NAMM doesn't start for a few days, but Korg has begun to announce new gear in advance of the show. Today, the company revealed a set of active noise cancelling (ANC) headphones designed for DJs. More specifically, Korg says the new NC-Q1 can offer distortion-free ANC even in "extremely loud environments." Obviously, a club or other performance venue fits that description.
Thanks to a combination of feed-forward and feedback tech, the NC-Q1 can monitor both your surroundings and what gets through into the headphones. With microphones on both the inside and the outside of the earcups, Korg says this model is able to automatically adjust according to the environment while suppressing a wide frequency range. And thanks to an attenuation function, the NC-Q1 is able to handle the aforementioned extreme noise better than most headphones, according to the company.
There are also DJ-friendly features like Smart Monitoring and Sound Enhancing functions. These allow you to adjust how much external sound you let in by picking an EQ preset and tweaking the volume balance. You can also choose which ear you want the monitoring audio in. Basically, you can hear what's going on in the room without taking off the headphones, which should help save your hearing. You can also quickly turn the monitoring function on/off with the on-board controls directly on the headphones.
Speaking of controls, the NC-Q1 has everything you need for everyday use offstage. There's a multi-function switch that handles play/pause and skipping tracks. And when you take the headphones off, they'll automatically pause, and will resume the audio when you put them back on. There's also easy access to Google Assistant and Siri.
If you prefer guitars to synths and mixers, there's a version of these headphones with the branding of Korg-owned Vox. Aside from aesthetic touches that resemble the iconic amplifiers, Korg says the Vox model leverages the monitoring tech to pick up and isolate the frequencies of your voice and acoustic guitars. The company explains that the headphones will allow you to hear yourself free of unwanted noise. What's more, you can pipe in audio from an external source while you sing/play -- like a music-streaming app on your phone. You can adjust the levels as well, to find "the perfect balance" of your vocals, acoustic and a song. This all looks good on paper, but we're curious to see how well it works in reality.
The Korg NC-Q1 will go on sale in February for $350 and the Vox VH-Q1 will be available in "early spring" for $400. Both last for 36 hours on a charge, so that should be enough to get you through a marathon set of gig.