Better or Bust? Noise-Cancelling Headphones

These headphones are well constructed, comfortable, sound great and are a solid value at their price-point.

Audio-Technica’s ATH-ANC23 QuietPoint Active Noise-Cancelling In-Ear Headphones and ATH-ANC7b QuietPoint Active Noise-Cancelling On-Ear Headphones succeed in their claim of cancelling 90% of background noise in areas with air conditioning and crowd chatter.

The earbuds come with 3 sets of tips (2 smooth rubber, 1 rougher foam material), which fit snuggly in my ears and didn’t clumsily fall out, even while I was jogging. The noise cancelling technology is housed in a small black box in line with the cord, holding 1 AAA battery, a volume wheel and power switch. I could easily clip the box to my belt or put it in my pocket with enough cord to spare.

Both the earbuds and on-ear headphones deliver powerful sound across the spectrum of music. The on-ear headphones are a bit bass-heavy and I got the best sound after applying the “Treble Booster” setting to them. They are very comfortable, with soft cushions that don’t squeeze the head too tightly; they’re also light enough I almost forgot I had them on.

In the past, I’ve known Audio-Technica’s headphones for their simple design and good sound, but sometimes suffered from flimsy construction. So I was glad to find that both these models are solidly constructed.

On the other hand, both times I used these headphones on airplanes I was mildly disappointed. The engine noise was cancelled, but both the headphones and earbuds introduced a quieter high-pitched noise. Despite the included airplane plug, I would not recommend these headphones for frequent fliers.

About the Author: Andrew Logan studied music production at Ohio University and is now a DJ and radio show producer at Yoshitoshi Recordings.