Kygo’s A11/800 active noise cancelling over-ear headphones provide a good all-round package at an affordable price, without going over-the-top on branding.
Kygo Life A11/800 are a nice set of headphones with great Scandinavian design and subtle branding suitable for Kygo fans and non-fans alike. This is not the producer’s first tech venture, with headphones, earphones, speakers and even a smartwatch for sale on the X by Kygo site. The A11/800 are the brand’s high-end headphones and come in at an afforable price on Amazon. The headline features are:
- Hybrid ANC Technology
- Touch Panel for controlling tracks, volume and calls
- HD-voice for better sound quality during calls
- Great fit and memory foam ear cushions for comfort during long flights
- Proximity sensor for automatic Play and Pause
- Up to 40 hours in playback
- Cancel surrounding sounds or enhance voices with Ambient and Awareness Modes
- Voice Command for calls, music and more
- Adjust the sound image and ANC settings in the Kygo Sound App
- Easy NFC pairing & Travel case included
Proximity sensors on the headphones will detect when the headphones have been taken off and automatically pause the music. Put the headphones back on and you’ll resume where you left off. This is a great feature, much like that seen on the AirPods, but does not pause music when hanging the headphones around the neck. The headphones will auto-power down after 15 minutes of inactivity to save battery. The built-in microphone makes them ideal for phone calls. The right ear cup houses physical buttons for power, ANC and ambient sound mode, as well as touch sensitive music controls. As usual, the touch controls are a bit fiddly and slow.
Audio quality is good, but does not compete with top end ANC headphones such as the Sony’s or Bose. The 40mm drivers give out an enjoyable sound with plenty of volume and bass. Complex music can lack in detail, but generally they provide a well rounded sound. Turning ANC on will reduce the sound quality. Again, ANC is good at blocking out the outside world, but don’t quite stack up against the greats in this category.
Build and design is good, with a plastic exterior, faux leather over the memory foam ear cushions and soft padded headband. The headphones fold down to a compact package to fit in the provided case. There is an occasionally creaking when flexing the headphones. The minimalist design is very nice and branding is subtle enough to appeal to non-Kygo fans. The tight hold over the head and heavy weight can get uncomfortable after long listening sessions and aren’t great for the gym.
The headphones can pair quickly using NFC and connect wirelessly via Bluetooth 5.0 with support for aptX, aptX LL (low latency, great for gaming) and AAC codecs. Connection remains solid around a room. The Kygo Sound app is available for iOS and Android, allowing you to control ANC, switch between Awareness (tunes out 50% of ambient noise and enhances voices) and Ambient modes, tweak EQ settings, and update firmware. The app’s EQ settings are unlike what you might expect, showing four cities New York, Ibiza, Los Angeles, and Bergen each with different sound characteristics, letting you drag the dot between the cities to enhance the sound. It seems mostly gimmicky and you’ll probably not use it after the first time. Battery life is solid at 40-hours without ANC and 19-hours with ANC. USB-C will fully charge the headphones in two hours. The 3.5mm headphone jack will continue playback when out of battery.
If your budget can stretch further, here are some other pairs to consider: