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Noise Canceling Review

ANC29

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#1 Master_Scythe

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Posted 08 December 2016 - 11:17 AM

So recently I put a post on OzBargain asking for some cheap ANC headphones, that work.

My thread got 0 replies, and in previous 'bargain comments' Everyone told me "Bose is the only way to get real ANC".

I tried some, and HATED the hiss, and the audio pressure it created.

 

So I went to my favorite haunt, StoreDJ, and tried on a few ANC headphones they had. Turns out there IS something better (IMO), so I wrote a mini review:

Enjoy!

 

AUD-ATHANC29_1.jpg

 

I got the audio technica  ANC29
https://www.storedj....ts/AUD-ATHANC29

Store DJ did me a wicked price, since I was getting two at once.
I didnt even need to ask, they just offered! A++
I was so amazed, this calls for a mini review.

Comfort:
I have a HUGE head, so this is sub par, however the metal band can be bent inside the foam, so it'll be an easy fix. The padding is good. These headphones will be over ear if you have small ears, or semi-on-ear if you have larger ears. I'm not concerned with long wear, after an hour or so I forgot I was wearing them, so I'd give them a 7/10.
An extra 20% in cup size to cover adult ears, would have gotten a 9/10.

Audio Quality:
Actually, not very good.
But there is a catch; they're amazing for the purpose they serve.
Also, as a note, my following 'complaints' go away below 75% volume.
With the ANC turned on, the vocal range REALLY comes to the front.

This makes music peaky for my tastes, but clear. And in a noisy room, watching a movie for example, this makes the movie CRYSTAL clear, I've never heard a better headphone for human voice.
With the ANC off, it gets 'muffled', however, once again, this is ideal for me, since I can listen to music for long periods without treble fatigue; something that is VERY problematic for me on compressed recordings, like what is pumped out of airline in-flight entertainment.

 

In summary, for high quality music, these are about the level of "apple earbuds" possibly a little better, maybe around the level of cheap sennheiser (HD201); however for their purpose as travel audio, they're PERFECT.
Loud Music: 7/10 (either too bright, or too muddy, but not by much)
Voice\Movies\Music below 75% volume: 10/10 - Couldn't be clearer!!!!!

Noise Cancelling:
How well can I rant and rave (positively) online? Lets find out.....
Absolutely bloody amazing. Just... beyond anything I'd have hoped.
Competitors? Blows ALL OF THEM out of the water (that I've tried...) I'll just give you the two extremes.

Tried some 'cheap' ANC phones before?
I've noticed the cheap ones DO actually block out very low frequencies, but that's about all.

"human activities" be that cutlery, talking, foot-fall, etc. all come through.

It's safe to say the AT ANC29's block out all the above.

Have you tried BOSE Noise Cancelling?
It's well understood that BOSE is the 'king' of ANC, but, I actually disagree; they have a few flaws.
1. They can't work passively, so if you do happen to run out of batteries, you're headphone less.
2. Price point is obviously a huge one, at 1/3~1/5 the price, depending on model you're comparing.
3. "Pressure" In your ears is hell..

Point 3 deserves discussion, BOSE headphones do block out more noise.

People can talk to you directly, and basically not exist. Sudden noises are even dampened to near the point of silence; but this comes at a cost.

Playing that much 'reverse frequency', makes your ears want to pop (like altitude).

It's super common to see complaints about pressure, or 'hiss' in ANC headphones, and from an educated guess, its because they're trying to ANC near the full spectrum. That's a lot of 'reverse noise' to play; I can't handle the pressure, and I'm not alone, its common. And audiologists are worried about how these frequencies when they aren't 100% cancelling are actually 'adding' to hearing loss, because they're playing a sound technically.

Now, as opposed to the AT ANC29's which, at an educated guess, filter 150~200hz and below

I figured this because "The voiced speech of a typical adult male will have a fundamental frequency from 85 to 180 Hz, and that of a typical adult female from 165 to 255 Hz.".
Human voice exists, but is SUPER muffled, I'm talking distorted attempts at speaking, almost like underwater. Kinda of like a 'string phone' between cans, you used to make as a kid; plus about 1/4 the real volume.
And anything below this?
LOUD air conditioning, the failed ballbearing fan on my GPU, the neighbors music, nearby trains, you name it all gone.

Silent.
By filtering ONLY the Mid~Lower frequencies, I'm noticing 0 pressure in the earcups, the 'hiss' is probably only 5~10% of what you hear in a BOSE set.
I unplugged these from an Audio source (leaving ANC on), while I was in StoreDJ, so loud bass music, about 30 customers, really oddball noises, and it was near silent.
Genuinely, 11/10 for the ANC. It cancels everything I want it to, and nothing I don't.

Its aggressive enough to hide all background noise, but passive enough to not create 'pressure'. Just perfection.

Build Quality:
It's plastic. There's no escaping this.

However the plastic headband is metal reinforced, the only worrying bit is the swivel joint.
I read a LOT of complaints about breaking from their release date 4 or so years ago; and 0 in the last 2 years.

Mine have recent build dates on them, I'm guessing they updated the strength. I'm not too concerned.

They come with a carry bag, and an airline adaptor. yay!

Value for money:
At $87 each (which is what StoreDJ did the pair for me, each) I'm thrilled.
While it may not be QUITE as comfortable as the BOSE over ear, and might not kill QUITE as much overall frequency, the trade off is that its MUCH more portable (smaller), and much more pleasant to use (no audio pressure).
Combine this with the longer battery life, removable battery, and 1/3rd price point? And you have an A+ device.


Edited by Master_Scythe, 08 December 2016 - 11:21 AM.

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