For Christmas, I received Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7 QuietPoint Active Noise-Cancelling Headphones and have been pleased with them thus far. In the time that I've had them, I've tried them out at work, on a plane, as a passenger in the car, and at home. The noise canceling functionality works fairly well. By noise canceling, this does not imply that all outside noise will be blocked out but rather that ambient noise like a heating/cooling system, refrigerator, airplane engine, road noise, noisy neighbors, and co-workers background conversations will be substantially reduced. You can still hear if someone speaks to you but wouldn't really want to conduct a conversation with them on.
Turning on the noise canceling functionality makes a huge difference when listening to music. It gives you the feel that you're actually in the recording studio with the musicians. Be careful to turn the volume down on your computer/stereo/mp3 player prior to turning on the noise canceling capabilities. With my old headphones (non-noise canceling) I normally listened to music on my computer at a Windows volume setting around 18 to 20. With the noise canceling turned on, I set the volume to 3 to 5 with the same perceived volume.
The sound quality of the headphones is also quiet good and you feel as though you're hearing exactly what the sound engineer and music producer intended. I was surprised at how some songs came into better "focus" when using these headphones. With the noise canceling turned on, it helps the little things come through much more clearly and you'll hear things you didn't know were present before. Using these headphones is much like going to the optometrist for an adjustment to your glasses/contacts. Once you have the new prescription, things seem clearer, sharper, and in focus.
When using the headphones over a long period of time, I did notice that my ears got a bit warm but not to the point of being overly uncomfortable. Exercising with these probably will not occur based on not wanting to bathe them in sweat. I'm also not certain how well they would remain stationary when moving around during a workout.
If you're looking for a top quality set of headphones with noise canceling capabilities and are willing to pay a decent amount of money but not excessive, these headphones are a good option.
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