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Harman Kardon BT first impressions

post #1 of 57
Thread Starter 

May be wrong forum but here we go. I picked up the Harman Kardon BT at the Apple store today and here is my first impressions. 

 

 

Sound: So, these are pretty damn good. Id say these are a serious bang for the buck. HK did a slam dunk on this one. I am seriously impressed as Ive ALWAYS found headphones to be more money than they seem to be worth and sound. These are the FIRST that I feel Ive gotten a good deal on. Ive always been impressed with HK's stuff (Logic 7 systems, GREAT receivers, computer speakers, DAC's) but theyve never really have been great to home theater/monitor speakers. I guess they leave that up to the higher end JBL when it comes to that (some of their stuff can cost $20k incase you didnt know... not your Best Buy grade speakers). So I was sort of iffy on this but I knew AKG (a Harman international brand) makes great stuff and had a feeling they wouldnt let HK set themselves up for failure without lending a helping hand. I almost guarantee AKG was heavily involved in developing these. They have a balanced sound between warm and bright. They have crispy and not overbearing highs, and have a good kick to bass but not muddy like a wet sock on a microphone (see Beats for what I am describing). Even at max volume they seem to handle ok. Speaking of volume, these things have it. I was worried about it because they are juggling a lot of things at once being Bluetooth cans and self amplifying but they hold theyre own. They respond to the devices volume control that you are paired with as well which I find interesting. 

 

Build quality: Good, actually pretty good but not the best. I love the steel and leather bands. The plastic cups are OK. My beef with the plastic cups is that they dont seem to have any good dampening inside of them because cord rub (when plugged in) is the worst ive ever heard in a headphone. Its amazingly distracting. Not really a big deal to me because Ill use them for 95% Bluetooth anyway.

 

Looks: Um... yea.I gotta tell ya these are pretty damn ugly and you'd probably get shot walking around with these things on in town. I dont care about how I look in my home so its not really a big deal. 

 

Functionality: These things have great range on them. My place is small so i havent been able to get them to lose connection. The cans fold nicely flat and fit into a pretty sweet leather carrying bag. They are also very easy to take apart to add a larger steel band (comes in the box) if you have a bigger nugget than most. They have a built in mic. Nice touch! I havent made phone calls on them yet so I really cant say anything about it. Not sure why (maybe for cleaning?) but you can pull the pads off without struggle because they are held in by magnets. I think the B&W P5's have that feature if im not mistaken. BTW, these are better than the P5's IMO.

 

 

 

 

Pros:

-Great sound and power!

-Nice materials

-Amazing value

-Wicked range for Bluetooth and a snap to sync

-Without a doubt, the most comfortable headphones Ive ever worn.

-2.5mm jack so you can probably attach to portable house phones and older cell phones. (Dont worry, comes with 2.5mm to 3.5mm cord)

 

Cons:

-Not going to church this up, but these things are ugly as sh*t, looks like you are wearing two iPhones

-Plastic cups transfer cord rub like its a feature

-Exclusive to the Apple store and set at a solid $250.00 price (Still, Id pay more for them)

-Charging cable cuts off bluetooth connectivity when plugged into USB on MacBook (havent tried stand alone wall charger yet.)


Edited by remmy123 - 7/12/12 at 8:42am
post #2 of 57
Thread Starter 

Update:

 

These things have great battery life. They already sound pretty good under blue tooth but sound even better when directly connected.  These have become my most favorite set of cans and my favorite of all that I own! These are by far the best value for headphones Ive ever bought.

 

These are the headphones I own to give a bearing on what Im talking about:

 

Sony MDR-EX1000

Sony MDR-EX700LP
AKG Q350

Rockford Fosgate Punch Plugs

Beats Studio

 

I also use a Fiio E11 amp that I use primarily for the Sony headphones as they are hungry little bastards. I havent tried it yet with the HK's though. Even then, these things are amazingly sufficient with direct connect on my iPhone and MacBook Pro alone. Im very impressed with these cans. Im always been a huge fan of Harman Kardon, especially their receivers more than anything. Im very impressed with their stab at headphones. Since Harman International owns AKG, it woudlnt surprise me if they had a heavy part in developing these cans.

 

Ive noticed that sometimes they have an issue in terms of sound syncing. It sounds a little grainy a first startups during Bluetooth. This involves watching video/movies too. It eventually stops sounding like that after a couple of minutes and in regards to movies video to audio sync fixes itself. Pausing a video or song for a bit helps fix it too.


Edited by remmy123 - 7/20/12 at 9:19am
post #3 of 57
Nice write up, thanks! How is the isolation? I was thinking about a pair of these for my wife but she tends to study in Starbucks/ihop and they're a little noisy for her. She's been using my Bose QC15 but can't use her CroosfadeLPs. Any thoughts? Thanks!
post #4 of 57
Thread Starter 
Isolation is good but not the best I've dealt with. A simple matter of turning up the volume works fine.
post #5 of 57
Thanks so much!
post #6 of 57

 

I auditioned my friends BTs that he burned in for 20 hours they are fantastic when run through wire and good over blue tooth… I knew i had to have them.  Their sound is exactly what the B&W P5s should have been … the HKs are bigger and don't look as great as the P5s but they wow you and have that satisfying depth and width and transparency  in their sound and they have much better volume so you don't need to blast you volume to hear subtleties in the sound. They maintain a warm sound minus the muddiness that can happen with warm cans ..  the high are sparkly but not artificial forced or sibilant at all..  The bass is full tight and dynamic and punchy but very harmonic and melodic and there is good sub and mid bas distinction which enable these cans to play everything you throw at them very nicely..

 

I bought my pair today and have had them on for about 2 hours with no discomfort at all.

 

At $250 the HKs are a great bang for buck. bore so that the P5s which should be $200..lol

 

oh and stay away from the HK CLs they sound terrible and muddy which is sad cause they are smaller and look better than the bigger BTs

post #7 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by iluvmusic View Post

oh and stay away from the HK CLs they sound terrible and muddy which is sad cause they are smaller and look better than the bigger BTs

 

Are you freaking nuts? confused_face_2.gif

 

The CL On-Ear's are awesome. I'm getting a mini review together.

post #8 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beagle View Post

 

Are you freaking nuts? confused_face_2.gif

 

The CL On-Ear's are awesome. I'm getting a mini review together.

Really???  I auditioned them for an hour and they were muddy and more veiled than the P5s..  Maybe the pair i her was damaged or something...   The bass  was over emphasized and caused distortion so they must have been abused or something..IDK.. but I bought the BTs and am blown away..

 

and here is another persons review..:

 

 

 

Quote:
Getting to the sound first, the Harman/Kardon CL is treble shy, and so I used Treble Booster EQ on the iPhone and the equivalent EQ setting in Foobar. This review is based entirely on that EQ'd sound since I found that even with that EQ setting, the treble still did not come up to the level that my other headphones have - Philips L1, ATH M50, Shure 1840 to name a few. Compared to my B&W P5 and Bose OE2 headphones, the treble of the H/K CL is lower than the P5 and slightly greater than the OE2. All of the following comments are based on the EQ'd sound, and the H/K CL's sound is high fidelity. The highs have no tendency to be sharp, edgy or sibilant. It's interesting to note that the H/K CL, B&W P5 and Bose OE2 all have the same basic earpad design.

^^ i guess to me "treble shy"  came across a muddy?!  They have the issue like the P5s where they lack sparkle and definition IMOP.. but I have been spoiled by the BTs which sound 100Xs better to me..  

 

post #9 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by iluvmusic View Post

Really???  I auditioned them for an hour and they were muddy and more veiled than the P5s..  Maybe the pair i her was damaged or something...   The bass  was over emphasized and caused distortion so they must have been abused or something..IDK.. but I bought the BTs and am blown away..

 

and here is another persons review..:

 

 

 

^^ i guess to me "treble shy"  came across a muddy?!  They have the issue like the P5s where they lack sparkle and definition IMOP.. but I have been spoiled by the BTs which sound 100Xs better to me..  

 

 

They lack bright treble and upper midrange spikes/distortion. I suppose many people will be bothered by this. But the detail is all there, just not exaggerated. The midrange is practically exemplary. Bass balances out with a couple of days use.

post #10 of 57

Could any tell me how H/K BT would compare with Sennheiser MM500-X as i think they are aimed directly at those - same price and features. 

Which one is a better buy ? At the moment im using Sennheiser RS170 will H/K sound any better ? 


Edited by Perrlaa - 7/29/12 at 11:52am
post #11 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by iluvmusic View Post

Really???  I auditioned them for an hour and they were muddy and more veiled than the P5s

 

 

I neglected to mention that I swapped out the small headband for the larger one and it makes a significant difference. Unless you have a cabbage-sized noggin,

the small headband is a bit tight and compresses the pads onto your ears to a large degree. This may be why you found them to be on the muddy and dark side.

post #12 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beagle View Post

 

They lack bright treble and upper midrange spikes/distortion. I suppose many people will be bothered by this. But the detail is all there, just not exaggerated. The midrange is practically exemplary. Bass balances out with a couple of days use.

The BTs are a much higher end set of cans so i think unfairly compared the CLs to the BTs ... i would say the CLs are more casual  and the BTs are more precise IMO..  I hope more folks on here get these so we can get more reviews..

post #13 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Perrlaa View Post

Could any tell me how H/K BT would compare with Sennheiser MM500-X as i think they are aimed directly at those - same price and features. 

Which one is a better buy ? At the moment im using Sennheiser RS170 will H/K sound any better ? 

i would like to know also.. i would never used my BTs with blue tooth cause i dont want any of the blue tooth sound loss..

post #14 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by iluvmusic View Post

i would like to know also.. i would never used my BTs with blue tooth cause i dont want any of the blue tooth sound loss..

 

What about aptx codec that is used in BT's and mm500-x ? i was wondering does it get close to lossless Kleer that is used in my rs 170's I could live with little drop in quality but don't want any delays.On my RS 170 Im missing option to use it as wired and use as a headset will make my life easier as well.  

post #15 of 57

I'm eyeing this or the standard CL.  Hum.....

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