- Pros: AKG’s new headset features a sleek, discreet design, more than adequate sound performance and a particularly convincing active noise canceling. The whole thing is accompanied by several accessories and a long autonomy.
- Cons: It is impossible to change the sound volume from the remote control, a huge lack for a product offered at this price.
- In Short: Designed for the most nomadic, the N60 NC is a great success, offering superb performance and functionality in a particularly compact and elegant model. Despite the price, difficult to resist if you are looking to isolate yourself while on the move.
- Compact Supra-Aural Headphone – Weight 150 g
- Active noise reduction
- Remote control with microphone
- Battery life 30 hours
- Flat folding earphones for storage
- Supplied with carrying case and airplane adapter
AKG N60 NC Review
Active Noise Canceling Headphones are not really pushing the market, yet more and more users are looking for this feature, both to hope to isolate themselves from ambient noise during public transport or make a long flight much more enjoyable. If the Bose QC25 is for some time a reference in the matter, AKG could shake the market with the release of its new AKG N60 NC.
“The peace and silence that your music deserves,” a small phrase that is rather simple but clearly announces the color for this latest model in the AKG Travel range. The manufacturer promises a significant reduction of the surrounding noise related to urban traffic, transport (metro/train) or aircraft, all in a particularly compact and nomadic model.
It is cheaper than the iconic Bose model but not as affordable as the Philips Fidelio NC1. Is it still capable of imposing itself on this market?
With such a price, the AKG N60 NC is not an impulsive purchase, but its “Premium” side is quickly put forward, as soon as the product is unpacked. The rather sober cover quickly presents the headphone from different angles, while three pictograms remind the user of one of the objectives of the headphones: to isolate during a journey by plane, in a crowded and noisy city or in a train and its many vibrations.
On the rear panel, the different features of the headphones are detailed, with an emphasis on the ANC (Active Noise Control) module, sound performance, and autonomy, or a folding design allowing it to be easily stored in a bag.
Inside the packaging, the manufacturer elegantly presents the various accessories and the headphone itself with a second cardboard. The N60NC is therefore accompanied by two braided cables (one audio and one for recharging), a zipped pocket, an aircraft adapter and the usual paperwork.
Design & Ergonomics
Unlike the Bose QC25, the AKG N60 NC opts for a “supra-aural” design, much more compact and discreet. A rather interesting choice, since the model is above all intended for a nomadic public, wanting a minimum of congestion during their movements.
From the first grip, the headphone clearly offers a sensation of quality, despite its featherweight of about 150 g. From the cables to the cables through the ear cups, the entire headphone seems to have been thought to follow you everywhere and for a long time. The very sober, black tones accompanied by a few silvery touches also give the headphone an elegant and discreet look, far from some more eccentric models.
Moreover, we found a relatively thin arch but it was solid, resistant to the stretches and the twists without any problem. Unlike many competitors, however, there is an almost non-existent inner padding, which can initially make a little fear about the comfort of the headphone. However, the low weight of the set is well distributed on the skull and no discomfort is to be reported even during extended periods of listening.
Each side of the hoop is, of course, adjustable, allowing the N60 NC to adapt to the majority of the morphologies. A hinge, covered with a soft-touch coating, then folds the ear cups towards the inside of the arch, for storage and transport as compact as possible.
The earbuds themselves can also be swiveled along a vertical axis so that the earbuds can be further adjusted to the ears of each person, and the headphone can also be folded flat. However, the pivot is only one-sided and does not allow the pads to rest on the clavicles when the headphone is worn around the neck.
A little closer, the outer shell of the atria is built in a visually friendly black metal. Each has many discrete perforations, with a small silver AKG logo in the center. A silver touch that is also found around each earpiece, through an aluminum strapping bringing the right touch of elegance.
On the left earpiece is the 3.5mm mini port and a single button on the side to enable or disable active noise canceling. A green LED confirms activation but also acts as a status indicator when the headset is charging.
Inside, there are shape memory pads that come directly on the ears rather than completely encapsulate them like the Bose QC25 or the Parrot Zik 3 that we recently reviewed.
In use, the comfort is very good, although some prefer the larger models, generally offering a better holding while tightening less the head. However, the AKG N60 NC has awesome support, the headphone does not slip at the slightest movement of the head.
The headphone is accompanied by a braided and detachable cable. Clearly, there is no risk here of having to buy a product because the cable is broken, and it is rather a good thing. The connection is made via a mini 3.5mm miniature connector on the headphone side and a 3.5mm angled connector on the player side. On the cable, there is also a remote control with a microphone (particularly powerful), allowing music to be played/pause, to move from one track to another or to pick up a phone call.
Big flat, however, no button allows adjusting the volume, which is more than difficult in practice. Indeed, it is not uncommon to have to adjust the volume from one track to another or according to the environment, and having to go out each time to Smartphone is really penalizing for a headphone that wants to nomadic. The Sony MDR-100AAP we reviewed recently also suffered from the same problem.
Finally, last small quick point concerning the rest of the accessories, since the AKG N60 NC is accompanied by a zippered pocket in the shape of half-moon allowing a simple and effective storage. Slightly cushioned, it should offer a long life to the headphone. Special mention also for the presence of an aircraft adapter, allowing finally to enjoy the films offered by the airlines with its own headphone.
Sound Performance and Noise Canceling
If, as we saw above, the AKG N60 NC is a model in terms of design and look, it remains to be seen if the promises concerning noise isolation are kept and especially if the sound performance is at the level for a headphone.
The manufacturer is far from being a beginner on the sector and it must be admitted that all AKG know-how in audio is quickly felt once the headphones on the ears. The N60NC headphone offers a particularly rich sound, with a sound signature rather well balanced.
The lovers of bass are not abandoned, with a beautiful depth without nibbling the other frequencies. The ensemble is rather homogeneous, offering the beautiful part to the vocal parts while keeping many details in the top of the frequencies. It’s really a pleasure to rediscover its sound library alongside AKG’s newest, with a dynamic and powerful sound without having to increase the volume.
For a headset so compact and closed, the sound scene is also pleasantly wide and allows to enjoy as much of its favorite music as a movie or a series by plugging it on a tablet. An added bonus for those traveling regularly by train or plane.
Now there is the question of active noise canceling since this is obviously the main feature of the AKG N60 NC. Small precision firstly, the functionality is directly powered by an internal battery and not batteries, and it is, therefore, possible to continue to enjoy its music passively even when it comes to the breakdown of autonomy (If the sound performance suffers slightly).
To get an idea of the performance of the module, the headphone has been confronted with several noisy situations, ranging from a walk in the noisy streets of Marseille to a trip to Paris by TGV or a fast flight to Madrid. In each case, the noise canceling was particularly effective, removing a large part of the external noise. Both in a railway station and airport hall, you can enjoy your songs without being disturbed by the conversations and other vocal announcements (be careful not to miss the embarkation).
In transport, the headphone does not completely isolate the noise, notably because of its supra-aural auricles, but nevertheless allows to create its small bubble. We remain a notch below the Bose QC35 which remains a leader in our opinion, but the N60 NC does the job clearly, nothing to say.
Finally, note that the internal battery allows enjoying the functionality for about thirty hours, which should be enough even during a trip to the other end of the world. The recharge is then done via a USB cable connecting directly to the mini 3.5mm port of the headset.
Last point regarding the performance of the headset, its microphone. AKG’s know-how clear and easy is to communicate without taking the smartphone out of the pocket. The voice is particularly clear and audible even in noisy environments which is a very good point again.
It’s hard to blame this new AKG N60 NC, except perhaps the lack of volume control on its remote control. Besides that, the headphone presents a superbly designed design, combining lightness, comfort, and elegance as well as performances to the height of our expectations. Whether in terms of sound quality, autonomy or active noise canceling, the N60 NC is a real success and should satisfy all those wishing to isolate themselves from the outside world.
Add to that a complete bundle, with carrying case and airplane adapter, and we get one of the first beautiful surprises of this year. The headphone is certainly not given but the value for money remains quite correct. In short, the AKG N60 NC is an excellent alternative to the Bose QC25, perhaps more efficient but also more expensive and bulkier.