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Reviewed on Feb 26, 2016

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
6.6
Mixed Usage
7.4
Critical Listening
6.3
Commute/Travel
6.1
Sports/Fitness
6.5
Office
6.0
TV
6.5
Gaming
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : Yes
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9 are great-sounding, comfortable headphones. They deliver decent performance all-around, with moderate-to-average noise isolation and little sound leakage. The button layout is unfortunately not the best, and the mostly plastic design doesn't feel durable.

Test Results
Design 6.8
Sound 7.4
Isolation 6.8
Microphone 6.5
Active Features 6.2
Connectivity 5.5
Pros
  • Great audio reproduction.
  • Comfortable.
Cons
  • Mostly plastic build.
  • Lack of volume controls, confusing button layout
Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
Update 10/2/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here
Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

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6.8

Design

The Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9 are a comfortable set of headphones lacking in build quality. The mostly plastic design looks decent, the earcups are very well-padded, and the headband does have a metal frame which strengthens the headphones a little bit. However, they do not feel as sturdy as other models with a metal frame, and the button layout is passable but needlessly complicates switching between noise canceling modes.

Style

The simple, modern design of the Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9 is esthetically pleasing. The matte black finish is highlighted by silver accents around the back of the ear cups and subtle Audio-Technica branding.

7.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.53 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0.86 lbs

The Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9 are quite comfortable. The padding of the ear cups is soft and molds well around the ears. The headband, although not as well padded as the ear cups, provides just enough tension so that the headphones feel right on the head and not too tight.

5.3 Controls
Ease of use : Decent
Feedback : Subpar
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : No
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : Adjustable
Talk-Through
:
No
Additional Buttons : No

Button layout is functional but not great. There are two buttons on the ear cups. One to switch the noise cancelling on and off and the other to alternate between noise canceling modes. The issue is that if you're not sure what the modes are, fidgeting with the second button, which does not have good tactile feedback, can be frustrating. The in-line control only has the play/stop button and no volume control.

6.6 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 5 C
5.9 Portability
L : 7.68 "
W : 7.09 "
H : 5.5 "
Volume : 117.8 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

Like the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, the ATH-ANC9 are a little on the larger side for over-ear headphones. They are below-average portable and do not fold into a more compact format. They won't fit into your pockets and are a little cumbersome to carry around comfortably. On the upside, the ear cups lay flat to take up less space in a backpack.

7.0 Case
Type : Soft case
L : 8.86 "
W : 8.27 "
H : 2.56 "
Volume : 187.4 Cu. Inches

Comes with a soft case that will protect the headphones from scratches and falls. However, the case adds quite a bit of bulk to the headphones. It also won't shield the headphones from water damage.

7.0 Build Quality

The Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9 are solid but feel too plastic. The headband is not as well-padded as the earcups, but the padding is soft. They feel like they could handle a few drops, but the plastic doesn't feel premium or high-end and could wear over time.

6.5 Stability

These headphones are moderately stable. They maintain their position during casual listening sessions but are not tight enough to stay in place while running. The headband is relatively thin, and the ear cups are large, so the headphones sway a lot during physical activities.

Cable
Detachable : Yes
Length : 4.23 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRRS

Comes with two cables; 1/8" TRS-TRS with no in-line controls and 1/8" TRRS-TRRS with call/music but no volume control.

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Headshots 1
Headshots 2
7.4

Sound

The Audio Technica ANC9 is a decent sounding pair of closed-back over-ear headphones. They have an excellent, consistent, and extended Bass, a good Mid Range and an excellent Treble. However, their Bass could sound slightly muddy, and their Mid-Range is a little bit recessed. Additionally, their distortion performance is below average and they lack an open and spacious Soundstage.

8.7 Bass
Std. Err.
:
1.95 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
10 Hz
Low-Bass
:
2.65 dB
Mid-Bass
:
1.24 dB
High-Bass
:
2.03 dB
7.5 Mid
Std. Err.
:
3.34 dB
Low-Mid
:
-1.58 dB
Mid-Mid
:
-4.8 dB
High-Mid
:
-0.41 dB
8.9 Treble
Std. Err.
:
2.28 dB
Low-Treble
:
0.38 dB
Mid-Treble
:
-0.5 dB
High-Treble
:
-0.83 dB
8.0 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.39 dB
8.2 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.33
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
0.6
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
2.58
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
6.15
4.5 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
4.56 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
1.7 dB
PRTF Distance
:
8.84 dB
Openness
:
2.8
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
4.6
Correlated Crosstalk
:
-0.09 dB
6.3 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
5.85
Weighted THD @ 100
:
30.809
6.8

Isolation

The Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9 deliver decent noise isolation performance. The active noise canceling works moderately well and will block a fair amount of ambient noise. The seal provided by the well-padded earcups is also decent but will leak a bit of sound at higher volumes.

7.2 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-19.15 dB
Bass
:
-14.42 dB
Mid
:
-17.06 dB
Treble
:
-26.14 dB
Self-Noise
:
18.69 dB

Good noise cancelling overall. With noise cancelling set to Off, isolation starts gently at 400Hz, reaching -30dB at 4KHz. With active noise cancelling engaged, a nice, flat -20dB reduction is added to the passive isolation, from 100Hz up to 3KHz. These headphones, however, are less effective below 100Hz, and may also add a little bit of their own low frequency rumble at around 25Hz.

6.0 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
45.0 dB

Good leakage performance, considering these are over-ear headphones. The leakage is relatively broadband though, ranging from 400Hz up to 6KHz.

6.5

Microphone

Integrated
:
No
In-line
:
Yes
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A
6.8 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
515.36 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
3.04 dB
HFE
:
12354.61 Hz
Weighted THD
:
0.302
Gain
:
16.94 dB
6.3 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
15.26 dB
6.2

Active Features

The Audio-Technica ANC9 only have noise canceling as an active feature. This makes them less versatile for other use cases except as noise canceling headphones, as they lack both wireless features or an app, to enhance and customize their sound. On the upside, the AAA cell delivers up to 15 hours of continuous playback, which is kind of on the low side for AAA batteries but should be sufficient for casual use.

6.9 Battery
Battery Type
:
AAA
Battery Life
:
14.95 hrs
Charge Time
:
N/A
Power Saving Feature
:
No
Audio while charging
:
N/A
Passive Playback
:
Yes

The Audio-Technica ANC9 uses 1 AAA battery that lasts about 15 hours of continuous audio playback. They do not have additional features like an auto off timer but they can be used without the battery, which makes them a bit more practical. However, you do lose a bit of audio quality when the battery is dead and unfortunately, the relatively short battery life for a headphone that uses AAA cells, means you will have to have a couple spare batteries for long flights or road trips.

0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

No compatible app.

5.5

Connectivity

0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
:
N/A
NFC Pairing
:
N/A
9.1 Wired
OS Compatibility
:
Not OS specific
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
PS4 Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone
Xbox One Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone
PC Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
0 Wireless Range
Obstructed Range
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
10 Latency
Default Latency
:
0 ms
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

In the box

  • Audio Technica QuietPoint ATH-ANC9 headphones
  • Carrying case
  • AAA battery
  • Audio cables (x2)
  • Airline adapter
  • 1/8" to 1/4" Adapter
  • Manual

Conclusion
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

6.6 Mixed Usage
These headphones would do moderately well as everyday casual headphones. They have a good enough sound for most listeners, they're decently well built and block enough noise for commuting.
7.4 Critical Listening
Above-average for critical listening. They have a decent audio reproduction but a poor soundstage due to their closed noise canceling design.
6.3 Commute/Travel
Average for commuting. The noise canceling reduces a fair amount of ambient noise they're moderately comfortable.
6.1 Sports/Fitness
Decent for sports. They're moderately comfortable and relatively lightweight. However, They're a bit cumbersome and unstable for strenuous exercises.
6.5 Office
Average for office use. They will block the chatter of a moderately busy office but they leak and will be audible at higher volumes.
6.0 TV
Above-average for home theater use. They have a decent sound for listening to music and watching movies. They also have no latency since they're wired. However, they have a short audio cable so unless you have an extension cord they won't be ideal for comfortably watching movies from your couch.

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