Reviewed on Feb 26, 2016

AKG K391-NC HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.0
6.9
Mixed Usage
6.7
Critical Listening
7.1
Commute/Travel
7.0
Sports/Fitness
7.0
Office
6.8
Home Theater
Type : In-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : Yes
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The AKG K391-NC are a good set of in-ear buds that sound great and isolate the listener really well. The outstanding noise cancellation and leakage performance are recommended for noisy commutes. The sound profile works well for most music genres but their in-ear design might not be for everyone.

Test Results
Design 7.1
Sound 6.6
Isolation 8.4
Active Features 4.5
Pros
  • Outstanding noise isolation.
  • Accurate audio reproduction.
  • Very little sound leakage.
Cons
  • Unexciting design.
  • Uncomfortable "in ear" fit.
  1. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.0. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

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7.1

Design

The AKG K391-NC have a simple in-ear design that may not be as comfortable for everyone. They seem durable, and the control module is lightweight and portable. However, the cable is a little thin and does not provide adequate in-line controls apart from Play/Stop button.

Style

The design of the AKG K391-NC is very simple. They look good but are a little unexciting. The control module has a brushed metal finish that is also noticeable on the ear buds. The cable is black and the rest of the accents are a deep gray, matching the AKG branding.

6.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.20 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0 lbs

The AKG K391-NC are as comfortable as you would expect in-ear earbuds to be. The sleeves come in 3 sizes, so unless your ear canals are unusually narrow or wide, you should be able to get a comfortable fit.

4.9 Controls
Ease of use : Average
Feedback : Mediocre
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : No
Noise Canceling Control : No
Talk-Through : No
Additional Buttons : No

The buttons are in the right place, and the Control Module is small enough to fit any pocket. The in-line remote has a mic and call/music control. No volume up/down.

7.0 Stability

The AKG K391-NC are decently stable headphones. Their in-ear design fits deeply into the ear canal making it hard for them to fall out during moderate physical activity. However, They won't be sufficiently stable for high-intensity exercises and the control module, and long cable can easily get hooked on something and pull the headphone out of your ears.

8.3 Portability
L : 4.72 "
W : 1.18 "
H : 1.57 "
Volume : 8.83 Cu. Inches
Stand required : N/A

The AKG 491 will are highly portable headphones. The in-ear design is compact and doesn't take too much space which makes it easy to transport in a bag or purse. The control module adds a little more bulk than basic passive in-ear headphones but does not reduce their portability as they will still comfortably fit into most pant or jacket pockets.

5.5 Case
Type : Pouch

The AKG K391-NC come with a soft fabric pouch that will protect the headphones from scratches and doesn't add much bulk. However, the soft fabric is not waterproof and will not protect the headphones from hard falls or water damage.

7.0 Build Quality

Except for the in-line remote, which feels a bit flimsy, the rest of the headphone has an even and decent build quality.

9.2 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 0.8 C

Cable
Detachable : Yes
Length : 5.42 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRRS

The AKG K391-NC come with three cables (in addition to the non-detachable part); One USB for charging, and two 1/8" TRRS-TRRS with different plug colors.

Front
Angled
Side
Rear
Top
6.6

Sound

9.3 Bass
Std. Err.
:
1.08 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
13.94 Hz
Low-Bass
:
-0.83 dB
Bass
:
-0.76 dB
High-Bass
:
1.38 dB

7.8 Mid
Std. Err.
:
2.88 dB
Low-Mid
:
4.29 dB
Mid
:
0.96 dB
High-Mid
:
-0.53 dB

7.6 Treble
Std. Err.
:
3.87 dB
Low-Treble
:
-0.19 dB
Treble
:
-0.5 dB
High-Treble
:
-3.3 dB

9.5 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.1 dB

1.3 Soundstage
PRTF Error
:
12 dB
Openness
:
2.0
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
1.5
Correlated Crosstalk
:
-0.06 dB

6.4 Imaging
Phase Error
:
161.07 °
Driver Mismatch (Amplitude)
:
0.61 dB
Driver Mismatch (Frequency)
:
1.52 dB
Driver Mismatch (Phase)
:
9.45 °

6.7 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
2.271
Weighted THD @ 100
:
20.972

8.4

Isolation

The AKG K391-NC excel at isolation. The "in ear" design provides passive isolation and a tight seal that leaks very little sound. The active noise cancellation also does a great job with reducing ambient noise. This isolation performance is ideal for noisy commutes and international travel, provided you don't mind the "in ear" design.

8.4 Noise Isolation
Overall Attenuation
:
-22.95 dB
Bass
:
-17.79 dB
Mid
:
-18.85 dB
Treble
:
-33.54 dB
Self-Noise
:
15.82 dB

These headphones have excellent noise isolation, especially at higher frequencies. Passive noise isolation is very good down to 500Hz. Below that, ANC kicks in, which maintains the excellent isolation performance. The only point where they seem to struggle is around 400Hz.

8.5 Leakage
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
31.14 dB

Very good leakage performance. The AKG K391-NC leak more around 4KHz, which means higher notes will escape.

4.5

Active Features

The AKG K391-NC only have noise canceling as an active feature. This makes them less versatile for other use cases other than noise canceling headphones, as they lack both wireless or an app, to enhance and customize their sound. On the upside, they can deliver a good battery life that lasts more than 35 hours of continuous playback. Unfortunately, they also take an exceedingly long amount of time to recharge. 

0 Wireless
Type
:
N/A
Obstructed Range
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
NFC
:
No

10 Latency
Base Latency
:
0 ms
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

6.2 Battery
Battery Type
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
:
37.5 hrs
Charge Time
:
5.5 hrs
Auto-off
:
No
Audio while charging
:
Yes
Passive Playback
:
Yes

The AKG 491-NC have a long battery life but take considerably longer than average to charge. This may be because they use an older mini-USB charging port. Unfortunately, this means you have to charge your headphones overnight which is not always practical. On the upside, they deliver above a day worth's of battery life, and you can use them while charging so they are decent headphones to use at the office or if you have access to a power source while on the bus, train or plane.

0 App Support

No compatible app.

In the box

  • AKG K391NC Headphones
  • Silicon sleeves in three sizes
  • Flight adapter
  • 2 cables for different smartphones
  • USB cable
  • Carrying pouch
  • AKG warranty card

6.9 Mixed Usage

Above-average as everyday headphones. They're compact and have a good sound. They can also handle loud environments well, thanks to their great noise canceling. This makes them versatile enough to use in most situations.

6.7 Critical Listening

Average for critical listening. Above-average sound quality but the small in-ear buds are not optimized to produce a good soundstage, which is not ideal for pure critical listening.

7.1 Commute/Travel

The AKG K391-NC have a great isolation performance, which makes them easy to recommend to anyone who travels a lot or has very noisy daily commutes. They will reduce a significant amount of ambient noise, and they're easy to carry around.

7.0 Sports/Fitness

Above-average for sports. The AKG K391-NC will easily fit into most pockets, and they're stable enough to run with. As long as are comfortable with the in-ear fit.

7.0 Office

Above-average for studio use. Leakage is barely audible and won't disturb anyone around you even at higher volumes.

6.8 Home Theater

Above-average for home theater use. The AKG K391-NC have no latency but they also have a short audio cable. They have the range to watch TV from your couch unless you have an extension cord for the audio cable.

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