Audio Technica ATH-ANC3 Headphones Hands on Review

Audio Technica ATH-ANC3 | Jason S.

Audio-Technica offers exceptional noise cancellation ability with their travel-ready ATH-ANC3 QuietPoint® In-Ear Headphones.  Engineered for comfort, the ATH-ANC3s are designed to reduce background noise by 90% while providing superb sound quality. Before I get to whether or not they actually accomplish that goal, let’s talk more about the headphones.

The Audio Technica ATH-ANC3s compact in-ear buds are made with a firm yet flexible plastic so that they fit snugly into your ear without causing discomfort.  Typically, this level of noise reduction is limited to full-size ear cups, but the ATH-ANC3 dynamic headphones were designed specifically to block out ambient noises you experience when you’re traveling.

The headphones are equipped with a miniature microphone in each ear bud that picks up ambient noise while erasing background noise by creating a noise-canceling wave that is 180° out of phase with the ambient noise. What an amazing idea.  You’re left with only the sounds you want to hear – whether music or movies or conversation.

The ATH-ANC3s come with interchangeable ear buds in three different sizes for a custom fit, a two-pin airline adapter that connects to in-flight entertainment, a snap-on clamp which secures the headphones to your clothes, 3 AAA batteries (up to 50 hours of battery life) and a hard plastic carrying case that protects your headphones and accessories.

The noise cancellation feature is manually activated with an electronic control box so that you can use it or not at your own discretion. And it works well.

Now, the Audio Technica ATH-ANC3s retail for about $70 a pair, so this likely isn’t going to be a Dollar Store impulse buy.  Is the price justified?  Depends on where you will be using them.  The noise cancellation feature does work, but activating it causes a bit of distortion with your sound source.  Turning it off enables you to hear the sound just fine, but you’ll find that the sound quality you get is far less than what the retail price would have you believe it is.  I’d sooner go with larger headphones that do a fairly good job of isolating sound and stopping noise leakage for about $100 than to pay an extra $70 just because these are in-ear models and fit more easily into a handbag.

Audio Technica ATH-ANC3 With Case

It was a bold move for Audio-Technica to bring the ATH-ANC3s to market when they did, but for the price, they under perform a bit.  For true noise cancellation, you may want to go ahead and pick up full-size headphones.  Consider Denon AH-NC732s or Bose (LOVE Bose) QuietComfort 3s. Both sets of headphones will cost significantly more, but you’ll actually get what you pay for.