Whether its desktop speakers, docking systems, or sound bars, Harman Kardon is no slouch when it comes to producing quality audio equipment. You might say that Harman Kardon knows their way around a driver or two. So their venture into personal audio, specifically over-the-ear and in-ear headphones shouldn’t be entirely a shocker. In particular, the Acoustically Enhanced (AE) in-ear headphones are not designed to be bass heavy, but actually capture the acoustic tones found in your songs that other in-ears may overlook or not emphasize as much.
If you are looking for a lightweight pair of in-ear headphones, that are also big on sound, than the Acoustically Enhanced (AE) in-ear headphones might be your best bet for the first of what will probably be many new in-ear headphones coming from Harman. Out of the box I will say, I wasn’t that easily impressed. However, having used them over several hours and days of play, the drivers warmed up and you can feel the warmth and uptick of that crisp acoustic melody. The new iPhone 5 especially sounds crisp and clean with these in-ears and the lightweight appeal make them superb for brisk walks. The aluminum-alloy housing also has a professional appeal that is stylishly sophisticated, yet minimalist.
While the inclusion of the foam ear tips are a nice touch, they actually don’t do the AE’s any justice, as they don’t provide a good enough seal in your ear. We find that the included silicone tips actually do a much better job of creating a tight seal so that you can appreciate the sonics, while limiting outside noise from seeping in.
Another nice touch of the design is the three-button remote with built-in microphone. The remote worked flawlessly with iOS 6 and callers couldn’t tell I was actually talking on a mic and not directly into the iPhone. That said, it would have been nice if the AE’s would have worked with an Android device as well, but I anticipate that will be coming soon. As a dedicated iOS pair of headphones, functionality is on par and excels in every way.
The Harman Kardon Acoustically Enhanced In-Ear Headphones are a nice change of pace in regards to in-ear headphones. They hit the various sweet spots in terms of sound, quality, style, comfort, and price point. As a matter of fact these are one of our favorite in-ear headphones – so far. So while you may pay hundreds of dollars more for other brands, the AE’s accomplish many feats at a realistic price point without sacrificing sound. Solid construction, cables that don’t get tangled, crisps acoustics, and a three button remote make this a very appealing pair of in-ear headphones that are both professional and stylish. Harman Kardon Acoustically Enhanced In-Ear Headphones currently retail for $149.95 at Apple.
The Good: Very comfortable, good seal with silicone ear tips, cables do not tangle, lightweight, professional looking, and offers nice fit for smaller ears, crisp highs and a warm bass, built-in remote with mic is above par in call quality, good price point.
The Bad: Takes time to warm up / burn in, ear tip selection is a bit weak, cable is on the thin side and may break over time, not suitable for high demanding audiophiles.