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Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7b Headphones - Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7b Headphones

By Stuart Andrews



Our Score:


The (slightly) bad news is that the ATH-ANC7bs aren’t quite as effective at keeping sound in. With the noise-cancelling on there’s less need to put the volume level high, but even so I was aware, with the headphones off and the cups pressed together, that some sound was leaking out. On a noisy jet the impact was minimal, but on the train I was all too aware that, say, the high soprano sections in Wagner’s opera were leaking out and netting me some really odd looks. I had to quickly switch to the new Massive Attack album to keep what tiny bit remains of my street-cred alive.

Sound quality, meanwhile, is good but not quite what I’d hope for from the company behind the ATH-AD series open-backed and ATH-A series closed-back headphones. On the plus side, there’s plenty of low-end grunt and a nice, warm mid-range; both qualities that suit rhythm-heavy tracks from Massive Attack or weighty, power-chord rock from AC/DC or Muse. The sound is also a little more spacious sound than I’d expect from closed-back headphones, and detail at the top-end is far from bad. However, the mid-range can sound crowded and imprecise, and the overall level of clarity isn’t up to AT’s usual standards of excellence.

Don’t get me wrong: the ATH-ANC7bs still sounded better to my ears than the vast majority of similarly-priced IEMs I’ve stuffed inside them, but in comparison to several conventional pairs available for under £100, they fall slightly short. To be fair, this criticism isn’t limited to the ATH-ANC7bs, and while the Audio-Technicas can’t match Sennheiser’s more expensive PXC 450s for clarity, they’re stronger at the bass end than most noise-cancelling headphones out there.

In their defence, I should also mention that the ATH-ANC7bs did a brilliant job with film soundtracks, giving me the gun battles and explosions of Die Hard 4.0 from my PSP Go with boom and bluster to spare. If you want to watch movies on the move, keep this in mind.

And here’s the thing. While, I have my reservations about sound quality, overall, I like the ATH-ANC7bs. The market for noise-cancelling headphones has become very competitive in the last few years, with Bose and Sennheiser fighting it out at the high-end, and Creative, JVC, Sony, Panasonic and others all scrapping for position just below. Luckily, Audio Technica’s babies can easily be found for under £130, and while the audio quality isn’t quite good enough to put them right at the top of any shortlist, their combination of comfort, decent sound and all-round practicality makes them worth including on it.


A solid, well-designed set of noise-cancelling headphones offering good noise-dampening and respectable sound quality at a reasonably affordable price. If Audio-Technica could improve on overall clarity with the next version, it could have a winner on its hands.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Value 8
  • Sound Quality 7


December 30, 2010, 2:30 pm

I can concur with all that is written in this review. I use the headphones primarily when flying (which is a lot). Best of all, I use the noise cancellation to sleep peacefully – I leave them switched on even when not watching a movie or listening to music.

They do leak sound when in quieter environments, but I tend not to have the volume high, so the intrusion is minimal to those around.

The handy carry pouch is fantastic and fits easily into my laptop bag – the protective pouch idea is something the makers of “portable” headphones should take note of.

In short, I recommend these headphones without reservation.

Tom Phillips (South Africa)


August 16, 2014, 7:52 am

My comments 100% true going off my own experience from my newly purchase of the Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7b...NC headphones, firstly,,we buy headphones based on there sound Quality and clarity, the sound is very good well balanced in bass/mid/treb
the sound and stereo imaging is very good indeed allowing the user to hear music passing form one ear to the other eg, guitars good stereo imaging, they are sound crisp warm and rich, not! so much treble.
and in my thoughts surpassing the Bose equivalents in regards to sound Quality,
the noise Canceling works well as of my my testing in noisy environments however there is more improvement on the more higher ANC9 model from Audio-technical as of the extra microphones and electronics. bass is deeper and powerful as is treble on the ANC9,,, Build Quality on the ATH-ANC7b could be better however just care for your headphones, the case supplied is superb and so well made and along with to sound cables supplied with adapters and battery makes this a nice package, you cna get these headphones for £120/£75 depending on supplier.

the build Quality could be better although I have paid more for less satisfaction the sound is very good and is much better indeed than the beats/bose/sony equivalents.


October 22, 2015, 8:19 am

You can find them for as little as £71 now, which is an absolute bargain.

Free Core

September 12, 2016, 8:49 am


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