AKG tries to block out the competition with new noise cancelling headphones

In March 2017, Samsung bought Harman, the company behind AKG headphones. With Harman under the Samsung banner, some of the Korean manufacturer's latest flagship devices now come with a set of AKG headphones in the box, namely the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.

Harman also includes well-known names like JBL and Harman/Kardon, but the AKG brand isn’t as well known outside the audiophile crowd.

AKG does perhaps deserve more attention than its siblings though, as it’s the only brand to have won multiple Grammy Awards and been used by artists like Rod Stewart, Frank Sinatra, Peter Gabriel, Beyoncé and Madonna, to name just a few. Yes, we mention Frank Sinatra – AKG has been around that long, since 1947 in fact, when the first AKG microphones were used in radio stations, theatres and jazz clubs. 

Harman has reinvented AKG’s line-up to (it hopes) better fit the mainstream consumer market, with a range of AKG Lifestyle noise-cancellation headphones, the first under the AKG banner to hit shelves in Australia. That line-up includes a premium pair of professional studio headphones – the AKG N90Qs – that were designed in partnership with Quincy Jones and (in Australia) cost a slightly eye-watering $1,999.

Going mainstream

But while those pro headphones aren’t priced for everyone, more affordable options are also part of the range.

The N60NC wireless on-ear cans are aimed at the frequent traveller, and that doesn’t just mean air travel. Harman reckons it’s just as well-suited to being taken on your regular commute as it is a long-haul flight. The N60NC features active noise-cancellation at the flip of tiny button and promises up to 15 hours of battery life. They’re foldable and become a neat little package and come in their own travel case that includes both a flight adaptor and charging cable. They’re priced at $449 a pop.

The AKG N30s are one of two in-ear headphones in the new range, featuring hi-res audio support and a detachable cable. According to Harman, they’ve been designed for the perfect fit to impart the best sound – the acoustic tube is tilted to fit the ear well, plus the earphones come with four different sizes of rubber ear tips. There’s also what Harman calls “customisable audio”, meaning two exchangeable filters allow you to switch between bass and reference sound (the latter for enjoying the music the way the artist intended). The AKG N30s retail for $399.95 in Australia.

Lastly, the AKG N20NC, another pair of buds that feature active noise cancelling and promise up to 20 hours of battery, sell for  $299 a pair.

The entire AKG Lifestyle range is (for the time being at least) exclusively available at Harvey Norman.