Headphones

AKG Y600NC Review • Attractive ANC headphones with high build quality

Although the AKG brand is not the most popular on the market, it has a serious reputation among those who are really interested in Hi-Fi. AKG was founded in Vienna in 1947 and started with the production of microphones that have become some of the best in their class. In 1994, the company was acquired by Harman, which also owned the Harman / Kardon, Arcam and JBL brands, and in 2016 they were all acquired by Samsung.

The Y600NC wireless headphones have AKG’s signature sound, ANC active noise cancellation, 25 hours of battery life, auto pause / play function, Bluetooth 5.0 and a built-in microphone.

Design and management

We have to admit that our first impressions of the AKG Y600NC were more favorable than many of the other headphones we reviewed. The Y600NCs really look great and have a solid build quality. We were sent a black version for review, but this model is also available in gold and silver finishes. The AKG logo is applied to each ear cup and headband, and a stylish chrome piping can be added to complement the design beautifully. Otherwise, all Y600NCs are black.

Featuring memory foam cushions, an adjustable headband with a scale so you can memorize your preferred position and swivel ear cups, the AKG Y600NC should be comfortable to wear by almost all users. The foldable design allows you to conveniently store your headphones in the included stylish soft case. These are not the lightest of the headphones, perhaps due to the metal elements in the headband, the weight of this model is 328 g.

In the set with the headphones, we get the already mentioned case, a USB-C charging cable and an audio cable with a 3.5 mm jack and a remote control. There is also a tiny user manual here, with one of the smallest texts you’ll ever find in an instruction manual – you’ll likely need a magnifying glass to read it. Although, fortunately, the instructions have clear pictures.

Also read: Grado Statement GS1000e Review • Handmade headphones

As for the control, first of all it is worth noting the presence of a separate power switch. We find that using this switch is much more convenient than holding the multifunction button for 5 seconds to turn off the headphones. AKG has thankfully ditched the one button that does everything and created a control system that is very easy to use.

The volume is adjusted on the outside of the left earcup, and the music control button is also on the left: move it up or down to select the previous or next song, or press to pause / play. It also controls call functions by pressing once to answer / end and holding for 3 seconds to reject a call, plus a quick double press activates the voice assistant. These headphones also have an excellent auto pause / play function: if you take them off your head, music or video playback will pause, and if you put them back on, playback will resume. The 3.5mm headphone jack is also on the left side.

On the right side, we have an on / off switch (which is also needed for Bluetooth pairing) and a USB-C charging port, as well as a Smart Ambient button. The function of this button is installed in a free app for iOS and Android and it can either turn the active noise reduction system on and off, or significantly reduce the volume if you really want to talk to someone nearby (TalkThru).

Thanks to the use of Bluetooth 5.0 technology in the AKG Y600NC, a multipoint connection is provided, that is, you can connect headphones, for example, to a phone or tablet at the same time. By simply pressing the on / off button in the down position for three seconds, you will switch between these devices. Actually a Samsung product, AKG Y600NC connects to the proprietary ecosystem: Bixby Voice Assistant and Samsung Multi Device Experience.

Tuning and sound quality

Apart from connecting to Bluetooth, which is very simple, there are no additional settings here. With the free AKG app, you can adjust the equalizer (unfortunately there are no presets), enable / disable the automatic play / pause function, and switch between Smart Ambient / TalkThru modes. Apart from information on the remaining battery life, the app doesn’t actually do anything else, but it does offer some tips and a digital version of the quick start guide.

The headphones are very comfortable to wear thanks to the adjustable headband and memory foam ear cushions. I dare say that they are even more comfortable than the excellent Audeze Mobius, which we also had for testing. Even after listening to music or watching TV series for a long time, we never felt any discomfort in them. AKG scores top marks for creating some of the most comfortable headphones ever!

Considering the cost of the AKG Y600NC, we expected good sound from them and were not disappointed. The sound quality is clearly several orders of magnitude higher than budget headphones, but still not the same as that of the significantly more expensive Audeze Mobius with their 100mm magnetic planar drivers. However, when tested with Amazon Music, YouTube, podcasts and video streaming, the audio quality was excellent. The tonal balance was neutral when the EQ was turned off, although the bass level could be increased if desired.

We had no complaints about the sound quality, which we were more than satisfied with. If there were any shortcomings in the work of the AKG Y600NC, then they all belonged to the active noise cancellation ANC. Fortunately, it’s easy to turn it off, but when activated, this system did little more than add a little white noise to the sound. External sounds sounded not quieter when turned on or off. And given the overall high class of the headphones, this was really disappointing.

The battery life of the AKG Y600NC is excellent: it is 25-30 hours and you may even forget to charge the earbuds until their battery is completely depleted. It only takes 2 hours to charge it.

AKG Y600NC Specifications:

Emitter: dynamic, diameter 40 mm
Frequency range: 10 Hz – 24 kHz
Sensitivity: 110 dBA
Maximum sound pressure level: 93 dBA
Impedance: 32 ohm
Bluetooth technology: version 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
AKG Y600NC
The good:
  • Convenient on / off button
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Long battery life
  • Balanced and high quality sound
  • Auto play / pause function works well
  • Bluetooth 5.0
The not so good:
  • Poor operation of the active noise cancellation system
  • The app has few features

Conclusion

The AKG Y600NC wireless earbuds certainly fully justify their cost. They have an attractive design, high build quality, extremely user-friendly construction, simple controls including a dedicated on / off button, auto play / pause function, as well as Bluetooth 5 and excellent battery life. Indeed, there is nothing to complain about here.

Sound quality is excellent, with powerful bass and balanced treble. The vocals are transmitted cleanly and articulated, and even at maximum volume, there was no noticeable distortion in the sound. With the free AKG app, you can adjust the equalizer if you don’t like tonal balance. Our only real gripe is the Active Noise Reduction system, which has no effect on external sounds.

Bose and Sony are the rivals for the AKG Y600NC at this price point , but you won’t be disappointed anyway and this model definitely deserves your attention. But if you want headphones with effective noise cancellation, you might want to look at a different model.