Amid the fanfare of a new Galaxy Note 9 launch, Samsung is offering those who pre-order a choice: get some sweet AKG N60 NC headphones, or 15,000 Fortnite V-Bucks. So which one should you get? The headphones, duh. It’s nothing against Fortnite: it’s just the better deal.
Taking the headphones isn’t a better deal just because because the AKG N60 NC retails for $250-$300 (15,000 V-Bucks go for about $150). The headphones are the better deal simply because they’re a tool that’ll get far more use than the V-Bucks ever will. Game customizations are ephemeral, good headphones are… well not “forever,” but much longer-lasting and versatile than a virtual bunny suit.
The choice is really easy for me because AKG’s N60 NC has been one of our best active noise canceling headphones at SoundGuys for over a year. Even if you were to simply re-sell these headphones after, you’d be able to get more than the $150 value of the V-Bucks by selling on eBay. While you could also spend the extra $99 to get both packages, get the headphones if you can only afford one (or don’t play Fortnite).
Among tough competition in the $300 price bracket, the AKG N60 NC hold their own because they sound great, and cancel a lot more noise than you’d expect a set of on-ears to destroy. Many people underestimate how important it is to invest in good headphones, but sometimes that’s due to the fact that most people tend to buy the cheap ones and just replace them when they break. But a set of well-made headphones is like magic.
In particular, the AKG N60 NC has a combination of really decent sound, along with some of the best noise canceling in a set of on-ears out there. But I’m not the type to just say something without proving it first.
That obscure-looking chart tells us that the AKG N60NC emphasizes certain notes over others, the higher the line gets, the louder that frequency is. The lower it gets… you get the idea. Most of your music will be in that pink (bass)/green (mids) part of the line, and look at that: it’s very even. While bass-lovers may not like this type of emphasis, the upshot is that a flat frequency response in the sounds you are likely to hear means a much more clear sound. Additionally, it allows you to hear mixes without the bass and drums just obliterating the other instruments.
The downside to that kind of performance is that outside noise like car engines and normal street bustle will typically mask the low notes in your music. This is partially why the bass-heavy sound is so popular in the first place — it’s not the people listening in a quiet room at home that want the thumping lows, right? So if commuter headphones are to have a decent sound, they need to either cancel a lot of noise, or block it out.
I often recommend noise canceling headphones to most people not just because they’re the best option for commuting, but also because it allows you to listen to music at much lower volumes. This may not sound all that great, but it also prevents a condition called Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). If you’re the type to just crank up the volume to drown out the noise around you, you run the risk of damaging your hearing in even short periods of time. Even if you don’t work in an airplane hangar, reducing the amount of noise that reaches your ear is always a good thing, and reduces risk of auditory damage.
Despite the AKG N60 NC’s on-ear design letting some low noise pass through the ear cartilage, it actually does a fine enough job canceling noise in comparison to other models. While you may hear some things come through over your music, they’ll be reduced in power quite considerably. This means you’ll be able to enjoy much better sound quality than you’re used to on, say, a bus or airplane.
So yeah, those are really awesome headphones. If you can snag ’em, do it. Or pay the extra $99 to get both the headphones and the V-Bucks, go crazy. But those headphones should be your #1 priority.
Oh, and be sure to check out our other Samsung Galaxy Note 9 coverage if you need to catch up: