Oozing luxury, the AKG K495 NC is an active noise-cancelling design, and it justifies its pricing on three levels. The quality of its noise cancelling is excellent. The design is beautiful in both looks and ergonomics. Lastly, most importantly, the sound is delicious, effortless and impeccably balanced — this is a real hi-fi headphone.

We applauded from the off (we did actually clap) when we saw the enormous white ‘L’ and ‘R’ on the earpads; these can be read easily in a dimmed cabin or on a dark morning at the bus-stop — bravo.

They need two to four hours of charging for a quoted 40 hours playback. Should you exhaust even this, you can continue music without noise cancelling, or if shut-eye on the red-eye is required, you can choose NC without music by recharging by USB (all the best airline seats have USB these days).

altThe electronics are in the headshells (so no need of a heavy hanging lozenge on the audio cord), and NC is engaged by twisting the left cup — very swish, and providing one of the best silences we’ve ever  experienced.

Over this inky background AKG’s sensitive monitor-quality audio delights with every tune, from Beatles to Armin van Buuren. Neat, comfy, desirable, they’re super swivelly and simply silky from their outer shell covering to their sensational sound quality. A thrilling pair of headphones — we gave them a Sound+Image 2014 Award.


System: Dynamic
Design: Closed-back
Colour: Black leather with brushed metal parts
Frequency range: 20Hz – 20kHz
Sensitivity: 121dB SPL/V
Input impedance: 26 ohms
Maximum input power: 50mW
Net weight (without cable): 235g (8.3 oz)
Cable: 99.99% oxygen-free cable, 1.4m (4'7")
Main connection: 3.5mm (1/8") stereo mini-jack plug
Battery lifetime: over 40h

Product page: QualiFi