AKG must be considered to be one of the top manufacturers of headphones and have a wide variety of models in all price classes. In this review we get our hands and ears on AKG's N20, one of their high-end in-ear models.
The N20 is at the top of the AKG in-ear hierarchy – if you don’t count the eight times more expensive K3003 – and is available in either black or silver finish.
The nice packaging and its content is reflecting the price and gives an impression of luxury and quality. Apart from the headphones it includes three pairs of silicone tips in different sizes (Small, Medium, Large), a nice hard case for storage and transportation, a cleaning tool for the earpieces, and a flight adapter.
A closer inspection of the headphones reveals that the earpieces are made from a single piece of cast aluminum with the AKG, NSERIES and N20 inscription. The four feet long cord is covered in fabric and ends with a gold-plated 3.5mm jack with an aluminum casing.
On the cord you also find a 3-button remote unit with control buttons on one side, and a switch for Android or Apple phones and a microphone on the other side. According to AKG, the N20 is also compatible with Windows phones, but as we didn’t have any access to one during the test we cannot vouch for its functionality. The control button have a distinctive ‘click’ when pressed and allows you to control playback and volume with relative ease.
The spec sheet of the N20 is sparse to say the least:
- Sensitivity : 110dB SPL/V @1kHz
- Impedance : 38 ohms
- Frequency response : 20-20kHz
- Max input power : 10mW
- Weight : 18g
- Cable length : 1.2m
- Connection : 3.5mm jack
We tried to find out more about the construction of the earpieces and what type of driver units they are using, but all we could find was that the housing is a semi-closed design with a small bass reflex port at the back for enhanced bass response.
Comfort & Sound Quality
We used a variety of phones, portable music players and headphone amps to put the AKG N20‘s to the test. Overall, the sound character can be described as ‘laidback’, but without losing any drive and energy to propel the music forward. In short, they sound very ‘AKG-ish’, with loads of detail and a well balanced frequency range. The low end sounds relaxed yet resolute and manages to dig quite deep while providing a solid foundation for the upper frequencies. In comparison to headphones from more ‘modern’ headphone brands with a lot more ‘street credibility’ – where bass is No.1 on the agenda – the N20’s may come off as a bit ‘withheld’, but we would rather use the word ‘accurate’ instead.
Moving up to the midrange, and we're presented with a fairly dry but still colorful and full-bodied character. This is combined with very open and finely detailed high frequencies, and if AKG have put any emphasis on any particular frequency it would be the treble. This could of course be a side-effect of the slightly withdrawn bass, but as mentioned earlier, this is preferable to an overblown bass that drowns out the upper frequencies, and ultimately translates to a more accurate sound. At least in our ears.
Listening to music also provides an opportunity to get a sense of the comfort level and to see how well the controls are working. Finding the right size of earplugs is of course crucial, and once you have done so you will end up with a very comfortable set of headphones. The fit of the earplugs in combination with the relatively low weight resulted in very long listening sessions without any significant discomfort, and the controls functioned just as expected (pretty much flawlessly without any hiccups) with all the music players and phones we tried. This also applies to phone calls as the microphone provides a clear and clean sound.
AKG has made a very well-built and very comfortable set of in-ear headphones. They have a very detailed, subtle and relaxing sound across the whole frequency band, and they have been a joy to use and listen to. If you're looking for new earbuds and also happen to appreciate high quality, you should definitely check out the N20.
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Universal 3-button remote/mic
Fully Compatible with both Android and iOS, it allows you the ability to control your phone, playback and volume with ease. Easily switch between Android, MFI and Windows phone compatibility in one remote*.
A full package of quality finishes and accessories
Enjoy an indulgent audio experience heightened by the use of attractive aluminums, soft silicones and durable fabrics.
The AKG sound expertise
A clear, word-class acoustic signature with a warm bass response that will take your musical enjoyment and appreciation to new levels.
*Compatible with popular smartphones, feature phones and tablets. Functions vary depending on your phone, tablet or application.
Sensitivity : 110dB SPL/V @1kHz
Impedance : 38 ohms
Frequency response : 20-20kHz
Max input power : 10mW
Weight : 18g
Cable length : 1.2m
Connection : 3.5mm jack
- AKG N20 In-Ear Headphones
- Fabric tangle free cable
- Flight adapter
- Cleaning tool
- Carrying Case
- 3 pairs of ear tips (S, M, L)