AKG launched the duo of K361 and K371, two closed studio headphones which are characterised by nice design, moderate pricing and good sound. The more expensive of the two already gave us a lot of pleasure when we reviewed it in this test. Now their little brother, K361, gets into the ring as well.
From a technical point of view, the K361 is on a par with big brother because it also starts with 50-millimetre drivers coated with titanium, whose voice coils are wound from OFC – oxygen-free copper. This enables the headphones to achieve a sensitivity of 114 dB (according to the manufacturer’s specifications) per supplied volt and a frequency range of 15 Hz to 28 kHz at an averaged impedance of 34.05 ohms.
The main difference between the K371 and the K361 is that the frequency response of the former was approximated to a reference curve developed by Harman – at least that’s what the advertising blurb says. In addition, the extra spiral connection cable of the K371 has been omitted on the K361; it only comes with two straight 3- and 1.2-metre cables. I would have preferred to see a spiral cable included instead of the 1.2-metre cable. In studios, where performers in front of the microphone or engineers behind the mixing console move around a lot, the coiled cable type is advantageous because it prevents a user from getting quite so tangled up. The difference is even greater when it comes to the built-in connector; while the K371 is a standard mini-XLR jack, the K361 has a proprietary bayonet lock.
On the outside
Externally K371 and K361 look identical except for tiny details in the colour schemes. The K361 is pretty representative of its type because everything on it is rounded which, together with the matt black plastic, would not look out of place in the radiotelephony system onboard a stealth bomber. On both sides, the headphones can be folded inwards, so that they can easily be stored in the supplied carrying bag. Musicians and DJs who like to have one ear free when performing would also appreciate this feature. At just 221 grams (without cable), these are pretty lightweight for closed headphones.
Appropriately, the K361 can be worn for a long time without pressing or getting “heavy”. The heat build-up under the ear pads has to be taken into account, but you get a relatively good shielding against external noise, which is necessary for recording as well as for concentrated listening.
I liked the K371. Their neutral, somewhat low treble and therefore unstrained, “edge-free” sound was pretty good. The relaxed sound of the K361s in the high-frequency range, however, goes a bit too far for me. For example, listening to the high-toned percussion of “Dreizehenspecht” (Dominik Eulberg, “Manifold”) on my Phonon SMB-02 reference headphones, there is clearly more three-dimensional information and a much more finely drawn sound than with the K361. In contrast, the AKG reveals considerably more energy in the bass: it is really dry and crisp. Together with the powerful mids, which are a bit too “bulbous” in the 600 Hz range, this gives the headphones a very compact, “punchy” sound signature – not “open”, but just “in your face”, which of course is quite a lot of fun, especially with electronic club music. Those who prefer a finely resolved, airy high-frequency performance will consequently not particularly appreciate the K361. Fans of a compact, dry sound, on the other hand, might like it.
The AKG K361 is about fifty Euros cheaper than its bigger brother, but it has some disadvantages. These are mostly trivial things like the proprietary connector, where – unlike the mini-XLR standard – not every cable can be used; the lack of a coiled cable, which would be an advantage for studio use; and the sound, which is a bit less impressive than the K371. However, the K361 are not bad headphones. They look quite good, the external noise dampening is good and, if you’re a fan of very compact headphones with a strong bass sound, you’ll love them.
Measurement ResultsMore measurement results
- Ear couplingOver-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)15 - 28.000 Hz
- Impedance34,05 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)100,36 dB
- Pressure averaged from big and small head549,5 g
- Weight with cable246 g
- Weight without cable221 g
- Cable length120 cm
What's in the box
- 2 x straight cables (3.0 m & 1.2 m)
- 6.35mm stereo jack
- Carrying pouch