Audio-Technica ATH-ANC300TW Review: Practice Makes Perfect

Just when I thought a global pandemic was going to end life as we know it, Audio-Technica comes out with yet another god damn true wireless earphone. God bless these coked up insomniacs. They give me hope that the world is still turning. So, let’s take a look at these “hybrid noise cancelling” earbuds. For 230 bucks, what can they deliver? And how are they different from the 57 previous Audio-Technica true wireless models? Let’s find out in this Audio-Technica ATH-ANC300TW Review.

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC300TW Review

IN the BOX

FIT

They fit. They’re comfortable. They don’t fall out of my ears when I’m hanging upside down by a thread. And in addition to the three different sized tip options, the box also includes foam ear tips should you choose to warm up the sound profile. No problems here.

DESIGN

Active Noise-Cancellation

This hybrid ANC technology is interesting. When it is activated, it emits a very mild and highly pleasant “shhh” sound. It like a calm and distant ocean. But then I realize why. Using the accompanying app, you can switch between ANC modes, including, airplane mode (which explains the “sshh”), on-the-go mode and office/study mode.  It might also be important to note that I’ve almost never tested a noise-cancelling in-ear headphone that actually muted noise completely. I can still hear my fingers typing and my leg twitching under my desk. But let’s be fair. With my TV turned on at a reasonable volume, the ANC300TW does reduce Joe Exotic’s voice considerably. Not completely. And that just might be too much to ask from ANC technology. Even a hybrid one. Still, I have to admit, the ANC300TW does do better at quieting outside noise than do most other true wireless models I’ve tested, even at higher price points.

These earbuds also let you switch to “hear-through” mode, which is a now common headphone feature that invites in sound of the outside environment. It’s like a little speaker in your ears that says, “Yes, your 2 month-old is losing his f——-ng mind.”

The last point to note is that you cannot turn off the ANC technology altogether. That is, you’re either on ANC mode or you’re on hear-through mode. There’s no in between. But these little things have ceased to bother me. I have more important issues to deal with, like counting toilet paper plies.

Functionality

In this complicated world, I love to keep things simple. For this reason, I appreciate Audio-Technica’s decision to employ two simple buttons at the top of the earpieces that control all the functions. No annoying touchpad, no swiping left or right. Just some sensible, good ol’ fashioned buttons. Press the left button once, and you’ll switch between ANC and hear-through mode. Press it twice or thrice, and you’ll adjust the volume. Meanwhile, the right button controls play/pause, track skipping and call answering/ending.

Battery Life

Not particularly impressive in this department. But let’s be honest. Does anything really matter anymore? Listen, it’s a fine amount of battery life. Average. 4.5 hours of usage at a time. And another 13.5 hours of charge in the case. Compare this to Sennheiser’s latest true wireless model, which offers a total of 28 hours of use, and I think, “Hmm. I see why the Sennheiser model is so much more expensive.”

Waterproofness

The ATH-ANC300TW has an IPX2 rating. So, if you spill a little coffee on these buds, your world won’t end. However, if you wear them when you jump into the Hudson River with a ball and chain tied to your ankle, you can rest assured that you’ll be sh—t out of luck.

Call Clarity

Leave that Zoomaroke party and call you mother. Call clarity is fine. Not astounding. Like, I couldn’t hear the saliva moving on my mother’s tongue. But I did clearly hear her say, “I had oatmeal for breakfast at 8:30am instead of 8am because I had to help your father find the thermometer.”

Supported Codecs

iPhone users and Android users are all treated equally here. Which is more than I can say for our essential workers. The ANC300TW supports both aptX and AAC, in addition to SBC. But what the hell is SBC, anyway. It’s five o’clock somewhere. Remember when time was a thing? Let’s crack open a beer and put on a fresh pair of pajamas before we move on.

SOUND

Low Frequencies

I hear bass. It’s dry, it’s got grip. It’s generous but not overpowering. Pop music reveals some solid low-end oomph. Yet, string instruments, such as double basses don’t sound like bloated whales slowly dying on a polluted beach. The level of detail warrants the price tag. And I have to admit, I’m starting to have some fun, all sleeping pills aside.

Middle Frequencies

Ahh, is that the sound of a perfectly balanced midrange? Yes. The upper midrange avoids harshness or artificial emphasis, and the low mids are ever present, creating a warm and lush, comprehensive sound. Rock and pop-rock tracks with heavy instrumentation sound expansive and juicy. Indeed this is my favorite kind of balance. Easy on the ears and more full-bodied than my ass after this pandemic is over.

High Frequencies

Again, oh so sweet on the ears. No piercing violins or trumpets. But still snappy when listening to pop and funk tracks. Female vocals are smooth and more velvety than the cream cheese I’m currently making love to.

Soundstage

Big. Bigly. Perhaps the biggest soundstage in the history of mankind. Seriously, these things sound quite spacious for a pair of true wireless buds. And there’s even some dimension here too. You’ll hear a good deal of depth, and while the sense of height is not mind blowing, it’s certainly passable for a wireless headphone at this price point.

PROS and CONS

Pros: Effective ANC, sweet balance, easy to navigate controls, good fit, decent value for money.
Cons: Battery life could be longer.

SUMMARY

These ANC300TW earbuds are a pleasure to listen to. A warm and all-encompassing sound profile, comfortable to wear, and ANC technology that actually works to some extent. The price tag is also inoffensive. In these uncertain times, what the hell more do you want? Are these my favorite Audio-Technica earbuds to date? Yas queen.

You can find these earbuds for the best price here:

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC300TW at Audio 46

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC300TW on Amazon

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