Up till now, Bose and Sony have been the winners in terms of noise-cancellation, making it difficult for other brands to catch up. But Audio-Technica has pleasantly surprised me with its new ANC900BT. Let’s find out what sets these wireless cans apart from the rest of their line-up in this Audio-Technica ATH-ANC900BT Headphones Review.
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC900BT Headphones Review
IN the BOX
No complaints in this department. Firm enough to provide a great seal, while also comfortable enough to wear for long periods, the 900BT found a nice balance here. The earpads aren’t super fat, but they’re plush enough for me.
Noise-cancellation on the 900BT is the most powerful I have heard of all the Audio-Technica wireless models. In fact, if it was any stronger, it might have started putting an uncomfortable pressure on my ears. So, it’s at a level that’s just enough to get the job done. Certainly, it will kill the ambient hum around you. But as for your yapping boss, I’m not so sure. I think, in general, people tend to overestimate the capabilities of noise-cancelling technology. But they’re life-savers on an airplane. The 900BT allows you to switch between noise-cancellation and ambient mode, so that you can eavesdrop on your colleague’s tiff with his wife. You can do this by either pressing the button on the side of the ear cup or holding your hand over the touchpad. It also allows you to turn off noise-cancellation completely.
Audio-Technica employs touchpad technology to control functions like call answering, volume adjustment, play/pause, and skip. It takes a bit of getting used to, and at first you might get frustrated when you activate functions you didn’t mean to. So meditate for ten minutes before you start playing with the controls.
Bluetooth and Codecs
The ANC900BT is Bluetooth 5 compatible. And once you hear what an upgrade in sound it is from Bluetooth 4.2, you’ll never go back. It also supports the following codecs: aptX, AAC and SBC. aptX Low Latency would have been nice to ensure that videos play in sync. But hey, you can’t have it all.
Battery life is 35 hours, which is on the higher end of standard for a pair of wireless cans. And they take about 5.5 hours to fully charge. If you do happen to run out of juice, you can use the included cable to listen in passive mode.
I was impressed here. Not only could I clearly hear the conversation through the cans, but the caller on the other line understood supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
It might be important to note that the volume doesn’t reach dangerously loud levels. But for me, it was more than sufficient, and I would warn against listening at higher volumes, in general. Careful, kids. Tinnitus is real.
These cans fold any which way, and slip nicely into a very flat, hard carrying case. You can easily fit these babies in your backpack.
Overall Impressions: Clean and well-balanced with a generous bass.
We’ve got a serious bass here. Pop music reveals a freqload of punch. And listening to hip-hop, there’s a bit of subbiness as well. Playing a few rock tracks, there was a pleasing warmth and richness. So, if you like a generous low end, these cans should make you happy. Clarity isn’t bad either; bass guitars have decent texture and grip. And in general, the low frequencies avoid sounding too slouchy.
The mids are even and present. Because the lower midrange comes out to play, big rock choruses have a full-bodied feel. In terms of clarity, the 900BT produces a clean sound that can’t be matched by a headphone with Bluetooth 4.2. Yes, kids. Bluetooth 5 is the way to go. Songs with heavy instrumentation were neatly layered. Acoustic guitars had great separation and definition. And Cellos had that smooth, floating quality that Audio-Technica does so well.
Listening to violin solos, I was impressed with the transparency for a wireless headphone. And if you generally listen to classical music, I think you’ll be a happy camper. Moving back to pop, percussion had a sparkly brilliance that, at the same time, avoided sizzle for the most part. So, there’s a nice treble extension without being too harsh on the ears.
For a wireless headphone, I can’t say I was disappointed by the soundstage. Sure, there wasn’t a tremendous sense of height or depth, but that’s to be expected. Still, the stage was spacious, and horizontal instrument placement felt accurate.
I dig these. Certainly, it’s the strongest noise-cancellation that I’ve ever heard from an Audio-Technica wireless headphone. And the 900BT is very well balanced, which is essential if you listen to a wide variety of genres. Clean sound too. Nothing negative to report here.
You can find these brand new puppies for the best price at:
Audio 46: Audio-Technica ANC900BT Headphones (Use our promo code, “majorhifi” to get a 10% discount)
MajorHiFi may receive commission from retail offers.