Th­ese cans are quiet bril­liant

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Front Page -

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.

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