Harman Kardon CL On-Ear Headphones Review

If you are looking for a well made, yet sophisticated pair of headphones, then it doesn’t get any better than the Harman Kardon CL on-ear headphones. The CL model is the cheapest out of the three different headphone models that Harman Kardon currently showcases. But despite being the ‘budget’ version of its pricier cousins – the CL is no slouch.

In the Box:

  • Harman Kardon CL Headphones
  • 2 headbands
  • Carrying case

Similar to the BT, the CL headphones offer almost exactly the same build quality. The sandblasted steel frames, the black matte housings, and soft leather ear pads are all there. The one major difference between the two pairs, is the size of the overall pair of headphones. The BT’s ear cups were massive and extremely awkward for a smaller head. The CL is much smaller in size and much more appealing to wear in public. For women especially, the CL is the way to go. The leather cushions hug the ears and provide a nice tight seal that keeps the music close.

The CL on-ear headphones exude a professional style that would appeal to both the traveling executive, but can also appeal to those that want their headphones to look a bit more polished than the abundance of plasticky counterparts out there.

Overall, the CL’s audio definitely leans more to the high side of the scale, while the mids and bass do try to balance out the entire listening experience. The CL’s excel most when sampling rich orchestrations, Jazz, or songs with strong vocals. Think Sarah McLachlan or Etta James. Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines especially cooed in our ears, while on the other hand, the blah auto-tune driven music and the like were just OK. Lastly, even though the CL’s offer extended bass, they didn’t feel that extra impactful on those particular genres.



The Harman Kardon CL Headphones are a classic addition to any headphone collection. It won’t break the bank too much, and for a change, you get a pair of headphones that actually look a lot more expensive than what they cost. Now that is a switch! For those that have a much more sophisticated ear and like their Jazz straight-up with a side of Billie Holiday, than the CL’s are perfect for you. If you tend to lean more towards the Top 40 playlist – then you really aren’t taking full advantage of what these headphones can do. The Harman Kardon CL Headphones retail for $199.95 and are available in two tone black/silver or white.

The Good: Rich acoustics. Sounds amazing when listening to Jazz, easily listening, or instrumentals. Solid design that looks expensive. Ear cups are very comfortable and only get more-so over time.

The Bad: Headband starts to squeeze your head after a several hours of listening.


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