ANC or active noise cancellation was a feature that was mainly seen in premium headphones initially. But like most premium features, it is steadily making its way into mainstream devices (to find out if you really need it, though, read this). So much so that today, you can get a reasonably good, and in some cases, VERY good, pair of ANC headphones with a budget in the vicinity of Rs 10,000. Sounds hard to believe? Well, here are seven headphones that come with price tags below (or just around) Rs 10,000, or USD 135. They come from well-known brands, and while some might not be the latest, they deliver a very good experience for not too many bucks.
Seven budget ANC Headphones you can buy
Sennheiser HD 4.5 BTNC – That sound!
Rs 9,500 (generally)
In terms of sheer sound quality, we would say these are perhaps one of the best options out there. They are also very compact, fold into a small enough carrying bag. The noise-canceling is decent enough although the controls for it are a little fiddly – you will not get the kind of ANC that the likes of the Venue and the BackBeat offer, but it is more than adequate for most users.
And well, these headphones sound fantastic. Sennheiser has a reputation for clear sound with just the right accents given to different frequencies. Bassheads will not go into ecstasies over this one, but we can see most folk just loving the warm sound. Call quality is decent, you get about nineteen hours of battery life, and you can connect to two devices if you wish. These are for the music lovers, really.
JBL Live 650BTNC – Add some bass to basics!
JBL has been known for its slightly bass-centric, mainstream sound. So if you find the likes of the Sennheiser HD 4.5 a little too mild in that department, the JBL Live 650 BTNC is the one for you. The sound is good, but the bass is a bit on the heavier side. These are very designed headphones and sit on your head very comfortably, and also have slight accents on the earcups that make them stand out.
You get multi-point connection, so you can switch between two devices if need be, and battery life is very good at around 20 hours (30 without ANC). The ANC is very good and comparable to the best in this selection – it can drown most regular noise. We had a minor quibble with call quality, which was decent, but not on par with some of the other devices in this list (most notably the Backbeat Pro 2 and the Skullcandy Venue), but if you like your music with bass thrown in, this is a terrific option.
Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 – For the Pros!
All right, so this one is just a little above the Rs 10,000 mark, but then it is within such touching range (and sometimes dips below that mark with special offers) that we decided to include it. The reason? It is a very very good pair of headphones. The sound quality is very good, although with more of a leaning towards a pleasant hearing experience rather than going crazy on the bass (although they do have stronger bass than the Sennheiser).
They are very distinctly designed and comfortable to wear, and well, we think that they are the best for those looking for some very good calling (these handle them very well) and extended battery life – 24 hours. The music also pauses when you remove them and resumes when you put them back on, and yes, you can connect them with two devices thanks to multi-point connectivity. The ANC itself is also among the best in this grouping and can block out a lot of sound. So yes, it might just go a little above the Rs 10,000 point, but it delivers a lot.
JBL Tune 750BTNC – Funky new kid on the ANC block!
Dear bassheads, this one is for you. No, the bass on the JBL Tune 750 is not overwhelmingly strong, but its accent is strong enough for those who love that sort of thing – it is definitely the strongest in this list. The Tune 750 BTNC is also one of the newest headphones in this group, which is why you get the option to connect between multiple devices, although those wanting bass with slightly better sound quality might prefer the 650 BTNC that we mentioned earlier.
The headphones themselves are available in some very funky colors and are comfortable enough to use. Battery life is in the region of fifteen to twenty hours. ANC is surprisingly good at its price, and can drown out sounds of a cafeteria. Call quality is a little iffy, but at that price, these are very good options, especially if you love bass.
Skullcandy Venue – The Premium Player!
In terms of feature set, this is the big one of the list. The Venue was Skullcandy’s first attempt at ANC, and it was a very good one. It was launched at almost twice the price so it is perhaps the most “premium” device of this collection. Rather surprisingly, the brand which is renowned for its bass-rich sound opted for a more balanced one in the Venue. The result was a pair of headphones that sounded remarkably good, with just a hint of bass.
The Skullcandy Venue are also very well designed with comfortable ear cups, and the ANC Is very good indeed, perhaps the best in this group. Add to that 24 hours of battery life with support for fast charging and also for Tile (letting you find the headphones if you misplaced them), a good carrying case, the ability to connect to two devices, and very good call handling, and these are perhaps the best option for those looking for ANC headphones at a sub-Rs 10,000 price with premium features!
JBL Tune 600BTNC – That price!
Rs 5000 (approx)
The name gives it away, doesn’t it? Yes, these are the predecessors of the 750 BTNC higher up in this list. Yes, they are a little old now, but if you are on a really tight budget and want wireless ANC, they remain a very good option. They are bass-heavy, yes, but the general sound quality is very good, and you get battery life of about a dozen hours. ANC is not the greatest, to be honest, but is good enough to keep relatively minor sounds out. Call quality is acceptable.
The design is comfortable, but not quite as funky as the 750 BTNC and the cups are a little on the smaller side, but these headphones fold up nicely and can be carried around comfortably. We would really recommend spending a little more and going for the vastly superior 750 BTNC, but if money is tight (and it often is), these are perhaps the most affordable wireless ANC headphones you can get out there from a well-known brand! Incidentally, you can judge how strong JBL is in this segment – three headphones with ANC below Rs 10,000 (no, this section was not sponsored by them.)
Audio-Technica Quiet Point ATH-ANC50IS: If you do not mind wires!
Want to experience decent ANC at the lowest possible price point without making any major audio compromises? Well, these headphones from Audio Technica are perhaps your best option. Yes, some are going to be annoyed at having to keep changing batteries in it – they actually run on a AAA cell – and some will say “what! These are wired.” Yes, so they are. These in fact are the only wired headphones in this list. And relax, they will work just fine even when the battery drains. That’s because the battery is for ANC.
And the sound on these is headphones is very good and balanced (this is Audio Technica after all) and ANC, although a little buggy sometimes, generally works very well indeed – the generous padding around the headphones helps! A very good option for those who do not actually need wireless headphones, but want a good listening experience.
(Note: These ANC headphones were available at the prices mentioned at the time of writing. The prices might have changed subsequently. If they have increased, we apologize for the inconvenience. If they have dipped, well, Hooray!)