The rumble of the train as it rolls down the track or the roar of the plane’s engine is enough to give anyone a headache. The Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 QuietPoint Active Noise-cancelling Headphones are designed to give you an island of quiet no matter where you are. Read on to see if they should they be your new traveling partner.
The Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 QuietPoint Active Noise-cancelling Headphones have an MSRP of $199.95. As you will see in the video, my first impressions of the headphones were not overwhelmingly positive. The thin box, pedestrian unboxing experience, and the light plastic feel of the headphones fall a bit short of what I would have expected from headphones costing $200. Still, the headphones are light, comfortable and, with the noise cancellation turned on, they sound pretty good.
The headphones would have made a far better first impression were this what greeted you upon opening the protective case.
On paper the headphones strike the right notes. Features:
- QuietPoint active noise-cancelling technology reduces environmental noise by up to 90%
- Powerful large-aperture 40 mm drivers with rare earth magnet systems for impactful bass, accurate midrange and extended treble
- Integrated mic/volume & controls for compatible smartphones
- Easy-to-press illuminated logo button on earcup to manage music and phone calls
- Luxurious memory foam on headband and earcups for long-wearing comfort. Generously cushioned padding and shape to fit easily over any ear.
- Innovative mic designed into earcup provides consistent distance from mouth for uniform volume level and elimination of noise from collar rubbing and cable motion
- Audio functions (in passive mode) even when battery power is lost
- Lightweight, compact, foldable design is ideal for travel
- Convenient for use with tablets, smartphones, music and DVD players, laptop computers, in-flight entertainment systems and other devices
- Power/low battery indicator
- Adjustable headband, swiveling earcups
- Detachable cable with 1/8-inch (3.5 mm) mini-plugs
- A ¼-inch (6.3 mm) adapter, airline adapter and durable carrying case are included
The upper part of the case has a small pouch that holds the detachable cable with 1/8-inch (3.5 mm) mini-plug, ¼-inch adapter and airline adapter.
The headphones fold up quite nicely. This allows them to fit into the carrying case and fit inside a carryon bag during travel.
The hinges are plastic and lighter than one might expect. This raised some concern for me initially but, having already used the headphones on a number of trips, I have to admit they are tougher than they first appear. I haven’t treated them gently — not by a long shot — and they have performed admirably.
The ear cups have plenty of padding and are large enough to easily fit around my ears. This, combined with the light weight of the headphones, results in headphones that are quite comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. That’s important if you are, for example, planning to use these headphones on a trans-Atlantic flight.
- Type: Active noise-cancelling
- Frequency Response: 10 – 25,000 Hz
- Quietpoint Active Noise Reduction Up to 20 dB
- Sensitivity: 104 dB
- Impedance: 570 ohms
- Battery AAA: (alkaline or rechargeable)
- Battery Life: UP to 40 hours, typical (alkaline)
- Weight: 218 g (7.7 oz), without cable and battery
- Cable: Detachable 1.2 m (3.9′) cable with 3.5 mm (1/8″) stereo mini-plugs
- Connector: 3.5 mm (1/8″)
Controls are kept to a minimum. In addition to the cable input, the ear cup has a physical on/off switch to control the active noise cancellation and a physical volume slider. In a world of touch-controls the volume slider is a nice retro design element. The only other control on the headphones is the Audio-Technica emblem on this ear cup. It is used to play and pause the audio playback if the headphones are being used for music.
Rather than employing a rechargeable battery, the Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 QuietPoint active noise-cancelling headphones use a replaceable AAA battery.
This means that, if you are on a long flight and your battery runs down, you simply have to remove the panel on the ear cup and swap out the battery. Personally I prefer the convenience of using a rechargeable battery, but I can see this as being a great way to guarantee the headphones are always ready to do the job when they are needed.
I used the headphones on my recent flights to and from Detroit and the NAIAS. The plane was a small computer jet and was, as a result, engine noise was quite loud. The ATH-ANC70 QuietPoint active noise-cancelling headphones did a great job of cutting out the majority of the engine whine. For the first part of the flight, I simply used the headphones to cut out the noise. I then plugged in the included cable and turned on some music, and it sounded quite good. The headphones don’t offer the degree of clarity you’d get with audiophile grade headphones, but the experience was certainly enjoyable. When I got to Detroit I tried listening to the same music with the noise-cancellation turned off. While the headphones are certainly usable this way, the sound was far thinner than it had been with the NC turned on. It was immediate clear that these headphones are, first and foremost, designed to be used with the noise-cancellation turned on.
If you are looking for a pair of travel headphones that are light, under $200, and comfortable, then you will want to check out the Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 QuietPoint active noise-cancelling headphones. They reduce environmental noise by up to 90%, work with or without the NC turned on, have an easily replaceable battery so you’ll never run out of juice, and they can be used with or without the audio turned on. Best of all, in keeping with their Quiet-Point label, they are headphones you can wear for hours at a time with minimal fatigue or discomfort. Learn more here.
What I Like: Light and comfortable; Use to reduce ambient noise with or without audio playing; Listen to music with or without NC turned on; Takes an easily replaced AAA battery
What Needs Improvement: Unboxing experience is mediocre; Build is just okay; Sound with NC turned on is fine; Sound with NC turned off is just okay
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample