For the past several months, I’ve been using the Harman/Kardon NC Headphones as my primary monitors for video editing and I haven’t looked back. Out of all the headphones I have at my disposal at the Geek Beat studios, these are by far the most comfortable headphones I’ve used to date.
Harman/Kardon NC headphones, the NC stands for “noise canceling” by the way, are a very pleasing mix of comfort, sound quality and style. And that’s the order of importance to me. If a set of headphones looks sexy, but hurt your ears or sound like garbage, they just aren’t worth it. H/K actually hits on all 3.
The NC headphones have a sandblasted steel and black matte housing that give it a very sleek and sexy look. One of the best details, in my opinion is the over-the-ear design which is rectangular and fits most ears perfectly. I note this because most over-the-ear headphones are roundish where these are rectangular… kind of like most peoples ears. Our ears aren’t round, they’re taller than they are wide. I’ve had issues with ear fatigue with other over-the-ear headphones, including my beloved Munitio .40mm’s simply because I have to either cram my ear that last little bit into the cup, or they fold my ear flat because it doesn’t fit perfectly in the round cup. This rectangular, over-the-ear design is a huge win in my book.
The headphones have a .40 mm driver with a frequency response of 16Hz-20kHz and work in both active and passive mode. That’s another huge win for these monitors. Noise canceling headphones from various manufacturers usually only work when powered. That can put a kink in your listening plans when you’ve forgotten to charge them. The NC’s sound very clean and flat (good for editing) when not powered on but sound GREAT with fantastic base response when activated.
Noise canceling is generally good. I’m using them at the studio either editing or when shooting video. I use the NC feature to help keep office chatter out when editing and also to help me focus on the talent and keep out wind and other noise when shooting outside. I’ve been pleased with its overall performance.
As far as how it keeps out the noise when in a plane, I can’t really speak on that. When I fly, I use a pair of high-end, in ear earbuds. I prefer the near complete sound isolation I can get from those, over a pair of on-ear or over-the-ear headphones. I also like to save some space in my backpack 😉 .
The Harman/Kardon NC headphones come with a four and a half foot audio cable with in-line volume control that works with your iOS devices. Take note that it’s a standard 3-conductor mini connector at the end, but a micro-mini connector to the headphones. Keep that in mind if you plan on trying to use another cable with these. You’ll need an adapter at the ear connection.
Charging the headphones is done via the ear-cup connection used for sound. H/K provides a USB cable that connects to any USB charger and plugs into that micro-mini jack on the headphones. I generally will plug in the charger when leaving the studio and it’s charged and ready for use the next day. I’ve not actually timed the charge time. But I can tell you that I’ve gotten several days of use out of a charge. Using the headphones, powered on for about 5 or so hours a day, gives me about a week of use between charges. Your mileage will vary based on your usage.
Another thoughtful thing that H/K did was include two user changeable head bands. Since we all don’t have the same sized noggins, you can use either the wide or narrow head band. Swapping them out requires a twist on each ear piece and a gentle tug to remove. Quick and painless.
Speaking of quick and painless, the NC also has ridiculously soft and supple, REMOVABLE ear cups. That removable part is quite cool if you ask me. The cups are magnetically attached to the drivers and come off with a slight tug. Once off, you can clean the cups without worrying about getting the drivers wet, and thus, prolong your headphone’s life.
Overall I highly recommend the Harmon / Kardon NC headphones. Especially if you’re going to be doing some prolonged listening. The over-the-ear, rectangular ear cup design, exceptional active sound quality and quiet noise canceling circuit make these an Editor’s Choice in my book.
Harman/Kardon NC headphones are available for $300 at Amazon.