(In a Rod Serling voice) As the wireless in-ear headphone market continues to grow, new models are still popping up, and certain brands are carving out their niches. Submitted for your approval: a wireless noise-cancelling headphone that doesn’t sound like overly-bassy, plasticky junk, but a wireless noise cancelling headphone the kicks some serious ass…here, in the Twilight Zone.
The Audio Technica ANC40BT is a wireless noise-cancelling earphone with a collar-like design. While a little bulkier than the slimmer lanyard type a la PowerBeats Wireless and the Jaybird X2, the extra bit of bulk does impart 8 hours of battery life during continuous playback, and it also offers a good deal of buttons for easier control.
Unboxing the ANC40BT is no mean feat, and inside you’ll find the earphones themselves, as well as a microUSB charging cable, a 3.5mm stereo to microUSB audio cable (for using the headphone wired), an airplane adapter, and a nice leatherette carrying pouch.
The build quality of the ANC40BT is both pliable and strong, leaving a tangible impression of quality. The whole thing must be about 99% plastic, excluding whatever wires and connectors they’ve used on the inside of the headphone. It’s super light, with controls for turning the active noise cancelling on or off, raising and lowering volume, and pausing/playing music (or accepting incoming phone calls). But perhaps the best thing about the design is the shape of the earpieces themselves, which, while using a traditional silicon eartip found with just about any earphone, also have a shape specially designed to fit the contours of your ears, ensuring they never fall out.
Pairing these is extremely easy. Once you turn Bluetooth on, you press and hold a large circular button on the collar until you see a blue light. Connect with your device and BAM! bluetooth, baby!
The sound is surprisingly good. And I don’t mean just good, but gooooooood. The mids and highs receive some great attention, and there might be just the slightest amount of bass. While not the ideal sound for some Hip Hop or EDM fans out there, I found the sound to be a welcome change from the bassier options that seem to dominate the market right now.
Detail, then, is very rich – thanks in no small part to a fairly wide frequency range of 20-24000 hertz, a low impedance of 16 ohms, and the inclusion of active noise cancelling. Add to this last feature the inclusion of a bunch of different-sized silicon eartips, and you get the impression you could probably block out the Biblical Apocalypse with these babies.
While not as dynamic as a larger set of headphones, or even a similarly-priced corded in-ear model, the portability of the ANC40BT is a godsend, especially for those who need that portability but don’t want their headphones to sound bassy and cheap.
It’s great for classical, rock, and almost any other genre you could think of. While most bassheads will cringe at the even-keeled sound, I still found it well-suited to Hip Hip where I wanted to hear the details, and not necessarily just head-throbbing bass.
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