AKG's stylish K495 NC on-ear headphones took two years to reach Philippine shores. It features noise-cancellation which can be turned on and off, is rechargeable via USB, and can be continually used even if the internal battery dies. The headphones' build also accomodates usability and comfort.
For a pair of cans just under P20,000, does the K495 NC's performance justify the price even in 2014? Read our AKG K495 NC review below.
The AKG K495 NC at first sight screams of premium. It's definitely an attractive pair of cans, especially with its black and powdered silver color scheme going for it. The cups are very gentle to the ears and are well-ventilated, preventing that sweaty feeling after long periods of use, though they aren't removable. The leather band is also padded, with the adjustable cup stems snug to the fit, making it quite difficult to adjust. The cup joints on the other hand swivel with good freedom and will follow the contour of the sides of your head well. No part of it gives off squeaking plasticky or metal sounds.
The K495 NC by itself is quite heavy and delicate at that, since one bad move will rip through its soft black leather rather immediately. It's also quite heavy, and maybe a bane to your neck after prolonged periods of time.
The noise-cancellation knob is ingeniously integrated with the left can, with the knob looking like an ordinary bezel holding the textured black leather with the AKG logo in place. Turning the knob will enable or disable the noise-cancellation feature, and - given that there's an LED indicator in there - will light up to green for usage and red for charging and low battery. The knob is quite difficult to turn; oftentimes I had to remove the headphones from my head just to activate noise-cancellation because it just won't turn or is very difficult to turn while wearing.
The K495 NC comes with a 2 3.5mm audio cables (one for actual use and one for recharging the internal battery), a charging adapter, a flight adapter, and a cool-looking carrying case.
As mentioned previously, I found the K495 NC generally comfortable with its padded cups and bands, preventing discomfort from setting in pretty early. As with my past experiences with other headphones, their bands and cups tend to be too snug and fit it literally hurts my head.
As for sound quality, the K495 NC offers great definition of the the sound it reproduces. I played different music genres on it - from classical to modern EDM - and found my listening experience wonderful. Highs and mids were very clear too. But if there's one thing this headphones can improve on, its the bass. I personally thought the K495 NC is a little light on bass, and could use some more. The previously mentioned considered, this pair is - among others - the definition sound quality.
Among the highlights of the K495 NC is its noise-cancellation feature. The sound directed towards your ears are already pretty isolated even without the noise cancellation enabled, though noise that leaks in tend to sound like low, inaudible, muffled sounds. Noise cancellation enabled, you won't hear anything but the music you're listening to. Pedestrian and road noises produced by cars and buses were "cancelled" by the K495 NC with ease (may I remind you that walking on public roads with on-ear/in-ear headphones on is dangerous). Needless to say I was impressed. The headphones also sounded better with noise cancellation on, with the bass sounding a tad heavier than when noise cancellation is disabled.
Outside the realm of your ears, the AKG K495 NC is notorious in sound leakage, noise-cancellation or not. For the uninformed, sound leakage is where the sounds of your headphones "leaks" towards unintended subjects. So that guy you're sitting next to in the train whose music you can hear through his loud headphones, that's sound leakage, and that's not a good trait in cans. This said, you'd be limited in enjoying the maximum offering of the K495 NC in public, particularly because you might annoy the people around you.
Unlike other noise-cancelling headphones which are rendered useless once their NC batteries run out, the AKG K495 NC can switch from noise-cancellation mode to standard with just a turn of the knob. What's really wonderful here is how long the K495 NC's battery lasts. As per my trial, I charged the headphones for a few hours, and 4 office hours a day of use later for 3 consecutive days, the battery on the noise-cancellation still hasn't run out. If that's not what you call a long battery life, I don't know what is.
The AKG K495 NC, even after two years, is a pair of cans still worth considering. It's something that you want to show of because it both looks and sounds beautiful at the same time. The overall build and the comfort of the headphones exhibits the quality and time AKG puts on its products.
Performance-wise, among the K495 NC's is its noise-cancellation feature, which is very effective in neutralizing outside noise. While we mentioned that the bass could've done better because it sounded a little light, the battery life it brings is commendable, assuring users hours upon hours of audio fun. And rightfully so, because its price point is no laughing matter.
The AKG K495 NC is availble for PHP 19,990 (SRP) at Acoustical Space (4F SM Megamall Cyberzone Bldg. B), Sound Gallery (B3, Bonifacio High Street), and at Digital Dreams (4F SM North Annex Cyberzone).