themselves superbly with all the details and textures at surface level. If the recording is poor, the K361 is brutal and unforgiving. Such is the price you must pay for the power of resolution.
Sound and image: –
The sound stage is decent for a closed background. Generally speaking, it extends beyond the ear capsules, but it is not super wide. It has enough scene width so that the instruments in the breathing mix space don’t sound stuffy. Most listeners will not be disappointed with the width of the sound stage. The depth of the sound stage and the stratification of the instruments are fine.
However, the images are tight and accurate, non-hazy and evenly distributed, which is rare for headphones in this price category. The instruments are clearly etched into the mix with well-defined edges and the full chipboard sounds precise and clear.
AKG K361 Reviews
It still amazes me that the K361 only costs $ 99. The AKG K361 is a high-resolution portable headphone that can be widely used in mixing studios. It’s a great contender for the best-balanced sound headphones under $ 100, if not the winner. Beginning non-bass audiophiles who crave balanced sounding headphones should definitely see this.
AKG K361 Review: The New Champion Of $ 99 Studio Headphones
Earlier this year, audio industry stalwart AKG released the K371. It’s a true reference hearing aid, offering incomparably accurate sound performance for its $ 149 price, along with a design that combines aspects of consumer and professional gear. It seems ready to dethrone all other comparable studio headphones, especially Audio-Technica’s hardcore M50X.
After loving him so much, it was only a matter of time until I checked out his cheaper brother, the K361. It launched the same day for $ 99, and it also seems blatantly aimed at entrenched competition, especially Audio-Technica’s M40X.
The K361 retains much of what makes the K371 such a winner, albeit with a more streamlined sound, and construction changes made to lower the price are immediately apparent. Still, it’s another great AKG deal, and other companies in this fight should either be very concerned or quickly design upgrades for their old models.
The AKG K361 is a wired, closed studio-style headset that has a suggested retail price of $ 99. I got mine for sale on Amazon for about $ 89, and I’ve seen frequent discounts on this pair, which is impressive given the new they are.
You get two detachable straight cables in the box (1.2m and 3m long) and a nice duffel bag. The bag is identical to the one included with the K371, but the cables use a 2.5mm twist-lock connection instead of the 371’s less patented mini-XLR connector.
Despite their “professional” objective, their good sound quality and small size mean they are also suitable for home users looking for a good pair of wired portable headphones.
An M40X competitor hasn’t thrilled me that much since the Pioneer HRM-5.
On the first listen, I immediately noticed that the K361s don’t sound as robust or rich as their more expensive counterpart. They are slightly thinner, slimmer, and brighter, although they have a similar general character and tuning.
That impression has been sustained through many hours of hearing tests. The bass is reasonably accurate, but is never overdone or overbearing. The essentially perfect bass energy you loved so much in the K371 isn’t present here, but that says the bass still has good quality. It re-dials in relative intensity, but still hits along with a clean texture, free of mud or flower.
The modest reduction in bass energy means that the midrange feels a bit more advanced, and thankfully, it’s still clean and impressive, with a realistic tone that beats most other headphones at this price point.
The upper midrange and treble stand out as the firm’s most prominent features, and while never tiresome, they can be too high-pitched for listeners accustomed to more bass and warmth. But if you give your brain a little adjustment time, other headphones may sound boring in comparison.
The highs are tight and reasonably detailed, without the DT770’s wheezing problems or the MDR7506’s extreme fatigue potential. Cymbal hits may sound more messy and more “splatty” than the K371s, but it’s something I only noticed in direct comparisons and not a major issue.
Overall, the sound is on the cold side of neutral, and after a few days of brain burns, the K361 impressed me almost as much as the 371.
They are cleaner than the M40X and much more spacious too. You won’t confuse its soundstage with that of an open pair, but there is still a pleasant sense of air and presence in the room.
I would rate the overall sound quality just one notch below the K371, both for its overall tone and how it compares to my personal preferences. That said, the 361 is still one of the best sounding studio headphones on the market today.
You also won’t need any special amps to control them, thanks to their high sensitivity and low 32-ohm impedance. You can drive them properly with almost any headphone jack on any device, and they’ll sound pretty loud too. I had no volume issues on a Nintendo Switch or MacBook, and I didn’t notice a huge leap in quality using a desktop amp.
Here’s the area where the 361 actually improves slightly on the more expensive model. That is not a hit against the 371; they are perfectly comfortable for long sessions.
However, the 361s are built with lighter materials, and that has reduced 36g of mass. The 361s have a mass of just 219g, making them one of the lightest studio headphones available today.
When combined with the same exceptional memory foam ear pads from the more expensive version, and modest clamping force, the result is a headphone that rests gently on the head from the first minute and stays comfortable until you take them off .
The adjustment range is almost identical to the more expensive version, and should fit a wide variety of head sizes with no problem. I have three spare clicks on my big dome.
The only downgrade to comfort here compared to the higher priced version is that the headband pad is not as thick or luxurious. It’s still a soft piece of silicone with something nice, but it’s not as pillow-to-the-touch as the toughest pad in the 371. Fortunately, considering the lighter weight of the 361, this is essentially a problem.
Comfort is better day and night than that of the M40X. The clamping force is much more reasonable on the 361s and the pads are about a million times more enjoyable.
I am famous for not caring about Audio-Technica studio series small pads, but there is no competition compared to AKG pads. They’re large, with holes big enough to surround most ears, and they use a slow-rebound memory foam that has the same density as three Audio-Technica pads stacked on top of each other.
- In addition to the small lack of audio richness compared to the 371, the 361 also suffers in the materials department.
- That $ 50 price difference had to come from somewhere.
- That does not mean that the cheapest pair is poorly built. But all the premium touches are gone.
The top of the headband is now a basic plastic instead of a nice leather material. As mentioned above, the headband pad is thinner. The earmuffs are made of a cheaper feeling plastic. The headphone mounts are now plastic instead of metal, with a thick matte finish.
The multi-step rotation hinges that fold the headphones down are gone, replaced by a soft-feeling hinge that only locks in one of three places. And the mini-XLR connector has been cut in favor of a basic 2.5mm connector with twist to lock.
Despite all the changes in material quality, the overall design is almost identical, combining studio headphones and style in a modern look. And, if you’ve never had a K371 to compare, the K361 still feels good in your hands. It is comparable to the reasonable construction of the all-plastic Sennheiser 500 series.
All color accents in the design are lost, in favor of a lot of black. The screened AKG logos provide the only hint of contrast. And just like the K371, the K361 has no easily accessible repairable parts outside of the removable pads. That’s fine for consumer equipment, but many studio headphones have set a precedent for total user repair.
On the plus side, the headband doesn’t make the slight protest noise my 371s make when I put them on my head. And the subtlest color scheme and lightest weight make the 361 an incredible portable pair, perfect for remote work sessions or taking to the office.
You get two cables in the box, in another clear jab on the M40X. Unlike the Audio-Technica model, AKG doesn’t include a coiled cable here, instead opting for 1.2m and 3m straight cables.
The cables are of good quality and the plugs are thick and durable. The 2.5mm twist lock plug on the headphone side is not the same as the plug type used in many of the Sennheiser and Audio-Technica models, so finding third-party replacements could be tricky.
Rounding out the feature pack is a cute drawstring duffel bag and 6.3mm adapter.
The AKG K361’s sound quality is 85 percent as impressive as its more expensive counterpart, and it takes out as much of the build as it can to bring the price down to under $ 100. The K371s have undoubtedly better sound in direct comparison, accurate enough for the presentation that you could probably mix it up in a pinch. But the K361 are still great professional headphones and great for personal monitoring, supervision, or listening.
They are also much better in almost every way than the M40X. They are lighter, sound better, and have much larger ear pads that offer much greater comfort.
If you’re looking for a studio-style headset with a neutral sound signature, the AKG K371 and K361 are now the first two pairs to consider. They don’t have the easily repairable construction of other classic models, but you can’t argue with their stellar audio performance for the price.
And don’t let the word “study” scare you if you’re looking for an experience of listening to music, playing games, or watching movies at home. While other consumer pairs will provide you with greater amounts of bass and can use digital tricks to widen the sound field, these two AKG models will give you a listening experience similar to that of the talented people who made the content you’re enjoying. .
Both will continue to be permanent elements in my personal collection, and are my new benchmarks for performance in studio-style headphones.