Harman Kardon - the high-end audio manufacturer - has announced its first range of own-brand headphones. The range, which is divided into two in-ear and two over-ear releases, with a fifth over-ear product due in July, is Apple-inspired in design and Apple Store distributed, to boot.
First up is the Harman Kardon NI: these £90 in-ear 'phones feature 9mm drivers for a wide dynamic range and high sound-pressure levels. Weighing in at just 3g per headphone, these ultra-light, black-housed audio minis come paired with a three- button remote on the cable. For added comfort there are three silicone sleeve sizes for a snug fit and noise isolation.
But if a perfect fit is something you struggle to get with in-ear headphones, then the Harman Kardon AE might be right up your street. Although similar to the NI in-ear model, the passive noise-cancelling AEs include Comply inserts that expand to fit into the ear canal. No more annoying drop-outs.
The £130 price tag also means a slightly different design: the silver-toned aluminium casing ensures superior acoustic dampening, while the honeycomb-pattern internal casing helps fuse any issues within the driver.
If over-ear headphones are more your thing then the Harman Kardon CL is the base-level classic product. And there ought to be plenty of bass too: the 40mm drivers are ported for a better low-frequency performance by recycling information from the back of the driver to enhance the bass levels.
The model features a sandblasted steel headband with a leather band for added comfort, while the earcups are said to mimic Apple's iconic iPod shape (yes, a rectangle) and offer soft, comfortable material that molds to your ears. There's no hard wiring either: instead a 2.5mm jack is included on the right headphone. Priced £170.
One step above is the Harman Kardon BT. These Bluetooth-enabled headphones include an integrated microphone and battery for connectivity. However, unlike many other Bluetooth headsets, the BTs also have a passive mode - if the 12-hour battery life is used up then plug a cable into the 2.5mm jack and you'll still be good to go. Priced £220.
And although there's no official press release, the Harman Kardon NC was also confirmed. This top-of-the-range noise cancelling over-ear set will be priced around £280, but are not expected to hit stores until the end of July.