Harman Kardon CL Precision On-Ear Headphones Review

Editor rating

4.2/5 on January 10, 2016 Reviewed by: Peter Alexander

User’s rating

739 reviews


  • Unique design that looks unlike anything else on the market
  • They fold flat and are easy to carry
  • In-line microphone compatible with Apple devices
  • Lightweight construction
  • Excellent vocal presentation


  • High cost
  • Lack of sound detail


The combination of their striking design, great build quality, and extra features make for a fantastic product that is worth recommending to those who value quality. Make no mistake, these are by no means mainstream headphones. These headphones are aimed at people who want something different and are willing to pay the premium price. If that sounds like you, go ahead – you won’t be disappointed.

The Harman Kardon CL headphones are a true premium product with the the equaly premium design. Their striking features and sleek curves suggest a high attention to details and quality aimed at the most demanding users out there. Is this just about appearances, or are these headphones also worthy being called an audiophile-grade product? Continue reading to find out.

Design and build

The Harman Kardon CL Precision headphones are closed back, on-ear headphones with a unique look and durable construction. The headband is made out of sandblasted steel, which gives them plenty of robustness and strength. Despite this, their weight has remained on the low side, and we had no problems with comfort during our testing.

This is largely thanks to the super comfortable leather earpads with magnetic fixing. These earpads are fitted with memory foam, which conform to individual ear and head shape. The magnetic fixing makes it extremely easy to replace the earpads with new ones.

The earcups hide substantially large 4cm drivers. These drivers have been custom made just for these headphones to provide listeners with natural sound quality and deep bass.

The earcups can be swiveled clockwise and counter-clockwise for easier transport and carry. The included carrying pouch does a very good job at providing sufficient security for those of us who have to travel a lot and want to take their headphones along. There is no hinge, so don’t expect them to fold.

The removable cable is compatible with Apple devices and measures 1.4 meters. It has a built-in in-line microphone and remote control. The whole cable is custom made to the same high standard of quality as the rest of the headphones.

Sound quality

The one characteristic that dominates these headphones is the sheer sense of openness and clarity. The soundstage is wide and spacious, which makes for an immersive listening experience that will put you right in the middle of your music.

The excellent clarity is achieved predominantly thanks to fantastic midrange response. Vocals are fantastically articulated, which makes it a real pleasure to listen to, for example, a dramatic female performance. You can really feel the vibration of the singer’s voice.

Despite these positive aspects, the overall level of detail isn’t as spectacular as we would hope for. The headphones simply don’t reach the same high level of audio fidelity as some of the other models in this price range. How big of a problem it is depends on the individual listener. We think that the headphones do plenty to compensate for this slight imperfection.

The comfortable leather pads provide a good seal around your ears, which makes the headphones suitable for home or office use.

What is in the box?

Like with any premium headphones, you can expect to get a good number of extra accessories. Indeed, the Harman Kardon CL Precision on-ear headphones come with two user-exchangeable headbands and a nice carrying case.