Thanks to their uncharacteristically open sound, the AKG K 390s are a fine set of earphones for the price; however, there are better buys that provide improved audio and a more comfortable fit.
In the expanding line of AKG's earbud-style headphones, you'll find the $120 K 340 earphones. The set offers surprisingly open sound for an in-ear model, but comfort and potential durability issues may be a turn-off for some people.
The design of the AKG K 340 earphones is a bit of a disappointment. Its foremost issue comfort. While the earpieces are rather small overall, the apertures are some of the largest we've encountered. Their considerable girth tends to put pressure on the inside of smaller ears.
The other problem is that the cable descending from each earbud is exceptionally thin--perhaps one of the thinnest we've seen--that raises some concern for its durability. This combined with the plastic earpieces also makes the K 340s feel cheaper than their $120 price tag implies.
We're also pleased to note the flexible, reinforced housing around the gold-plated straight-plug as this will help prevent breakage in that area. The cord measures an ample 40 inches overall in length, but it's worth mentioning that you get a fair amount of noise from the cable bouncing or rubbing against the front of your body.
As is so often the case with headphone performance--especially ultraportable models--it all boils down to personal preference. The AKG K 340s offer a clear, open sound space with plenty of low-end thump, provided you can get a good seal with the ear (we had to press them in because of the size issue).