Quincy Jones is a musician that many have heard of, but fewer can pin down. Can you cite his greatest achievement? His career high-point? Whether you can or not, within the context of AKG's new Quincy Jones-endorsed series, the Q460 included, what matters more is the gulf between him and Dr Dre., the lynchpin of Monster's hugely popular Beats range. Quincy Jones is class and refinement where Dr Dre. represents aggression and beats fatter than all the bingo wings of Brighton pier combined. The question is whether the AKG Q460 have that Quincy Jones magic.
The AKG Q460 are on-ear headphones in direct competition with the Monster Beats Solo, Fanny Wang On Ears and Bose Triport headphones. Retailing for more than a hundred pounds, they represent a serious outlay for what’s - for many - a commuter's headphone. They're small and foldable, but a side-effect of their form factor is that many find them hard to take all that seriously, sonically.
We'll cover sound later, but on the build front we have no complaints. Other than that we had to wear the eye-popping lime green edition out and about around London as part of our testing.
The AKG Q460 are constructed out of a surprisingly wide array of materials. Plastic is the most abundant of them all, but there's a metal strip through the headband adding flexibility and strength. The top section is made of rubber and there are the standard soft pleather pads for the cups and the inner part of the headband. For a lightweight pair of headphones, the level of solidity on offer here is excellent.
The ear cups rotate horizontally through just over 90 degress and flip up towards the headband to increase portability. AKG includes a great semi-hard case that's perfect for stashing the AKG Q460 away in your bag. It's not the most size-economic case that could have been included, but strikes us as far more useful than a headphone-hugging thin sheath of fabric.
A 6.3mm headphone jack adaptor is bundled, and there are two cable lengths included - one long, one shorter. The cable is completely detachable, which should help elongate the lifespan of these headphones - as long as AKG makes additional cables fairly easy to buy. The cables are lime green, whether you opt for the black, white or green version of these cans, and the cable lengths are around 60cm and 1m. The longer one features a remote control housing and hands-free kit, with buttons to pause/play and change tracks on an iPhone.
As an on-ear pair, the AKG Q460 exert a constant, but slight pressure on your ears. This pressure is greater than in the Fanny Wang On-Ear set, or the Sennheiser HD238 due to the extent they rely on the flexibility of the headband. Left to rest, the two ear cups actually press against each other - so on your head they're some way away from their natural state. However, thanks to the generous padding and lack of any deep ridge in the area that sits on your ears they're remarkably comfortable. We found them more comfortable, with a more even weight distribution, than the Fanny Wangs.
Noise isolation is not hugely effective though - much less than a set of IEM earphones, an on-ear set with larger cups or a full over-the-ears pair. In less noisy modes of transport, like trains and buses, they'll do fine - but we found the noise of the London Tube network a little too much for them.