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AKG N700NC Wireless HEADPHONES REVIEW

Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : Yes
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The AKG N700NC are decent mixed-usage wireless noise canceling over-ear headphones. They have a premium look and feel well-made. They have great audio reproduction and a decent ANC performance, making them a decent choice for commuting. Unfortunately, they have high latency which is not ideal for watching videos, but can be used wired to get rid of it. On the upside, they have a good battery life and are fairly versatile headphones for everyday casual use cases.

Test Results
Design 7.2
Sound 7.9
Isolation 6.7
Microphone 6.2
Active Features 7.4
Connectivity 5.7
Pros
  • Great audio reproduction.
  • Decent noise isolation.
  • Great obstructed wireless range.
Cons
  • Slightly bulky design.
  • Can be a bit tight on some heads.
  1. Update 12/5/2018: We've updated the Bluetooth connectivity data from Bluetooth 5.0 to 4.2.

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Summary

  • 7.1 Mixed Usage
  • 7.8 Critical Listening
  • 7.1 Commute/Travel
  • 7.1 Sports/Fitness
  • 7.3 Office
  • 5.7 TV
  • 5.3 Gaming
Mixed Usage 7.1

Decent for mixed usage. Their great audio reproduction makes them good critical listening headphones and the nice ANC features lets you focus on your audio content. They isolate a decent amount of noise which might not be ideal for commuting but still good for the office. They are fairly tight and stable over-ears for sports, but their bulky design might not be the best for physical activities. Their wireless design offers too much latency for watching TV and gaming, but they can be used wired to get rid of the latency issues.

Critical Listening 7.8

Great for critical listening. They have a very good audio reproduction that is flat and even. They are also quite comfortable for long listening sessions and perform consistently across our different test subjects, including people with glasses. However, since they are closed-backs, they don't have a speaker-like soundstage.

Commute/Travel 7.1

Decent for commuting. Their ANC isn’t the most powerful, but it does a good job to reduce ambient chatter. Unfortunately, they don’t isolate lower frequencies as well which is where engine rumbles sit. They have a comfortable fit for long trips and a decent 18-hour battery life for long flights.

Sports/Fitness 7.1

Decent for sports. They are fairly tight on the head and feel stable for most physical activities. However, since they are over-ears, you might sweat a bit more wearing them during sports, and their bulky design might not be the best for some exercises at the gym.

Office 7.3

Good for office use. The ANC feature isolates enough noise for an average office, and you’ll be able to concentrate on your tasks, especially if you have audio playing. They have a good battery life that will last you a couple of days without a problem. They are comfortable for a whole day of work, especially if you take some breaks here and there. You also won’t bother colleagues around you if you don’t blast your music.

TV 5.7

Sub-par for TV. While they are comfortable and have a well-balanced sound signature, their wireless design has too much latency for video content. You’ll have to use them wired if you want to see the content match what you hear, but you’ll be limited by the range of the cable.

Gaming 5.3

Sub-par for gaming. They have too much latency if used wirelessly and won’t be a good option for gaming. If you use them wired, you’ll be able to use the in-line microphone which should be better than the mediocre integrated one but won’t be as customizable as other gaming headsets we’ve reviewed so far.

Compared to other Headphones

The AKG N700NC are very versatile noise canceling over-ears that are well-built and comfortable for long listening sessions. Their ANC feature blocks a decent amount of noise but isn’t on par with other high-end noise canceling headphones like the Bose QC35 II or the Sony WH-1000XM3. However, they have great audio reproduction and sound great, on top of having great wireless range. See our recommendations for the best noise cancelling headphones and the best wireless headphones.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sony WH-1000XM3 are better noise cancelling headphones than the AKG N700NC. They have a more sturdy and more comfortable build, on top of having amazing noise cancelling capabilities. On the other hand, the AKGs are more neutral sounding and might be a better choice for critical listeners who wouldn’t like the overemphasized bass of the XM3s. The Sonys also have better battery life and more customization options. If you prefer physical buttons and think a touch-sensitive control scheme is too finicky and frustrating to use, then the AKG N700NC are a better option.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Bose QuietComfort 35 II are better headphones than the AKG N700NC. They are one of the most comfortable headphones we’ve ever tested, and they have better noise isolation. Both headphones have a neutral sound, but the AKGs do have an EQ in their compatible app to customize the sound to your liking, which the QC 35 II lacks. However, you can connect the Bose QC 35 II to 2 devices simultaneously which can be convenient.

JBL Everest Elite 700 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The AKG N700NC are better headphones than the JBL Everest Elite 700. The earpads have better cushioning and don’t feel as stiff as on the Everest Elite 700, and they have a more neutral sound. On the other hand, the JBLs isolate more ambient noise and leak less, which makes them a slightly better choice for commuting. The JBL app is also very complete and offers lots of customization options like an EQ, presets, and ANC control. The JBL Everest Elite 700 are about half the price of the AKGs so they might offer more value for your money.

Sony WH-H900N/h.ear on 2 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The AKG N700NC and Sony WH-H900N are very similar headphones, and both perform well. The AKG have slightly better isolation and have a very useful Auto-Off timer, which is convenient since they have worse battery life than the Sony H900N. The Sony compatible app is also more complete and offers more customization options. However, if you use the headphones wired, the AKGs are more versatile and have audio and microphone support, while the Sonys only have audio. The WH-H900N have NFC and support aptX, but both headphones still have too much latency for video content or gaming.

Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The AKG N700NC are overall better headphones than the Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT. The AKG are noise cancelling headphones that are decent at every use case, on top of having a very good audio reproduction. They offer about the same battery life, but take half the time to fully charge, which is nice. The AKG can also be EQ’ed in their app and be used wired with phones. On the other hand, they feel a bit more plasticky than the very well-built Audio-Technica. Overall, the N700NC will offer better value.

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Test Results

Style

These headphones have a high-end look, and a premium feel. The headband has a slightly odd shape with curved hinges which hold the ear cups, making the headphones wider. The cups are dense and have thick padding, but they only come in a silver finish and don’t offer any color variety to suit your preferred style.

7.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.6 lbs
Clamping Force
:
1.0 lbs

The AKG N700NC are comfortable headphones thanks to the good padding on the cups and headband. They aren’t too tight and don’t put too much pressure on the head. However, they do feel heavier than similar over-ear headphones. The cups are fairly deep but aren't very large, which should suit most ears, but might squeeze bigger ears a bit.

6.8 Controls
Ease of use : Decent
Feedback : Good
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : No
Talk-Through
:
Yes
Additional Buttons : No

The control scheme of the AKG N700NC is decent. You get access to common functionalities like play/call management, volumes buttons, talk-through modes, and the power/pairing slider. The buttons are decently easy to use and provide great feedback. You also get audio feedback for play/pause, max/min volume and track skipping, but not every time you change your volume, which is nice.

7.5 Stability

They are stable enough for light running but won’t be ideal for more intense workouts or sports because of their bulkier design, but they are fairly tight on the head. Since they are wireless, you don’t have to worry about a wire getting stuck on something and pulling the headphones off your head.

6.0 Portability
L : 6.0 "
W : 5.5 "
H : 2.8 "
Volume : 92 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : No

The AKG N700NC aren’t the most portable headphones since they are bulky over-ears. However, they do fold into a more portable format so that you can fit them in a bag or the included case. If you want to wear them around your neck while not using them, the cups also swivel to lay flat. For a more premium build, check out the Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT.

8.0 Case
Type : Hard case
L : 8.8 "
W : 6.5 "
H : 3.2 "
Volume : 183 Cu. Inches

They come with a great hard case that should protect your headphones against scratches, water exposure, and impacts. The case feels fairly solid but does add a bit of bulk and make it harder to store the headphones away. On the upside, the inside of the case is molded with a plastic divider to fit the headphones, which could help protect them a bit more.

7.5 Build Quality

The AKG N700NC have a good build quality, and when handling them, you feel like holding premium headphones. They are made of thick plastic, and the headband is reinforced with a thin metal plate. The headphones feel heavier than average but are fairly flexible. The padding on the cups and headband feels comfortable, but the leather fabric might wear over time.

6.6 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 5.0 C

Like most over-ears, the AKG N700NC trap some heat under the ear cups and get warmer than typical in-ears. They create a decent seal around your ears, so there’s not much airflow and might make you sweat a bit more if you use them for sports. This shouldn’t be a problem for casual listening, especially if you take breaks here and there.

Cable
Detachable : Yes
Length : 4.2 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRRS

These headphones come with a USB to micro USB charging cable, but also a 1/8” TRRS audio cable to use the headphones passively, even if the battery is dead. The connection that attaches to the headphones is a 1/16” TRRS. An airplane adapter is also included in the box.

Top
Headshots 1
Headshots 2
9.3 Bass
Std. Err.
:
1.1 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
10 Hz
Low-Bass
:
0.66 dB
Mid-Bass
:
-1.3 dB
High-Bass
:
-1.36 dB

The AKG N700NC have an excellent bass response. Their low-frequency extension (LFE) is at 10Hz, which is great. The entire range is flat and well-balanced, which results in a neutral bass with great low-bass for thump and rumble common to bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop. Mid-bass, responsible for the body of bass guitars and the punch of kick instruments is also flat and within 1.5dB of our target, which is great. Overall, the bass range is excellent, punchy and deep.

9.1 Mid
Std. Err.
:
1.16 dB
Low-Mid
:
-1.4 dB
Mid-Mid
:
-0.47 dB
High-Mid
:
0.15 dB

The mid-range performance of the AKG N700NC is excellent. The response is throughout the range even and flat, and within 1.5dB of our target which is great. This results in accurate reproduction of vocals and lead instruments.

8.5 Treble
Std. Err.
:
2.87 dB
Low-Treble
:
3.1 dB
Mid-Treble
:
1.43 dB
High-Treble
:
-2.18 dB

The treble performance is very good. It is rather uneven, but fairly flat across the whole range. However, it is over our neutral target curve by about 3dB, which could make the sound a bit too bright and sharp. This would be mostly noticeable on vocals, lead instruments, and cymbals. Overall, they sound good and still have a great treble range.

8.8 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.24 dB

The AKG N700NC have great frequency response consistency. In the bass range, they seem to be using the ANC feature to check for seal and ensuring a proper bass delivery. Even people wearing glasses should get excellent bass results. In higher frequencies, they are also consistent across different re-seats below 10KHz.

4.4 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
5.07 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
9.28 dB
PRTF Distance
:
5.92 dB
Openness
:
3.2
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
4.0
Correlated Crosstalk
:
0.0 dB

The soundstage performance is sub-par. The PRTF graph shows a good amount of ear activation and interaction, but it's not very accurate, and there's not a 10KHz notch present either. This and the closed-back design of these headphones results in a soundstage that is perceived to be located inside the listener's head.

8.8 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.28
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
0.54
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
1.46
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
3.8

The AKG N700NC have excellent imaging. Their weighted group delay is 0.28, which is great. Also, according to the graph, their group delay is almost all below the audibility threshold. This results in tight a bass reproduction and a transparent treble. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were exceptionally matched in amplitude, frequency and phase response. This ensures an accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, footsteps) in the stereo image.

6.4 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
4.587
Weighted THD @ 100
:
19.502

The harmonic distortion performance is average. The overall amount of harmonic distortion produced is relatively high, especially in the mid-range. This could make the sound of these headphones a bit impure. However, there is not a big rise in THD under heavier loads, especially in the bass range, which is good. The peaks at 4-5KHz could make the treble of these headsets harsh and brittle, which could be fatiguing over a long listening session.

6.8 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-20.17 dB
Bass
:
-9.67 dB
Mid
:
-17.36 dB
Treble
:
-34.1 dB
Self-Noise
:
21.62 dB

The AKG N700NC have an average isolation performance. The active noise cancelation achieves an average 10dB of isolation in the bass range, which is important for canceling out airplane and bus engine rumbles. However, they achieve 17dB and 34dB of isolation in the mid and treble ranges respectively which is good. This indicates good isolation performance for speech and sharp sounds such as S and Ts.

6.5 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
42.45 dB

The leakage performance of the AKG N700NC is average. Most of their leakage is in the mid-range, between 400Hz and 5KHz, which is fairly broad. So, although the overall level of their leakage is not very loud, people around you will be able to hear your music if you blast it, even in moderately noisy places like a bus. They should be fine to use around an average office at moderate volumes without disturbing colleagues.

6.4 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
269.09 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
2.67 dB
HFE
:
3000.72 Hz
Weighted THD
:
3.068
Gain
:
40.08 dB

The recording quality of the N700NC's microphone is mediocre. The LFE of 269Hz results in a recorded/transmitted speech that is relatively thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 3KHz results a speech that is muffled and lacks detail. However, it should be noted that this a limitation of Bluetooth protocol which limits the HFE of all microphones to around 3.5KHz.

6.0 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
11.54 dB

The integrated mic is mediocre at noise-handling. In our SpNR test, they achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 12dB, indicating they are best suited for quiet environments and will struggle to separate speech from ambient noise in moderate and loud situations.

9.2 Wireless Range
Obstructed Range
:
72 ft
Line of Sight Range
:
105 ft

The obstructed wireless range of the AKG N700NC is amazing, but line of sight is not so great. They should be good enough for most activities especially if you keep your phone in your pocket but have enough range for a fixed Bluetooth source like a PC or TV.

Update: 05/12/2018: We've updated the Bluetooth version from Bluetooth 5.0 to Bluetooth 4.2 as displayed in the AKG N700NC spec sheet.

0.3 Latency
Default Latency
:
244 ms
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

Like most Bluetooth headphones, these headphones have too much latency to watch video content or gaming. They also above-average default latency for Bluetooth headphones and don’t support any low latency codec. However, they can be used passively with the 1/8” TRRS cable which will get rid of the latency issues.

7.4 Battery
Battery Type
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
:
17.8 hrs
Charge Time
:
2.6 hrs
Power Saving Feature
:
Auto-Off Timer
Audio while charging
:
No
Passive Playback
:
Yes

They have good battery life with about 18 hours of continuous playback with Bluetooth and ANC on and take about two and a half hours to charge fully. According to AKG’s specs sheet, you can use the ANC feature for up to 36 hours if you use the headphones wired. You can also use them passively with the provided 1/8” audio cable, even if the battery is dead, which is convenient. You can also activate the auto-off timer in the compatible app to save more power. Our test result is lower than the advertised number for battery life. We plan to re-test them and will update the review if the new number is significantly different.

7.0 App Support
App Name : AKG Headphone
iOS : Yes
Android : Yes
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
Parametric
ANC control
:
No
Mic Control : No
Room effects
:
No
Playback control
:
No
Button Mapping : Yes
Surround Sound : N/A

The AKG N700NC are compatible with the AKG Headphone mobile app, which doesn’t offer a lot of customization. You get access to a simple parametric EQ, but no presets and you can’t control the level of noise canceling in the app, which is disappointing. You can switch between ambient mode and talk-through mode, but can’t fully disable ANC. You can also enable an auto-off timer to save battery life when you’re not using the headphones.

6.0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
4.2
Multi-Device Pairing
:
No
NFC Pairing
:
No

These headphones, unfortunately, do not have NFC for quicker and easier pairing, and they can't connect to multiple devices simultaneously which would have been convenient.

Update: 05/12/2018: We've updated the Bluetooth version from Bluetooth 5.0 to Bluetooth 4.2 as displayed in the AKG N700NC spec sheet.

9.1 Wired
OS Compatibility
:
iOS
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
PS4 Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone
Xbox One Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone
PC Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone

You can use these headphones passively with the provided 1/8” TRRS audio cable, even if the battery is dead. You won’t be able to use the ANC feature if the battery is dead. The cable is compatible with consoles for audio and microphone support. However, track skipping backwards with the in-line button doesn’t seem to work on certain Android phones, but does on some.

0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A

The AKG N700NC do not have a base/dock. If you want a versatile headset with a base that you can also use wired, check out the SteelSeries Arctis 7.

In the box

  • AKG N700NC Headphones
  • Carrying case
  • Flight adaptor
  • USB charging cable
  • 1/8” TRRS audio cable
  • Manuals

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