After 2009, Audio-Technica replaced their flagship ATH-ANC7 model over-ear headphones with the ATH-ANC7B. Yes, the only difference there is the letter B. However, alphabetizing the end of their model isn’t the limit of the company’s improvement potential. This new set of headphones brings along several new improvements, including even better noise-cancelation, a sleeker design, and a few handy extras, to boot.
These cans may not be as good as its nearest competitors (looking at you, Bose) but for the price involved, they’re still an incredible value. For our full review of these round two headphones, check below beyond the break!
Design and Comfort
In terms of design, little has changed since the first edition of the ATH-ANC7B. However, Audio-Technica has introduced a slightly slimmer form factor, as well as a completely redone cup design.
The new iteration fit more snuggly on our heads than the ATH-ANC7, and we have to hand it to Audio-Technica. The over-ear pads were unbelievably plush and comfortable. Aside from that, there’s the folding aspect, which allows the cans to be closed shut for easy transportation in the included carrier case.
The ATH-ANC7B has also been equipped with a passive playback mode, which doesn’t require the use of the included noise-cancelation technology. This is handy, as other headphones like the Bose QuietComfort series fail to produce any audio at all when the battery is dead, or when noise-cancelation is turned off. All in all, it’s a solid—if somewhat unremarkable—package.
Sound Quality and Performance
When directly compared to competing headphone models, a few things were noticeable about the ATH-ANC7B’s sound quality. First and foremost, the headphones leak sound like none other. This took us by surprise, especially as the headphones utilize a closed-backing system that should resolve any leaking issues.
The ATH-ANC7B also produced a rather brittle high-end, which often made our tunes come across as harsh, or unenjoyable. Obviously, this depended on the song or genre, but the bass too was somewhat lacking.
Overall, the headphones produced a somewhat muddled experience that simply lacked the clarity of competing (and more expensive ) models. That being said, the noise-cancelation worked quite well, effectively nullifying a fair amount of the ambient deluge in our area.
At the end of the day, we’re not quite sold on the ATH-ANC7B as a “new and improved” edition of its fore-bearer. Sure, there’s the redone earcups and slightly better sound production, but all in all, the headphones are simply a hard sell. The price is right at about $200 street, but considering $100 gets you an incredible set of Bose cans, we just can’t seem to recommend the ATH-ANC7B.