At CES 2018 Audio Technica announced their latest wireless headphones: ATH-ANC700BT. These headphones come with Active Noise Cancellation and can be connected wirelessly via Bluetooth. And at $199 they do turn a lot heads. They were officially released for sale in late March 2018, and we got our hands on a pair. Let’s see how it performs.
What’s in the box
While it is nicely packed, there aren’t many accessories in the box. Other than the headphones, you will find a 1.2m auxiliary cable, a USB charging cable, a carrying pouch, and that’s it.
|Driver Diameter||40 mm|
|Frequency Response||5 – 40,000 Hz|
|Maximum Input Power||1,000 mW (for wired connection)|
|Sensitivity||98 dB/mW (when noise-cancellation used)
95 dB/mW (when noise-cancellation not used)
|Impedance||150 ohms (when noise-cancellation used)
35 ohms (when noise-cancellation not used)
|Battery||DC3.7 V lithium polymer rechargeable battery|
|Battery Life||Max. 25 hours (when Bluetooth and noise-cancellation used)
Max. 30 hours (when only Bluetooth used)
Max. 45 hours (when only noise-cancellation used)
Max. 1,000 hours (standby)
Charging Time: Approx. 5 hours (for 0-100% charge)
|Weight||250 g (8.8 oz), without cable|
|Cable||Detachable 1.2 m (3.9') cable|
|Connector||3.5 mm (1/8") stereo mini-plug, L-shaped|
|Accessories Included||30 cm (1') USB charging cable, protective pouch|
|Sensitivity (Microphone)||-44 dB (1V/Pa at 1 kHz)|
|Frequency Response (Microphone)||50 – 4,000 Hz|
|Polar Pattern (Microphone)||Omnidirectional|
|Input jack:||Micro USB Type B|
|Communication System:||Bluetooth Version 4.1|
|RF Output||3.2 mW EIRP|
|Output||Bluetooth Specification Power Class 2|
|Maximum Communication Range||Line of sight - approx. 10 m (33')|
|Compatible Bluetooth Profiles||A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP|
|Support Codec||aptX, AAC, SBC|
The ATH-ANC700BT are over-the-ear headphones, meaning they have ear cups that are big enough to cover your ears. The ear cups come with a leather cushion and lie quite comfortably on your ears. The good thing about this is that they doesn’t trap heat. Despite wearing for five to six hours per day, I didn’t feel any discomfort or heat trapped in my ears.
Made with plastic material, they don’t have a premium feel. Don’t get me wrong. They don’t look cheap but are just ordinary.
The headphones can be rather bulky on their own; however, both ear cups can be turned sideways and bend in for compact storing and portability.
When it comes to control, there is only one On/Off switch at the bottom of the left ear cup. Other than that, all control options are done using touch gestures. While this might seems like a cool feature, it actually doesn’t make them easier to use.
Tapping on the top of the ear cup will increase the volume while tapping the bottom will decrease the volume. Tapping on the middle of the ear cup will pause/play your music and pick up incoming calls. Swiping up and down on the ear cup will move from the current track forwards or backwards.
The issue is that when wearing the headphones, it is difficult to pinpoint the upper and bottom half of the earpiece, and most of the time you will accidentally press Stop when you want to increase the volume. The touch and swipe actions often get mixed up, too. Sometimes you are trying to locate the upper part of the ear cup, only to trigger a swiping up action to change to the next track. In short, the touch gesture is often hit or miss.
The Bluetooth pairing process was effortless. I paired them with two of OnePlus 5T, my Desktop and laptop, and they all paired without any issue. As they support aptX audio codec, they automatically switched my phone’s Bluetooth profile to use the aptX codec.
One thing that I like about the headphones is the listening experience. They don’t go heavy with the bass, but are decent, and the mid and high tones are clear and don’t get cut off. I tried out several music genres, including Yanni Live at the Acropolis, and I can easily make out the sound of various instruments at various pitches.
One of the highlights of the ATH-ANC700BT is the Active Noise Cancellation feature. What it does is filter out the outside noise so you can listen to your music clearly and without disturbance. This is particularly useful when you are walking along a busy street or during a flight. Instead of noise isolation where the ear cup wraps tightly on the ear to prevent any sound coming in or leaking out, noise cancellation makes use of an external microphone on the ear cup to record the outside noise. It will then apply a cancellation of the noise to your music. Even if you are not playing music, with noise cancellation on you can have peace of mind in a crowded place.
When testing out the noise cancellation feature, I wore them on a busy street and on a crowded train. What I can say is that the noise cancellation effect works really well for low- and mid-range noise. For really loud high-pitched noise, some of it will still slip through. With active noise cancellation, the music can become a bit soft, particularly on the low end. One of the tricks is to turn up the volume; doing so will make the headphones sound fine.
According to the specifications, the battery life of the headphones can last for twenty-five hours of continuous playback and 1000 hours on standby. For me, I charged them fully when I first received them, and having been using them continuously for two whole weeks (five to six hours per day), and the battery is still going strong. I am very impressed with that.
Audio Technica doesn’t disappoint when it comes to headphones that provide good quality/price ratio. The touch gesture can be a hit or miss, and I do prefer to have dedicated buttons rather than using the touch gesture. At the $199 price point, I think ATH-ANC700BT is one of the best that you can get.