Harman Kardon NC noise-canceling headphones

The Good Unique design; excellent fit and finish; impressive sound quality for a noise-canceling headphones; built-in rechargeable battery to power the noise cancellation; fold flat (a nice carrying case is included); work without the noise cancellation on (when the battery dies, they keep playing); include Apple-friendly inline remote and microphone.

The Bad Fairly pricey; the inline remote and microphone won't work with many non-Apple smartphones and tablets; the battery charging cable is not a standard Micro-USB cable.

The Bottom Line While they may not be quite as comfortable as Bose's ultrapopular QC 15 headphones, the Harman Kardon NCs offer slightly better sound and have a built-in rechargeable battery to power the active noise-cancellation circuitry.

Editors' Rating
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 9.0
  • Sound 9.0
  • Value 7.0
8.2 Overall

Compare

Harman Kardon NC
Harman Kardon NC noise-canceling headphones
Sony WH-1000XM2 (Gold)
Sony WH-1000XM2
Bose QuietComfort 35 II (Silver)
Bose QuietComfort 35 II
Beats Studio3 Wireless (Black)
Beats Studio3 Wireless
Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC Wireless
Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC Wireless
Price $260 Amazon.com $350 Abt Electronics $349 Dell Home $298 Amazon.com $200 Beach Camera
Design
8
9
10
8
8
Features
9
10
9
8
8
Sound
9
9
9
9
8
Value
7
8
8
7
8

Review

An NC model that doesn't sound like one

Last year I reviewed the Harman Kardon Classic (CL), an on-ear headphone model that has a very distinct design, with a modern take on an old-school double headband and square earcups that harken back a little to the Bowers & Wilkins P3 and P5 headphones. I liked the CL, so I was eager to get my hands on Harman's other new over-the-ear models, the $249.95 Bluetooth Wireless Over-Ear Headphones and the $299.95 NC, which stands for noise canceling.

While I'm still waiting to check out the Bluetooth model -- it's generally received very positive reviews from consumers -- the noise-canceling NC showed up the other week. The timing was good because Monoprice's $112 Noise Cancelling Headphone turned up around the same time, and I also had a special-edition blue version of Bose's QuietComfort 15s on hand along with the Audio-Technica QuietPoint ATH-ANC9 and noise-canceling version of the Monster Inspiration.

In terms of comfort, the Bose came out the winner, but the Harman NC wasn't far behind and arguably was the best-sounding of the bunch. I can't say that makes it a great bargain at $300 (none of these $300 headphones can be considered a bargain). However, it is a surprisingly worthy competitor to the Bose and includes a cord that has an Apple-friendly inline remote/microphone for making cell phone calls. It also features a built-in rechargeable battery and can play even if you don't have the noise-canceling circuitry engaged (or if the battery dies).

Continue Reading

Specs / Prices

  • Brand Harman
  • Type headphones
  • Headphones Ear-Parts Type Full-size
  • Connector Type mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm
  • Sound Output Mode stereo
See full specs

Report errors

How To

5 tips and tricks for Google Pixel Buds

5 tips and tricks for Google Pixel Buds

Best way to know if you bought the right audio system

Best way to know if you bought the right audio system

How to pair AirPods with an Android device

How to pair AirPods with an Android device

Add a mobile microphone to any headphones

Add a mobile microphone to any headphones

Latest News

  • 3years ago

    Get a pair of Harman Kardon in-ear headphones for $18.99

    Normally $73.99, these noise-isolating 'phones would probably make a great gift.