Geek Gather Top Tip: Noise-canceling headphones

It’s probably too late to make any serious Christmas recommendations but I think there may still be room for a “Geek Gather Top Tip”. I recently purchased a set of Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7 noise-canceling headphones, which I find absolutely fabulous. I also own a set of Sennheiser PCS-250s, which just recently broke. In comparison, the ATs are a much better set of headphones and Amazon happens to have a great deal on them right now, hence the report.
The Sennheisers are very portable (fold and flip), and due to supra-aural form factor worked really well for when I am wearing my glasses. The noise-cancelation on them is also really good – as a matter of fact it is much better than expected given the small cups. The one thing that doesn’t work for me is the external noise-cancelation unit—located roughly in the middle of the audio cable. This little box ultimately became the downfall of the headphones, as the cable connections that go in and out became weak, and eventually raptured inside of the lining.
The ANC7s are a different animal – their closed-back design and circum-aural design make for a completely different sound. One I like I lot, I may add. A bit weak in the bass region and fairly analytical, yet full of detail and crisp treble. The noise-cancelation equipment is fitted inside of the very light cups—no more external box to worry about. The audio wire gets plugged into the bottom of the headphones. So if you are using your headphones like me to eliminate noise from snowblowers or lawnmowers and enjoy Zero 7 while working around the house, you won’t rip and rupture the audio wires on this unit. As a matter of fact, the plug inside the headphones would probably give way to the force similar to Apple’s fairly new MagSafe power connectors. The one thing that really works for me on these headphones is the comfort and fit. Even compared to the lightweight Sennheisers, the ANC7s kick butt. I’ve never owned the Bose noise-canceling headphones, which are considered the best available, but I have tried them on occasion. I have to say, for the money, I don’t think you can find better value than the Audio Technica headphones. Time will tell how they hold up compared to the Sennheiser and I look forward to giving them a run for the money.