Headphones and Earphones
- Written by Nick St Denis
- Published on 19 November 2012
Design of the Audio Technica ATH-ANC9 QuietPoint® Active Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Being the Rock guy I am, I always put my stuff through the Rush "Moving pictures" test first. The organic feel of this recording and the minimal amount of instrumentation stepping all over itself usually gives me the most reliable first impression. With these phones the kick drum sounded very punchy and clear and the overall separation from the guitar, bass and keyboard was impressive! With that template in place, I ran it through a WIDE range of music spanning from Pat Metheny to Skinny puppy to Jellyfish to Muse. It all sounded very clear and separated with what I would call a more punchy low end than a deep booming low end. I found myself excitedly going through my music catalog to "see how this song is going to sound on these babies!"
I next plugged them into my Roland electronic drum kit and boy was I floored! The separation between the high hat sounds and the kick and snare was amazing! It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that these headphones could actually make me a better drummer. I could hear everything crystal clear and the separation was like night and day from my old phones. It really was astounding. Riding my wave of excitement, I next plugged them into my IMS-20 synthesizer emulator and again was floored. The clarity of frequencies allowed me a whole new level of sophistication when building my sound pads. It's not often that you can find a pair of headphones that actually help you to write better music. Likewise with my guitar modelling simulators. While nothing is going to digitally re-create the warmth of a real tube amp, these headphones felt truer to what the engineers had in mind when creating these simulators.
I had a chance to test out the noise canceling on a flight back from New Orleans this past weekend and they performed as advertised. There are three levels that can be controlled by a button on the side of the headphones and it was almost jarring every time I switched them on and the low rumble of the jet engines disappeared as if we somehow instantly went into stealth flight mode.
At the end of the day it's sound quality that we're looking for and I found the headphones to be quite amazing. Rating: 4-1/2 stars
If you're willing to spend over 300 dollars on a set of headphones you'd of course expect superior quality sound which is exactly what you get with these headphones. I would also, though, for that price also expect something that feels like it's going to last me at least as long as it took to save up to buy them. Build quality aside, these headphones are well worth the price of admission..