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Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9 QuietPoint Headphones Go To 95%

Noise-reduction headphones are now a common sight on airplanes, to reduce the stress from hours of droning noise from the engines and air systems. And noise reduction is not just for flying tubes -- it's also helpful in environments like offices or bookstores that still have irritating ambient noise from rustling people and the heating / cooling systems.

But while you need strong noise reduction for hostile environments, it can be too much for quieter situations. After all, active noise reduction works by canceling out the incoming sound by generating a signal that is its inverse. So you can feel the ear pressure from heavy processing in quieter environments.

Previous generation products like the Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7 QuietPoint Headphones offered active noise reduction up to 85%, with reduction up to 20 dB, which worked well as a balance between handling very strong and quieter background noise (see earlier post).

The new Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9 QuietPoint Headphones significantly enhances the the noise reduction to 95%, which might seem to be overkill for environments other than airplanes.

But the new headphones also add the ability to toggle between three levels of cancellation, optimized for travel, work, and study:

  • Mode 1: For airplanes, trains, and buses -- Provides maximum noise cancellation to low frequencies -- 95% at 200 Hz, up to 30 dB
  • Mode 2: For noisy offices or crowded places -- Targets mid-range frequencies -- 95% at 300 Hz, up to 30 dB
  • Mode 3: For quiet environments like libraries -- For a more peaceful environment -- 85% at 200 Hz, up to 20 dB

Plus they also work in passive mode, with noise reduction turned off (i.e., even without the AAA battery installed). For very long trips, the noise reduction will run up to 35 hours with a lithium battery.

The ANC9 headphones include two different detachable cables, one with an inline omnidirectional microphone and controller for answering calls and controlling music. The solid carrying case also includes an airline adapter and stereo adapter.

They are designed with large earcups that surround your entire ear, with memory foam padding on the earcups and the headband. But the headphones still fold flat for travel, and weigh in at about 7.8 oz.

The headphones feature 40mm drivers for high fidelity. The sound is somewhat muted compared to other headphones, especially in passive mode, so you may want to adjust the volume accordingly.

The Audio-Technica ANC9 QuietPoint Headphones are priced at $349, and are available for around $265 (street price).

Find the Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9 Headphones on Amazon.com


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