Skip to main content

AKG K540 review

The stylish AKG K540 look nice but they lack openness, detail and dynamics Tested at £90

Our Verdict

We like them, but dedicated portable or dedicated hi-fi cans will get you better sound


  • Serious but stylish design
  • semi-open design lends flexibility
  • reasonably detailed


  • They lack the detail and openness of the best headphones at this price

We rather liked these AKGs the moment we saw them. That concentric arrangement on the ear cups is a stylish touch that means you’ll be confident wearing them out of the house, but they’ve balanced that with some nice traditional flourishes, too.

The semi-open design leaks very little, so if you did want to wear them out and about you’re unlikely to upset anyone.

However, the astonishingly lengthy (3m) lead indicates that these are first and foremost for use with a hi-fi at home, and there’s a 6.3mm adapter in the box for just that.

A halfway house
If the design seems like a halfway house between open and closed, the sound does, too, and unfortunately not in a good way.

Compared with hi-fi cans like the Grado SR80is the K540s lack openness, detail and dynamics, and next to a portable pair such as the Audio-Technica ATH-ES55s they lack attack, crispness and bass weight.

They’re also a tad harsh at the top end.

It’s a shame, because we like the design, and they fit superbly, too. Aside from that bit of brightness they’re also pretty tonally even and detailed in their own right.

But, there’s no getting around it: the K540s seem to try and cater for all tastes, but they don’t entirely satisfy any.

See all our headphone Best Buys

Follow whathifi on Twitter

Join whathifi on Facebook


View All

General Information

Manufacturer Website Address
Brand NameAKG
Product TypeHeadphone
ManufacturerHarman International Industries, Inc
Manufacturer Part NumberK540
Product NameAKG K540
Product ModelK 540

Technical Information

Sound ModeStereo
Minimum Frequency Response16 Hz
Connectivity TechnologyWired
Impedance32 Ohm
Cable Length3 m
Maximum Frequency Response24 kHz


Earpiece DesignOver-the-head
Earpiece TypeBinaural

Physical Characteristics

Form FactorSemi-open
Weight Approximate230 g


Host InterfaceMini-phone