AKG K391-NC Headphones Review

AKG K391-NC Headphones Review

The AKG K391-NC Headphones are a good set of in-ear buds that sound great and isolate the listener well. Their outstanding noise cancellation and leakage performance are recommended for noisy commutes. The sound profile works well for most music genres, but their in-ear design might not be for everyone. Now, let’s travelsyear.com read the below review to know more.

AKG K391-NC Headphones Review

Design & Build Quality

AKG K391-NC Headphones - Design

The AKG K391-NC’s design is very simple. They look good but are a little unexciting. The control module has a brushed metal finish that’s also noticeable on the earbuds. The cable is black and the rest of the accents are a deep gray, matching the AKG branding.

The AKG K391-NC is as comfortable as you would expect in-ear earbuds to be. The sleeves come in three sizes, so unless your ear canals are unusually narrow or wide, you should be able to get a comfortable fit.

The AKG K391-NC is a decently stable headphone. Their in-ear design fits deeply into the ear canal making it hard for them to fall out during moderate physical activity. However, they won’t be sufficiently stable for high-intensity exercises, and the control module and long cable can easily get hooked on something and pull the headphone out of your ears.

Sound Quality

AKG K391-NC Headphones - Sound Quality

In both passive and active modes, the AKG K391-NC Headphones output audio, though typically the passive mode is less powerful, with less low-frequency presence. Regardless, in either listening mode, the earphones do not distort, even on tracks with intense sub-bass content, such as the Knife’s “Silent Shout.” The earphones remain distortion-free at top volumes, as well—maximum volume is loud but tolerable in passive mode, and uncomfortably loud in active mode. Not only is there no distortion, but the bass presence in active mode (which will be the mode we discuss from here on out) is quite powerful.
On Bill Callahan’s “Drover,” the drumming gets some very noticeable bass-boosting, taking it to a not-quite-thunderous, but certainly modified level. Purists seeking flat response will probably be turned off a bit by this, but bass lovers seeking added low-end without sacrificing clarity in the rest of the frequency range will be pleased. There’s plenty of high-mid and high frequency boosting and sculpting, so Callahan’s baritone vocal delivery doesn’t get lost in the boosted bass territory, maintaining enough of a crisp edge to stay in the forefront of the mix.

AKG K391-NC Headphones - Sound Quality

On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild,” the kick drum loop is delivered with a slightly less hi-mid attack than I tend to prefer. The K391 NC doesn’t deliver a muddy mix, but the focus of this track seems to be on the very highs (orchestral synth parts sound bright, but not harsh) and very lows (the sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat are delivered with serious intensity). Vocals sit in the mix well, but the big bass steals the show.

Classical tracks, like John Adams’ “The Chairman Dances,” sound lively through the K391 NC, receiving a nice richness in the low-end and enough presence in the highs to give the high register strings and percussion, as well as the growl of the brass, a nice treble edge. The large drum hits at the end of the piece sound particularly powerful—almost a little over the top, as they receive plenty of bass boost—but it doesn’t sound bad, just exaggerated enough that purists might roll their eyes.

The noise reduction itself is effective, but not mind-blowing. Partially, the in-canal earphones do a healthy amount of passive noise reduction by plugging the canal and acting as earplugs. When the circuitry is switched on, a decent swath of ambient room noise is eliminated, but a slight-yet-audible hiss is created. This hiss is typical in less-expensive noise cancellation circuitry, which, at $200, believe it or not, the K391 NC qualifies as. It’s also not at all overwhelming, so it shouldn’t be thought of as a deal-breaker. The bottom line here is that the overall noise reduction is not as powerful as with some of the leading options. For the price, however, it is solid, and when you throw in the excellent audio performance, the K391 NC only becomes more attractive.

Battery Life

AKG K391-NC Headphones - Battery

The AKG K391-NC Headphones have a long battery life but take considerably longer than average to charge. This may be because they use an older mini-USB charging port. Unfortunately, this means you have to charge your headphones overnight which is not always practical. On the upside, they deliver above a day worth’s of battery life, and you can use them while charging so they are decent headphones to use at the office or if you have access to a power source while on the bus, train, or plane.

AKG K391-NC Headphones

In conclusion, The AKG K391-NC Headphones have a great isolation performance, which makes them easy to recommend to anyone who travels a lot or has very noisy daily commutes. They’ll reduce a significant amount of ambient noise, and they’re easy to carry around.


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