We’ll start by putting it out there. These are some pretty solid headphones.
And they are coming from a company that is not very well known in the DJ industry. KRK Systems is more of a resident in the pro audio and music production realms.
KRK Systems was founded in 1986 by Keith Klawitter, who began the company’s legacy by building high-end studio monitors. Decades down the line, the company decided to venture into the headphones business.
While their cans are not specifically designed for DJs in mind, they excel in sound quality. They carry that quintessential KRK sound that KRK monitors have become famous for. They have one of the most accurate and honest reproduction qualities out there.
These headphones also excel in terms of comfort and usability. They are fit for use in the studio or at home.
They come in a lightweight, ergonomic design. This is mainly due to the majorly plastic build. Couple this with the acoustic memory foam that is found under the headband and the earcups and you have a set of quite comfortable headphones.
The closed-back earcups are designed to sit over the ears snugly to isolate ambient noise and prevent of some sound leakage. The same earcups can rotate to allow one-ear listening in the scenarios that call for this.
The headphones come in a colorful package that includes a carrying bag, a cleaning cloth and a detachable cable with volume control.
Design-wise, the KNS 8400 headphones are quite ordinary. But with a closer look at them, you will notice some clever design elements.
They come in a thick plastic exterior that looks cheap to some but make no mistake – it can take quite a lot of wear and tear. It’s impact-resistant plastic.
Hidden underneath the thick plastic is a metal headband which features a nifty adjustable mechanism. This means the headphones can adjust to fit just about any head size.
Under the headband are two pressure points where the memory form is thickest. This is the same type of memory form that is found on the inside of the earcups. It is especially soft, making these headphones quite comfortable.
If we were to rate the overall comfort level of the KNS 8400s we would give them an 8/10. The feel of the earcups and the clamping force exerted by the headphones is very subtle which is great. But the two pressure points underneath the headband are not ideal – they can get uncomfortable with extended use.
The detachable and replaceable locking cable that comes with these headphones is a great feature. It looks durable and the volume control on it is definitely a nice touch. It comes with a cool 1/8” to ¼” screw-in adapter.
The side of the cable with the twist-locking mechanism is proprietary. What this means is that it cannot be used with other headphones. It also means that these headphones cannot be used with standard iPod extension cables.
Another not-so-great thing about the cable is that it is a bit too long. Its length can work for a studio or DJ booth setting but not a home or office setting. And KRK didn’t provide a shorter cable in the box. If you need one, you would have to purchase one separately.
In terms of branding, the KNS 8400 headphones make a small splash. You will find a small KRK logo on the outside of each earcup and that’s it.
As mentioned earlier, these headphones have that well-known KRK sound that the company’s monitors have become famous for. They have an accurate and honest sound quality that is hard to find in other similarly-priced headphones.
But one thing you need to remember is that these headphones are not DJ headphones. If you are expecting to get a powerful bass from them, you will be disappointed. They are made for people who want to hear what is actually coming from the mic or from a recording.
They work great for tracking, mixing and recording applications in the studio. When mixing, they offer the much-needed depth and punch.
The highs on these headphones can be described as crisp and revealing. You will be able to catch the vocals clearly as well as any trumpets and orchestral sounds. As for the mids, they are fairly detailed but they are not as warm as they could be if compared with what’s reproduced by other bass-oriented headphones.
In terms of isolation, these headphones do a decent job. The superbly soft memory foam earcups are pretty good at isolating surrounding noises – particularly subway/traffic sounds and human voices – even when music is not playing on them. Extremely high/loud sounds like police car sirens will still be heard through them, though.
Sound leakage is at a minimum with these headphones – unless of course, you blast them to maximum volume, which is bad for your ears.
While it can’t be compared to that of Sennheiser HD600 or 650s, the soundstage on these headphones is certainly worth talking about. It is wide and has great depth. You will be able to catch the separation of the instruments really well especially if you are listening to orchestral music.
KRK systems have really outdone themselves with these headphones. When they say that they are designed to have the closest response possible to their monitor speakers, they certainly weren’t playing around.
Apart from blocking out a good amount of noise from the surrounding environment, they reproduce an excellent sound that’s accurate and honest. With crisp highs, fairly detailed mids and balanced bass, these cans are perfect for the studio.
They were not designed to be DJ headphones. They are a great choice for the DJ-producer or for someone who is getting started as a producer.
Add the fact that they are comfortable, lightweight, durable and versatile and you have a truly great set of headphones.
Now consider the fact that they have a price tag that’s under $200. All that’s left for you to do is to go grab a pair, right? In case it’s not clear yet, we are highly recommending them.