My (subjective) AKG N90Q Headphone Review


Jan 14, 2008
AKG N90Q came in this past Friday -- and I'm quite liking these. Still extensively trying/testing these out, but here's some initial thoughts:

  • The ANC noise cancellation + isolation build is incredible; slaps around just about everything I've heard in noise-cancelling headphones (including the Bose 700, Bose QC35, Sony WH-1000MX3, and others). Plus, the sound quality shreds all those other noise-cancelling headphones to pieces.
  • Build quality is really nice (slightly worse than Beyerdynamic, but well above Sennheiser). Very nice genuine leather on the earcups; very plush and thick. Top headband has less padding than I'd like, though, so I ordered a headband cover via Amazon.
  • Great accessories -- VERY durable gold case, hard foam interior, free charger [when the 10hr battery runs out], excellent assortment of various cables (including in-line mic w/cable, airplane socket jack), & lambskin pouch (for the headphones) with dual pockets (very handy).
  • Fun features (self-tuning mechanism that outputs 2 signals: R to L, then L to R -- hidden mini mics in each headphone cup pick up the signals and auto-tune the headphones based on your ear canal/pinna by developing a DSP filter). Really, really nice tech that works (I did Tyll's "thigh test" as per his review on InnerFidelity a few years back, and it's exactly as he describes).
  • Sound quality: good overall soundstage, especially for a closed-back (not AKG K7 series or Audio-Technica ATH-AD9 series big, but close enough), but really, really good imaging for both games and instrumentation in music. Treble is a bit dry, but (surprisingly) I really liked how it was done. Bass is precise, smooth and weighty. Mids seem very slightly lacking (compared to other options like the Audeze LCD-2 Classic), but are still really good.
  • For $1500 USD MSRP, this isn't really worth it (unless you like the TruNote autotune tech), but at $600-800, this would be a good value. At $300 (the price I got via a Father's Day pre-sale), this is an absolute steal for a ANC noise-cancelling closed-back headphone (it's a steal even when seen as a straight-up closed-back); it feels like outright highway robbery.
  • Haven't directly compared it to my other headphones, but once I've completed listening to this, I'll offer up more direct comparisons.