In my daily life I use headphones a lot. On the bus on the way to work I listen to music and play games. At work I cut news video all day long. And at home I use them so I not disturb my roommates. I never gave much thought to the headphones I use other than they be over the ear style with a good bass sound. In-ear or ear buds bother my ears, never seem fit well, and always sound tinny to me. Imagine my surprise when I am handed headphones designed by a company that specializes in audio. It’s a bit like someone taking my Kia away and handing me a Mercedes-Benz and a Rolls Royce. Audio-Technica provided me with two head sets; both specialized for two different listener’s styles; the ATH-WS70 Solid Bass Over-Ear Headphones and the ATH-ANC9 Quiet Point Active Noise-canceling Headphones. Let’s take a listen.
The ATH-WS70 Solid Bass Over-Ear Headphones are for the everyday music listener who wants that “boom” with their music. They very solidly built, thick and chunky; they look like they could take a bullet or two. I’ve been throwing them into my bag every morning, using them for my daily commute and for work. They have withstood the abuse of being tossed around in my bag, getting caught on my chair, and falling off my desk. Other than some minor scuff marks they’ve been, well, solid.
Sound through the ATH-WS70 Solid Bass Over-Ear Headphones is great. Using them at work I could hear more in the video I was cutting. Crisper, cleaner, less muffled than the headphones I normally use. On my commute the headphones I used to use were also better than my work headphones, but the ATH-WS70 has a richer bass. The thick padding kept out enough noise that my music and games were clear and enjoyable, but let in enough environmental sound so I could be aware of bus stop announcements and traffic as I walked from the stop to work. I did have one nagging problem with the ATH-WS70 Solid Bass Over-Ear Headphones; size. My head is on the large side, and while the ATH-WS70 does have that nice thick padding, the headset still felt like it was pinching my head. Wearing them for any length of time made my ears start to hurt. Still for the short amount of time I wear them on my bus commute I plan on using them and retiring my regular set to a desk drawer.
If the ATH-WS70 Solid Bass Over-Ear Headphones were the Mercedes-Benz, then the ATH-ANC9 Quiet Point Active Noise-canceling Headphones are the Rolls Royce.
The ATH-ANC9 Quiet Point Active Noise-canceling Headphones were the biggest surprise ever. A lot of the headphones I’ve tried promised to cancel noise, but the ATH-ANC9 takes it to a new level. When I first received them I took them out to the box at work, put in the one AAA battery, switched on the power and put them on. I had not even plugged them in when I noticed how quiet things were. Our news room serves as our broadcast set so there is a LOT of powerful lights putting off a lot of heat. To keep things cool, the air conditioning (AC) is running constantly. The steady background rumble of the AC was gone, so was the murmur and chatter of most of the people in the news room. I could not believe it. I turned to my co-worker and told him to put the headphones on. He got wide eyed and looked at me and said, “Wow.”
The noise cancelation has three settings; Mode 1 is for use on airplanes, trains and buses, it provides the maximum noise cancelation. Mode 2 is for use around offices where mid-range sounds are more abundant. Mode 3 is for study halls or libraries where the area is already quiet. When you switch between the three setting the headphones will beep 1, 2, or 3 times letting you know what mode you are in. There is also a light on the side that changes color depending on the mode (blue for 1, red for 2 and green for 3).
The sound from the ATH-ANC9 is phenomenal. Not quite as bass rich as the ATH-WS70, but still extremely good. The ATH-ANC9 has become the headset I like to wear at home, not only for the great audio and sound cancelation, but for comfort as well. Unlike the ATH-WS70, the ATH-ANC9 is not as tight on my head, plus the padding around the ear cups and headband contains memory foam. They are so comfortable I have fallen asleep with them on.
Audio-Technica takes an extra step toward making the ATH-ANC9 the go-to headset; they include a set of two adapters and two different headphone cables for use with them. One cable has a normal headphone jack that can be used with your favorite media player, while the other has an in-line mic and single button controller for use with your smart phone or media player. While the manual says it will work with your iPhone, iPad, and most iPods and smartphones; I found it can be a little picky. With my 5th generation iPod it did nothing, but it worked fine with my Android cell phone, though the controls were slightly different that stated in the manual. The adapters that come with the headset fit the bigger home stereo jacks and the split-style jack used by airlines. Both the headphones and the adapters come in a nice carrying case.
If I had to choose between the two headsets, the ATH-WS70 Solid Bass Over-Ear Headphones or the ATH-ANC9 Quiet Point Active Noise-canceling Headphones, I would choose the ATH-ANC9 strictly based on comfort. Both provide very high quality audio that you would expect for a company like Audio-Technica. If you love great bass sound and have an average sized head I recommend the ATH-WS70 Solid Bass Over-Ear Headphones. If you are looking to listen to only your music in plush comfort then I recommend the ATH-ANC9 Quiet Point Active Noise-canceling Headphones.
For more information about both headphones see Audio-Technica’s official web site.