We’ve taken a lot of Audio-Technica’s wireless products for test drives – outside of their gaming headsets that includes their ATH-CK3TW and CKS5TW true wireless earbuds. This time we’re looking at their noise canceling version – the ATH-ANC300TW. For the extra noise cancelling features the price is bumped up to $199.99, $100 higher than the CKS5TW’s at the Audio-Technica store. Before we dive into more details though, here’s a few of the specs:
- QuietPoint digital hybrid noise-cancelling technology
- Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity
- IPX2 drip-proof rating
- Built-in omni-directional mic
- 5.8 mm drivers, 20 – 25,000 Hz frequency response
- Flexible silicone and Comply foam eartips included
- Portable charging case
- Qualcomm cVc™ (Clear Voice Capture) technology
- Compatible with Qualcomm aptX audio, AAC, SBC
Design and Functionality
I expected these to be larger in size than the CK3’s due to the additional noise cancellation but I was pleasantly surprised. If they are larger it’s barely so – just circular instead of ovals with a subtle A-T logo on each. On the top of each earbud is a hard button for controls, and they sit snugly in the included magnetic USB-C charging case all of their earbuds do. The case has 3 LED pips to show you the charge level so you know where you’re at battery wise. The earbuds themselves can be charged to full in about an hour, and the case hits full charge in about 2.5, providing an advertised 18 hours to total charge, with the earbuds lasting 4.5 hours without needing to be put back in the case.
They’re not so big that they don’t fit your ears comfortably, and my ears run on the small side so that’s saying something. In addition to the four sizes of silicon tips in the box, there’s also a set of Comply memory foam tips which form to your ear with every use. We had no issue getting a snug and secure fit, and we found the included foam tips added some additional softness and a bit better comfort. And if you’ve used any set of earbuds before, you know that better fit means better sound.
The multifunction buttons on each ear are well placed and easy to get to without fumbling for them, and change function based on how many times you tap them. The right side is music control, letting you play/pause and switch tracks. The left side handles volume, and also allows you to change the noise-cancelling mode. If you’re using them with a phone you can also use the right side button to answer, hang up, and transfer the call to your mobile device. We far prefer this to the touch controls on the CK3TW’s, which could be triggered by sweat and mistouches.
As far as noise cancellation, the built-in microphone detects ambient noise and pushes a sound-cancelling signal automatically. You can switch this to quick hear-through mode, which focuses on voices and automatically decreases music volume when there’s someone talking. This mode is helpful when you’re on a flight or train or in an airport for example, so you can hear those announcements you generally miss with standard earbuds or headphones on.
Aesthetic-wise our only want was some color options. The the only color is a two-tone black/grey and the case is color matched – they’re fairly stylish but we would love to see a couple of other colors available – the CKS5’s were available in black, blue, and tan.
Sound and Performance
To test drive these I paired this with my Windows laptop and Samsung Note20 Ultra to use for phone calls / Zoom / Teams, and for music I went to one of the best places to test out noise cancellation and fit – the gym. Over the course of a couple of weeks these accompanied me as I did work in my fortress of swolitude in the noble quest for gains.
These really did make me realize how loud the gym actually is – these earbuds god rid of the heavy clank of weights, music pumping through the speakers in the ceiling, the sound of the cardio machines running, and all of the other general conversations going on. It let me hear my music and podcasts loud and clear without it being dulled by the outside world. The quick hear-through mode was great for when it seemed like someone was trying to talk to me, which in this scenario was just someone asking me how many sets I had left.
During all of the movement I didn’t have them fall out a single time – I did make a couple minor adjustments but that’s unavoidable, and the IPX2 drip-proof rating held up, with sweating not affecting my audio at all.
Overall I had no issues with calls or music, and the noise cancelling function worked for me pretty well. I tried using them for gaming and streaming and they technically they worked without issue. Trying them out with John Wick 3 and some secret unreleased PC games because I’m cool that way, we found the only downside was that it was a bit quiet in the low end to make action movies and games have that theater quality experience. For that though there’s always their G1 and G1WL headphones though, which you can read our take on here.
We love this set because it does specifically what it says. Not only does the ATH-ANC300TW provide great sound for music and calls, but the noise cancellation works well too. In our opinion they’re the best earbuds Audio Technica has put out, including current and retired models. You can pick them up at A-T and Amazon for $199 – that puts them at the same price point as Apple’s AirPod Max earbuds and slightly higher than Sony’s similar offerings, but we found they’re worth the price tag.
(Also as a note – the pretty model shown in the “Sound and Performance” section? Not me)