Turtle Beach ANR-10 Active Noise Reduction Headphones review: Turtle Beach ANR-10 Active Noise Reduction Headphones

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MSRP: $59.95

The Good The Turtle Beach ANR-10 headphones offer a compact, travel-friendly design, and they're inexpensive.

The Bad With the noise-cancellation feature activated, the ANR-10 headphones output muffled sound.

The Bottom Line The Turtle Beach ANR-10 Active Noise Reduction Headphones are OK as far as cheap, compact headphones go, but if you really need noise cancellation, they won't fit the bill.

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5.7 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 5
  • Performance 6

Turtle Beach is no newcomer to the headphone game, and its gaming headsets have generally shown that the company knows what it's doing. But portable headphones seem to be more of a challenge, and the ANR-10 Active Noise Reduction Headphones prove that point. Don't get me wrong: these 'phones aren't terrible, and you could certainly do worse for $35. But there's no compelling reason to buy them.

As with most aspects of the ANR-10s, their design has good points and bad ones. We like how small they are and that they fold easily for storage and travel (Turtle Beach provides a drawstring bag in the package). And the dark blue earpieces accented in brushed silver are nice-looking. The neckband, however, could use some work. It's made of hard plastic that's not adjustable, and it's quite large and squared off so that it juts out awkwardly in the back. Also, while the headphones are pretty comfortable and stayed in place while I was sitting down, they didn't feel totally secure as I was walking around--I definitely wouldn't try jogging with them. That said, my head is on the small side, so if you have an average-size head you might not have the same problem. Finally, although this is a given with open-style headphones--and why I personally don't like them--there's quite a bit of sound leakage.

The ANR-10s fold down for easy storage.

The main feature of the ANR-10s, aside from their portability, is their ability to actively reduce outside noise (especially lower frequency sounds), hence the name Active Noise Reduction Headphones. Turtle Beach supplies a battery to this end, and there's a spot built in the neckband for it. To activate the noise reduction, you flip a switch on the right earpiece. And here is where the trouble begins. While the ANR-10s do a decent job of noise reduction, the processing that goes into it muffles the music coming through the headphones, basically rendering the feature useless. So if you're looking for a pair of noise-canceling headphones, you'd be better off with something like the Logitech Noise Canceling Headphones.

That said, the ANR-10s actually sound pretty decent when you leave the noise reduction out of it. Bass is punchy, mids are satisfying, and the high end is clear and relatively detailed. They wouldn't be my choice for classical music--and hard rock tracks can still sound slightly muffled--but they're not bad for most tunes. If you like the style and are on a limited budget, they might be OK for you. Just remember not to count the noise-reduction feature as part of the package.

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