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(Pocket-lint) - The AKG Y600NC proposition is a sensible one: to provide ultra-comfort in an over-ear design with active noise-cancellation (ANC), but without the giant price point that's often associated with such headphones.

But what corners have been cut to squeeze such an offering into this price bracket and, therefore, does it make sense to buy the Y600NC or save a little more and look elsewhere?

Design

  • Memory foam and protein leather ear cushions
  • Bluetooth 5 wireless, 2.5mm wired
  • 610mAh battery, USB fast-charge
  • Finishes: Gold, Black, Silver
  • Carry pounch included
  • Folding design
  • Weight: 322g

If the AKG Y600NC has got one thing right that's comfort. These over-ear cans have got large earcups, which are made from memory foam and lined with protein leather. Wear them for hours at a time and you won't get that 'pinch' associated with some over-ears. It's just dreamy comfort.

Pocket-lintAKG Y600NC review photo 3

However, the earcups are rather large, so can slide around just a little bit - which can, to a degree, affect the sound quality as it flies towards your ears. We find the Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 - which are only a little extra in price - to handle fit just slightly better.

Our review sample is finished in black, but there are silver and gold option available if you prefer. The finish isn't plasticky, as it's coated in a soft-touch material, which feels great and doesn't make any annoying creaky sounds like some plastics can. However, the slightest touch does mark this material with fingerprints.

As for controls, AKG has stuck with a combination of automation, an well-appointed app, and physical buttons/switches that you can find easily without needing to look. It's a sensible solution, although we would prefer for more subtle buttons in terms of size - having the various openings visible could be avoided with touch-controls instead, as you'll find in many other headphones these days.

Pocket-lintAKG Y600NC review photo 6

The Bluetooth connection we've found to be solid, or you can listen via wire - there's a cable included in the carry pouch (it's the smaller 2.5mm opening on the headphones themselves, 3.5mm at the other end for connection to devices). There's also an auto start/stop facility - which can be easily switched on or off within the app - and auto-off too, making certain aspects of use automated, which is great.

Sound

  • Frequency response: 10Hz - 24kHz
  • Active noise-cancelling (ANC)
  • AKG app with  adjustable EQ
  • 40mm drivers

As with any headphones it's the sound profile that's the most important. AKG does well here, but it's not a class leader. We've found the top-end to be a little pushed, bass less impactful than some - such as the Bose NC 700 Headphones - and there's not the same distinction that you can find elsewhere.

Pocket-lintAKG Y600NC review photo 8

That said, there's a wide frequency range that's covered, so there's no barrier to what you get to hear. Plus there's a totally adjustable equaliser (EQ) within the app to manipulate a waveform as you please (albeit within 32Hz - 16kHz, which cuts off the lowest bass and highest frequencies outside the range which the Y600NC claims to cover).

The active-noise cancelling helps to dial down ambient noise, allowing you to dedicate your time to listening without distractions, but it's not very powerful ANC. That's not necessarily a problem - some ANC systems make you feel like you're floating in a vacuum of space - as it helps boost the sound more delicately overall. But if you want stronger cancelling technology then it's easy to find - from the Surface Headphones 2, with its adjustable 13 levels; to the even more powerful Bose Noise Cancelling 700.

Best Bluetooth headphones 2021 rated: Top on-ear or over-ear wireless headphones

Verdict

The AKG Y600NC headphones deliver a big wall-of-sound style of sound that's loud, capable across the frequency range, but less cohesive than some other more adept offerings on the market. The ANC isn't that strong either.

Which, in effect, is the compromise you're taking in paying a little less. Most will be happy with the Y600NC for all that's on offer - until you go listen to the slightly pricier competition out there and realise what could be had.

Also consider

Pocket-lintAlternatives photo 2

Bose NC 700 Headphones

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For your money - and admittedly you'll need a fair bit more of it - these over-ears offer the best ANC you'll find, plus super sound quality.

Pocket-lintAlternatives photo 1

Microsoft Surface Headphones 2

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For a little more cash Microsoft's second-gen over-ears offer supreme comfort and better ANC adjustment.

Writing by Mike Lowe. Originally published on 18 October 2020.