Current testing methodology is v1.2
January 12, 2016
8.66 x 4.33 x 9.25 in
AKG is a brand synonymous with good-quality studio monitoring headphones. The AKG K240 STUDIO (and later the Mark-II) are award-winning designs that have been a staple for many performing artists and engineers alike.
In fact, those were my first mixing cans as well. For a budget offering under $100, the K240s are unbeatable in versatility and frequency response.
AKG K-92 Studio Headphones
Closed back over the ear studio monitors
I was a bit skeptical when AKG released its K series of budget-friendly closed-back studio headphones. It launched with the AKG K-52 (now not in production anymore, I believe), which was at the time priced at under $50. Then there is a mid-range K-72 (at $50), but the real star of the lineup was promised to be the AKG K-92.
Priced at $65, I was unsure how they could beat the K240s (priced the same) and what else was AKG bringing to the table with this new model.
I am happy to say, that after owning a pair for a year, I am satisfied with its performance. For me, it definitely did not beat the old favorite, but the K-92 does some things very right, and others totally wrong.
For example, the closed-back design is perfect for home studio usage, as it eliminates audio leakages (not the case with the K240s), and you can record without the mic picking up the click track. But on the other hand, despite its low impedance, the headphone does not work well with low-powered sound sources like mobile phones or laptops.
So these headphones are great balanced-sounding studio monitors that give you good value for money and are perfect for home recording, mixing, and mastering. However, if you are in the market for a Hi-Fi headphone for causal listening, you are better off with the AKG N60NC Wireless, which is in the same price range but optimized specifically for wireless music streaming.
- Driver Size: 40 mm
- Cup: Closed Back
- Wearing Style: Over the Ear
- Sensitivity: 113 dB SPL/V @ 1 kHz
- Impedance: 32Ω
- Audio Frequency Response: 16 – 22000 Hz
- Maximum Input Power: 200 mW
- Cable Length: 3 meters
- Wired Connectivity: 3.5mm (1/8-inch) Stereo Plug
- Adapter: Gold-Plated 6.3 mm (1/4”) Screw-On Adapter
- Finish: Matt Black with gold linings
What’s in the Box?
- 1 x K-92 Headphones
- 1 x Gold-Plated Screw-on 3.5 mm (1/8-inch) to 6.3 mm (1/4-inch) Adapter
Stuff I like
- The build quality is decent, and the gold linings look stunning. The entire finish of the headphone feels premium.
- The headphones are extremely light, and AKG’s self-adjusting headband provides just the right amount of clamping force around your head.
- The closed-back design provides superb sound isolation which is great for home recording.
- The 40 mm drivers have a decent frequency response (at this price point) and a neutral sound signature. So these headphones are good reference monitors.
- For $65, these are great value-for-money starter cans for beginners.
Stuff I like less
- The earcup paddings feel a bit plasticky and can lead to some sweating and hotspots around the ear during long listening sessions.
- Driver performance is sub-optimal when used with low-powered audio sources. You will need an amplifier or a DAP to extract the most out of these headphones.
Packaging & Hardware
The AKG K-92 packaging is nothing to write home about. It comes in a big cardboard box and includes the bare essentials. The headphone is primarily made of metal and plastic, but the matte finish and the gold inlays look great.
The earcups don’t feel sturdy, and the metal frame looks vulnerable to bending. So these headphones are definitely not designed to be traveled with. In my opinion, they are best used in a studio setting where you do not have to plug and unplug the headphones continuously.
The 3-meter long wire can also be a nuisance depending on your use case. For studio purposes, it is perfect, but if you are using these headphones as mobile listening, you will have to tuck away the extra wiring somehow.
Build Quality & Fit
As mentioned, the build quality is not the best, but it is decent enough at this price point. I still feel that the K240s are built much better. Despite their premium finish, these headphones somehow feel a bit fragile. Again, this should not be an issue if you are using these headphones for studio work only.
The fit is quite comfortable for my ears, with the pads and the self-adjusting headband providing good support during long listing sessions.
However, I have read reviews that the acoustic chamber (the area between the pad and the speaker) can be small for those with large ears. In which case, you can use some foam to increase the area but it will hurt the sound signature of the headphones.
Speaking of sound signature, the K-92s have a neutral sound that is rather pleasing, especially when listening to modern pop, Lo-Fi, and EDM tracks. The 40 mm drivers can deliver punchy bass, smooth mids, and balanced highs when driven properly.
It is what you would want in a budget-friendly studio monitor. Balanced sound with good instrument separation is great for referencing, mixing, and mastering.
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The drivers have a decent high-frequency response. They can reproduce most of the high frequencies quite precisely. You obviously do not get that sparkle and shimmer that you get from high-end headphones.
But, the K-92’s boosted treble range gets the job done without sounding too shrill or fatiguing.
In my opinion, the soundstage offered by a big closed-back design also adds an airy quality to the highs, which sounds majestic with atmospheric music (like pads).
This is where the AKG K-92 takes a bit of a hit. The mids are by no means muffled, like other budget-friendly offerings, but they definitely feel a bit recessed. This can give these headphones a V-shaped sound signature when listing through low-powered sources.
Thus, vocal-heavy tracks or acoustic tracks are not ideal for this pair of headphones.
However, if driven by an amplifier, the mids have a pronounced improvement. The bass does not bleed too much, and the instrument separation also becomes noticeable.
This is where the AKG K-92 shines. The bass is powerful and punchy but also well-controlled and warm. Coupled with the big soundstage and tight isolation, you can definitely appreciate the bass in the mix with these headphones.
That’s why in my opinion, these headphones are perfect for EDM tracks.
Unfortunately, there is a noticeable sub-bass bleed when used with low-powered audio sources. This can make the bass-heavy tracks sound a bit muddy. But for studio applications, this is not a problem at all.
These headphones will require a bit of juice to get the 40 mm drivers going. There is a marked difference in the audio quality of these headphones when boosted versus not boosted. This is surprising given the headphones have an impedance of 32 ohms only.
In comparison, the K240s have an impedance of 55 ohms, and they still maintain their audio fidelity when used with low-powered audio sources.
Unfortunately for the K-92s, you simply cannot extract the full range of these drivers by plugging them into your laptop, mobile phone, or even some low-powered DACs. Without a dedicated amplifier or a high-resolution digital audio player (DAP), you lose a lot of the good stuff that you get from these headphones.
This is obviously not a problem in a studio environment. But for a headphone that is also marketed for casual listening, this is a major con. It made me realize that I can only use these as studio monitors.
All that said, the AKG K-92 is a neutral-sounding, balanced pair of headphones for which I have found a very specific application. Over the year, I have increasingly started using it only for recording and not daily casual listening.
So I would definitely recommend these cans for someone looking for a cheap yet, functional set of reference headphone monitors for their studios. Or for someone looking to get a pair of budget-friendly starter Hi-Fi cans to begin their audiophile journey.
Ushan appreciates all things audio. As a self-proclaimed audiophile, he has amassed a healthy collection of audio gear including HiFi, IEMs and headphones. He loves to write and share about tech and audio.
This post was last updated on 2023-09-12 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.