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AKG K390 Noise Canceling Earphones--photos

The AKG K390 Noise-Canceling earphones offer a sleek-looking design and two types of noise-hushing capabilities, but the high price tag and inconvenient noise-canceling module may be a turnoff for some.

Jasmine France

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1 of 8 Josh Miller/CNET
Harman's latest offering, set to hit the States in October, is the AKG K390 Infinity Noise-Canceling earphones. This in-ear model features a double-whammy of passive sound isolation and active noise cancellation, making it a tempting option for commuters and frequent fliers. But at $249, these earphones are far from cheap, and buyers should be wary of potential fit issues, as comfort is key for any extended-wear scenarios.
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2 of 8 Josh Miller/CNET
The AKG K390 earphones have a sleek, understated design that leans toward darker hues with matte black and shiny gunmetal plastics comprising the earpieces, cable, and noise cancellation module.
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3 of 8 Josh Miller/CNET
The earbuds are slightly larger than average and feature an external port (for more airflow, we assume) and a reinforced cable connection for durability. Like the 'buds, the sound apertures are on the large side, which caused some discomfort for us during testing no matter which eartips we used.
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About halfway down the cord descending from the right earpiece, you'll find the integrated mic and call answer button--a handy feature for music phone users.
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There's no getting around the fact that the K390's noise cancellation module is rather hefty in both size and weight. Luckily, AKG built in a shirt clip to alleviate concerns raised by the latter (so the earbuds are not pulled out of the ear by the weight).
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6 of 8 Josh Miller/CNET
However, the module measures almost 3 inches across and it's an inch tall and a bit more than 0.5 inch deep, so it's definitely not the most inconspicuous thing to have attached on your person. The top edge of the unit houses an on/off switch for the noise-canceling feature as well as a mute button that allows you to hear what's going on around you without removing the earbuds.
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A single AAA battery is concealed beneath a flap on the bottom side. This is also where you attach the included stereo patch cable for connecting your MP3 player or other audio source.
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8 of 8 Josh Miller/CNET
It's nice that the cord is detachable as this provides a more clutter-free method for useing the noise cancellation as a standalone feature (on an airplane, for example). Still, we'd expect better overall audio quality from a $250 set of earphones, and the K390s just don't deliver.

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