KRK KNS 6402 review: Affordable headphones punch above their weight

These unassuming headphones are smooth sounding with excellent treble detail and generous low-end response. Could they be the perfect choice for producers on a budget?

REVIEW OVERVIEW

MT Choice
9

MT VERDICT

+ Excellent low-end performance
+ Unforced yet detailed midrange
+ Clear, extended high frequencies
+ Lightweight and comfortable
+ Astonishing value for money

- Not the most ruthless or dynamic presentation


Price $99/£69
Contact KRK Systems

These new affordable professional headphones might not seem a particularly exciting proposition; that is, until you hear them. KRS voiced the 6402s to retain the character of their highly regarded studio monitors, so users of the company’s monitoring systems should achieve synergy with a coherent monitoring combination.

Unlike with many new audio products, with the KRS 6402 headphones, KRK doesn’t boast about proprietary or exotic materials in this design. However, the company does claim a “newly developed headphone acoustical system”, whatever that might be, while the drivers are made from lightweight neodymium.

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The enclosure is constructed predominantly from black plastic, which seems durable enough for the rigours of studio life. At just 202g without a cable, they are light and prove impressively comfortable for long-term use.

A closed-back, isolating over-ear design, the ear cushions are made from acoustic cellular foam covered with leatherette and, like the head cushion, can be removed and replaced if necessary. You also get a nice soft bag for storage and transport, with the earcups rotating 90 degrees to facilitate this. A decent (2.5 m) detachable cable is provided. Usefully, it features a locking mechanism where the cable connects to the socket on the headphones, so you won’t accidentally pull out the cable during a crucial overdub.

KRK KNS 6402

Performance-wise, the 6402s exceed all expectations. From the first few bars of music, it’s clear that these are excellent headphones. Many ‘phones in this price range and indeed, some far more expensive designs, can sound a little thin, with an overly lean bass response. Not so here, however. Not only is the bass response fulsome, but it’s also of exceptional quality. Affordable professional headphones with deep, tuneful bass are rare, with many offering an approximation of low-end depth with exaggerated ‘one-note’ mid-bass.

Fortunately, the 6402s do not fall into this trap, instead offering a smooth yet firm account of what’s happening in the low-end of your mixes; if you don’t hear full-bodied, punchy bass, it isn’t there on the recording.

Although the superb bass response grabs attention, it doesn’t obscure the frequency bands above. Mid-range detail and separation are excellent, while the upper treble is clean, crisp and crystal clear. Unlike designs that go for an aggressive mid-forward presentation, the 6402s sound relaxed, with a hear-through quality that allows you to delve deep into your mixes.

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KRK KNS 6402

This smooth and deep voicing isn’t as forceful as some ultra-analytical headphones. However, this makes them ideal for lengthy monitoring sessions without inducing fatigue. In some respects, their character brings to mind the voicing of classic BBC monitors, since they err on the polite side of the truth rather than being brutally honest.

The 6402s achieve their detail retrieval by way of their accuracy of timbre rather than stark dynamic expression, so tiny changes of level – micro-dynamics – are less noticeable than they might be on headphones with a more ruthless presentation.

For music makers on a budget, or small independent studios that need several sets of cans for tracking bands without breaking the bank, the KNS 6402 could be the ultimate choice.

Key Features

  • High-efficiency 40mm Neodymium driver
  • 2.5m cable with oxygen-free copper wires
  • Adjustable, foldable driver enclosures
  • Replaceable head and ear cushions
  • 1/4” or 1/8” jack plug connection
  • Frequency response 10Hz – 22kHz
  • 122 dB Max Peak SPL
  • 36 ohms nominal impedance
  • Weight 202g (without cable)
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