Audio Technica, the Japanese headphone specialist, has launched a new low-cost ear canal noise-cancelling headphone.

Priced at just £70, the new ATH-ANC3 QuietPoint headphones use a new type of noise-cancelling technology called ‘feed-forward’ which is said to differ from the more commonly used feedback systems found in other designs. The system has a number of advantages over conventional methods and offers what Audio Technica claims is 85 per cent noise cancellation.

Noise annoys

The ATH-ANC3s use patented technology that detects external environmental noise through miniature microphones, which are incorporated into each ear bud. It then creates an equal and opposite noise signal, which is added to the music signal and, therefore, cancels out the external noise.

To achieve the claimed 85 per cent figure, the ATH-ANC3s extend the active noise-cancellation over a wider frequency range. Audio Technica says this is unlike most similar in-ear headphones that actively cancel only the lower frequencies.

The earphones include a compact control unit with a monitor switch that mutes all functions to enable speech and to interrupt the active noise cancelling. The headphones also operate normally in a passive mode with the electronics switched off. They will be in the shops in April 2008.