KRK has long made a name for itself with high quality studio monitors; so much so, that a number of our editors have a pair (or more) in their studios. About a decade ago, KRK entered the headphone space, with their 6400 and 8400 models. The 6402 and 8402 are the updated models, and we received the 8402 in for review. They are designed to deliver a listening experience similar to their KRK loudspeaker companions, which, in our opinion, is a welcome approach, as headphones by their very nature sound decidedly different than nearfield monitors. Do they succeed? Read on!
The 8402s are closed-back, circumaural (over the ear) headphones, and offer up to 30 dBA of isolation. This is a slightly better spec than their less-expensive siblings, the 6402. Additionally, the 8402 sports a slightly wider frequency response than the 6402 as well.
The headphones feature very nice specs (below) with a frequency response range far greater than you’ll get from loudspeakers. The headphone ear cups use memory foam for a form-fitting coupling. Also included in the box is a 2.5 meter (approximately 8 feet) cable, an optional mid-cord volume attenuator, a fitted, screw-in adapter (1/8” to ¼”), a protective soft bag, and an anti-microbial cleaning cloth.
|Earpiece Design||Over-Ear (Circumaural), Closed-Back|
|Earpiece Connection / Wearing Style||Wired|
|Driver Size||1.6" / 40 mm|
|Voice Coil||Copper-Clad Aluminum Wire|
|Contact Pressure||4 N|
|Frequency Response||5 Hz to 23 kHz|
|Sensitivity||97 dB SPL at 1 mW|
|Maximum Sound Pressure Level (SPL)||124 dB|
|Maximum Power Handling||500 mW|
|Noise Attenuation||Up to 30 dB (Passive)|
|Total Harmonic Distortion (THD)||Less than 0.1%|
|Audio Connector to Source||1 x 1/8" / 3.5 mm TRS Male|
|Adapter (Included)||1/4" TRS|
|Cable Length||98.4" / 2.5 m|
|Cable Conductor Material||Oxygen-Free Copper|
|Material of Construction||Premium Leatherette, Acoustic Memory Foam, Steel, and Impact-Resistant Plastic|
|Weight||8.7 oz / 247 g|
These are headphones, so their use was pretty straightforward. After unwrapping the box, you can choose to screw in the 2.5 meter cord directly to the headphones, or place the separate shorter cable with the volume attenuator first, and then the longer cable attaches to that. At the end of the longer cable is a quarter-inch jack, but this screws off if desired, so you can connect to 1/8-inch equipment as well. That’s really it!
Instructions regarding how to place the headphones on your head and ears is beyond the scope of this article, but we will say, however, that we found the headphones quite comfortable to wear. The weight is just right for long sessions, and the memory foam provided good comfort. They were easily adjustable to our head.
A big concern of ours with closed-back headphones is how well they handle sound leakage. There’s nothing worse than a vocalist trying to sing and the music playing through their headphones leaks into the studio condenser microphone. Fortunately, the KRK headphones did a great job. We cranked some high-gain rock music through the headphones and found very little bleed.
We also wanted to see how well these headphones fare tracking drums. While sound leakage wasn’t an issue, it should be noted that the headphones made no discernable difference in terms of reducing the ambient volume of the drums for the performer, i.e. they were nearly as loud sounding for the drummer whether or not they had the headphones on. For performers who want to hear the natural sound of their drums in the room, this is a non-issue. But if you want to focus on hearing your processed studio drum sounds without the live room sound filtering in naturally, these may not be your best headphone option.Sound
The SRH940 sound fantastic for both mixing and other critical listening tasks, but they do possess a very subtle difference in sound from the SRH840. We didn’t find the high-end response yielduch less boominess to the sound, and more clarity. For mixing rock and pop, we found this subtle improvement definitely gave the nod to the new SRH940, but if you’re mixing bass-heavy club music, you may actually prefer the slightly fuller low-end response of the SRH840.
We listened to a variety of material on our KRK V6 series 2 monitors, which have served one of our studios well for years. And with V8 series 2 and fourth-generation V8s in some of our other studios, we are quite familiar with the KRK sound. We compared them to the 8402 headphones, and we were quite surprised there really wasn’t much difference to the sound character! In most cases, there was no discernible difference, and on occasion, there was actually a bit more clarity on the bass end when listening through the headphones. It seems they really do feature a deeper low end than the physical loudspeakers. This detail was not something we were expecting—especially at these headphones’ price point.
Having said that, some feel that the “KRK sound” is not 100% neutral, and that upper mids and/or highs are slightly exaggerated. In a nutshell: if you like the monitors, you will like the headphones. We certainly found them comfortable, and they sound very good. We used them with and without the volume attenuator in place, and found this did not change the sound, nor was there any added noise we could discern (including when adjusting the slider). We did notice, however, that even at the minimum volume, there was still a tiny bit of volume bleed coming through—it was not really “0”. This did not bother us, but is more of an observation.
Documentation and Product Support
Again, these are headphones, so there’s not a lot that needs to be explained. Having said that, there is a paper manual that comes in the box, and of course it is downloadable as well. We didn’t have any issues with the headphones, so we can’t speak specifically about product support, but historically we have had excellent technical support and customer service when dealing with our monitor speakers.
The KRK KNS 8402 headphones sell for just $149.99, and considering their versatility, comfort, price, and, of course, the KRK sound, if you’re in the market for high quality headphones that won’t break the bank, you should definitely check these out.