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Audio-Technica ATH-ANC23 QuietPoint Active Noise-Cancelling In-Ear Headphones First Look

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC23 QuietPoint Active Noise-Cancelling In-Ear Headphones

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC23 QuietPoint Active Noise-Cancelling In-Ear Headphones


  • Product Name: ATH-ANC23
  • Manufacturer: Audio-Technica
  • Review Date: April 03, 2011 23:55
  • MSRP: $99.95
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Buy Now

TYPE: Active noise-canceling
IMPEDANCE: 32 ohms
BATTERY: AAA (alkaline)
BATTERY LIFE: Up to 60 hours, typical (alkaline)
WEIGHT: 26 g (0.9 oz) without battery
CABLE: 1.3 m (4.3') with 3.5 mm stereo mini-plug
ACCESSORIES INCLUDED: Airline adapter; AAA battery; protective vinyl pouch; Comply™ Foam Tips (1 pair); ear pieces (rubber tips) (S/M/L size)

There are times when noise canceling is of vital importance. When you are on a plane. When you're riding shotgun in a convertible. When your wife is telling you every gory detail of Janet-at-work's divorce and subsequent re-marrying of the same guy. In such situations, you need something to cancel the noise so that you can hear your music without risking damage to your ears. Because you're an audioholic and you don't want any more hearing damage than you got at the Jane's Addiction concert all those years ago.

There are two ways to go about noise control. Passively, you can get something that stops the noise from getting to your ears. You'll see marksmen and construction workers with earplugs and over-the-ear headsets that do just that. The other way is active. With active, you need a microphone that will measure the sound coming in and put out a sound with the opposite waveform. This cancels out the incoming sound without having to have a bulky headset or foam plugs.

A little of both, Audio-Technica has recently started shipping their new in-ear ATH-ANC23 QuietPoint active noise-canceling headphones. These in-ear monitors will only run you $100 suggested but probably $20 less than that if you look around. With them, you get up to 20dB of noise canceling all run off a single AAA battery.

tipTo start with, the ATH-ANC23's sport Comply Foam Tips for ensuring in-ear comfort. These soft tips will fill the ear canal to further isolate the ear from outside noise. There are, included, three sizes so that everyone can find a set that will work for them. The tips are made of a memory foam which is 30x's (according to Audio-Technica) softer than standard earbuds. The material is breathable and the memory foam gently expands to the shape of the ear canal keeping it in place even while exercising. In-ear headphones like the ATH-ANC23s are perfect for travel as they are very compact, the noise-canceling is great for planes, and they include a two-pin airline adapter that connects to in-flight entertainment. 

A nice feature is that the ATH-ANC23's do not require the battery to work. Sometimes with active noise-cancelling solutions, if the active part is out of juice, the headphones are useless. With the ATH-ANC23s, they will still operate without any power in passive mode. The in-ear tips will still provide isolation from outside noise so if you are in a quiet environment, you won't need to use the active noise-canceling at all. There is, on the active module, an in-line volume control as well so that you can hide away your music player rather than having to get it out every time you want to dial down or up the volume. 


If you are a frequent traveler, surely you've looked at a pair of noise-canceling headphones. With memory foam tips which should allow for long listening sessions without discomfort and an included airline adapter, the Audio-Technica ATH-ANC23s look to be a very attractive solution. Usable in active (with up to 90% of outside noise eliminated) or passive mode, these headphones should have everything you need for those long overseas trips. At under $100 MSRP with a street price of $20 less than that, they are practically an impulse buy compared to some of the over-hyped competition.

For more information, please visit www.audio-technica.com.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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