These cans are quiet brilliant
ambient noise using three modes, four microphones and one hidden battery.
Mercifully, the headphones achieve all this without much help from the wearer.
Active noise-cancelling headphones work by measuring noise outside the headphones and creating a similar noise out of phase’’ that cancels out the soundwaves.
The result is silence, or close to it.
ANC9 headphones achieve this effect using two microphones on each ear cup, with one placed at either end.
They are powered by an AAA battery that slots into the headset’s right cup and works for up to 30 hours.
What really sets these headphones apart, however, is the introduction of three noisecancellation modes, each targeting a different frequency. The first is a heavy-duty mode designed to mute aircraft and traffic noise.
The second cancels office noises and the third is for use in quiet environments.
Users swap between the modes using a button on the left ear cup, listening for a beep to indicate a new mode.
Each has its own coloured Quiet: These ATH-ANC9 headphones cancel up to 95 per cent of ambient noise. light so users can instantly check its status. In practice, this system excels. The ANC9 headphones made our plane trips comfortable even when seated right next to the engine. Office noise is hushed, and the quiet mode delivered just enough outside noise not to be distracting.
The sound quality of these headphones is also impressive, with 40mm drivers capable of crisp mid-range tones and substantial but not overwhelming bass.
The headphones arrive packaged in a hard case and with a plane adaptor, ready to travel, and come with two 1.2m cables: one plain and one with a microphone for answering phone calls. Conversations certainly arrive clearly during those phone calls, though the lack of any external sound can be off-putting.
Users might be disappointed by the ANC9’s use of a nonrechargeable battery, as they will need to carry a spare, and the ear cups are on the chunky side, even though they’re comfortable to wear.
The in-line mic also omits song controls, which is a missed opportunity.
Audio-Technica’s new headphones are well worth their price, though. The sounds of silence they produce can be just about priceless.