Frequent fliers have a special challenge when it comes time to pick out headphones. Finding 'phones with a travel-friendly design, but that are also comfortable and provide great sound with some capability to block out ambient noise can be tough. Now add in a budget of $100 and you can forget about getting all those features in one package...or maybe not. Audio-Technica's ATH-ANC1 QuietPoint headphones may have an MSRP of $130, but they can be found online for $100, and they solidly address all of the above considerations.
The Audio-Technica ATH-ANC1 QuietPoint headphones are clearly designed with the traveler in mind; indeed, they are one of the most compact on-ear models we've come across. The adjustable metal headband is very thin and covered with flexible black plastic. You might think that the lack of padding on the band, which serves to eliminate possible bulk, would be uncomfortable, but surprisingly, that's not the case. Though they don't provide the cushiest fit possible, the headphones are not overly tight and are very lightweight. Plus, the earpieces, which are also impressively compact at 1.7-inch in diameter, are padded with a soft leatherette material. The one potential downside is that the headband doesn't seem completely sturdy.
Descending from each earpiece is a thick, flexible black cable the combines about a foot down at a Y-junction, where it becomes even thicker and more durable. Follow the cord of the ATH-NC1 another 21 inches and you'll get to the integrated noise cancellation module. We have to say that we're really happy with the placement of this feature, as it is positioned optimally for clipping to your pocket or belt as opposed to your shirt. Another cable, measuring an additional 10 inches and terminating in a gold-plated straight-plug, serves to connect to an audio device.