Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › NEW! harman/kardon CL by HARMAN headphones unboxing, review to come
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

NEW! harman/kardon CL by HARMAN headphones unboxing, review to come - Page 2

post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by 8lias View Post

A co-worker got the CL model so we tested both on the same music selection. Quick notes: BT isolates noise better due to over the ear design, awkward remote controls causing me to accidently pressing them when I take it on and off, people stares at you thinking WTF is that on his head, not glasses/sunglasses friendly, no noticeable sound quality difference between wired and wireless usage, yet, great for winter maybe but it's warm as an oven right now.
That being said. I may exchange it for the CL model, on ears design, wired remote, plug into my amp, shades friendly. Bluetooth isn't worth the trade. Wired for life.

Although the CL is not bad at all, you don't think the BT sound better? The fact that $50 gets you BT and better sound, it's really a winner.
post #17 of 26
Originally Posted by HiFiGuy528 View Post

Although the CL is not bad at all, you don't think the BT sound better? The fact that $50 gets you BT and better sound, it's really a winner.

I think the BT sounds a bit better due to its over the ears design, noise isolates better and it encompasses the entire ear.  It's too soon to really pin down how good these are.  I just like the idea of I can wear my sunglasses and on wire remote rather than the awkward controls on the BT.  Can't beat the $100 price tag (after discount).

post #18 of 26

just got the harman kardon CL.

im in love.


the sound is a little bright on the mids, a love or hate kind.

the vocals are great.

separation, spaces, acoustics, instruments, and orchestral pieces are top notch on this can.


it kinda remind of STAX-can ive auditioned before.


i didnt find the sound to be 100% natural and true, but at least its like 80% natural sound.

i believe this is the best can ive owned so far (comming from grado sr325is, philips shl5500, aiaiai tracks, tried many brands too), but i like this more.


its balanced.

warm and sweet.


the highs may not be too detailed to some, but i believe its meant to be like that, to make the sound lush yet sweet.

its there, but it just shines right.



the comfort is also great!



better than my p3 by bower and wilkins?

yes. i like this more.

but that doesnt say i dont have a space in my heart for my p3.

its also a nice can for me... but definitely, the CL is better.


everytime i put this in my head, what i hear is not just the music...

the enjoyment, the fun, the emotion.

its really nice to have owned one of this.


too bad, i bought a black one.

the WHITE CL is definitely more beautiful.

Edited by pinoyman - 2/20/13 at 5:29pm
post #19 of 26
Thread Starter 
White does look good
post #20 of 26

Amazon has the CL on Gold Box today for $64.99 - at that price and considering the decent reviews here I ordered one. They should arrive next week; I'll be back with my first impressions once I've given them a listen.


Interestingly, they are the #1 headphone on Amazon right now, though I don't know what they were yesterday. Interesting how a one-day deep price cut can affect sales ranking.

post #21 of 26

I have a set of these and all I can say is for the money (what you paid -  not original retail) they are good but I was never very impressed. Listening to some of my favorite tracks and then swapping out to my Grado 325i the music (on the Grado) just opens right up and is much cleaner, more distinct, instruments are more separated, the stage is just more spacious. Now comparing these two cans IMO is not fair at all but since the Grado 325i is my go to set when I really want to sit back, close my eyes and drift away with my music; I can't help but compare all of my cans to them. 


The HK CL's seem more narrow, instruments seem very close together and even less distinct. Mids seem pronounced but everything (vocals & instruments) throughout the low and mid frequency's seem too blended. It really is a warm sounding set of cans.


I rarely use these though I'm always thinking I should just to see if they eventually open up a bit but I just keep reaching for the Grado's.


Comfort wise the CL's aren't too bad but after an hour (I wear glasses) the sides of my head start to bother me.


You can pick these cans up for cheap these days but if you were to ask me I'd suggest picking up a set of Phillips M1's. Those for the money sound much more detailed and open.


I've read a few reviews on the CL and they are what lead me to buy a set but I really can't see how anyone can say these cans are open, detailed with good separation.


I've found that they work best with classical and acoustical music. Vocals on pretty much every track I have listened too seem a little on the warm side to me. Pop, metal, rock all seem to not be favored by the CL's. They just don't have the punch and attack that I prefer. I also prefer my instruments to be distinct and detailed which I find the CL's just can't provide.


Anyways...thought I'd put in my two cents.

Edited by Amish - 6/13/14 at 9:36pm
post #22 of 26

Glad to see I'm not the only one who finds the Harmon/Kardon CL's lacking in detail. The upper frequencies are rolled off so low that the music sounds "gray". Yes, the bass is solid, and the midrange has an impressive presence, but when the top end sounds covered, the whole experience is frustrating. 


I auditioned the Bowers & Wilkins P5's in-store before I purchased the H/K's from Amazon. The H/K's arrived this morning, and feeling disappointed, I went back to the Apple store today give the P5's re-listen. HERE was all the clarity, color and impact that was missing from the H/K's. The P5's are not "over bright" by any means, they are well balanced -- music on the P5 sounds natural and "real".


I have to disagree with your assertion that the H/K's are good for classical. I listen mostly to classical, and I can assure these cans are not suitable for that genre. Without sufficient high frequencies an orchestra, string quartet and especially a piano lacks that sparkle that stimulates and pleases. (Classical, that is, dynamic and active classical, benefits from "punch and attack" as well.)


But my pop tracks sounded muffled, too. The only exception was "Start a Riot" by Jetta, which, as it was produced with excessive treble, actually sounds pretty good on the H/K's. 


Just got my RMA from Amazon. I'll put that money towards the P5's.

Edited by vman815 - 6/14/14 at 11:21pm
post #23 of 26

I agree that they aren't great with classical but I was just going though my entire music collection and everything was disappointing but of all my music acoustical and classical sounded better than anything else I have.


lets face it; these cans don't really do anything great. But I have heard much worse.

post #24 of 26
I promised I'd be back with a review...


I've had these for almost a week now. I'm finally writing about them becaue it's taken that long to really get a proper impression.

I say "proper impression" because at very first listen I had a similar reaction to a few other members: that there was something lacking in detail and the high end seemed to roll off too soon. If you're one of those other listeners, and still have your CLs around, you might want to finish reading this and then give them another try. "Why's that?" you're thinking? Read on.

As I mentioned, my very first listen left something to be desired. I played around a bit with the equalization on my Bravo V3, bumping up the highs a few dB and backing down the mids an equal amount. This seemed to improve things, though I prefer not to have to use equalization.

The next time I donned the CLs, with the equalization still as I left it, they seemed overly bright. Flattening out the EQ made them sound much more natural this time. Maybe it was the difference between genres, I thought. But with more listening over a few more sessions there didn't seem to be a consistent pattern with regard to certain genres sounding better or worse. It seemed to be all over the place.

Maybe, I reasoned, the difference was more with the specific recordings - we all know that some recordings are brighter and others darker (I've especially noticed that many recently remastered recordings are notably brighter than the originals -- maybe older engineers compensating for their own HF hearing loss?). But even that didn't pan out. The very same recording of a given song might sound great during one particular session, but dull and lifeless the next.

Then something interesting happened. While the CLs are much more comfortable than their appearance might suggest, I found myself at one point wanting to re-position them upon my ears. As I was doing so during one of the "darker" sessions, I noticed the sound suddenly open up and practically snap into focus.

As you may know, positioning matters for on-ear headphones, but most models have a relatively generous "sweet spot" and as long as they are roughly centered over your ear-holes you'll hear their best performance. These CLs, however, seem to be much more fiddly than the average on-ear cans. While most of the spectrum, from bass up through the midrange, seems not to be severely affected (within reason) by positioning, the upper end is not so forgiving. Once I found the sweet spot for HF response with these, I found that moving them as much as a millimeter or two in any direction made the very top end disappear, and with it, much of the delightful detail and texture of the music.

That said, I imagine each listener's experience may vary - perhaps the shape of some ears may magnify (or mitigate) the criticality of the positioning. In any case, I'm now able to place them on my head, in the right position, with little to no fiddling, and can get acceptable performance each time.

Those of you who own CLs - especially those of you who find them too dark or lacking detail - might try this experiment. Put on some music with some relatively consistent high-frequency content (maybe something with some cymbals or even higher notes of piano or violin) or maybe just some white noise. Listen carefully as you slowly adjust the position on your ears and see if you don't find one spot where they suddenly spring to life. In my case I found this spot to be slightly lower and further back than where they felt "correct" from a comfort standpoint. Not that they are uncomfortable at the sweet spot - just that it was not the intuitive placement.

To sum things up, now that I've found the sweet spot and can achieve consistent, repeatable results, I find these to be quite competent cans. While the soundstage isn't the broadest, there remains plenty of detail. I have no difficulty picking out individual instruments or voices. There seems to be just a bit of muddiness in the upper bass/lower midrange apparent with some recordings, but it is very minor.

They are efficient enough to be directly driven to a satisfying (but no louder) volume by a laptop, phone, or portable player, but really open up with amplification. I normally buy audio gear to listen to, not to make a fashion statement, but I have to admit that I kinda like the look of these - a refreshing break from the usual round or oval cans.

While I might have been disappointed with these had I paid the $249 list price, for $65 I'm quite happy with them. If you're looking for unique style and good sound in a <$100 headphone and you can get used to the fact that on-ear placement is rather critical, I think you'll enjoy these.

Amish wrote: 

lets face it; these cans don't really do anything great. But I have heard much worse.


Actually, they seem to do two things well. For one, they don't offend. While they don't particularly excel at anything, they don't have any particularly glaring sonic defects, either. They're also somewhat forgiving of lower-bitrate lossy formats. For example, while I can still recognize a 128k MP3 with these, it remains tolerable, whereas with some headphones 128K MP3s are almost painful to endure. And it kinda makes sense - these are marketed primarily at the iPod/iPhone crowd who are most likely listening to lower bitrate files or streaming services. 


So I'd have to say if the CL has a niche, it would be that it's forgiving enough to make lower quality sources listenable while still being accurate enough to let one appreciate higher quality sources. Does that make sense?

Edited by MrNaturalAZ - 6/21/14 at 1:47pm
post #25 of 26

to me, i compared the harman kardon cl and the bower and wilkins p5 yesterday, im more opting for the sound of my CL.

the bass maybe more prominent and hard on the p5s but the sound of my CL is more clean and a little more easy on the ears.


used iphone 5c and Ak10 by Astell and Kerns.

post #26 of 26



are you a filipino ? where did you get your CL ? and for how much ? 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › NEW! harman/kardon CL by HARMAN headphones unboxing, review to come