AKG N60NC noise cancelling headphones: When you want some peace & quiet

 

I have to admit that until I was offered a set of AKG’s N60NC wireless noise cancelling headphones for review, I hadn’t heard of the Austrian manufacturer before. Now, I’m a convert.

Thanks to Mr Google, I now know that AKG is an Austrian acoustics company and manufacturer founded in 1927 by Dr. Rudolf Görike and Ernest Plass, has its headquartered in Vienna, Austria and is now owned by Samsung Electronics through its Harman division (lightbulb moment: Now I know why the earbuds that come with the Samsung Galaxy S9 are “tuned by AKG”)

Comfort is important to me when it comes to headphones (hell, I’m sure I’m not alone in that) and the on-ear N60NCs are comfortable, thanks to a nice amount of foam on the ear cups. They really do cancel out noise, too, handy for when you want to listen to something and not hear the family chattering in the background, or you want to block out office noise (which it does brilliantly).

Pairing to a Bluetooth device, be it laptop or phone, is quick enough thanks to the switch on the right ear cup, and they paired to my MacBook Pro and Samsung’s Galaxy S9 easily. The N60NC build quality oozes quality, right down to the chrome edging around the ear cups and the nice braided 3.5mm audio cable if you like to go old-school and go for wired headphones. There’s also a nice braided USB charge cable.

The N60s folds in on itself to create a tight package and there’s a nice foam carry bag that also houses the USB cable and the audio cable. I think I only used the 3.5mm audio cable once as the headset offers hours of battery life on one charge.

But what is the sound like? Do the AKG N60NCs deliver incredible sound? According to my ears, yes they do. I tested the N60s watching movies off Netflix, playing Yakuza 6 and listening to my Hits of the 80s playlist on Spotify, and the N60NCs delivered every time, throwing back strong bass notes, while handling the mid range with aplomb. Everything just sounded crisp and was a delight. Look, I tried to find something wrong with them but I just couldn’t. I just couldn’t.

In New Zealand, the AKG N60NCs go for between $420 and $499 which, for a decent pair of noise cancelling headphones, doesn’t seem too bad to me, after all you get what you pay for – and with the N60NCs your’re getting top-notch sound and great noise cancelling properties.

Just the ticket for when you want to drown out the world, eh?

Edifier G4 gaming headset review: You can hear a pin drop

Sometimes, in the heat of battle, knowing where an opponent is can mean the difference between life and death. The difference between victory and defeat.

When you’re gaming and don’t want to upset your partner, a good set of gaming headphones can be worth their weight in loot crates/prize chests/gold/virtual currency, and give that extra advantage, letting you hearing approaching footprints from behind or that crucial moment when an enemy reloads a weapon. Let me introduce the Edifier G4 gaming headset.

The control box.

The retractable boom microphone.

The G4’s cable, at 2.5m in length and plugs in via USB (so, no, you can’t use these on your smartphone), was long enough to plug into my console in the entertainment unit and I could still sit on the couch and play Shadow of the Colossus & Monster Hunter World. The on-cable control box is a little bulky but doesn’t get in the way, which is good. The retractable boom mic cleverly disappears into the left ear cup, which means if you don’t need to use it, you don’t have to worry about smacking your face with it (it also has an illuminated LED at the tip, which is a small but nice touch).

The ear cups have plenty of foam to cushion your ears.

My review G4’s were bright green and black in colour, and the ear cups illuminated a brilliant green when they were turned on. The ear cups are big and roomy with a good amount of padding so should accommodate any size of ear and the exterior of the ear cup has a mesh grill, covering the 40mm neodymium driver. They look super smart.

While sleek, the black plastic is a bit of a fingerprint magnet.

Aimed at the budget gamer, The G4s are a mix of shiny and flat plastics and I noticed that the shiny plastic that made up the body of the headphones was something of a fingerprint magnet: Keep a soft cloth handy if smudges annoy you! The headset felt comfortable on my head and the ear cups cushioned my ears nicely.

There’s software that you can download to tweak sound settings but it seemed overly complicated, to be honest, so I didn’t rely on it much.

OK, so how did the G4s sound, though? It’s not bad. Not bad at all.

The G4’s have a built-in sound card virtual 7.1 channel audio and have really good high and mid range notes and even to my old man ears, the sound was great, with ambient noises and sounds popping thanks to the G4s.

Game soundtracks and ambient effects sounded clear and crisp, although I thought at times the G4 lacked a really deep, thumping bass but then, to confuse things, it depending on what game I was playing. In Shadow of the Colossus, for example, when a colossi was defeated and tumbled to the ground, the bass vibrated nicely as it hit the ground.

And the price? This is probably the really surprising thing about the G4s. You can pick them up in NZ for around $120 (I saw one site selling them for $109). That’s multiple dollars less than my much-loved Sol Republic bluetooth headphones that my children bought me for my birthday a couple of years ago, and my son reckons the G4’s delivered better sound, too. I think I agree with him.

For a budget priced gaming headset, I was impressed with Edifier’s G4s. They do the job, look the part, and, importantly if you’re budget conscious, they won’t break the bank.