(Pocket-lint) - One of the first frustrating things you'll notice about the AKG K 340 earphones is that the familiar R and L to tell you what 'phone to put in what ear is so damn small that you'll need a pair of glasses just to see what's what.

It is there, but in something like four point black on brown.

Okay so it's no deal breaker, but it does means that every time you want to put these 'phones on you've got to squint your eyes looking for a letter smaller than a gnats cock.

That bug bear aside, the AKG K 340's are an in-ear headphone from the company that mostly specialises in high end headphones for performers and those who like the stage.

In the box you get the headphones, ear buds to fit you ear and a semi rigid case to store them in.

Available in a range of colours the 'phones themselves are made from plastic making them light in the ear and fairly comfortable. We say fairly comfortable, because after all it's your ear not ours. Personally we found them a touch loose and no good for running, but you might be fine.

Comfort is one thing, but sound is another. Overall the K 340 are okay, coping well with the music we gave it on a variety of devices however hampered by that ear fitting. Pushed in an held they sound perfect, but given room to move and the bass disappears and you're left with a rather tinny experience.

We tested it with the usual array of dance, German techo, Norah Jones and American punk and all proved that headphones can cope with a range of different music styles however in all case we experienced a lot of leakage both in and out.

On the bus this resulted in having to turn the volume virtually all the way up on both our MP3 player and the headphones - something we weren't too comfortable doing. Perhaps realising sound leakage is going to be a problem, AKG has included a rather handy volume slider on the headphone cable.

A quick slide and the volume is boosted or reduced and it's a lot easier than finding your MP3 player or phone to control the volume.

The good news, I suppose, is that the headphones can cope with the increased volume.


For a while now our favourite headphones have either been the Etymotic hf2's or the Philips SHE9850 as both deliver a brilliant sound quality and fit.

Unfortunately for AKG, the K 340 earphones don't come up to scratch and therefore we can't recommend them over those two sets.

Writing by Stuart Miles.