AKG is one of those companies that lives largely in the pro audio world, but has made attempts to have a bigger presence in the consumer audio world over the past few years too. While the company still isn’t as well known as the likes of Beats, it really should be. Point in case: the AKG N60 NC noise-cancelling headphones.
The AKG N60 NC’s are an interesting beast — normally, noise cancelling headphones these days also sport Bluetooth connectivity, but that’s not true for these cans. But should you buy them anyway? We put them to the test to find out.
The first thing you’ll notice when you pull the headphones out of the box is how small they are — they’re well and truly on-ear headphones, yet some of the pictures make them seem a little larger. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and could perhaps be attributed to what we’re used to seeing rather than what the pictures show. That small size, however, also makes the AKG N60 NC’s ultra portable — and coupled with the included carry-pouch, it’s super easy to pop these into a small bag to take on the road.
The look of the headphones is super sleek and premium. They’re built with a combination of hard, top-tier plastics and metals and you can tell that AKG isn’t messing around in the design department. Both earcups show the AKG logo on a grill-type cover, and on the left earcup you’ll find the noise cancellation switch.
Even the cables that come with these headphones are premium — they’re braided nylon rather than plastic, and they’re super hard to tangle. Both the charging cable and the audio cable are made from the same material, however the audio cable features in-line controls with a microphone.
As mentioned, these headphones don’t come with Bluetooth connectivity, and for some that will most certainly be a downside. There are, however, some trade-offs. The battery, for example, can be much smaller than it would otherwise need to be, helping make the headphones a lot more discreet– not to mention light. These cans come in at only 150g, or 5.3oz, which seriously helps them stay nice and comfortable.
We’re not usually fans of propriety charging ports, but as far as they go the AKG N60 NC’s charging isn’t all that bad — that’s because it simply uses the 3.5mm jack to charge. One charge will get you a hefty 30 hours of noise cancellation — which, if you use these for things like your morning commute, should last weeks.
In the box, you’ll get the aforementioned charging cable, audio cable, and a carry pouch. While a hard case might have been a little nicer considering how expensive these are, the fact is that they’re aimed at being portable, and a hard case would have added a little unnecessary bulk. You’ll also get a flight adapter — and a pretty nice one at that.
Basically, these headphones are absolutely beautiful. Coupled with a clearly top-tier build quality, AKG has really outdone itself here.
On-ear headphones aren’t typically the most comfortable headphones around — that’s because they push on your ear rather than sit around them or in them. The AKG N60 NC’s, however, are an exception to this rule.
The headband is made from a premium leather, and while it’s not the softest out there when you push on it with your hands, considering how light these headphones are that doesn’t really matter. The real premium foam is used where it counts — in the ear pads. That foam is a memory foam that feels like a dream. They’re insanely comfortable, especially for on-ear headphones. AKG has really outdone itself here, so if you’re looking for a pair of on-ear headphones but don’t want to sacrifice comfort, these could be the cans for you.
On-ear headphones sometimes have a tough time with sound. That’s because they lack the depth that over-ear headphones bring while still not offering the true portability of in-ears as a trade-off. As is the case in comfort, the AKG N60 NC’s are an exception to that rule.
Let’s start with the bass, and it’s very present — which is a good thing. No, it’s not as pronounced as the likes of Beats, but instead it’s a lot more natural sounding. Don’t get us wrong, they still offer plenty of bass — even for the hip-hop fans among us — but they don’t overdo it. The bass was well and truly present on Dr. Dre’s Forgot About Dre, but it was perfectly placed in AC/DC’s Back In Black too.
There’s a slight dip in the low-mids, but a boost in the high-mids, which actually sounds pretty good in this case. It helps give the vocals a bit of a nice presence, and again it doesn’t overdo it so as to make the music sound like you’re listening through a radio. That’s also pretty helpful for things like strings and horns.
The high end is the most overlooked frequency range in headphones, but the N60NC’s offer plenty of it — and it’s finely tuned too. That’s to say, things don’t sound too shrill or overly shiny — instead there’s enough to give vocals a crispness and guitars a nice bite. If we had to criticized the sound, it would be to say that we could use a little more of the ultra high-end, but apart from that, the AKG N60NC’s sound pretty damn great — especially for the price.
With their closed-back design, the N60 NC’s don’t let out much noise, nor do they let in much. That’s a good thing, because these are built to offer a closed-off listening environment, hence the noise cancellation. Speaking of noise cancellation, we were pretty impressed with it’s level of quality, especially given the fact that these are on-ear headphones. Often, on-ear headphones struggle to offer a truly isolating experience, but the AKG N60 NC’s really seemed to hit the nail on the head.
On-ear headphones have a rough time living in between the great sound of over-ear headphones and the true portability of earbuds, but the AKG N60 NC’s have plenty going for them. They’re super stylish, very comfortable, and they sound great. In fact, they’re pretty darn close to being the perfect pair of on-ear headphones. Sure, they could use wireless connectivity, especially in this increasingly wireless world, but if you don’t care about that and are looking for a great sounding pair of on-ear headphones, you can’t do much better than these.
|Frequency response||10Hz – 22kHz||Active noise cancellation
|Driver size||Unknown||Noise attenuation||Unknown|
|Sensitivity||123dB||Earpad material||Memory foam|
|Total harmonic distortion
|Rated input power
||Unknown||Battery life||30 hours with NC|
|Maximum input power
||No||Cable length||1.2m (3.9ft)|
||3.5mm||Case type||Carry bag|
||Yes||In-the-box||Carry bag, audio cable, charging cable, plane adapter|