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Over-Ear item created by remmy123, Jul 11, 2012
Pros - Powerful sound with enough balance, comfort, design, actually cheap
Cons - not very lively, somehow bulky, proprietary charging cable
When I have found these Harman Kardon for a ridiculously cheap price, I had already decided that I would have kept the Fidelio M2BT, the best of all those I have tested (obviously).
But given the price I said to myself that I could try them and eventually keep them as second pair at home if they where good enough.
Well, they very good, but I will not keep them because they do not add anything to what the Fidelio has to offer.
I would say they reach the 75% of what the M2BT can give. But, hey, that is VERY GOOD!!! The Fidelio are just wonderful! 75% of wonderful is very good
Plus, they are more comfortable and have a better BT Range than the Fidelio (which is a reason why I was tempted to keep them. With the Fidelio I have a blind spot in my kitchen, with the HK not).
They need some EQ to sound more lively. A bit more Sub Bass, a bit more upper mid, a bit more highs, et voilá, they are amazing.
The detail is very good, the sound stage is actually not so great for an Over the Ear (the Fidelio actually sometimes beat them here) but is decent.
The bass is VERY good. It is rich and has body and it is strong enough without being too much. It also improves notably with some EQ.
It never reaches the level of the Fidelio M2BT, not in quantity and not in quality. Not even with the EQ. But, attention attention, the fact is that the Fidelio have just the best bass of all the BT Headphones I have tested [EDIT: I have now tried the UE9000. They are on par with the Fidelio].
The Upper-Mids are a bit lacking for my tastes, so I perceive the sound as not particularly warm and lively. But they improve with EQ.
The highs are very nice, present, clear, not harsh.
Yes, they look strange but once you have them in your hands you like them more than in internet. I did. I actually like how they look on my head, they do not protrude ridiculously like some headphones do. They have just some quite big speakers with that rectangular form, and that is what they wanted to look like, so, I like their stubbornness.
The finishing is just VERY good, the impression is of a very high class headphone. There even is a second Headband, bigger, for bigger heads, and instructions on how to change it. Strange decision, compared to the most headphones which just telescopically adjust to the head. But probably this allow them a more precise fit.
Even the packaging is top class. And the synthetic leather carrying bag is also very nice.
These headphones are clearly not directed to very young people, or at least not to the kind of people who buy Beats or Skullcandy or JBL.
These are classy headphones, they look different, they sound excellent, they have that kind of "Dell Latitude" business touch, if you know what I mean.
Business high class kind of people. Or people who just have refined tastes.
A couple of negative aspects which I have noticed in these days:
- they do not make any bip when you turn them on, and considering their little on/off button sometimes I cover the button with my finger and I cannot see when it blinks, so I press it too long and instead of turning on they go in pairing mode.
But in change they have a unique feature, the LED blinks differently according to which Codec is in use. SO you can confirm if your source (smartphone, notebook, etc) is streaming in Aptx.
- if you wear some pullover with tall neck or something else around your neck, the lower part of the speakers will touch it when you move your head a lot, and the metal construction will quirk a bit
I could not notice any other negative aspects.
Pros - aptx, comfort, price, design
Cons - shallow padding, horrible standard bluetooth performance, thin cups
people **** all over the cup shape but i think it's great, especially since it seems to displace a lot of bulk and make them pretty flush with your head. they only stick out like half an inch, it's pretty future. the headband is cool too, it's solid metal with a thin yet soft strip of classy leather underneath. normally that'd be uncomfortable but the cans themselves take on just enough weight to make it fine for a few hours. pressure distribution on these things was pretty well thought-out for the most part but you kinda need to keep them stretched out over something for a few nights to get rid of the initial clamping force. the only consistent discomfort i experience is my ears touching the drivers because of the just-too-thin padding. otherwise they feel great. i love how they fold flat too, it looks cool and puts up with more than headphones that fold inward.
now for the sound.
wired and with aptx, they're great. bass-heavy with slightly recessed mids but otherwise really clear. kinda like a combo of beats and bose but way better.
with normal bluetooth, they suck. it's like listening to a ham radio in stereo, so basically like every other bluetooth set. don't bother using these with an iphone unless you wanna use them for calls or something.
isolation is pretty meh. the outer plastic on the cups is solid but thin, so a lot gets through, especially direct contact.
these are pretty damn good headphones. i got mine for $105 through shophq a while back but you can find them [refurbished] for $99 right now through harmon kardon's ebay page. good buy, especially if you use stuff aptx stuff.
Pros - Sound!!, Build quality, features/performance for price, Bluetooth, looks, comfort, isolation
Cons - Bit too much clamping, microphonics when using as standard headphones
I just took back the ClarityOne W102's and got these. I decided to go Bluetooth to avoid cable damage (ClarityOne's gave me a bad vibe about the cable). I was not aware that the cable comes off of the Classics as well, until now, but no cable is great. Of course Bluetooth sounds worse than cabled...and cabled sounds worse than cabled with an amp, but plenty good for on the go. I was looking at various bluetooth capable headphones, including the Beats, not sure what model, as I didn't look much into them. I wasn't overly impressed with the sound of any of the Beats. This time I had my amp and I listened to them all. Beats was just bass, and bass that muddled into the mids. And the mids and highs were just there, nothing nice about them really. The UE 9000 were $399. For $399, they are really still a better value than the Beats. Issue is, I found the 6000's that were on display to be too large and cheap looking, and the 9000's look to be simply in design. Logitech doesn't give the best vibe for sound quality or quality in general. I did have a pair of UE 600's which were okay, but cheaply built. Sorry Logitech, but when I hear your name, I think mice, keyboards and other various computer products. I was still thinking about the Logitech 9000's however. I was originally going to go with regular non-bluetooth headphones, and the Classics were that, but after Bluetooth was gaining my interest, Harman Kardon was forgotten about, until I realized the store (Apple Store) stocked the bluetooth versions, and for just $50 more than the Classics, $150 less than the UE 9000's. I gave no second thought after that, and I bought the HK's
My first listen was with a FIIO E07K and wow, the sound is amazing. The bass sounds true, with a slight emphasis. The bass does not bleed into the mids and it extends deep with no distortion. It can be felt The mids and highs are clear, not shrill, and the soundstage amazing. Clearly they are meant to sound warmer and not analyitic sound, but they are the perfect sound for me. I enjoyed the W102's but found there to be silibance, and a slight lack of bass with easy distortion. These phone take care of all of that. They sound like open headphones, although there is zero leakage. And I mean zero. They don't look like they would isolate sound well, but the Harman Kardon's leave the music in and keep the sound out. Zero is of course not true, for I can hear the music when I my dad is listening to the headphones, but this is at a listening to music volume, not a background music volume. What is amazing is how they manage to achieve isolation and have a great soundstage. I will burn them in a bit to see what happens, but they actually sound as if the drivers are already loosened up and there are no places in the music that sound like the driver hits a wall where it has trouble moving, which is something I find with most phones until I break them in. WIth just being plugged into the iPod, the volume is still great and they still sound great too. Both decrease, but not a huge amount, considering these are 32ohms (not that that always detemines the volume). An amp brings out more depth and soundstage. With bluetooth, the headphones sound good, just it sounds like the recording quality of the music is slightly worse. For having no wire to play around with, this is not a bad sacrifice for on the go. With bluetooth, volume is not great for all albums, specifically older albums which are rendered quieter than new ones. With new stuff, bluetooth is plenty loud.
The comfort of the Harman Kardon's is great, although a little bit of clamping, which will take some getting used to. The are secure, don't move and the pads are nice feeling, and are soft enough to feel nice, but hard enough to not compress too much.
Build quality is spectacular. Everything feels well put together, looks sturdy, yet is easily to use and not bulky. I won't be using the larger headband likely, but I can see it being annoying to put on. It's not something that concerns me however.
I love the looks of these headphones. The two other reviews on this site seem to attack the looks, but I like the looks a lot. Simplistic, elegant, non-offensive. And I have always liked the style that the name is written: harman/kardon. No capitals just says that they are good, they don't need to prove anything, it's the name, not how it's written. Even the packaging is like that. Actually, even their full sized speakers give off the same aura of stateliness not that many speakers have fancy shapes and colors. This is the opposite stance of companies like Monster, who provide bright colors, odd shapes that scream: "Look at me!! Buy me!!" I prefer the look doesn't need to stand out to look good. Also, I bet more people would rather try to steal a pair of Beats from me, because they are so noticable.
So far, my one issue is microphonics. The cable has high microphonics, but is not noticeable when listening to music.
Pros - Choice of 2 headbands. Good sound for cost. Work's BT or corded without battery. or c
Cons - For portable use does not fold compact.
Great value at under 200. Have not had time to burn in. Inclusion of 2 headbands great fit w/different headband system. Works on BT with built-in rechargeable battery or corded if battery not charged. Again good value at normal price of 250. Not greatest audiophile quality sound. Like the square ear pads design and the overall "industrial" styling. BT getting improved with AptX. My Note II has AptX BT transmission.
Pros - AMAZING Bang for the Buck
Cons - Ugly
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.
-Great sound and power!
-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)
-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.)
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:
Rockford Fosgate Punch Plugs
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.