Audio-Technica ATH-ANC700BT noise-cancelling headphones review
• Flat audio for a Bluetooth headphone
• Comfortable wear
• Well-priced for the feature-set
• Easy to use when out and about
• Fills a gap in the market
• Noise-cancelling is not as strong as top competition
• Touch control scheme could be more user-friendly
Audio-Technica are better known for pro headphones than consumer designs, but the new ATH-ANC700BT may change that perception. The noise-cancelling headphone combines 40mm drivers with 25 hours of battery life. The highly portable wireless model is priced at £199, (€219, $349).
Who is the ATH-ANC700BT aimed at?
Who is the Audio-Technica ATH-ANC700BT for? First up, it’s for people who value honest, high quality audio. Audio-Technica have avoided the temptation to hype these cans, and also made them easier to use out of the house than most pro headphones. The design is wireless and comes with a sleek, light cable for wired use. The headphones themselves aren’t too bulky and come in at a reasonable 250g. The active noise-cancellation completes the feature-set, making it perfect for commuters, travellers or people who want to shut out noise to get some work done.
Audio-Technica debuts new noise-cancelling technology
The ATH-ANC700BT features Audio-Technica’s newly developed noise-cancelling technology. The system is designed to cancel out a wider range in the low through midrange frequencies than previous release. In terms of hiss and cancellation artefacts, it’s very low noise and pretty easy on the ears. The cancellation is strong enough to cut out office noise and cut out most of the noise of commuting. It’s not the strongest on the market though. Sennheiser and Bose’s current noise cancellation tech cut out more noise. They remove basically all low frequency noise while the ANC700BT does leave some noise in that range.
Huge 5–40,000 Hz frequency response
The headphones sound great for wired and wireless use. They also offer a very broad 5–40,000 Hz frequency response. There’s a bass boost present, which brings up the bass guitar and fattens out the sound, but other than that the ATH-ANC700BT stays fairly neutral. It’s perfect for bass-driven chart music, and the flat sound means it’s a good fit for guitar-based music as well.
If you like to listen to how a record is constructed and hear all the layers in detail, then this is the portable headphone for you. It’s not as neutral as pro headphones but it’s about as flat as wireless, noise cancelling designs get. It’s worth noting the wired and wireless sound are almost identical, which is quite tough to achieve.
Comfortable wear for long lessons
The ATH-ANC700BT has plenty of padding and is easy to wear for long sessions. The design is fairly light for closed-back headphones at 250gm, so there’s no issues there. There’s also no pressure points on the design that rub or create tension, so it’s a thumbs up from me. The on-off button is physical, but all other functions are controlled via three touch pads on the left earpad. There’s not much in the way of markers or tactile feedback for the pads, so the control scheme takes a bit of getting used to.
Accessories and durability
Audio-Technica ship the headphones with a 1.2m cable, 30cm charging cable and an imitation leather softcase. At this price range, a hardcase certainly would have been preferable though. The cable is slimline, doesn’t tangle easily and has an L-shape plug which can accommodate a phone case. It’s well-built and shouldn’t present any durability problems. The headphones themselves are also built tough, as you would expect at this price range. They are mostly made of hardened plastic and metal.
25-hour battery life from 5-hour charge
You get 25 hours of battery life with Bluetooth and cancellation active, while you get 30 hours with Bluetooth-only active and 45 with cancellation-only active. It takes five hours to fully charge the integrated battery.
The ATH-ANC700BT verdict
Audio-Technica have made a great release here. It’s tough to find neutral-sounding cans that are also wireless and noise-cancelling, so they’ve successfully filled that gap in the market. In terms of comfort and audio quality, this $200 release holds its own very well against headphones from Bose and Sennheiser in the $300+ range. The Audio-Technica noise cancellation tech hasn’t quite caught up with the releases from the aforementioned brands though.
- Type: Active noise-cancelling
- Driver Diameter: 40mm
- Frequency Response: 5 – 40,000 Hz
- Maximum Input Power: 1,000mW (for wired connection)
- Sensitivity: 98 dB/mW (when noise-cancellation used), 95 dB/mW (when noise-cancellation not used)
- Impedance: 150 ohms (when noise-cancellation used), 35 ohms (when noise-cancellation not used)
- Battery: DC3.7 V lithium polymer rechargeable battery
- Battery Life: Max. 25 hours (when Bluetooth and noise-cancellation used), Max. 30 hours (when only Bluetooth used), Max. 45 hours (when only noise-cancellation used), Max. 1,000 hours (standby)
- Charging Time: Approx. 5 hours (for 0-100% charge)
- Weight: 250g without cable
- Cable: Detachable 1.2m cable
- Connector: 3.5mm stereo mini-plug, L-shaped
- Input jack: Micro USB Type B
- Accessories: 30cm USB charging cable, soft carrying case