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Im going to start off this video by saying that I really like Audio-Technica’s $200 ATH-SR50BT headphones… And if it weren’t for their crappy touch pad, I think they would be the best $200 headphones on the market right now. So when Audio-Technica announced their new ATH-ANC900BT Quietpoint headphones at CES 2019, admittedly I was pretty excited. But after getting my hands on them… its just pretty hard to recommend these headphones in today’s super competitive Premium ANC Headphone market.
Now one of the things the Audio-Technica Quietpoint has going for them is that they retail for $300, which is $50 less than everybody’s favorite, Sony 1000XM3 and Bose QC35. But I just feel you end up compromising a lot with the Quitepoints when you’re trying to save 50 bucks. And I just feel the $300 Quitepoints don’t bring the same per dollar value compared to the $200 SR50BT’s. But if you want to pick any of the headphones up mentioned in this video i'll have them linked down below.
The first major compromise on the ATH-ANC900BT is the lack of USB C charging on these headphones. As of early 2019, USB C on headphones is currently reserved for companies newer higher end models. And given that these are Audio-Technica’s top of the line ANC headphones it would have been nice to see USB C here. But the reason USB C is a big deal is because I want to be able to charge my phone and headphones with the same cable and USB C also allows for better fast charing. But rounding out the accessories list, these headphones also come included with a 3.5 to 2.5 millimeter audio cable and an airplane adapter.
Now one of my biggest critiques about these headphones is their build quality, design and fit. Right off the bat I just wanna say these headphones are comfortable to wear, they have very little clamping force and they’re big head approved. Their ear cups are also very spacious and its obvious Audio-Technica took some inspiration from the Bose QC35’s. Im even willing to admit the Faux leather on the Quitepoints feels nicer than the synthetic leather on the 1000xM3’s which even after 6 months of heavy use still feel very plastic. But when it comes to the Quietpoint’s build quality thats another story. When we go from Sony’s $200 headphones to their $300 or $350 headphones we see a major improvement in over all build quality and design. But we just don’t see that when we go from Audio-Technica’s $200 headphones to their $300 headphones. They’re using the same plastics, they have the same stainless steel headband, and they have the same exposed screw design. And when it comes to how they look when you’re actually wearing them, the Quietpoint’s just look silly and dated with their not so low profile headband. Cause for comparison, the SR50BT’s have a much more low profile headband which just make them look over all better. And just like the Quietpoints, the SR50BT’s are comfortable to wear, they have spacious ear cups and they’re big head approved. I just feel that since these days headphones are becoming more popular, looks can be just as important as performance and features… thats why newer headphones like the 1000XM3 and surface headphones have both a stylish and low profile design… and I know Audio-Technica is capable of doing better cause their SR50BT’s are a pair of good looking, low profile headphones.
But when it comes to tech specs, thats another story… the Battery life on the Quietpoints is actually pretty impressive. They have an advertised battery life of 35 hours which is a little more than the Sony 1000XM3’s so these should last you a little over 2 weeks in between charges. But unfortunately these headphones don't have any official fast charging numbers
But the Quietpoints are also using bluetooth 5.0 and they’re good for watching videos cause they have very little latency. The only exception is that they do have like a quarter second delay when watching youtube videos on an iPhone, but other than that they have very little latency across the board. But unfortunately these headphones can only be connected to one device at a time so you can't hot swap if you’re a power user.
And when it comes to the Quietpoint’s Active Noise Cancelation there is an obvious performance improvement over the cheaper SR50BT’s, but it still pales in comparison to the Sony 1000XM3’s.
Like you may have just heard, the quietpoints are able to block out considerably more noise than the SR50BT's but not as much noise as the Sony 1000XM3's... The active noise cancellation on the quietpoints actually perform similarly to the Bose QC35's which is pretty cool. But just like the Bose QC35's the quiet points do have some cabin pressure. It's nowhere near as harsh as the Bose, but i do find myself having to pop my ears every now and then with the quietpoints and there is a noticeable amount of hissing if music isn't playing when the ANC is left on. Audio-technica also allows you to adjust the noise cancellation on their quietpoints, but personally I can't tell a difference between the 3 modes so I just keep the quietpoints on airplane mode all the time.
But Audio-technica also baked in a transparency mode into their new quietpoint headphones called hear through where they'll pump in the ambient sound around you so you can know what's going on if you're walking around the city or working in an office. But the problem with Audio-technica's hear through mode is that it pumps in everything, so if a loud sudden sound like a dog barking or if a bus rolls by all of that sound gets pumped in as well. Where as the Sonys which have a similar feature called ambient mode are smart enough to block out that unwanted noise pollution saving you from sudden jump scares.
But the quietpoints also have quick hear through where if you press this button they'll mute your music and pump in all of the ambient sound like this.
And this feature is useful cause you can have a quick conversation with someone like when you're ordering food or checking your boarding pass. And im always a big fan when headphones have these features cause they’re extremely useful and you miss them when you don’t have them anymore.
Now when it comes to these headphones sound quality… just like Audio-technica's other Headphones the quietpoints have a neutral sound signature... And unfortunately you can't change the EQ on these headphones from Audio-technica's app. But that's not a bad thing, these headphones sound very balanced and clear, they have good instrument seperation, and they have a wide soundstage. And that sound stage gets wider if you listen to these headphones with their ANC turned off.
But this is where we circle back to when I send the $300 Audio-technica Quietpoints don't bring the same amount of per dollar value as the $200 Audio-technica SR50BT. All of the hear through features found on the quietpoints, are also found on the SR50BT... And when it comes to sound quality, the Quietpoints sound no better than the SR50BT. They even both have the same touchpad controls on their left ear cup, which I personally wish Audio-technica would get rid of. Since they're on the left ear cup as a righty I find them very hard to use and they aren't the most accurate touch pads out there. So instead of being sleek and intuitive they're more of a hassle that I just end up not using.
So if you're considering getting the Audio-technica ATH-ANC900BT QuietPoint headphones, here's my advice. I highly suggest you just spend the extra 50 bucks and get yourself the Sony 1000XM3’s, they're just overall better. If you can't spend more than $300 on a pair of headphones cause your budget wont allow it then get yourself the SR50BT'S cause they have basically everything the Quietpoints have but in a much better looking body and you save yourself 100 bucks. The only thing the Quietpoints have over the SR50BT’s is better active noise cancelation. But if you really need a pair of headphones with potent active noise cancellation on a budget then I would try to get the Sony 1000XM2's which are typically on sale now.