KRK Systems send the follow-up to the KNS 8400 the KNS 8402 into the running. Located in the mid-price range, they have to hold their own against strong competition and aim to achieve this with natural sound and accurate sonic representation. Do they succeed as a tool for content creation, editing and mixing? We put them through their paces for you.
The KRK KNS 8402 comes with a 2.5-metre cable including a 3.5-mm jack plug, and a 6.3-mm screw adapter provides additional connection options. A 75 cm extension cable with integrated remote control for adjusting the volume is included in the box. All plugs are gold-plated, so corrosion is impossible. A slightly padded carrying bag with a drawstring is also included. A cleaning cloth and a manual complete the package, which is reasonable for this price category.
Material and construction
The all-black KRK KNS 8402, with a plug-in cable on one end, are essentially made of plastic. However, the ear cups are finished with black metal plates. The ear cups are fitted with clip-in replacement pads. Inside the headband, which is otherwise made of plastic and quite thin, a steel strip is supposed to provide stability. This is sorely needed, as the headband is far from being torsion-resistant.
Inside the ear pads you will find a latex memory foam, which, unlike many other foams, is rightly named. Once pressed in, the earpad only finds its way back to its original shape slowly. The shape of the headband padding is roughly similar to that of the Sennheiser HD Pro series and has less contact surface compared with many competitor models.
Technology and values of the KRK KNS 8402
With a distortion-free sound pressure level of no more than 96.7 dB SPL, the KRK KNS 8402 are not one of the loudest pairs of headphones on the market. However, thanks to a low impedance of only 29 ohms, powerful volume can also be used with low-voltage headphone preamps such as those found in smartphones, laptops and comparable devices. The frequency range goes down to an excellent 5 Hz in the bass. That’s definitely a great thing for headphones in this price range. In the treble range, they operate up to 23 kHz. Overall, this means that these headphones have a wider frequency range than is necessary for typical human hearing.
Thanks to their plastic construction, the KRK KNS 8402 weighs just 241 grams without the cable. That’s why these headphones don’t need too much contact pressure to hold them in place. Even when moving the head quickly, the fit is still secure.
The headphones cable is fixed by plugging and twisting. This system is also used in competitor headphones, such as Sennheiser’s HD Pro series. The cable, which is plugged in at one end, ensures plenty of freedom of movement. With a length of 2.50 metres, the user does not have to sit rigidly at the mixing or editing desk, and thanks to the extension, the KNS 8402 are also well suited for use as recording headphones for musicians. Not only that, the closed design suits recording applications where microphones are used. With the help of the extension cable, performers can easily adjust the volume of their monitoring themselves.
Where there is light, there is also shadow. As comfortable as the KRK KNS 8402 are, even a short wearing time of just a few minutes leads to sweaty ears. This is likely to become a problem during longer sessions in summer temperatures. I wasn’t convinced by the way the ear pads are replaced either. Their support plates are clipped under small hooks when they are changed. Due to the fragile hooks, however, these appear to me to be weak points that will not survive the replacement of the pads too often without damage.
But back to the positive aspects: The rotating and swivelling ear cups offer everything that DJs might desire in a pair of headphones. They can be swivelled completely outwards. And because they can be turned 90 degrees to the front, the KNS 8402 can be transported flat to save space. However, they lack a folding mechanism.
Sound of the KRK KNS 8402
The KRK KNS 8402 delivers a compact sound that comes across as distinctly compressed. The overall sound was not very brilliant and seemed rather warm. A certain rumble in the bass was undeniable. This deprives them of the possibility for defined bass reproduction in the bass range.
But please don’t misunderstand: The KNS 8402 can deliver a lot of what you want from headphones for editing, mixing and content creation, right down to ultra-low sub-bass. The midrange, for example, ensures great speech intelligibility. Accordingly, voices and vocals are easy to hear with these headphones, even in productions with dense frequencies. The same applies to guitars. However, there is a sibilance in the high frequencies that adds significant sharpness to the signal. This applies to spoken and sung S-sounds or, for example, hi-hat sounds. Even well-balanced pieces of music are affected by this at high volumes.
The super-high frequency range, on the other hand, is subtle. As expected, its low impedance actually makes them “loud” headphones on preamps with low output voltage.
In terms of dynamics, the KNS 8402 didn’t quite convince me. Both short-term transients and dynamic differences in the programme were nice. They were, you might say, in line with the price range of the headphones. Overall, the sound of the KRK headphones offered standard fare in terms of subjective signal resolution as well as in terms of stereo impression and depth gradation. The attenuation of external noise and isolation from the outside was also OK for closed headphones. But for the purchase price, all of these are really nothing to write home about, and I don’t mean that to sound disrespectful. Buyers are simply getting a solid sonic value for a comparatively low budget.
The KRK KNS 8402 offers buyers precisely what they’ve paid for. And that is neither junk nor high-end, but a headphone for occasional use when editing content or mixing the odd home-recorded track. In my view, weak points were the fragile-looking fastening technology of its interchangeable pads and the speed at which they make the ears sweaty as well as distortions that occur as soon as the volume increases.
On the other hand, they come with a decent package, an interchangeable cable plugged in at one end, low weight, ear pads with latex memory foam and bass reproduction that reaches far down. DJs will also get on well with these headphones, thanks to their rotating and swivelling ear cups. If you are looking for a warm sound and still expect high speech intelligibility from your headphones, you will find what you are looking for with the KRK KNS 8402.
- Ear couplingOver-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)5 - 23.000 Hz
- Impedance29,25 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)96,73 dB
- Pressure averaged from big and small head486 g
- Weight with cable282 g
- Weight without cable241 g
- Cable length250 cm
What's in the box
- Cable with 3.5 mm jack plug
- Extension cable with remote
- 6.35mm stereo jack
- Cleaning cloth