Harman Kardon is a relative newcomer to the headphones market, and made an impressive debut with the BT (Bluetooth), NC (noise-canceling), and Classic models. All three are highly regarded here at CNET, so I'm looking forward to going in-depth with the company's Soho headphones, the latest addition to the uniquely styled roster.
At first glance, you might be fooled into assuming Philippe Starck is the man behind the look of the Soho headphones. He's not, but the sharply angled square earpads and the vintage-inspired industrial theme throughout could very well be a subtle nod to the French designer.
Unlike the aforementioned models, the Soho trims away excess materials, including the interchangeable metal headbands that gave the Classic a universal fit. Instead, the stainless-steel arms on the sides of the headphones gently taper into the unified leather headband for a padded listening experience.
The earpads also appear to be slightly smaller than all three previous sets of cans on the team, which is likely to entice music lovers shopping for a more sophisticated alternative to the garish over-ear headphones that command today's pop culture canon.
CNET editor David Carnoy enjoyed the 50mm drivers inside the Harman Kardon Classic, which he found emit well-balanced, dulcet tones and "pleasantly plump" bass. The HK Soho headphones give similar sound, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear a slight drop in fidelity since the drivers are only 30mm. I'm also curious to see how the shrunken earcups play into the passive noise-canceling effects.
The Harman Kardon Soho headphones will come in black, white, or camel when they hit store shelves for $199 next month.