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Audio Technica ATH-ANC7 headphones review: Audio Technica ATH-ANC7 headphones

The Good General sound quality; decent comfort; excellent noise-cancellation; concealed battery compartment; detachable audio cable.

The Bad Treble performance is weak; sound quality in passive mode is poor; sound leaks at higher volumes.

The Bottom Line Most notable for their excellent noise-cancellation, the ATH-ANC7s are decent performers overall. However, their slight downsides put them a step below the Sennheiser equivalent.

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7.5 Overall

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Even though noise-cancelling head gear can be found even in earphone form for about £60, there's no substitute for a good pair of full-size cans. And that's what we're looking at here.

At around £120, Audio Technica's ATH-ANC7s are comparable in price to Sennheiser's terrific PXC 350s and are on sale now. But should you bother?

Immediately noticeable is the ANC7's level of comfort -- their soft ear cups and adjustable padded headband instantly provide a very snug fit. Good, too, is cabling; we often see corners cut here, but AT has given these 'phones a rugged cable that isn't too prone to tangle. In addition, the audio jack is gold-plated to ensure decent transmission of audio, and the entire cable can be unhooked from the headphones should you want noise-cancellation without music and wires.

We were also pleased not to see an in-line battery compartment. Instead, a single AAA-size battery sits inside one ear cup under a compartment hidden behind the headphones' frame when in use. This powers the noise-cancelling feature, which can be activated using a switch on the left-hand ear cup.

Noise-cancellation is excellent. In fact, we found it to be as effective as that offered by Sennheiser's competing models, though the ANC7s don't benefit from the PXC 450s' useful 'Talk-Thru' functionality -- a reason that model is notably more expensive than this. In the office, the ANC7's cancellation reduced PC noise and our irritating air-conditioning system to a gorgeous silence. And on the noisy London Tube trains, the deep bass rumbling was reduced to a much more comfortable level.

We didn't have the time to book a plane trip to test the reduction of engine noise achieved by these 'phones, but since in all other noise-cancelling respects they're as good as Sennheiser's PXC 450s, we feel we're justified in expecting them to perform admirably.

On to sound quality, and we were fairly happy. Although there was nothing exceptional to say about either bass or treble, each was balanced well and the neodymium magnet-backed drive unit produced a neutral tone.

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