What are the AKG Y600nc Wireless Headphones?
AKG aren’t a brand immediately familiar to this reviewer, although they do appear to have a strong pedigree in the audio world. Founded in Vienna in 1947 producing class leading microphones, they were then bought by Harmon in 1994 which owns popular brands such Harmon/Kardon, Arcam and JBL, finally to all be bought by Samsung in 2016 for a small amount of $8 billion in cash!
They have significantly expanded their product line from those humble beginnings to offer a wide range of headphones, earphones and even smart speakers (well doesn’t everyone make a smart speaker these days?). With prices sitting very much in the middle range between some of our recent reviews such as the £30 Tribit Xfree Go and the £400 Audeze Mobius.
The Y600nc Wireless Headphones retail for £199 (although can be found for sub £160 at time of writing) and include the AKG reference sound along with active noise cancelling, 25 hour battery life, automatic pause/play function, Bluetooth 5.0 and hands free call control. Read on to see how they perform in our review…..
What about the Design and Controls?
Our initial impressions were more favourable than some of the headphones we’ve reviewed lately. They have a high end and quality look to them and feel very well built and nicely put together. We were sent the black version for review (also available in gold and silver) which features the AKG logo to each earcup and the headband and a stylish chrome edging to finish the design off nicely. Otherwise they are all black.
Featuring memory foam cushioning to each earcup, adjustable headband - which includes a number range on the headband so you can remember where you prefer it to be set - and 90 degree rotation, they should comfortably cater for all head shapes and sizes. The earcups also fold in on themselves for easier storage in the rather stylish AKG branded cushioned carrying case that is included out of the box. They aren’t the lightest of headphones, possibly thanks to the metal strengthening in the headband, coming in at 328g.
Out of the box we get the carrying case, a USB-C charging cable and a 3.5mm audio cable which includes inline controls. We also get a tiny quick start guide with some of the smallest text you will ever find in an instruction manual, so small it almost needs a magnifying glass to read it. Although thankfully the pictures are self-explanatory as to what everything does.
Kudos to AKG here for creating one of the most comfortable items to ever grace our head.
On the control side of things, we at last have a dedicated on/off power switch. It’s one of our main gripes with headphones, we find a dedicated switch is much more user friendly than having to hold a multi-function button for 5 seconds to simply turn the headphones off. AKG have thankfully dispensed with a single button that does everything and created a control system that is very easy to use.
The volume is controlled via the outside of the left earcup rather than a fiddly button, you simply twist it to lower or raise the volume. The music control button is also on the left, which is simply up/down for previous/next track and push in for pause/play. It also operates the calling features by pressing it once to answer/end and holding for 3 seconds to reject a call, plus a quick double press will activate the voice assistant. These headphones also have a nifty automatic pause/play feature which does work very well. Just by taking the headphones off your head it will pause the music or video playing, then putting them back on will resume it. The 3.5mm headphone jack is also on the left side.
The UHQ audio codec unfortunately only works with Samsung smartphones
To the right side we have the power on/off switch (which also acts as initial Bluetooth pairing) and the USB-C charging port, plus the talk thru/ambient aware button. This is set by the free iOS and Android app and can either turn the active noise control on and off, or instantly significantly lower the volume if you actually want to talk to someone close by (2 metres distance of course!).
Specifications and Features
- Driver Size: 40mm
- Frequency Response: 10Hz – 24kHz
- Sensitivity: 110 dB SPL/V @ 1kHz
- Maximum SPL: 93dB
- Impedance: 32 ohm
- Bluetooth Technology: 5.0
- Bluetooth Profiles: HFP V1.6, A2DP V1.3, AVRCP V1.5
- Audio Codecs: UHQ, AAC, SBC
- Battery: Lithium-ion. 3.7v 610mAh
- Charging Time: 2 hours
- Music Playing Time: up to 35 hours with BT and ANC turned off
Featuring Bluetooth 5.0, this allows for multi-point connection so you can have it connected to your phone as well as your tablet for example. Simply by pressing the on/off button in the down position for three seconds it will switch between devices. Being a Samsung product, it seamlessly connects to the Ecosystem such as the Bixby voice assistant and the Samsung Multi Device Experience.
The UHQ audio codec unfortunately only works with Samsung smartphones, not our lowly (almost) latest iPhone so we couldn’t test this feature.
Setup and Performance
Apart from connecting to Bluetooth which is very simple to do, there is no real setting up here. Via the free AKG app you can setup your own EQ (although, unhelpfully, it gives no presets to choose from), disable the play/pause automation, turn on/off the auto-off feature and switch between the Smart Ambient/TalkThru functions. Other than telling you the battery life, the App doesn’t really do anything else other than offer some tips and provide a digital version of the quick start guide.
Our only real complaint is with the active noise control
The headphones, thanks to the adjustable headband and the memory foam,are extremely comfortable to wear. Dare I say even more comfortable than the superb Audeze Mobius we reviewed recently. Even after a long session listening to music or watching Netflix we at no point felt uncomfortable. Kudos to AKG here for creating one of the most comfortable items to ever grace our head.
Sitting in the mid-range for pricing, we expected good things with the Y600nc and were not disappointed. The audio quality is clearly several leagues above the sub £50 budget headphones and not quite in the same league as the £400 Audeze Mobius with their 100mm planar magnetic drivers. Testing with our usual sources of Amazon Music, YouTube, Podcasts and streaming video, the audio quality was excellent. With the EQ unaltered, the levels were spot on with a solid amount of bass coming through when needed.
The audio quality is excellent with strong bass and balanced treble levels
We had no complaints at all with the audio quality, even at the price of £200 it’s a quality that we were more than happy with. What we did have cause for complaint with was the active noise cancellation. It’s thankfully easy to turn off, but when activated it did practically nothing other than play some white noise, external noise sounded no quieter with it on or off. Given our experiences with the rest of the headphone's features and sound, this was unusual to find it work so poorly.
The battery life is superb, quoted at 25 hours for Bluetooth and we found it to comfortably reach that. So good that you forget you need to charge them up as it’s so long before the battery runs out. Thankfully, it only takes 2 hours to charge.
- It has a proper on/off button!
- Extremely comfortable to wear
- Superb battery life
- Well balanced high quality audio
- Automatic play/pause feature works well
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Poor active noise cancellation
- App isn't particularly useful
AKG Y600nc Wireless Headphones Review
The AKG Y600nc wireless headphones are available for around £160 and are well worth that price. With a high-end look, excellent build quality, immensely comfortable design, simple control system including an actual on/off button, automatic play/pause and featuring Bluetooth 5 and a superb battery life there isn’t much to complain about.
The audio quality is excellent with strong bass and balanced treble levels. Vocals are clear and crisp and even at maximum volume there was no distortion suffered. Using the free AKG app you can configure your own EQ if the stock level is not to your liking. Our only real complaint is with the active noise control. Whether on or off it didn’t appear to make any difference to the external noise.
At this price point the competition is the likes of Bose and Sony with their mid-range offerings but at £160 you won’t be disappointed with the Y600nc and is definitely worthy of your consideration. Unless you must have good ANC, in which case you may need to look elsewhere.
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