AKG N60 review: on-ear headphones that sound great and make sense but fail to raise the bar
- Very comfortable to wear
- Battery life a little below par
- Noise-cancelling could be better
- No built-in mic
The N60 offers up simple and clean sound, and it’ll probably win them some fans who just want good pair of travel headphones and don’t care about equalizers or integrated apps that offer dynamic sound profile.
Price$ 449.00 (AUD)
Thankfully, the N60s sound good enough out of the box that you probably won’t complain about the exclusion too much. Well, that’s not quite true. There are a few things worth complaining about to be noted here. First, let’s touch on the positives.
The noise-cancelling: it’s good, even if it’s not quite category leading. Ambient sound was stripped out nicely but anything that punctuated that ambience (for example, the sound of someone typing on a keyboard several meters away) would often still trickle through. Every sounded duller but oft-times not quite cancelled. Still, it definitely made for a better listening experience with than without.
When listening to music using the AKG N60’s, audio sounded both sweet and lush. When cranked to the max, Walk The Moon’s “Kamikaze” and Briggs’ “Here” did exhibit a little bit of distortion - but not enough to be an issue relative to the juicy and bouncy sound punching through the N60’s 40mm drivers. Your mileage may vary with your music taste but, on the whole, I came away pretty impressed with the sound quality here.
Read more: Top 5 headphones
The list for the bad is a little longer - even if the N60s do obviously deserve more points for getting the most-important things right. To start with, there’s no hands-free calling or Google Home integration to speak of - a by-product of the absence of a microphone within the headset itself. Then, the N60s don’t support hi-res audio, even if they do support AptX - Qualcomm’s compression tech that allows for lossless audio playback over Bluetooth. While listening experiences with the N60s are a delight in isolation - these two omissions do serve to make make the on-ear headphones a tougher sell against the competition.
Finally, in terms of battery life, the N60s deliver nicely on their promise on 15 hours of use per charge. You can also wear them with just the noise-cancellation engaged for double that (30 hours), making them a compelling option for fliers who want to sail underneath the $500 mark for travel headphones. However this, again, it is a little short of what some of the heavyweights of the noise-cancelling headphones biz can accomplish.
The Bottom Line
Brands that return to the consumer market following a sojourn elsewhere often stick to the basics. That’s what AKG have done here - and they’ve done it well. The N60 offers up simple and clean sound, and it’ll probably win them some fans who just want good pair of travel headphones and don’t care about equalizers or integrated apps that offer dynamic sound profile. For those people, the AKG N60s make a lot of sense.
Unfortunately, for the rest of us, it’s hard to really hold them up as a solid alternative to everything else out there. When even the more expensive options offer a lot more bang for your buck, it’s hard to settle for something that just makes sense.
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