There is just the faintest detectable background hiss when ANC is on, somewhat like the ANC headphones of a decade ago. You won’t hear it if anything is playing, but when you have the music paused, you may notice a low level of white noise.
Of course, I checked out the Ausdom ANC7S headphones’ wired connection. I felt a slight improvement in audio quality, thanks to skipping the Bluetooth SBC codec. But the character of the sound was similar: punchy, a little recessed in the treble, but dynamic and highly listenable. The on-headphone volume controls had no effect when it was plugged in, so you’re at the mercy of the source device for level. The ANC could be switched on or off.
You don’t get a two-prong airplane adaptor with the unit. But you can pick one up pretty cheap from Altronics while you’re buying the headphones.
Altronics Noise Cancelling effectiveness
So, how effective was the Ausdom ANC7S headphones’ noise cancellation? As usual, I played a the recordings I made of airplane sound on an Canberra-Sydney flight on my (unusually excellent) PC sound system at an average level of 100 decibels SPL, C-Weighted, and switched the active noise cancellation on and off, with and without music playing, to see what difference it made.
You probably won’t be surprised to hear that it didn’t cancel noise as effectively as the latest generation of $400 to $500 ANC headphones. Those things can very nearly make that noise completely disappear. Seriously, they bring it down to relative whisper.
But that enormously powerful noise cancellation has one noticeable side effect: they tend to thump and groan when there’s physical movement. Walk around with those headphones set to noise cancelling mode and you’ll hear that. I generally switch ANC off with those headphones when I’m walking through the airport after the flight.
The Ausdom ANC7S headphones? They are certainly way more effective than the earliest ANC models, but less so than the most recent (expensive) batch. I’d put their effect at around the level of Bose models from ten years ago. Which, really, is very impressive.
Which to choose?
In practice, with the ANC switched off and that 100-decibel noise going, it was hard to clearly hear The Who playing Quadraphenia (with I’d turned up to a fairly high level). With ANC on, it was easy.
The fact is, for noise cancellation performance I’m going to stick with my current favourites. Heck, I already have them. But I’d be perfectly comfortable with the Ausdom ANC7S headphones for their ANC performance. And if I were to be deciding between spending $399 on those other headphones, or $139 on these … it depends.
These days I’d lean to towards the more expensive models. But at other points in my life, the Ausdom ANC7S Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones would have been the no-brainer choice.
Having written all that I happened upon the headphone specifications at the bottom of the Ausdom ANC7S headphones’ page at Altronics. The active noise reduction is specified at 16dB reduction, ±2dB for the 20 to 600 hertz band. It looks like my estimation of around 15dB wasn’t far off.