The upcoming holiday season is sure to be exciting, hectic, noisy and fun, but when you want to take a break from it all, we recommend you look into noise-canceling headphones that block outside noise and deliver exceptional sound. Of course, you can’t wear them when you’re driving, but when you’re in the passenger seat (or aboard an airliner), the high-tech headphones really do the job.
We had a chance to test the new Audio Technica ATH-ANC7b over-ear and ATH-ANC3 in-ear headphones, and frankly, we were amazed how well they work in reducing annoying noise on the road or otherwise.
The ATH-ANC7b employs QuietPoint active noise-cancellation technology that detects environmental noise via miniature microphones and applies a corresponding sound-canceling signal to block up to 85 percent of outside noise. It seems like voodoo unless you’re a sound engineer, but in our real-world tests, we found that it made a significant difference: Road noise faded away, and jet plane travel became significantly more relaxing. Its large-aperture, 40 millimeter drivers and powerful neodymium magnets provide a more natural tonal balance with serious bass, a detailed midrange, extended treble and accurate imaging. The ear cups are comfortable and fit easily over any ear, except maybe Dumbo’s. The phones work great with the Apple iPod, iPhone and iPod touch portable music and DVD players, laptop computers, in-flight entertainment systems and other devices.
The headphones have extremely high sensitivity to provide generous volume from any music source. The phones also work when the noise-canceling function is turned off, and they operate in passive mode without batteries. The headphones fold for storage and come with two detachable cables of different lengths, a quarter-inch adapter, an airline adapter and a hard carrying case.
The ATH-ANC3 shares many of the features of the over-ear headphones, but since they are an in-ear model, they are ideal for use while traveling, jogging or exercising. The ATH-ANC3 is supplied with small, medium and large ear tips for a customized fit, and it features a compact control unit with a monitor switch that mutes all functions to let users hear important outside announcements and conversations. The ATH-ANC3’s audio works with its noise-canceling function turned off, and it can be used without batteries. It can also be used in noise-canceling-only mode without audio.
Driving Today is an independent editorial program edited by Jack R. Nerad and brought to you by Bridgestone/Firestone.