Harman Kardon Headphones: A Comprehensive Review

When it comes to premium audio equipment, the Harman Kardon brand has long been synonymous with exceptional sound quality and innovative design. Their latest foray into the headphone market has been met with significant acclaim, and for good reason. The Harman Kardon NC, a noise-canceling model, offers a truly remarkable audio experience that sets it apart from the competition.

One of the standout features of the Harman Kardon NC is its superior sound quality. Compared to other $300 noise-canceling headphones, such as the Bose QC 15 and Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9, this model delivers a slightly richer and more balanced sound profile. The bass is plump and pleasurable, while the treble and mids maintain a level of detail and restraint that creates a natural, immersive listening experience.

In addition to its impressive audio quality, the Harman Kardon NC boasts a host of other features that enhance the overall user experience. The headphones’ built-in rechargeable battery and Apple-friendly inline remote/microphone provide convenient functionality, allowing you to make calls, control your music, and enjoy long-lasting battery life without interruption.

The Harman Kardon brand’s reputation for exceptional craftsmanship is also evident in the NC model. With a robust and durable construction, as well as a distinct retro-modern aesthetic, these headphones not only sound fantastic but also exude a premium, eye-catching appearance.

Whether you’re an audiophile seeking the best noise-canceling experience or a discerning listener looking to elevate your personal audio setup, the Harman Kardon NC is a compelling choice that delivers on both performance and design.

Key Points

– The Harman Kardon NC offers excellent sound quality, rivaling or surpassing other premium noise-canceling headphones in its price range.
– The headphones feature a built-in rechargeable battery, providing long-lasting battery life, and an Apple-friendly inline remote/microphone for added convenience.
– Harman Kardon’s reputation for exceptional craftsmanship is evident in the NC’s robust and durable construction, as well as its distinct retro-modern aesthetic.
– The noise cancellation performance is impressive, though it may not quite match the industry-leading capabilities of Bose or Audio-Technica models.
– Overall, the Harman Kardon NC is a compelling choice for those seeking a premium noise-canceling headphone experience with a focus on superior audio quality.

Introduction to Harman Kardon Headphones

Harman Kardon, a renowned audio equipment manufacturer, has a long-standing reputation for producing high-quality speakers, amplifiers, and other audio products. The company has built a strong brand identity by delivering exceptional sound quality and innovative design. In recent years, Harman Kardon has been expanding its headphone lineup, introducing models like the Classic, NC, and FLY ANC, which aim to bring the brand’s signature sound and premium aesthetic to the personal audio market.

Brand Reputation and History

Harman Kardon’s legacy dates back to the 1950s, when the company was founded by Sidney Harman and Bernard Kardon. Over the decades, Harman Kardon has established itself as a leader in the audio industry, known for its commitment to quality, innovation, and user-centric design. The brand’s reputation for delivering high-performance audio equipment has earned it a loyal following among audiophiles and music enthusiasts alike.

Overview of Harman Kardon Headphone Models

Harman Kardon’s headphone lineup includes a variety of models, each designed to cater to the diverse needs and preferences of modern audio consumers. The Classic series offers a timeless, retro-inspired aesthetic, while the NC and FLY ANC models incorporate advanced noise-cancellation technology and wireless connectivity, providing a premium listening experience. These headphones are engineered to deliver the brand’s signature sound quality, combining rich, balanced audio with a sophisticated, visually appealing design.

Design and Build Quality

The Harman Kardon headphones boast a distinctretro-modern aesthetic that immediately captures attention. The harman kardon headphones design features a sleek, sophisticated blend of classic and contemporary elements, setting them apart from the typical minimalist or futuristic styles prevalent in the market.

Retro-Modern Aesthetic

Harman Kardon has skillfully crafted a retro-modern aesthetic that seamlessly integrates the brand’s heritage with modern sensibilities. The headphones’ clean lines, subtle curves, and metal accents create a timeless, yet highly stylized appearance that appeals to those seeking a unique, premium-quality listening experience.

Swappable Headbands for Customized Fit

Recognizing the importance of personalized comfort, Harman Kardon has incorporated swappable headbands into the design of their headphones. Users can easily swap out the included metal headband pieces to find the perfect, customized fit for their head size, ensuring a secure and comfortable listening experience.

Robust and Durable Construction

The Harman Kardon headphones boast a durable construction that prioritizes longevity and reliability. The use of premium materials, such as metal components and reinforced joints, contributes to the headphones’ overall build quality, making them a resilient choice for everyday use, travel, and beyond.

Comfort and Fit

When it comes to extended wear, the Harman Kardon headphones truly excel. Their over-ear design provides a comfortable and enveloping fit, ensuring you can enjoy your music for hours on end without any discomfort. The memory foam earpads conform to the shape of your head, creating a tight seal that effectively blocks out external noise, enhancing your listening experience. This noise isolation feature is particularly beneficial in noisy environments, allowing you to immerse yourself in your audio without distractions.

Over-Ear Design for Extended Wear

The over-ear design of the Harman Kardon headphones ensures a comfortable and secure fit, even during prolonged listening sessions. The large, plush earcups envelop your ears, providing a cozy and isolated listening environment that you can enjoy for extended periods without any fatigue or discomfort.

Memory Foam Earpads for Noise Isolation

The Harman Kardon headphones feature memory foam earpads that mold to the contours of your head, creating a tight seal that effectively blocks out external noise. This noise isolation capability allows you to fully immerse yourself in your music, movies, or other audio content, without being distracted by ambient sounds. The memory foam earpads not only provide superior noise isolation but also contribute to the overall comfort of the headphones, ensuring a pleasant listening experience.

Audio Quality

The Harman Kardon headphones are known for their exceptional audio quality, boasting a balanced and natural sound profile that stands out among the competition. Unlike many noise-canceling headphones, the Harman Kardon NC model doesn’t sacrifice sound quality in the pursuit of effective noise reduction.

Balanced and Natural Sound Profile

One of the biggest compliments that can be paid to the Harman Kardon NC is that it doesn’t sound like a typical active noise-canceling headphone. Instead, it offers a sound profile similar to the brand’s acclaimed CL model, which is known for its balanced and neutral tuning that avoids overemphasizing the bass or treble frequencies.

Rich Bass Response

The bass response on the Harman Kardon NC is plump and pleasantly impactful, without being overbearing or distorting the overall audio quality. There’s a sense of restraint in the low-end, ensuring that the listener can still enjoy a robust and satisfying bass experience without the sound becoming boomy or overpowering.

Detailed Highs and Mids

In addition to the well-tuned bass response, the Harman Kardon NC also delivers excellent clarity and detail in the highs and mids. The treble frequencies are handled with a delicate touch, avoiding the edgy, aggressive presentation found in some more “analytical” headphones. This results in a smooth, refined listening experience that brings out the nuances in your music without fatiguing the listener.

harman kardon headphones comprehensive review

The Harman Kardon NC offers excellent sound quality for a pair of noise-canceling headphones, with an impressive fit and finish. This model harman kardon headphones comprehensive review arguably sounds slightly better than the Bose QC 15 and Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9, two other $300 noise-canceling models. It also offers the advantage of having a built-in rechargeable battery and includes an inline Apple-friendly three-button remote/microphone for making cell phone calls (Bose doesn’t include such a cable with its QC 15s).

My only reservations about them concerns their design. While it’s distinct and eye-catching, it won’t appeal to everyone, and the harman kardon headphones comprehensive review headphones may feel a bit weighty for some users. Overall, the Harman Kardon NC is a strong contender in the premium noise-canceling headphone market, offering a compelling balance of sound quality, features, and design.

Noise Cancellation Performance

The Harman Kardon headphones boast impressive noise cancellation capabilities, thanks to their advanced active noise cancellation circuitry. Comparing them to the renowned Bose and Audio-Technica models, which offer different noise reduction settings for various environments, the Harman Kardon headphones provide a solid noise-cancelling experience, though they may not quite match the performance of the Bose QC 15, which is considered the top contender in this regard.

Active Noise Cancellation Circuitry

The active noise cancellation technology built into the Harman Kardon headphones effectively blocks out a significant portion of ambient sounds, allowing you to immerse yourself in your music or audio without being disrupted by external noises. This feature is particularly useful in noisy environments, such as bustling city streets or crowded airports.

Ambient Noise Reduction Capabilities

In addition to their active noise cancellation capabilities, the Harman Kardon headphones also excel at ambient noise reduction, efficiently filtering out unwanted background sounds and providing a more isolated, focused listening experience. Whether you’re commuting, working in an open office, or simply seeking a peaceful oasis, these headphones can help create a more serene and immersive audio environment.

Passive Listening Mode

For those times when you don’t need or want to use the noise cancellation features, the Harman Kardon headphones offer a passive listening mode, allowing you to enjoy your music or audio without the active noise-cancelling circuitry engaged. This can help conserve battery life and provide a more natural, unprocessed sound when the ambient noise levels are already low.

Battery Life and Charging

One of the standout features of the Harman Kardon headphones is their impressive battery life. The headphones are equipped with a built-in rechargeable battery that powers the noise cancellation circuitry, allowing you to enjoy up to 40 hours of playtime on a single charge. This long-lasting rechargeable battery ensures that you can use the headphones for extended listening sessions without the worry of running out of juice.

Charging the Harman Kardon headphones is a straightforward process, thanks to the inclusion of a quick charge feature. Simply plug the headphones into a power source using the provided non-standard USB cable, and you’ll be able to quickly replenish the battery. This convenient charging solution means you won’t have to wait long to resume your listening experience, even if the battery has been depleted.

However, it’s worth noting that the use of a non-standard USB cable can be a potential drawback. If you happen to misplace the included cable, it may be challenging to find a replacement, as you won’t be able to simply use the Micro-USB cable that comes with many other devices. This could be an inconvenience for some users, but the overall battery performance and charging capabilities of the Harman Kardon headphones still make them a compelling option for those seeking long-lasting, hassle-free audio experiences.

Wireless Connectivity

The Harman Kardon headphones excel in their wireless connectivity, offering seamless Bluetooth integration for a truly immersive listening experience. With cutting-edge Bluetooth wireless technology, these headphones provide a reliable and stable connection, ensuring uninterrupted audio playback throughout your day.

Bluetooth Wireless Technology

Harman Kardon has leveraged the latest advancements in Bluetooth wireless technology to deliver exceptional audio quality without the constraints of physical cables. Whether you’re commuting, working, or simply enjoying your favorite tunes, the Harman Kardon headphones offer a Bluetooth connection that remains stable and responsive, allowing you to move freely without compromising sound quality.

Stable and Reliable Connection

Recognizing the importance of consistent connectivity, Harman Kardon has engineered these headphones to maintain a robust and reliable Bluetooth connection, even in crowded or interference-laden environments. The seamless wireless connectivity ensures that you can immerse yourself in your music, podcasts, or calls without the frustration of dropouts or unstable connections.

Inline Controls and Functionality

The Harman Kardon headphones come equipped with an Apple-friendly inline remote and microphone, making them a versatile choice for users of iOS devices like iPhone, iPad, and iPod. With this integrated functionality, you can seamlessly use the harman kardon headphones inline controls to manage various aspects of your listening experience and make calls on the go.

Apple-Friendly Inline Remote and Microphone

The inline remote features intuitive buttons that allow you to raise and lower the volume, skip tracks forward and back, as well as pause and play your music with ease. This apple remote integration ensures a smooth and convenient user experience, particularly for those deeply embedded in the Apple ecosystem.

Call Quality and Compatibility

Beyond music playback, the call quality and compatibility of the Harman Kardon headphones also impress. During our testing, the integrated microphone delivered clear and natural-sounding voice reproduction, making it a reliable companion for hands-free calls. Whether you’re chatting with colleagues or catching up with friends, the Harman Kardon headphones seamlessly transition between music and voice, ensuring a seamless communication experience.

Portability and Accessories

The Harman Kardon headphones prioritize portability and convenience, thanks to their foldable design and thoughtful accessories. While the headphones don’t fold up completely, they do collapse flat, making them easy to store and transport in the included carrying case.

Foldable Design for Easy Storage

Unlike some bulkier noise-cancelling models, the Harman Kardon headphones feature a foldable design that allows them to lie flat when not in use. This compact form factor ensures they can be easily tucked away in a laptop bag, backpack, or suitcase, greatly enhancing their portability and harman kardon headphones portability.

Included Carrying Case

To protect the headphones during transport, Harman Kardon includes a sturdy carrying case. While the case may seem large in terms of height and width, the flat foldable design means there is minimal depth, allowing the entire package to stow away conveniently in various bags and luggage.

Detachable Cables

Another thoughtful feature of the Harman Kardon headphones is the detachable cables. This allows users to easily replace or swap out the audio cable, whether it’s the included detachable cables or an alternative option. The detachable design also helps the headphones fit more compactly into the provided carrying case.

Price Point and Value

The Harman Kardon NC headphones offer a compelling value proposition within the premium headphone segment. Priced competitively at $299, these noise-canceling cans deliver a level of audio quality and performance that rivals industry titans like Bose and Audio-Technica, both of which sit at a similar price point.

Competitive Pricing in the Premium Segment

While the Harman Kardon NC may not be the most affordable noise-canceling headphones on the market, their pricing aligns well with the high-end, feature-rich offerings from leading brands in the premium audio space. This positioning allows discerning consumers to enjoy the brand’s renowned sound quality and noise-cancellation capabilities without having to pay a significant premium.

Value Proposition Compared to Competitors

In addition to its competitive pricing, the Harman Kardon NC headphones offer a compelling value proposition when compared to similar offerings from rival brands. With its Apple-friendly inline remote, built-in rechargeable battery, and the ability to function even without noise-cancellation engaged, the NC provides users with a level of versatility and convenience that enhances the overall ownership experience. This, combined with its balanced, natural sound profile and robust construction, makes the Harman Kardon NC a strong contender in the premium noise-canceling headphone market.


What is the sound quality of the Harman Kardon NC headphones?

The Harman Kardon NC offers excellent sound quality for a pair of noise-canceling headphones, with a balanced and natural sound profile. It provides rich bass response, detailed highs and mids, and performs slightly better than competitors like the Bose QC 15 and Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9.

How is the noise cancellation performance of the Harman Kardon NC?

The Harman Kardon NC features active noise cancellation circuitry that effectively reduces ambient noise. While not quite as strong as the Bose QC 15 or Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9, the noise cancellation on the NC is still very capable. It also offers a passive listening mode for when the battery is depleted.

What is the battery life and charging capability of the Harman Kardon NC?

The NC has a built-in rechargeable battery that provides up to 40 hours of usage on a single charge. It charges via a non-standard USB cable, which can be an inconvenience if the cable is lost. The headphones also feature a quick charge capability.

Does the Harman Kardon NC offer wireless connectivity?

Yes, the Harman Kardon NC uses Bluetooth wireless technology for a stable and reliable connection. This allows for convenient, cord-free listening.

What are the inline controls and functionality of the Harman Kardon NC?

The NC includes an Apple-friendly inline remote and microphone, allowing you to control music playback and make phone calls directly from the headphones. Call quality is reported to be good.

How portable and versatile are the Harman Kardon NC headphones?

The Harman Kardon NC features a foldable design for easy storage and transportation. It comes with a carrying case and has detachable cables, adding to its portability and versatility.

How does the Harman Kardon NC compare in terms of price and value?

The Harman Kardon NC is priced competitively in the premium noise-canceling headphone segment. It offers a strong value proposition compared to competitors like Bose and Audio-Technica, delivering excellent sound quality, noise cancellation, and features at a similar price point.

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Sophia Davis

My initial goal to shield my daughter from the danger of having ear phone constantly has evolved into a commitment to share my findings with wildest community possible to know sharing different knowledge and expert on audio technologies. As the risk of exposure continues to grow, numerous methods technology exist to safeguard ourselves. Knowledge is power, the more you know the better you become.

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