The Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 model is a comfortable noise cancelling over ear style headphone that can be used with a smart phone, tablet or other mobile device. In addition to high-fidelity sound reproduction, the well-designed QuietPoint headphones feature active noise-cancelling technology that significantly reduces environmental noise. Although the specs are similar to the ATH-ANC7b model , the overall performance of the ANC70 is superior.
The ANC70 can be used to listen to music, audio books, TEDTalks, YouTube, Netflix and other content that you store or stream on your mobile device or computer while cancelling unwanted environmental noise. Importantly these headphones include a microphone that allow you to take phone calls, FaceTime or Skype as well.
A key factor is the increased use of mobile devices for music, audio books, podcasts and video across the board. People are now listening to audio in more public settings, often while in transit. The environment is complicated with crowd noise, vehicular noise, noisy airplane cabins and other aural distractions. Thus, when using mobile devices, the ANC feature makes a significant difference in listening enjoyment.
The ANC70 QuietPoint makes use of a computational processor to effectively emit signals that counter outside noise. The ANC70 functions as a dependable active noise canceler. While it significantly reduces ambient outside noise, like most NC headphones some low-frequency (bass) sounds aren’t blocked nearly as well as high-pitched tones.
Design – Comfortable Over the Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones
Although not a radical departure from the design of earlier Audio-Technica models, the ANC70 offers fit and finish improvements. The new well-cushioned ear pads fit softly yet snugly around the ears to help seal out external noise. The padded headband is wide and easily adjusts to fit your head without too much horizontal force on your temples.
The headphones fold easily to fit inside the supplied a zippered semi-hard carrying case. The package includes a removable cable (1.2 meters long) with a 3.5mm mini-jack, a ¼” stereo plug adapter, and a two-prong airline plug adapter. All the accessories fit within a small pouch inside the case.
The left earcup contains external controls for volume and activation of the noise reduction feature. The cord snaps securely into the bottom of the left earcup, and the company logo on the side acts as a function button. The microphone for voice calls and dictation is subtly incorporated into the earcup.
The unit appears to be solidly built yet is lightweight and easy to carry when traveling.
All controls are located on the left earcup. To change the volume, you push a small slider at the bottom back of the earcup. The slider has a small range, so a slight push can make a big difference in volume.
You can use the central button (with the Audio-Technica logo) on the left side to answer a call, pause music, or skip a song in your music cue. If you need to take an incoming call, click the button and start talking. (The microphone is built into the back of the earcup.)
The same single tap will pause music. You can skip to the next track by double tapping the logo button.
Active Noise Control
To activate the Active Noise Control, you push a small on-off switch located just below the volume slider. Although hard to locate at first, after a while you can readily locate this switch. When Noise Control is active, the perimeter of the central button on the left earcup lights up with a subtle blue glow.
In practice, you’ll most likely leave this feature active most of the time – you can just switch this on when putting the headphone on, and switch it off when you remove the headphone. Sound volume is boosted somewhat when Noise Control is active, which is useful when listening to content on a mobile device.
Sometimes you may find yourself in a noisy environment and simply want to cancel out external noise. The ANC70 allows you to use noise reduction without listening to entertainment content. Simply disconnect the cord, turn on the Noise Control switch, and you have “wireless” noise cancellation headphones. This can be very useful while resting on an airplane or trying to concentrate on a task without external distractions.
In order to use noise control, you must install an AAA battery within a compartment behind the right speaker. The speaker back removes by pushing up on the cover. You can use standard AAA batteries or rechargeable versions.
Headphones Sound Quality Points
The sound quality of the ANC70 headphones changes depending on whether the ANC system is activated. In our tests, without ANC activated, the tonal range from treble through bass is relatively uniform and clear. However, there is a noticeable lack of low-frequency depth with some distortion.
With active noise cancellation turned on, the overall performance of the ANC70 improves. There is virtually no distortion and music sounds more robust with better bass depth. This boost comes at the cost of some reduction in the volume of midrange and high range frequencies. Although some audiophiles may find this problematic, most users will be pleased with the overall sound quality and will prefer to listen with the noise cancellation feature activated.
What does that mean for everyday use of the ANC70? If your battery dies, you will have less bass and somewhat more distortion. Therefore, it’s a good idea to carry an extra AAA battery in the carry case.
Suitability for Boomers and Seniors
For older users, a sound profile skewed toward the bass end of the frequency range is actually preferable, since high-frequency sensitivity usually declines with age. Given that hearing acuity generally declines with age, noise reduction is a welcome feature for seniors.
ATH-ANC70 Pricing and Availability
The ATH-ANC70 headphones can be purchased online from the Audio-Technica Store at the MSRP of $199.95. The headphones are available nation-wide at a large number of retailers that carry quality audio equipment. Actual “street” prices range from $179.99 to as low as $130 at some online retailers.