Headphones are supposed to let you listen without all the ‘blah blah’ that’s going on around you, but like hell you’re going to lug around one of those big-assed headphones that make you look like a geek on goofballs when wearing them.
The answer is noise-cancellation. Specifically ear buds that have microphones built-in like these Audio-Technica’s do. Those mics listen to what’s going on around you and then create a counter-sound that neutralizes the outside noise. You won’t mind sticking these in your ear either, because there’s three sets of interchangeable soft earpieces, so one will fit well.
With these, you do have to get used to the credit card-sized control that rides the audio cord — a bit bulky if you’re not used to it. The clothing clip will keep it from flapping around. The single “AAA” battery doesn’t add enough weight to make a difference and should last more hours than you can count. Even when it runs out of juice, the ‘buds will keep on working, just without the tech or volume control.
So what about the drivers in these ‘buds? I can’t say they’re the best of the best — they’re not priced like it — but the mids and highs were distinct and clear (tracks really show off stereo, btw). The bass wasn’t down to the basement but it was better than adequate. My biggest thumbs-up is that you can hear just how crappy low-res MP3s come off. That’s due to the 20-20,000 Hz range for those who care about such things — and you should.
CLICK HERE TO BUY THE ATH-ANC23 ($54.99)