AKG K371 Closed Back Studio Headphones $185.97 + Delivery (Free with Prime) @ Amazon UK via Amazon Australia

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Forget the M40X and the M50X: this is the closed back for you. Even forget the DT770 if you're not looking for something analytical to pick up hiss, or a thumping v-shaped signature with lower treble murder.

Not at its all-time low, and likely a shade lower than that in November sales, but still way better than local stock ($270+ for some reason). Enjoy!

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Comments

  • is this the successor of the legendary 271?

    • It's a successor to the K553 MKII, not sure on the lineage from there.

      Harman neutral with a slight sub-bass kick, maybe a little warmth?

  • I'm always up for another set of cans around this price point, if the tonality is right. Not enough bass for my V preferences.

  • OP, do you have a recommendation for closed back under $500?

    • This?

      Other ones would be the:

      • Takstar Pro 82, Takstar GM200 (both of those either from Takstar Audio or Takstar Official stores on AliExpress, and nowhere else)
      • Audeze Penrose for $400 on pre-order (a refinement of the Mobius that supports lossless wireless in place of the headtracking)

      That's about it really, the K371 have blown up the market.

    • If you don't mind the wait and can stretch your budget a bit further, the Drop X THX Pandas look really promising. Well reviewed orthodynamic driver, built in THX amps, minimal difference between wired and wireless sound quality.

      I really enjoy my NAD Viso HP50, you can pick them up for under $200 if you look around. Very relaxed, smooth sound signature - could have benefited from a touch more treble sparkle - and this is coming from someone who is sensitive to treble heavy headphones.

      A few models from Final Audio's Sonorous Range can be had for between $4-500, if I recall correctly they have a bit of a v shaped sound.

      Focal Elegia seconds go on sale for about $500 every now and then on Addicted to Audio, which will likely be the best bang for buck.

      • I was looking forward to getting the Panda from the initial hype wave but I'm not too sure after reading people's impressions. Seems like a lot of people have comfort issues and there's some QC problems with drivers hissing. Mixed reports on the sound quality too.

        I've tried the finals and the fit was very weird, round shallow cups with a weird swiveling headband. Sound was bright and not particularly special.

        Personally I'd say that Meze 99 are a solid choice if you're after a warm sound. Very bassy but overall pretty good if you just want to enjoy music. The K361/371 are also good. More tonally balanced, however I find that the upper midrange / low treble sometimes can be harsh.

        I wouldn't buy any higher end closed backs than that. They're just never on the same level as open backs, and I find there's always something wonky about the sound signature. If you're ok with the fit of IEM's, I feel like they completely outperform closed backs and there's so many great options in the sub $500 range.

        • The Meze's are another well priced option, good catch.

          All very fair points, especially on the lack of truly great high end closed back headphones - which is why I ended up with the $180 NADs, just didn't see the point in spending more for something I wasn't really happy with. Aside from that ever so slight lack of treble sparkle, I've been pretty happy with them so far!

          Fostex's line of T50/60RP and the TR-X00 were exceptions and I really liked their sound - but neither were truly closed back, with vents leaking out a bit of sound making them unsuitable for quiet offices.

          Also head really good things about Sonys Z7M1 but the newer Z7M2 sadly was a step back and messed up the sound signature - also like the Fostex, they were semi-closed with vents that leaked audio.

          Some of Audezes closed backs were really nice, but not portable enough for my use.

          • @poppingtags: Yeah, I've spent a while searching for a high end portable closed back. There's a lot of pretty good closed backs like you mentioned but most of them aren't suitable for portable use at all.

            I purchased Campfire Cascade since they seemed to tick all the boxes and are pretty well regarded. It was actually remarkable how rubbish they were. Extremely bloated bass and piercing at the same time, and overall not even remotely close to the sound quality I get from my HD 58X despite costing 4-5 times as much. I just gave on closed backs after that.

            I've picked up a pair of Sony XBA-N3's and they sound just leagues better than any closed back I've ever tried. The comfort isn't as good as over ear headphones but the tradeoff is worth it to me.

      • Thanks. I like their Focal Clear previously but sold it for HD800s due to better comfort.
        I assume Focal Elegia has the same issue comfort? (strong clamping force and relatively heavy)

        • The HD800s (and pretty much all of the HD5/6/7/800 lines) are some of the most comfortable headphones you'll find - so it'll be hard to beat!

          If you found the Focal Clear's uncomfortable because of the strong clamping force and weight, you'd definitely have the same issue with the Elegia unfortunately - its exactly the same construction, just different material choices. Perhaps the Dan Clark Audio Aeon RT Closed could be a good solution, if you're willing to push your budget into the $700 range - very well reviewed and comfort that rivals any headphone. Some people find the bass a bit lacking - others think its just neutral, but given your liking of the HD800 I think the sound signature could be right up your alley and serve as a nice planar magnetic alternative to your dynamic HD800s.

          You could also stick with Sennheiser and go with something like the HD598CS or the HD569 both of which have received very favourable reviews and are great for long, comfortable listening sessions. As MassiveBongo said (and I too have found) for better or for worse you don't get anywhere near the same improvement in quality as you go up the pricing ladder with closed back headphones, which means even lower priced closed backs come very close to the quality offered by their higher priced counterparts. This is why I ended up with the NAD HP50, despite being willing to pay significantly more for pair of closed back portable headphones that don't leak sound.

          • @poppingtags: Thank you poppingtags and Massivebongo.

            I may go to IEM route again.
            I had Moondrop Blessing 2 before and sold it because it's uncomfortable for long listening.
            Excellent sound quality for the price though.

    • Under 500, there's this: https://www.storedj.com.au/austrian-audio-hix55-professional...

      Highly rated and can be gotten for 50 off using this code: https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/576001

    • I have a few, what fi you use them for? What sound signature are you after?

      • Looking for neutral warm but with great resolution.
        I really like focal clear sound signature.

  • Here's a nice writeup comparing different headphones for different purposes. The strength of this one is in recording as it has good sound isolation, but not so much for mixing according to the writeup.

    https://www.rtings.com/headphones/reviews/best/studio

    • Actually the worst write-up out there on these, and their rating system and methodology for assessing headphone fitment completely distorts their valuation. Their offering up of the M50X is laughable as well.

      Their reviews also have almost zero assessments to do with technical performance of the driver, and no subjective analysis of timbre. RTings have their place, but their review of the K371 highlights a substantial flaw in their current assessment revision.

      Here's some better reviews:

      https://www.soundguys.com/akg-k371-review-30284/
      https://www.headphonesty.com/2019/12/akg-k371-review/
      https://www.sonarworks.com/blog/reviews/akg-k371-studio-head...
      https://www.headphones.com/blogs/news/akg-k371-review-1
      https://www.headphonecheck.com/test/akg-k371/

      • Cool, can you recommend what would be good to wear while recording in room, when I'm singing and playing guitar. The first link here mentions sound leaks with these K371s so I'm probably after something with better isolation?

        • For a closed back in this price range? Nothing, the inherent closed back design will help you out in the mids (-10 dB?), and the treble especially, but the bass in your voice and instruments will just leak in.

          None of the Beyers, AKGs or Audio Technica pairs we're discussing here qualify for the purpose you're looking for, which is why studios use booths and pump the mix in via closed backs for vocalists to lay down their track.

          If you want a full studio recording there are vocal monitoring IEMs aplenty by Shure that are standard recommendations for live monitoring, and the isolation of an IEM would be the next best thing to ANC, which is still in its infancy for anything resembling affordable high-fidelity audio (and usually not for wired/zero-latency purposes).

          • @jasswolf: Thanks, I'm still learning about this. You mentioned ANCs and I have a pair of Sony WH-1000XM2 ANC cans which I was wondering if they might be suitable? Any thoughts? They do have the ability to plug a cable in to avoid wireless lag.

            Thanks for your tips!

            • @bono: I'm not that familiar with the model, but they would be better suited for what you're asking for in terms of isolation.

              Keep in mind the audio quality would be poorer than the other headphones we've spoken about, and I'm not as familiar with how that model executes its noise cancellation. That being said, they would likely isolate you from the low-end issues I'm describing, but the tonality (frequency response) of such headphones tend to suck and would not present neutrally.

              If you're looking for an IEM that you could also use for music listening, I can recommend the Moondrop Starfield with appropriate wide bore tips, but despite their quality I wouldn't recommend them for the final mix due to a slightly uncommon take on neutral sound (blend between diffuse field neutral and Harman neutral).

        • +1 vote

          371s are a poor choice, you're going to leak sound into your mic, comfort is a factor for long recording sessions too.
          If you strictly want tracking cans, these are not the one's you want.
          Senheisser HD280s offer a much higher isolation factor but they are painful to wear.
          You need to go and use some to see how you feel with the shape and size.
          Everyone is different so not amount of wrong advice is helpful to you. You go and try some yourself and see how you feel with comfort, isolation then sound.
          The thing about tracking vocals in studio (which I have done time and time again), is making the performer feel comfortable about using them, if they are always taking them off due to ill fitting or just painful to wear, it wont matter how well they can sing, you will not get a good performance. The isolation then stops any leak to the mic which obv is important for the recording, so mic choice can be a factor too.
          Sound while being important is NOT what performers want, they have a general idea what they sound like so sending some verb and EQ to spice things up is easy especially if the engineer is using the same cans (always a smart thing to do that way they hear what the singer is hearing at all times when monitoring).

          You have asked for a very specific tracking session, your VOX mic is going to be rejecting the GTR so your cans could still leak sound back to VOX.
          It isn't critical listening for the performer, it is a simple playback for performer so they have a) live feed b) talk back.

          There is a simple reason you see DT770s littered in studios, they are comfortable, have good isolation and sound good.
          These regardless of what can you go for are important factors for you.

          • @DisabledUser353340:

            Senheisser HD280s offer a much higher isolation factor but they are painful to wear.

            How?

            There is a simple reason you see DT770s littered in studios, they are comfortable, have good isolation and sound good.

            Again: how? 3 dB in the mids, with more treble seeping in, though I suppose this could be advantageous at times.

            Auditioning headphones is absolutely the right call here, and I defer to you in terms of more professional recording experience, but your headphone advice suggests you don't get a good seal on a lot of headphone designs, and that's not something most people are going to experience.

            A vocal monitoring IEM may be the call for the level of isolation and leakage prevention they're after, and will also be helpful if they wish to do stage performances.

            The user never even identified whether they were recording acoustic or electric, and if the latter via interface or from an amp. I'm assuming acoustic, but yeah.

            I don't think any closed-back headphone is going to offer a substantial upgrade in isolation without ANC (and that lacks detail and sounds muddy unless you spend, way, way more) or preventing leakage than the others, and that's what the testing shows.

  • I wonder what category these would be considered at Amazon. There's a 4% cashback on Electronics, wonder if these qualify?

    • Sadly no, they're listed under 'Musical Instruments'.

      • Bummer. Still, an amazing price on these. Would they be good plugging directly into a Yamaha synth? My trusty old Sennheisers are completely had it and need to be retired.

  • It was 235ish this morning.
    OP, love your comments in other headphone posts. New to this area so if i expect a netrual, detailed, transparent signature and wide sound stage, should i pick this one or K702(or any other recommendations around this price)?

    • Yeah… I've been looking at the 702s….but I've got two other sets coming and just can't….

    • +2 votes

      It looks like the K702 are open back so not isolating sound whereas these K371s are closed back and hence have good sound isolation - thus quite different purposes for them generally.

      • Definitely… And very different environments you can use them in. I'm trying to get a large sound stage and I live on my own so leakage is not an issue, but I imagine the 371s would be great for immersion whilst not annoying yr housemates. Also depends if yr using these for recording vs mixing.

    • This is wide for a closed back without being the widest, but you're going to get better staging and imaging from open backs most of the time, at the expense of isolation and sound leakage. The K702 is a further extension on this principle because it targets the Diffuse Field target, then adding warmth in an attempt to give a more natural bass/lower mids.

      These are two very different sound signatures: Diffuse Field attempts to present like a perfectly flat pair of speakers in a room that reflects sound evenly with equal perceived volume for the entire frequency range. Harman neutral has developed further upon this by recreating the presentation of a typical studio environment, with respect to creating a more natural frequency response (less energy in the mids and treble, more energy in the bass) and further accounting for typical ear anatomy in typical closed back designs and then adjusting based on continued testing and feedback (they adjust their targets yearly).

      https://crinacle.com/graphs/headphones/graphtool/

      The above tool will allow you to load up diffuse field, Harman neutral/preference, as well as the AKG K371 and K702 so you can see what I'm referring to, but frequency response isn't the whole picture. The K702 will have some timbre (how instruments present at a given frequency) quirks that you may not appreciate, and it will have a lot of energy in the upper mids and lower treble compared to a lot of headphones you may have experienced.

      From what I understand of the K702, the soundstage is immense, but you are very much contending with them being hit or miss for you based on ear anatomy and preferences. If at all possible, I would recommend auditioning them, the K371 (smooth FR + good timbre for closed), the Sennheiser HD 560S (neutral/analytical with good soundstage), the HD 6XX/650 (legendary timbre and detail) and then the HIFIMAN HE-400i 2020 edition (good FR, great bass, great-if-not-K702 soundstage) so you can get an idea of frequency response, technicalities, soundstage presentation and timbre at this $150-$300 price point.

      There are very few well-received modern headphones with the DF target or a variation of it, with the most notable being the Sennheiser HD 800S.

      Hope that helps!

      • Legend! Thanks heaps for the professional explaination and recommendation! Had the DT 990 250ohm from previous deal but just kept it for few days so nothing at the moment. Denfiniely need to digest the knowledge and review the options. Really want to try them all if possible!:D

  • I have a studio mic and no longer require my corsair wireless headset w/ mic. I'm looking at getting something in the $100-$200 range that's super comfortable for gaming (no mic required). My current headset makes my ears sore like it's pressing on them(I'll assume that means the ear cups are too small?) :/

    Are there any options you guys recommend that are open back and preferably wireless? I just really want something with good sound, comfortable and no cable or mic for gaming at home.

    • Takstar GM200 for bass or Pro 82 for flat. If you can wait they are cheap on aliexpress. There are some beta versions being sold, best to get link from head-fi thread.

      • The sellers you are referencing are 'TakstarAudio Store' and 'Takstar Official Store' on AliExpress, and yeah they will be about $70-$75 during the 11.11 sales so long as you get a relevant site coupon and there's a 12-15% cashback.

        That being said, the K371 sit above these in quality, but that's about all I'd recommend in this price range. Comfort probably goes to the Takstars, but it should be easier to get a good seal on the K371, and you can always wear in/stretch the headband a bit with and appropriate sized block or stack of books to reduce clamping.

        If the K371 comes into $150ish and there's decent Amazon cashbacks or coupons, I would put that as worth the jump if you're on a budget.

        These three are probably the best sub-$200 AUD over-ears you can get, and you're only going to be competing with them in detail and quality at this price range via a Chi-Fi mid-fi IEM like the Moondrop Starfield.

    • Sorry, didn't read all the details, my post is for wired closed. Most wireless are closed and good options cost more.

    •  

      Addicted to audio has the MassDrop 6XX now known as Drop for $300 when on sale.

      https://addictedtoaudio.com.au/products/sennheiser-hd6xx-ope...

      $399 here but for gaming these are great, I run these and some HD600s which I modded the 600s, no fatigue long gaming.
      They can be bent at the hinges so if you want comfort these are sublime. Needing a dedicated headphone amp though.
      Fwiw I have owned my HD600s since 2003 and they're still going.

      Also the 580s

      https://addictedtoaudio.com.au/collections/open-back-headpho...

      All this aside, the Superlux HD 668B that doesn't break the budget, more so the Samson SR850 are cheaper and will be perfect for gaming imo.

      https://www.amazon.com.au/Samson-Podcasting-Microphone-Headp...

      • The HD 6XX won't be in stock here until 2021 according to Addicted to Audio. There's a slim chance that stock will appear next month, but that's about it. At that price for the HD58X (which is also out of stock), you're almost certainly better off with the new HD 560S, but I wouldn't touch either at more than $200.

        Those Superlux and Samson are very old recs (think 2013), and they usually require a pad change. For very little extra money during sales, you're better off with the Takstar Pro 82 or the GM200.

        Good to see you're still adamant you know your way around this stuff though!

        • Hi I meant to ask this last week but was at work when you posted the deal and then forgot.

          I've heard good thing about the k361 and it's $136 on Amazon. I would use it on pc mainly for gaming and YouTube music. Old fart music. Which is better with the games 361 or 371?

          Also someone at work has been talking up the master and dynamic mh40. They look cool but not alot of good info out there, do you have any experience with them?

          I currently have hd6xx but really need some closed back as the mother in law is staying with us and has well overstayed her welcome but due covid has been stuck here and wont be leaving for a while. I need to block out her voice it's like nails on a chalkboard and I'm ready to snap.

          • @PlagueistheBargainer: Oh the UK stock is back in? It's a very good price, but I'm coming from the perspective of having a Pro 82, and what the K361 represents as a step up from that, which is a slightly smoother response and slightly better tuning and timbre for about double the price.

            Here's a couple of really good technical review that breaks this down for you:

            https://diyaudioheaven.wordpress.com/headphones/measurements...
            https://diyaudioheaven.wordpress.com/headphones/measurements...

            You'll see the graphs are fairly similar with a smoother response from the K371 and a little more bass, but it's the construction of the headphones that really set apart their presentation: the K361 is basically a more plastic copy of the K371, and that's something you should be able to pick up in the overall sound.

            If you're listening to older music, the K371 brings a little more bass, and a warmer signature with better technical performance with smoother treble, which should assist in presenting those recordings more faithfully.

            While the K361 is an excellent headphone, it's really hard for me to recommend it while the K371 and the Pro 82 exist. You can even see the GM200 as a budget K371, though that kind of undersells the quality of the Takstar offerings. Their technical performance is exceptional for the price, but they are definitely cheaper in terms of enclosure and tuning, just not alarmingly so.

            But the K371 is by far the most versatile of all these.

            With regards to the MH40, I personally haven't heard them, but they are a very warm tilted headphone, and while that might make for a nicer signature for a lot of older (read: 70s and earlier, depending on remastering) music, you won't like it at all for gaming. They will lack a lot of detail, and there will be tracks even from as early as the 60s that you might find to have details missing because of the nature of the tuning and design of that headphone.

            If you want a touch of a warm and dark signature, the HD 6XX still represents a better overall package, and it will still excel with more modern audio sources, just with a lack of sub-bass and low-bass. It is an outstanding headphone at its price point, and extremely musical in how it presents. It's not as good at gaming, at least in the context of competitive gaming headphones image for footsteps and positioning cues, but it's not completely horrible either.

            Based on your preferences, I would remain focussed on the K371 ($150-$180) and the HD 6XX ($270-$300, no direct AU stock until 2021), as they are clearly the two best headphones from what I've mentioned here. Here's the same reviewer looking at the MH40 if you want more info on that:

            https://diyaudioheaven.wordpress.com/headphones/measurements...

            Look around for local headphone shops, and you should be able to compare the AKG K371, K361, the Sennheiser HD 650 (the HD 6XX is almost identical, inaudibly so) and even the MH40 before buying online.

            If you want the HD 6XX sooner, the only way will be via Drop.com using a freight forwarding service, and if you wait until Black Friday promotions you should be able to use your new user discount to get that at around the same price I've mentioned (including the shipping, though you may get charged additionally for GST).

            If the K371 drops for November sales, it's the outstanding buy and a headphone you'll happily use as both a portable and versatile unit, then you can A/B that with the HD 650 to see if you want to add that as a complimentary headphone for home use.

            • @jasswolf: What a fantastic reply. Thank you for taking the time to answer me.

              I already have the hd6xx and love it, I just want some headphones that are closed back to reduce background noise.

              I think you are right about trying some before buying. I understand the closed back experience may be underwhelming compared to the open back so I may never be fully satisfied in that regard.

              Build quality is something I highly consider when buying products and are happy to pay more to avoid problem products.

              • @PlagueistheBargainer: Both AKG models had some build quality issues early on, but that was smoothed out after the initial batches.

                The AKG K371 is definitely of sturdier construction than the K361 (which is a note plasticky version of it) and the Takstar's I've mentioned, but it's no Sennheiser tank, and if it were it wouldn't be so portable.

                But it's arguably the best closed back under $500, and one of the best under $1000, so the value proposition is enormous. Given you're not chasing huge amounts of detail in the treble, it's perfect for you, because that's the only thing you'd really be any chance of scaling decently if you reached 2-4x higher in price.

                The only alternative that readily comes to mind is the Audeze Penrose, which is a wireless closed back planar that may suit your gaming and closed back needs while also offering some excellent EQ settings (default and music, which is a slightly warmer tilt).

                That comes in at $400 in pre-order, but you can demo the Audeze Mobius or the HyperX Cloud Orbit to get an idea of its performance.

  • What's the clamping force like on these, for those with "big heads"?