Audio-Technica’s QuietPoint Headphones Offer Pleasant Finale to CES

CES is a crazy, hectic week of running around from press conference to manufacturer’s booths, meetings and deadlines. When Audio-Technica offered demos of their new ATH-ANC700BT QuietPoint noise-cancelling headphones along with a 15-minute professional massage, it was an irresistible treat, and the perfect way to wrap up the show.

Once settled into the massage chair, the masseuse and I each slipped on a pair of the QuietPoint headphones and we started the demo. Accompanied by relaxing music and sounds, a soothing voice began extolling the features and benefits of the headphones, and the massage began. Now, I might be tempted to say that anything will sound good if you’re getting a lovely massage at the same time, but I really did get to spend 15 minutes listening to and enjoying these new headphones.

The first thing I noticed about the ATH-ANC700BT ($199.00, available March 2018) was the quality of noise cancellation. They are over-ear design with plush memory-foam cushions that are the first step in reducing outside noise. However, a new design is implemented in the active noise cancellation that improves not only the sound of music playback but it greatly enhances the cancellation too. Instead of placing the microphones used to detect external noise in front of the headphone speaker drivers where they might pick up some of the noise-cancelling signal and create a feedback loop, the mics are placed behind the 40mm drivers. Although the massage chairs were right off the main show floor, the ANC did a great job of eliminating a lot of the outside noise.

The side of the earphones on the ATH-ANC700BT have “touch and swipe” controls that make it simple and intuitive to control the volume and playback features and take calls while connected via Bluetooth. There is also a cabled connection for Hi-Res audio playback or when Bluetooth isn’t available or convenient; the headphones are certified for Hi-Res Audio with a frequency response of 5 Hz - 40kHz.

The headphones support AAC, aptX and SBC codecs. The ATH-ANC700BT plays for 25 hours with ANC and Bluetooth on. It charges via USB charging port. It is available in either Gray or Matte Black.

While it was hard to concentrate on the playback performance of the ATH-ANC700BT while in such a relaxed state during the massage, I did notice that the sound was properly balanced and natural. The headphones were using a wired connection for the best sound quality during my audition. The recorded voice was full and rich, with excellent details while being smooth and soothing. The sound of ocean waves that were played after the spoken portion of the demo was so similar to pink noise that it actually made a good test of tonal balance, and the ATH-ANC700BT didn’t have any noticeable problems. I also listened to music afterwards. The headphones have great detail in the upper midrange and a clean, natural bass. The bass response was restrained, without any over-emphasis.

I have to say that I was very sad when the demo/massage ended. It was 15 minutes of quiet sanctuary away from the stressful energy on the show floor. I can’t wait to get another chance to listen to the QuietPoint ATH-ANC700BT headphones again, if only to relive that calm oasis experience one more time.