With the K371, AKG's pro division, part of the Harman empire, is launching something special. These affordable headphones are tuned according to the Harman Curve – so they sound surprisingly accessible.
AKG K371 headphones
Headphones for the professional market we usually do not look at. After all, these products are intended for studio technicians and people who are recording. The requirements of those groups are somewhat different from those of an average music lover. His expectations can be very diverse, which is reflected in the diversity of headphones on the market. If you go shopping for headphones, you will encounter very different sound characters, even very extreme tunings. That is why certain headphones have convinced fans – but also real haters. Within Harman – a group that always focused heavily on research – they want to approach things differently. About eight years ago, Harman researchers presented research on the “ideal” (as in most popular) sound for headphones. This Harman Curve is based on surveys of hundreds of people around the world. Pretty interesting research, but the Harman group also wants to do something with it. For example, we already saw the AKG N5005 in-ears appear and there are still others, because the Harman brands use the curve as a target in more and more models (although there is deviation from it, for example by providing more bass at JBL).
The technical specifications of the AKG K371
- What: Closed over-ear headphones
- Drivers: 50 mm titanium coating
- Impedance: 32 Ohm
- Sensitivity: 114 dB SPL / V
- Weight: 224 grams
- Price: 139 euros
The black K371 headphones themselves indeed look 'professional', where you have to read that word as a synonym of functional. But it is not an ugly. It is solidly assembled, with a durable-looking hinge system so that the driver enclosures can be tilted 90 °. Also unusual are the three included cables, including a 3-meter curly one. Wearing comfort is good, with ear cushions that do get warm. Of course, the K371 is a closed model, because in the studio you just want to hear your recording. Because the impedance of 32 Ohms is low, you can safely use these headphones with a smartphone.
Greatest common factor
The K371 makes the Harman Curve accessible to everyone. Interesting, but confrontational if you are used to the old AKG headphones. The K371 doesn't sound like classics like the K702 or the K612 Pro at all. The focus on detail and clarity of previous AKGs has disappeared. Or more correctly: the flatter frequency response of yesteryear has been replaced by a curve that is more convex. Basses are somewhat stronger (up to about 120 Hz), followed by a dip to about 1 kHz, and peaking around 3.5 kHz. That is the technical description, what you hear is a very pleasant sound in which at the same time you experience a good bass foundation as insight into the detail. Voices are full and relatively natural, certainly not nasal, so you are quickly carried away by the voice of Angélique Ionatos on “Reste la lumière”. The good damping of the K371 also works wonders for electronic and guitar music. You can imagine how the crazy drummer of Fontaines DC, a punk band from Dublin, goes on “Big”.
When you consider that the K371 is in the shop for about 140 euros, then you can only call it spectacular. By not striving for extreme neutrality and just opting for a faithful reproduction of the Harman Curve, headphones have been created that sound very good. Not the last word in terms of detail and with the limitations of a closed model, but stoneware for the price.