Are AKG N60 Noise-Cancelling Headphones Sweat Resistant?

Barbell on gym floor


AKG has an impressive history. Founded in 1947 in Vienna, it originally specialised in cinema equipment.  In 1953, its D12 microphone became a household name and its sound technology was used in radio stations and recording studios across the world. In 1959, they produced the world’s first on-ear open-back headphones. Today, the company is owned by Samsung allowing the South Korean tech giant to call upon AKG’s rich pedigree of patents to tune its own headphones and earbuds.

[Spoiler Alert! AKG N60 noise-cancelling headphones aren’t sweat-proof but keep reading and we’ll tell you a super-simple way to make them 100% gym-ready.]

AKG’s N60NC was released in 2017 and was the company’s first wireless noise-cancelling headphone.  Some manufacturers take time to find their feet with a new product but the N60NC quickly became a popular model.  In 2018, AKG won a What HiFi? Award with one reviewer comparing the N60NCs to Sony’s more expensive and much-lauded MDR-1000X headphones.

It makes sense that AKG would look to find a foothold in this specific market.  An estimated 23.8 million noise-cancelling headphones were shipped in 2018 and according to, customers are willing to pay more to upgrade for the anti-noise cancelling technology as well as for wireless.

What Features Do AKG N60NC Headphones Have?

The AKG N60NC headphones are compact and portable.  This makes them ideal for the gym. They have a flat and foldable design which is easy to stow in a sports bag or locker.  They come in a carry case, too, making them equally ideal for anyone who travels regularly. The obvious boon to those of us wearing them during exercise is that they’re wireless.  There are no worries about getting tangled up in a cord. We’ve written before about the benefits of wireless headphones and these take full advantage of that.

Tech Radar has praised the active noise-cancelling technology. Having tried them out during a flight, their review noted it “very effectively cancelled out the low rumbling sound of the plane’s engines, despite the fact that our seat’s position meant that we were practically sitting on top of them.” The only issue seemed to be that it was harder for some sounds to be reduced as the N60NC is on-ear rather over-ear.

AKG has used AptX and AAC technology to ensure optimal sound quality.  There’s good bass response, too.

Battery life is reported to last up to 30-hours with just ANC switched on. Although, a number of reviewers suggest this is probably slightly over-optimistic.  If you’ve got Bluetooth switched on, too, then the battery is around 15 hours. Annoyingly, however, Tech Radar reports that when you turn the headphones on there’s no indication of how much power is remaining.

These are reasonably comfortable.  AKG has used memory foam and protein leather on the cushions making them fine to wear for short periods but the issue is that they’re on-ear headphones.  On-ears are often notoriously difficult to wear for long periods. This makes them less ideal for long-haul flights, lengthy commutes or extended gym sessions.  Although, this is just as true for most other makes and models of on-ear headphone, too.

The AKG N60NC headphone is pretty impressive.  You’ll find that the price has dropped since its initial 2017 release making these a pretty tempting purchase.

Are AKG N60NC Headphones Sweat Resistant?

There are so many good headphones on the market at the moment that it’s no wonder many of us are looking to wear our best pair in the gym.  Listening to music during a workout can improve athletic ability by up to 15% and it stands to reason we want to give 100% when we hit the treadmill, the trail or the rack.  The obvious problem is that most headphones aren’t sweat-resistant. If you go to the gym in a pair of AKG’s or Beats or Bose or Sennheiser headphones, then you’re going to destroy them.  Sweat is corrosive. It’s going to stink-out and crack the soft cushioning and then it’s going to wreck the delicate internal wiring and drivers inside. You’re going to have an expensive mess on your hands.  Think about how much you paid for your headphones — could you afford to replace them so quickly?

Because of this, most of us have probably switched to earphones at some point. In-earphones are harder to kill with sweat. They’re cheaper. They’re more portable and less fiddly than headphones but they can also be uncomfortable, ill-fitting and a pain in the arse to snake under tight gym wear.  If you’ve gone wireless, then you may have realised that they’re far easier to lose, too.

The AKG N60NC headphones weren’t designed to be worn in the gym.  Those memory foam and protein leather cushions?  They’re not sweat resistant. Wear these to the gym regularly and you’re going to ruin them.

But there is one way to make them sweat-proof: adding sweat-resistant headphone covers.  EarHugz uses moisture-wicking fabric to remove sweat quickly and to keep the cushions dry.  They’re machine washable, too, and hypoallergenic.  They fit almost all brands of headphones — both wireless and wired.  And for each pair of EarHugz sold, £1 is donated to the Mental Health Foundation.

The reason that sweat-proof headphone covers are so important on headphones like the AKG N60NCs isn’t just that they’ll stop moisture from damaging your cans, but you can use them interchangeably on other headphones, too.  It means you can pop them on a pair of Beats you bought 5 years ago. It means you can buy them before you’ve invested in a pair of N60s or Bose QCs. Ordinarily, having sweat-resistant headphones meant buying a specific headphone.  Your need for something gym-proof meant compromising on sound quality, quality cushioning, a comfortable fit, noise-cancellation or bold design. When your number one requirement is that a headphone is sweat-proof, you don’t get much choice.  You might absolutely love the design of the iMonster sweat-proof headphone, for example, but many people don’t.

Last year, we were impressed by Under Armor’s Project Rock Edition sweatproof headphones BUT that doesn’t mean we’d be happy wearing them outside the gym.  At that price-point and compared to other brands, we don’t think they’d work as well on planes or on commutes. We don’t think the sound quality can match up to other brands like Wilkins PX or Sennheiser. Fine if you’re only wearing them when you’re ready to sweat —  that’s what they’re designed for —  but what about having a pair of headphones you can wear in other areas of your life?

Could we just mention, too, how awesome EarHugz designs are?  There’s something for everyone. They make a great birthday gift for the gym rat or bunny if your life.  And each design is fully reversible for black — for those days when working out feels more like a funeral.  


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