Sunday, April 18, 2010

Audio Technica ATH-ANC7B Noise Canceling Headphones Mini Review

Flying is a poor environment fir listening to audio. The constant loud rumble of the engines intrudes and there is no escape. You have two choices beyond dealing with it: passive or active noise removal. Passive approaches take the form of in ear headphones line my Shure SE115 which isolate the ear canal with a foam plug that cuts out the unwanted sound. I like this style of headphone as it's unobtrusive and fits easily in my pocket when I don't need them. However, after a while my ears begin to ache a bit with the pressure of those plugs (admittedly a long while). And while the isolation is good those low frequencies still creep annoyingly in. That brings us to the other option: active noise cancellation. I purchased a pair of Audio Technica ATH-ANC7B headphones for $130.00.

This type of headphone uses a microphone to sample the external sounds and then generates a counter sound designed to interfere with the external sound in such a way as to cause it to diminish in volume. It works though it can also affect the audio you are listening too. As you might expect these headphones are bigger. They must be to hold microphones and batteries. You aren't going to shove them into a pocket. When the battery dies the active noise canceling stops leaving you with basic headphones that block a measly bit of noise from the outside world.

But when the noise canceling is on the result is quite noticeable and listening to music, a podcast, or audiobook becomes much more pleasurable. The rumble of jet engines remains but it is attenuated enough to become easily ignorable. I've not tried to do serious critical music listening with the headphones but I've not noticed any unpleasant audio artifacts. Frequency response also seems good enough especially when you keep in mind the ambient noise levels you are contending with.

All in all for $130 these headphones have proven their worth.

-- Post From My iPad
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