AKG is a brand that’s been getting a lot of attention for its wide range of quality personal audio equipment, mostly headphones and earphones. We’ve reviewed a number of their headphones already but this will be the first for us to try an earphone with an active noise-canceling component which is what the AKG K390NC boasts of.
The AKG K390NC is an in-ear pair of headphones with a sleek and shiny gunmetal drivers on a matte black rubber stem that feels durable. Even the cable has a thick feel to it that screams premium, not the thin, flimsy ones of their lower-end earphones.
Along the right cable there’s a hands-free unit for taking calls so you can also use this regularly with your music phone. It’s quite unfortunate though that they didn’t include some music playback controls here.
Further down the cable you’ll find the noise-canceling unit which is rather bulky if you ask me. You can’t let it dangle as it will pull down the buds from the ear. I used this at the gym and I had to clip it to my shirt collar which sometimes gets in the way if I had to move a lot.
Anyway, the noise-canceling module is powered by a single AAA battery. On it you’ll find the Power switch and the handy Mute button if you need to listen to something for a bit without removing the buds from your ear.
A detachable audio cable is plugged to the NC module which in turn connects to your music source. What would be nice though is if you can also detach the buds from the NC module so you can use these earphones on its own which will be less bulk.
Not using the noise-canceling module, the AKG K390NC already gives really good passive noise isolation provided you fit it snugly into your ear. What’s unfortunate is that turning on noise cancellation doesn’t do much. You will hear an audible hiss (anti-noise) when the unit is turned on but it won’t be enough to cancel ambient noise during soft portions in your tunes. I was still able to hear the banging of plates inside the gym at times especially when a song fades.
Sound quality on the AKG K390NC is impressive on its own with or without the noise cancellation. Sound stage is quite deep and it gives a warm and bright signature. A lot of details can be heard on the highs which you can distinctly separate from the warm mids. Bass is just right, powerful enough but not overwhelming. However, I noticed that with noise cancellation on, the lows loses a bit of power.
Admittedly, the AKG K390NC is not an easy piece of earphones to like mainly because of its bulky noise cancellation module. If you’re going to be using this on your desk or during flights then it won’t matter much. Then again, its active noise cancellation doesn’t really add much to its passive noise cancellation which is already decent on its own. What I like about the AKG K390NC is the premium sound quality it produces which is what you would be happy about when you get these pair of earphones.
The AKG K390NC retails for Php7,590 and is available at A-Shop, Beyond the Box, Digital Hub, Mobile One, Power Mac, E-novations, Go Gadgets Boutique, Senco Link HQ, Technoholics, and JBL Stores.