A great active noise canceling headphone
Jan 4, 2008 (Updated Jan 5, 2008)
a Somewhat Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Very good noise cancellation, light and comfortable, good sound quality...
The Bottom Line: If you are in search for a good-looking, high-quality and good-performing NC headphone, ATH-ANC7 belongs to the top of that list.
I have been using this headphone for the last two months, and I am very satisfied with its quality.
Recommend this product?
In terms of noise canceling, it achieves a performance as good as my Sennheiser HD280 pro (and maybe better in some aspects), which can be considered as one of the best sealed headphones. It has a noise reduction rating of 20db at low frequencies, which is around the top you can get for such headphones (the highest value I saw was 22db). Its specifications mention about 85% noise reduction, but, I believe the real measure might be higher than that (especially if you compare to its superior performance to Philips's expensive NC headphone model, that also claims 85% noise reduction). You can also use etymotic high fidelity ear plug under the headphone to get even more background noise reduction.
Compared to sealed headphones, the good side of ATH-ANC7 is, it is light, hence, very comfortable. So, you can use it a lot longer than HD280. Furthermore, it can also be used without the cable, just to create some isolation from the outside, as the cable can be removed.
In terms of sound quality, it is much better than I'd expected, both NC feature on and off. Among all the *suggested* noise canceling headphones that I tried below the $200 range (including Sennheiser, Panasonic, Philips, Sony, Jabra, Logitech), this, for me, performs the best (though I have to admit, Philips also have nice sound, but its NC capability is not at a desired level). So, in that aspect, it is worth the price tag (which is around $120 at Amazon, and still much less than the price of Bose and other high-end NC headphones, which offer similar level of isolation).
One aspect some people may find disturbing would be the background hissing the headphone creates (when the NC feature is on), especially when connected to a non-isolated source - such as the headphone jack of the old TV sets as the hissing becomes more apparent in such cases, but this was shared by all the NC headphone sets that I tried. So, unless you connect the TV audio output to a medium, where you can plug your headphone into to hear it clearly, it is better to use the headphone without the NC feature on (I also need to mention that TV sounds better in NC-off mode).
The headphone uses one AAA battery, and you can also use rechargeable batteries as I am using the headphone with rechargeable batteries with no observed performance degradation. I haven't measured how long the battery lasts, but, I am using ATH-ANC7 quite frequently, and I change the battery once in a few days. For me, that is good enough.
Lastly, the headphone comes with a sturdy nice-looking case, that also includes a full-size 1/4" adapter and a specialized airline adapter.
Read more product reviews on Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7 Headband Headphones - Black
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