I’ve long been a fan of AKG’s headphones. I like their aesthetics. I like their build. Most importantly, I like the tuning that AKG brings to their music products. It simply sounds good to my ears. That’s why I was excited to check out the new AKG N60NC Wireless. I’ve reviewed the N60NC but now… they’ve cut the cord!
The AKG N60NC impressed me. They impressed Raina too. In fact, we did a video review of them!
My biggest complaint with the N60NC was the fact that they were not wireless. In a world where wireless headphones have become commonplace, I was bummed that they still required a 3.5mm plug on the audio source. That is, of course, even more, the case when you consider the fact that my iPhone 7 no longer has a 3.5mm headphone jack. Fortunately, AKG just came out with a new version of the AKG N60NC. They maintain much of what I loved about the original version but… this time they cut the cord.
Fortunately, AKG just came out with a new version of the AKG N60NC. They maintain much of what I loved about the original version but… this time they cut the cord.
Here’s what the company has to say about the new headphones:
AKG N60NC wireless headphones feature AKG Signature sound that’s deep in bass and rich in the mid-range, as well as best-in-class noise cancellation that’s fine-tuned for traveling. And while a single charge gives you 15 hours of uninterrupted listening pleasure with both Bluetooth and Active Noise Cancellation turned on, they sound just as awesome in the passive mode. A button on the ear-cup lets you control all music playback, and Bluetooth gives you wireless access to all your music. Best of all, the flat-foldable design and thoughtfully-included accessories – airline adapter, tangle-free fabric cable, carrying case – mean these headphones are ready to travel when you are.
Inside the box, you get the headphones, a carrying pouch, a flight adapter, a USB charging cable and a 3.5mm detachable cable with mic/remote. It is a complete package that lets you enjoy your music in both wired and wireless mode.
The headphones themselves are understated but still stylish. The pair I was sent is black with silver trim. They are made from metal, plastic, protein leather, and memory foam and not only look great but feel solid without weighing too much. (That’s particularly important when you are looking at headphones you will use for travel since the odds of you wearing them for an extended period is rather significant.) It is important to note that while AKG worked to keep weight down, aluminum is used to connect the earpiece to the headband to keep them as sturdy as possible.
The headphones fold up and fold flat so that they take up minimal room in your briefcase or carry on.
But while they do come with a travel pouch, the soft material used for the pouch won’t offer much by way of drop or crush protection.
The left ear cup has a micro-USB charging port and a 2.5mm input for use with the included cable when you decide (or need to because the battery crapped out) to use the headphones in wired mode.
The right ear cup has the power/pairing toggle and the track controls. Flip the power/pairing button to turn it on or hold it in position to kick the headphones into pairing mode. There’s no NFC pairing here and… I don’t miss it. The track controls also let you take calls by simply pushing the toggle in.
At the top are volume controls I love the fact the volume and track toggles are in entirely different locations.
All that is nice but what matters is comfort and sound, and I am happy to report that AKG has done a fantastic job with both.
On-Ear headphones have their place, but they can, and often are, uncomfortable. To get the right seal they clamp down on your ears. And while this might not be an issue initially, after some time they inevitably begin to hurt. Not so the AKG N60NC Wireless. The company used leather that was soft enough to allow the memory foam beneath to do its job. They create a nice seal, but it isn’t a tight fit. And, thanks to the ANC, the headphones can physically and technologically block out the world so you can enjoy your music. Even with the headphones turned off they do a good job of blocking ambient sound. Once the ANC is turned on it is all peace and butterflies.
As I mentioned in the introduction, I like AKG’s sound profiles. They tune their headphones in a specific way and it works for me. (Aside: at CES a few years ago Judie and I were speaking to a Harman exec. I asked if he could explain the tuning for each of Harman’s lines. (IE, how are JBL headphones tuned compared to AKG headphones compared to Harman Kardon. He looked quizzically for a moment and said, “So you realized there are different sound profiles to different lines?” We do and it is one of the things Judie and I appreciate about the various offerings from Harman International.) As has been the case with pretty much all of the AKG headphones I have reviewed and use (often), the sound is awesome. AKG headphones offer clear, natural sound. The details break through in the treble quite well but there his still enough bass for the sound to be full. Vocals come through with clarity and, if you are a fan of music from the likes of Acoustic Alchemy, acoustics break through sharply in a manner that feels alive.
The sound is delightful. They have a clear, natural sound, with fabulous detail in the treble. Vocals have a presence that is pure and clean, and acoustic guitars are spectacular. The bass performance is balanced. In all, the sound coming from these is impressive. If you like AKG tuning, you will be extremely happy! As AKG puts it, “Sounds amazing. And then you switch it on.“
- Best-in-class active noise-cancelling technology: Active Noise Cancellation fine-tuned for traveling combines with superior materials – memory foam and protein leather – to reduce ambient noise and create a perfect quiet zone of your own.
- Lossless wireless audio playback with aptX: Access all your audio wirelessly over Bluetooth, and experience superior quality sound while streaming, thanks to aptX and AAC technology that enhance the wireless sound performance of any media. Got an incoming call? Receive it with the touch of a single button.
- 15 hours of battery life: Get 15 hours of playback with both Bluetooth and Active Noise Cancellation turned on, and up to 30 hours of playback with just ANC turned on. In fact, you can use them endlessly in passive mode because these headphones sound good even when switched off.
- AKG reference sound quality: Powered on or switched off, these headphones bring you the award- winning AKG Signature sound that’s deep in bass and rich in mid-range.
- Flat-foldable in a compact, fully transportable package: Flat foldable, the N60NC Wireless headphones fit easily in your hand luggage, but also in your pocket, ready to entertain you on any journey, long or short. Thoughtful accessories like the Universal mic/remote, a tangle-free fabric cable, an airline adapter and carrying case make these headphones simply the most convenient to take along.
- Frequency response Impedance: 10Hz – 22kHz
- Max input power Sensitivity: 30mW
- Impedance: 32 Ohms
- Weight: 199.4g
- Cable length: 1.2m
- Connection: 3.5mm (1/8″) Stereo Mini-Jack
- Battery type: Lithium-ion Polymer (3.7V, 610mAh)
- Charging: 5VDC, 550mA
- Bluetooth version: 4.0
- Bluetooth transmitter frequency range : A2DP V1.2, AVRCP V1.4, HFP V1.6, HSP V1.2
- Bluetooth transmitter power: 2402 – 2480MHz : <4dBm
- Bluetooth transmitter modulation: GFSK, DQPSK, 8DPSK
I liked the AKG N60NC a lot. I found them to be comfortable, sound good and offer ANC that works well, I did not, however, like the fact that they required a cord and was pleased when AKG took the step to bring wireless Bluetooth connectivity to an already-excellent pair of headphones. The wireless version has all the qualities I liked in their predecessor, plus they have a slightly sturdier build and get great battery life when you cut the cord. Add in the fact that, with the included cord, you can use them as if they were a pair of the original wired AKG N60NC, and you now have a pair of wireless, on-ear ANC headphones that I can highly recommend. At $299.95 they aren’t exactly cheap, but they are in line with other headphones of this caliber. Check them out here.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Comfortable; Great Sound; Good battery life; Good ANC; Smart control layout
What Needs Improvement: Carry pouch only offers a degree of protection