While we here at Audio46 rarely review noise-canceling headphones, I have finally come across a model that doesn’t suck or isn’t cost-prohibitive (Sennheiser). I’m talking about the Audio Technica ANC70 headphones – more boss than Bose, if still leaving something small to be desired.
Audio Technica ANC70 FTMFW
I usually detest noise canceling headphones for the same reason that I detest small children: they hurt my ears. But the first thing I noticed about the ANC70s was a lack of that infernal buzzing so commonly associated with other models.
The second wow factor would be the price – a decent, middle-of-the-road $179.99. They don’t sound as luscious as some other Audio Technica models in this neck of the pricepoint woods (for example, the M50x) but they still manage to undercut Sennheiser and Bose in terms of price – without compromising on quality, either.
A nifty inclusion of an on-off switch is another game-changer. Many of the models we try from Bose and Sennheiser have gone without this feature. Frankly, that’s bull. The option to turn of the noise canceling, and use those puppies as “normal” headphones is a godsend, though it might come with a slight downside…
As I listened to the headphones while the noise canceling was turned on, I got used to the pleasant volume, and the clarity of the sound. However, once I turned the noise canceling off, I noticed the drop in clarity – not so much a fault of the headphones, as a case of my ears getting spoiled by technology.
There is also a volume adjust dial on the headphones, and when paired with the active noise canceling, you can completely block out just about ALL ambient noise.
Powered by a single AAA battery, the headphones are still less wasteful than other, more expensive models thanks to that on/off switch. You can simply turn off the headphones when you don’t need the active noise cancellation, and you are still good to go.
Build quality is okay in terms of buttons and switches and the battery compartment. The cable, though fixed, seems fairly robust as well. The biggest drawback to these headphones may easily be how cheap they feel when folded. They just feel weak. Flimsy and floppy as they might seem, they still held up perfectly fine when we tested them out.
So, considering all those awesome features with the lackluster build quality in tow, would I recommend these noise canceling headphones to anyone? And if so, who exactly?
People looking for Active Noise Canceling on a budget will love them, no doubt. Anyone who is coming from the Bose or Sennheiser camp may not feel as warm and fuzzy, but the inclusion of certain features – folding design, volume control, on/off switch, AAA battery – may just woo them anyway. However, for those of us who expect our headphones to handle even the most extreme wear-and-tear, you may be disappointed by the lightweight and uninspiring build quality.
If you want to snag a pair of the ANC70s before they’re gone, you pick up a pair in our shop (complete with manufacturer’s warranty) here.