REVIEW: KRK KNS 8402 Headphones

KRK has really made their mark with studio monitors, so it made sense that they would release headphones for studio applications. The overall quality and performance the KRK KNS 8402 Headphones deliver is on par with their monitors, but the price is the bigger surprise.

Cracking open the yellow box, it contains the accessories of a soft storage bag, cleaning cloth, as well as the connection cable and a separate slider volume control cable. As the cables are detachable, the age of a great set of headphones getting thrown out due to a damaged cable is over. The headphones themselves feel quite light at just over a half a pound, but don’t feel fragile or flimsy. The 40mm drivers are Neodymium based, which obviously are a factor in the light weight, while leatherette covered memory foam is the name of the game when it comes to the head and ear cushions, and these soft items are replaceable.

With an over the ear design, the sound isolation is great, blocking out 30dB of outside noise, making these excellent in a live tracking situation. Using the inline slider cable allows the user to control the volume into the headphones. Ever have a session where a player keeps asking for constant (and inconsistent) volume adjustments in their cans? This will put them in the driver’s seat in controlling their own overall volume without a separate monitor mix. Speaking of volume, with a max 124 dB (which is about the same volume level as a jackhammer) there should be no issues with drivers getting damaged or fatigued in even extreme situations.

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Comfort-wise, these are excellent in a physical sense, with the fantastic padding, and lightweight feel. Going into long sessions the audio fatigue was non-existent, especially with the in-line volume control, allowing the player to adjust the levels to their own taste. With a frequency response of 5hz-23kHz they can cover pretty much anything from sensitive acoustic to mega umlaut metal. The audio quality was excellent, the Neodymium drivers not only tend to make things lighter but seem to roll off harshness in the higher ranges, while still maintaining a nice and full low-end response that maintains definition.

So, for tracking, these are really nice, but one thing that always helps in a mixing setting is being able to switch between headphones and room monitors, hunting for the audio issues one of the items is either missing or coloring in some manner. We did a few bits of back and forth between our monitors and these and found a nice balance where these seemed to have a lot of characteristics of monitors.

There’s a school of thought that mixing only on a set of headphones isn’t a good practice. However, with a set of these, since you’re getting very similar responses to monitor speakers, that school could easily be dismissed.

Overall, these are quite nice, and for tracking and personal use (our tester loved using these with his modeling pedalboard) a set of these is a no brainer. Mixing with a set of these was a pleasure and worked nicely with monitors. There seems to be a lot of mileage to be had from putting these in your home studio, regardless of the road taken or the destination.

PROS:

Well made, lightweight, good sound and ultra-affordable

CONS:

None

STREET PRICE:

$149

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