Picking a pair of noise-cancelling headphones can be pretty tricky because you have more things to take into consideration when buying. The headphones must of course be very effective in eliminating ambient noise but given the various options available on the market, you are going to pick the one that is more comfortable and/or produces better audio quality. Balancing out these factors, maintaining a good design and shoehorning extra features can be pretty tough for any manufacturer yet reputable company Audio Technica is willing to play that game with the Audio Technica ATH-ANC9.
About the ATH-ANC9
The Audio Technica ATH-ANC9 is the flagship product of Audio Technica’s “QuietPoint” series. Anything with the QuietPoint branding possesses noise cancelation. The vast majority of the headphones in Audio Technica’s lineup falls under the on-ear umbrella including the ATH-ANC9. Priced at $199, the ATH-ANC9 is the most expensive in the lineup with other on-ear QuietPoint models priced at least $50 less. Although the ATH-ANC9 is the most premium model in the lineup, the renowned active noise-cancelling headphone was launched quite long ago – back in 2013. While that might sound like a bad thing, audio products have always proven to stand the test of time and back in 2013, the product launched at $350. The package comes with a usual carrying case along with a single AAA battery, ¼-inch stereo adapter and airline adapter.
The ATH-ANC9 uses memory foam in both the cups and the headband which is generally ideal for long-term listening as long as you don’t mind the possibility of them warming up your ears a little bit. After a couple of hours of testing, comfort levels remained pretty good. They are also easy to clean as you can remove the cup covers.
Traveling with the ATH-ANC9 isn’t much of an issue as they weigh pretty light at just over 220 grams with a battery and cable and you can conveniently detach the cable if you like. Since the ATH-ANC9 relies on a single AAA battery, you can also opt to take out the battery and put it in your pocket. While the headphones can stay safe and light in the included case. Remember, you only need the battery if you want the noise-cancelling feature.
The best way to gauge the performance is to try out the ATH-ANC9 with active noise cancelling on and then trying it again while it is off. Some tracks lack in the midrange with noise-cancelling enabled while others sound considerably better. Regardless of what you listen to though, activating the noise cancelling is a better overall experience as it does a fantastic job cancelling out noise compared to other headphones in the $200 class. This has to be due to the four tiny microphones strategically positioned in different parts of the headphones. Plus there are 3 noise-cancelling modes to play around with. A typical charge lasts around 25 to 35 hours but you don’t get the convenience of say USB charging. You will have to buy another battery or consider a rechargeable battery.
The Audio Technica ATH-ANC9 is a premium pair of active noise-cancelling headphones that has aged pretty nicely. It may be a jack of all trades today but given the price tag, it is a powerful consideration if you really need to cancel out most of the ambient noise.