Regarded for their unsurpassable quality against price reputation, KRK Systems is a brand with a signature 'Rokit' monitor speaker range that appears as the focal point in many a project or professional studio environment. However, in recent years, KRK has sought to translate the same sonic quality that their users have come to love from the Rokit 'RP6' and 'RP8' monitors into a professional monitor headphone range. A number of months ago now we reviewed the KNS 6400's that were based on the sonic signature of the RP6's and they were given a respectable 4/5 rating but now we have acquired a pair of their bigger brothers: the KNS 8400's.
Based on the sonic signature of the KRK RP8 monitor range, the KNS 8400's are certainly an interesting entrant and supposedly the cream of what KRK have to offer in the monitor headphone market. Sensibly priced at a street price of £129, the KNS 8400's are in price point that is at the stretch of what keen project studio owners are prepared to pay for a pair of reliable cans but first lets address the unboxing.
Arriving in your hands you will be warmed with a box thats colour scheme matches the signature yellow kevlar driver cones associated with KRK products and, as far as cans go, its contents are fairly standard. Opening the lid of the box reveals your brand new shiny headphones that are safe and secure in a plastic vacuum moulded holder that adequately protects them from the stresses of transit. Pulling the plastic out gives you access to the end of the straight cable and the 'portable standard' 3.5mm jack is connected to a 1/4inch adapter so the headphones can be used in a variety of situation. Also surprisingly included is a optional in-
Immediately when discussing the build quality I do have to comment that I am slightly undecided about a number of aspects and this shall all be explained below. Sometimes this confusion is justified so I have to make known that it should be summarised subjectively. Whilst almost much every headphone manufacturer out there makes their driver housings from one type plastic or another it is safe to say that KRK is no devil, but KRK have used this material to craft a headphone with an extremely lightweight design. Whilst in the respect that this could help make the product a much more comfortable footprint on the head, when in the hand it makes them feel a bit insubstantial with regards to their structural integrity in comparison to headphones made by Audio Technica or Beyerdynamic. Moving on to some of the aesthetics, KRK have decided that the left and right headphone markers on the KNS 8400's should be two small depressed stickers that have a dated 90's appearance. Although there is no aesthetic conformity as to how the left and right ear-
As one of the most important aspects of design, I would like to say that the two memory foam pads at the top of the head-
It is a common instance for any ear/headphones that the point where the cable enters the driver housing is one of the weakest links that can link to premature stress on the solder points. It is certainly nice to see that the KNS 8400's have a detachable and replaceable cable but unfortunately the package only comes with a straight cable and I know that many music producers out there would far rather prefer a coiled cable. Anyway, the design that KRK have opted for is a 2.5mm stereo jack point that enters the housing with ease and locks with a clockwise twist and although the cable is not of the highest quality, at least it is replaceable! Finally, the fact that the divers can swivel on the x-
Before discussing the sound quality we should highlight the mechanism of these headphones; they are a closed back monitor design which crucial for when you are in the studio because you firstly do not want to leak that much sound as it may go into the recording when tracking and you don't want the external environment to frustrate your critical listening. Naturally the KNS 8400's perform well at both blocking incoming or outgoing sounds (when worn) and I should say that they perform slightly above average in this department.
Moving on to the soundstage of the KNS 8400's, they perform impressively. Your stereo field is wide and clear but has moderately natural appearance. When critically listening to more toned down un-
KRK's KNS 8400 monitor headphones are a comfortable experience in terms of how well they feel when wearing and perhaps other manufacturers should take note of using memory foam in their constructions. I do strongly feel that the KNS 8400's are certainly in tune with the sonic character of KRK's Rokit 8 (RP8) monitor speakers so if you are looking for excellent translation between your RP8's and your headphones then you will undoubtedly be looking at the 8400's. Unfortunately, I did not feel that the sonic signature was quite as good as some other headphones in the same price range and there is a couple of minor concerns with the build quality. The Pro Audio Web Blog awards the KRK KNS 8400's a 3.5 out of 5.