Audio Technica ATH-ANC9 review

A decent noise-cancelling effort from Audio Technica, but there are more effective options Tested at £250

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

A decent noise-cancelling effort from Audio Technica, but there are more effective options


  • +

    Dynamic performance

  • +

    Good energy


  • -

    Noise-cancelling could be better

  • -

    Can get tiring after a while

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

The Audio Technica ATH-ANC9s are lightweight and comfortable – everything you could want if you’re travelling long-haul. They’re a no-frills design, however, so don’t go expecting brushed-metal this and Bluetooth-enabled that.

But that, in theory, should work in their favour: after all, if you’re not spending the money on bells and whistles, you’re spending it on performance.

The ANC9s’ noise-cancelling abilities aren’t quite up to the best that we've tested, such as the Bose QuietComfort 15 – a lot of the droning low-frequencies of the average workplace or aeroplane are eliminated, but when the music’s off, more extraneous noise gets through.

Get some songs going and it’s a dynamic performance. Snares and bass-drums hit precisely and cleanly, and the up-front midrange and treble make vocals and spoken dialogue sound clear and open.

We like the energy on offer here, but feel that it could get a little much if you’re listening non-stop for hours on end.

Turn the noise-cancelling tech off and the midrange opens out a bit to reveal a more natural sound overall – it feels like the music has breathed a big sigh and relaxed back into itself.

There’s nothing majorly wrong with these headphones, however. They do what they do well – but we think there are more effective examples out there.

If, however, you’re after an energetic sound and don’t fancy shelling out more money, then give these a serious audition.

See all our headphone Best Buys

Follow on Twitter

Join on Facebook

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test