Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7b Headphone Review

Audio-Technica is one of the most respected names in the audiophile world as it applies to the computer user. Head into any forum anywhere where people are talking about headphones or headsets and you are going to find this company's name. Today we look at its closed back noise-cancelling headphones.

Introduction

After last month's excellent experience with the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700 open-backed headphones, we decided those cans would be a great reference set when we review new audio products. Shortly after our review, Audio-Technica suggested we spend some time with its closed-back noise-cancelling headphones, the ATH-ANC7b QuietPointآ® Active Noise-cancelling Headphones . We have been wanting to review a quality set of Audio-Technica closed-back headphones to compare sound stage differences to open-backed sets while gaming on the PC, but when we saw the words "noise-cancelling" in the product specifications, we immediately thought we would be trading audio fidelity in music and movies and positional awareness in games in order to achieve artificially dampened listening privacy. We are hoping instead for a great second experience with Audio-Technica products when using the ATH-ANC7b headphones.

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This is what Audio-Technica has to say about the headset:

Arrive refreshed after a long flight, avoid distractions in a noisy office, or find peace & quiet in your iving roomآ…with ATH-ANC7b QuietPointآ® Active Noise-Cancelling Headphones. These lightweight, compact headphones effectively reduce distracting background noise by 90% while offering the superior audio quality that has made Audio-Technica a worldwide leader in electro-acoustic technology.

Ideal for use with MP3, CD, DVD & in-flight entertainment systems, ATH-ANC7b QuietPointآ® closed-back headphones deliver clear, high-resolution sound, with impactful bass, a detailed midrange, extended treble and accurate imaging in an immersive soundfield. Their earcups have been redesigned for greater comfort, with generously cushioned padding and a shape that fits easily over any ear.

The Product, Pricing and Packaging

The Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7b Active Noise-Cancelling headphones are available from the company's online store for $199.95, with a MSRP of $219.95. Amazon sells this set for $111.99 and $6.99 shipping, so shopping around online first for these is a must. We received a retail boxed set directly from Audio-Technica.

The "b" in the product's name denotes that this is the second revision of this headphone model.

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The retail box and the headphones inside are considerably smaller than the ATH-AD700 set we purchased from Newegg last month. The box has a very detailed photograph of the set of headphones inside. There is no guesswork as to what these look like. An orange marker on the box proclaims that this set of headphones "NOW REDUCES ENVIRONMENTAL NOISE BY 90%." This tells me that I should only experience a very small amount of ambient noise from the outside world intruding upon my listening experience. Technical specifications of the product are listed on the back of the box in ten languages.

All accessories included with the headphones are pictured as well. When we opened the box, we expected to see six plastic baggies and pieces of interlocking cardboard securing our headphones. Instead, we found an attractive and durable black zippered carrying case protecting the headphones inside. After opening the case, we discovered that all of the product's accessories were contained in a mesh pocket with a zipper on the case's left side. On the right side, I found a stiff contoured liner which cradles the headphones for storage and maintains their shape.

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The product's packaging is absolutely superb and we could see ourselves carrying these to a friend's house or on a long road trip without having to worry that the headphones would be easily damaged. When we consider paying $100.00 to $250.00 for a set of quality headphones, a heavy duty case with its own accessory pouch is an extra value that assures us that we will have this equipment for a long time.