After hearing about AKG's latest pair of on-ear headphones, the N60 NC Wireless, at CES 2017, we were itching to give them a go. Fortunately, we've now got our hands on a pair and have had a couple of hours to see just what they're capable of.
AKG N60 NC Wireless preview: Design
Before we laid eyes on the N60 NC Wireless, all we had to go on in terms of looks were some press shots, where they certainly seemed photogenic. Now we have them in the flesh, we find them even more good looking. Executives and frequent flyer types, who want a premium looking and feeling pair of cans for their commute, will be in good hands here.
They really do scream high-end. They're solid to hold, there's lashing of protein leather and the metal joints between headband and ear cup not only make them more substantial, but the extra hint of chrome is enough to make us weak at the knees.
The headband is adjustable and each side has numbers from 1-10 to show how far out you've pulled them and to help you make sure you get an even balance both sides. It's a small touch to print the numbers on, and something we haven't seen before, but it makes complete sense.
They're an on-ear design, as opposed to over-ear. Whilst AKG has gone to every length to make them as comfortable as possible, with a combination of leather and memory foam on the ear pieces, we did find ourselves struggling to keep them on for more than a couple of hours. We were on a cramped train for most of that though, so may feel better in more open conditions. We'll be sure to let you know.
The right ear cup may initially look a bit busy with several different buttons, but they're there to make controlling music playback, volume and power a lot easier when they're on your head.
AKG N60 NC Wireless preview: Sound quality
As we said in our opening, we've only had a couple of hours of listening time so far, so can't give our final opinion on the headphones just yet. In those few hours we've noticed the sound change somewhat, as the speaker drivers warm up and loosen. We'll be sure to keep listening until they're performing at their very best.
What we have heard so far has been very good, though. An eclectic mix of music has already been played through them: from beat-heavy Aphex Twin, to light and airy ambient songs from London Grammar. So far, the N60 NC Wireless hasn't put a foot wrong.
Bass levels have been spot on, for our tastes at least. If you're a true Beats bass-junkie, then you may find these a little flat in comparison. We'd have to say there's just the right amount, while vocals are comfortably given centre stage.
We do feel some drum beats are a bit too sharp right now, but this is something we expect to change as we listen some more.
AKG N60 NC Wireless preview: Features and performance
We haven't listened to the wired pair of the N60 NCs unfortunately, but we can't imagine the sound will change too much. Sometimes when a company releases a wireless version of a wired pair of headphones, the lack of secure connection can affect the sound. We'd say that's not the case here. There's no lag at all between phone and headphones,
The headline feature of the N60 NCs is the noise-cancellation, which AKG claims is "best in class". We had a chance to listen to them on the London Underground, and sure enough, we could barely hear a murmur from outside our listening zone.
We could see people have conversations right in front of us, but didn't have a clue what they were saying. They're a good tool to help you learn how to lip read. We'll update this with our full thoughts on their noise-cancelling abilities in the full review.
AKG says the battery should give you up to 15 hours of wireless playback from a single charge. When we first got them out the box we were surprised to see a full charge, we expected only 50 per cent, or something around that. They've lost 20 per cent so far, but we'll sure to top them up and see how long it takes to run them down. We're pretty confident we can reach that 15 hour figure.
We feel like we're going to get on very well with AKG's latest pair of cans. They look great, feel great and already sound great, which means, as D:Ream once said, things can only get better.
Their £250 price tag already seems more than justified, but we're interested to see just how well they stack up against some pretty formidable competition in the form of the Sony MDR-1000X and the Bose QuietComfort 35. Both those pairs are more expensive and both use an over-ear design. Which in a way, leaves the playing field wide open for AKG to come in with a genuinely portable pair of noise-cancelling cans.