The attention grabber – Harman/Kardon NC Andrei Lim September 23, 2014 Test Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /home/technotrek/webapps/2ndopinion/wp-content/themes/valenti/library/core.php on line 1111 Form factor8Build quality10Ease of use10Performance10Value for money 8Overall rating9.29.2Overall Score The Harman/Kardon NC is not for those looking for entry-level noise-cancelling headphones. It’s for those ready to bear the hefty price tag that comes with the premium build and audio experience. At first glance, you’ll notice that these cans are serious, high-end headphones. It features classy metal headband on top of a self-adjusting, leather headband. The Harman/Kardon NC comes with an extra headband in case you feel the default one too tight for your head. A good gesture since the earcups don’t adjust up or down. The headband is sturdy but the clamping force is a bit uncomfortable for listening over long periods of time. Also, the square-shaped earcups might not suit everyone, so we suggest trying it on first to check the fit. These over-the-ear headphones isolate noise nicely even without activating the active noise-cancellation feature. But you’ll definitely hear the difference once the NC is turned on. It blocks any droning noise such as the low frequency buzz of an air-conditioner or traffic noise while commuting. The Harmon/Kardon NC has an internal battery for the active noise-cancellation feature, saving you the hassle of changing batteries. It charges through a USB to 3.5mm cable included in the package. The unit also comes with a cable that has an in-line remote with mic. It is made for Apple products but also works with Android devices. It has three tactile buttons to let you return to a previous song, skip forward, play and pause tunes, adjust volume, and answer or hang up a call on your iOS device. With Android, you can only make it pause and play music or move to the next track. You get what you pay for with level of sound quality and audio experience it provides. We’ve tested the unit with various genres like progressive rock, jazz, ska, and even ballads and R&B to test how the NC responds with different styles. Acoustics sound great even with the noise-cancellation turned off. But once you turn them on, prepare to enter a world of your own. The active noise-cancellation feature gives you a listening environment that lets you enjoy the music in its purest form. For the isolation the NC gives, it sure provides a wide soundstage with clear instrument separation. It can handle bass-heavy track from Porcupine Tree’s Blackest Eye without drowning out the mids and highs. Vocals are crystal and the sensitivity all throughout the volume range is spot-on. High notes and instrumentation are not compromised when listening to Nina and Sitti. And the low-end delivers precise thump without drowning out the vocals. We tested this out with some old school Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and Notorious B.I.G. The verdict: If you’re the type who travels a lot or just needs to shut out the world temporarily, the Harman/Kardon provides a premium listening experience at a premium price. Price: P15,590 Spec sheet: Dynamic drivers: 40mm Frequency response: 16Hz-20kHz Impedance: 32Ω Noise-canceling technology: Active closed-loop Other features: In-line mic/remote/volume control, carrying pouch, airline adapter, USB charging cable Dimensions: 4.2 x 8.8 x 9.7 inches; 3.2 lbs.