Traveling is probably the most common factor when it comes to listening to music. People often just want to relax, zone out and listen to their favorite tunes with no interruptions. Noise canceling is best for that because it just leaves you and your music in your personal world. Harman Kardon’s NC Premium Over-Ear headphones are built to help with that. With its unusual design and hearty sound, the NC headphones are enjoyable and comfortable to use.
Design and Portability
Right out of the box, you can see that it has rectangular ear cups that are designed to go over and around your ear for a better seal. The soft leather cushion on the ear cups are comfortable and aren’t heavy, breathable but you can feel the quality. It has aluminum framed headbands that comes in two sizes for those with average size heads versus those with bigger sized heads like me. Changing the headband style is strange since companies often just create a “one-size-fits-all” with adjustable ear cups for simplicity. When it comes to changing the headband, it can become tricky but mostly when you decide not to follow instructions.
Much like most Noise Canceling headphones I’ve tried, these aren’t collapsable. They have swiveling ear cups that make the headphones take a really flat design. Though it does come with a nice leather bag to place them in, I still prefer the collapsable design; it just feels easier to carry. My favorite part of these headphones is the USB-rechargeable batteries that are integrated within the headphones whereas you would usually seen headphones begging for a new pair of triple or double-A batteries. The battery life is listed to have up to 40 hours of battery life but I’ve lasted a bit more. It mostly depends on how loud you listen to the music but with noise canceling headphones, you don’t need max volume to get the most out of your experience. Great thing is, when the battery does die the headphone still works and works well. Huge plus.
Comfort and Sound
There are certain components that make or break headphones. How comfortable they are, how well they seal, and more importantly how well they sound. These headphones do very well in all categories. Initially, the weird ear cup design can feel odd but they are welcoming. It won’t hug your ears to the point where it can hurt after long periods of listening. I don’t have really big ears so the result may vary from one head to the next. The seal is where these excel; its almost near perfect. It covers the area around my ear very well which most headphones have a few gaps here and there. With noise canceling, you have yourself at the line of perfection. Some people might not like the rectangular ear cups and it might not do for you what it does for me, but these are really great.
Just to get it out of the way, at loud volumes these do distort especially in the bass area. Anything above 80 percent you will begin to hear the bass lose its quality and can crack very often that can drown out your mids as well as compete with your highs. Now remember what I said, with noise canceling you don’t need max volumes to get the most out of your experience. If your near 75% to 80% your hitting the sweet spot for your music. Once you go past that you will hear the music begin to fall apart. But if you don’t there is a very good balance in the music. You have a not to punchy bass with some pretty clear mids and some average highs. I’m not sure if these were meant to give you “over-the-top” performance, but they do serve its purpose for being travel headphones.
Harman Kardon is pretty well known for their music products. These headphones are built with very good quality and though these are not one of their best, it is a pretty decent one at that. As for whether they are worth the high price tag of $299.99, it remains to be very debatable. You have to weigh your pros and cons before taking the leap and trying these out. They are available now over at Harman Kardon.
- Very Comfortable
- Flat design makes it comfortable for carrying around neck area
- Better than your average noise canceling headphones
- No "one size fits all" headband
- Changing headbands is harder than it should be
- Distorted sound at high volumes