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Hybrid drivers, quirky looks, and a dynamic sound aren’t quite enough to distinguish the 3ANC.
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- Fitwings plus ear tips allow for a secure fit
- Dynamic and clear audio performance with the hybrid driver setup
- Good battery life and supports wireless charging
- ANC is not as effective as full-sized headphones
- No higher-quality Bluetooth codec support
- Quirky looks stick out from ears
- No wearing detection
Where to Buy
Status Audio, founded in 2014 in New York City, is the brainchild of James Bertuzzi, who oversees product development and manufacturing. They are a small audio company offering a few models of wireless IEMs and headphones.
The Between 3ANC are Status Audio’s foray into the higher-end, more feature-rich market of TWS IEMs. They still offer the Between Pro, which share the same hybrid dual-balanced armature plus 10mm dynamic driver setup as the 3ANC, for about half the price.
The 3ANC are more feature-rich, offering (unsurprisingly from their name) Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), multi-device pairing, and wireless charging.
The price tag (above USD$200) puts the 3ANC directly in competition with proven performers from Apple and Samsung. They are marketed by Status as providing superior sound, but can they deliver on this promise and distinguish themselves from the pack?
- Battery Life: Additional 24 hours of battery life with the case.
- Connector: USB-c, wireless
- Wireless Charging: Yes
- Battery Capacity: Not listed
The squat rectangular carrying case sports such welcome features as three front LEDS, an internal battery giving an additional 24 hours of playtime, and USB-c and wireless charging.
In addition to the USB port, the back side sports a reset button.
- Can be opened easily with one hand: Yes
- Pass the shake test: Yes
- Light indicators: 3 LEDs, display battery level, display charging status
The case is plastic, but the hinge is metal and feels unlikely to break. The unusually shaped IEMs sit deeply in the case and are securely held by magnets.
- Shape of the case: Flattened, rounded rectangle
- Material: Plastic
- Build Quality: Good
The hard brushed plastic is resistant to fingerprints. Status forgoes any prominent branding and includes only a squiggly line design on the top of the case.
- Weight: 63g (With earbuds inside)
- Volume: 68mm x 32mm x 30 = 65.3cm cu (3.98 in cu)
- Portability: Average
The wide layout of the IEMs means that the case is pretty bulky. It’s about as small as possible to contain them, yet remains reasonably pocketable overall.
- Battery Life: 8 hrs (ANC enabled), 12 hrs (ANC disabled)
- Charge Time (15mins): 2 hours
Since these are ANC headphones, as expected, the runtime with ANC enabled is significantly shorter than with it disabled (approximately 25% less).
The 8-12 hours of rated runtime is reasonably accurate, if somewhat generous, and should always be taken with a grain of salt as it depends on volume, Bluetooth codec, etc.
I can comfortably get a full day of work done with them in my ears.
- Control Mechanism: Buttons, touch
- Touch Accuracy: Good
- Control Symmetry on both earbud: Yes
- Mono Use: Yes
- No in-ear wearing detection to pause playback
The control scheme combines buttons (located on the top of each IEM) and touch controls. The buttons work well, as the shape of the IEM allows the user to squeeze the top and bottom simultaneously.
The button controls allow the user to select ANC/Transparency (single push), voice assistant (double push), battery status (triple push), and power on/off (hold button). The buttons on both sides work the same.
The touch controls allow the user to play/pause (single tap), back/forward skip (left/right side double tap), call answer/end (either side double tap), and lower/raise volume (left/right side hold).
The voice prompts are a somewhat bored-sounding male voice plus chime sounds for ANC or Transparency mode selection.
The lack of wearing detection to pause playback when removed from the ear is a disappointment.
- Profile: High
- Material: Plastic, metal
- Comfort: Good
- Fit: Good
The 3ANC come in two colorways Onyx (black) and Bone (off-white, as tested). The IEMs have a unique L-shape with a flat metal part that extends downward from the ear. They use a rubber ‘fitwing’ and a standard ear tip on the ear side to achieve a proper fit.
There are three sizes of fitwings and tips included in the box.
The shape of the 3ANC means that they protrude quite a bit from the ear, and coupled with the shiny silver metal sleeves, they look a little odd. Not my favorite visual design, anyways. However, the unusual shape does fit comfortably and securely in the ear and is up to moderate exercise without any fear of them popping out.
- Noise Cancellation: Good
- Voice Pick-up: Average
The 3ANC boast six microphones (3 per earbud) and, according to the marketing, “unparalleled call quality.” In a quiet environment, the microphones sound great. In a noisy environment, environmental sounds are effectively negated between words, but voice quality suffers due to obvious muffling and break up.
- Driver: Hybrid triple driver: 2 balanced armature, 1 10mm dynamic driver
- Sound Signature: V-shaped
- Bass: Good
- Mids: Average
- Treble: Good
- Sound Detail: Good
Status Audio stresses that they have built on the “award-winning triple driver acoustic system of the Between Pro, with subtle tuning refinements for increased color and clarity.” The hybrid setup uses a single 10mm dynamic driver paired with two BA drivers per side.
The result is a fun v-shaped sound profile with excellent clarity and strong bass. The exact sonic flavor depends significantly on the EQ sound profiles selected in the companion app.
The default EQ setting is ‘Status Signature,’ which yields a boosted upper midrange and more mid-bass oomph. It reminds me of an old-school stereo with the ‘loudness’ button engaged and is my favorite setting of the bunch.
The ‘Status Audiophile’ setting is far sonically flatter with less body. The ‘Original Between Pro’ setting boosts treble frequencies and sounds very bright.
With the ‘Status Signature’ EQ setting, the bass is reasonably boosted, and this emphasis gives a fun sound with pop, rock, and EDM. It’s enjoyment over accuracy, and I can’t fault this sort of consumer tuning in a pair of ANC TWS.
For those who want to tone it down, the ‘Status Audiophile’ setting takes a step back and sounds more natural and balanced with folk, jazz, and the like.
Although the bass is boosted, it stays in control and avoids sounding boomy or muddy.
The midrange sits behind the frequency extremes in the v-shaped pair, but some midbass adds weight to the vocals. There is a touch too much upper midrange for my tastes, and voices and instruments can start to sound slightly nasal and harsh. Overall the midrange is acceptable but nothing special.
The zingy treble frequencies add a sense of air and clarity to the 3ANC. The dual BA setup is likely responsible for the overall feeling of enhanced resolution and dynamics. If you crave sparkly treble, you’ll find much to like in the 3ANC.
Status Audio lists the noise cancellation performance as -38db. In practice, the ANC works decently but is less effective than full-sized ANC headphones such as the Dyson Zone, Sony WH-1000XM5, or Sennheiser Momentum 4. The 3ANC do the best at blocking droning lower frequency engine noises, while voices and higher pitched sounds are reduced but can be heard.
The Transparency mode is appreciated but sounds unnatural.
With audio paused, I find the ANC mode imparts a feeling of pressure, which I don’t like, so I appreciate that ANC can be turned off when it is not required.
- Audio Codec: SBC, AAC
- Bluetooth Version: 5.2
- Auto-connect when: Removed from the case
- Average drop-outs in an hour: 1-2 times
- Multi-point connection: Yes
Bluetooth performance is what I expect for a pair of TWS IEMs. The stability and range are good. Since only the AAC and SBC codecs are supported, latency may be an issue for streaming video if you are sensitive to such things.
- IP Rating: IPX-5
An IPX-5 rating means that the 3ANC are suitable for exercise but not for swimming.
The Between 3ANC app is basic but functional. It shows battery levels for both IEMs and software versions. It allows toggling ANC on/off and Transparency mode (Ambient Sound Mode), as well as the EQ settings (3 presets plus an 8-band custom EQ).
The Between 3ANC are very decent options in the ANC TWS market. I’m not a massive fan of their offbeat looks, but their fit and performance make up for this nitpick.
The hybrid driver setup makes for an energetic and dynamic listening experience and should please most fans of a consumer v-shaped tuning. Unfortunately, the limited Bluetooth audio codec support may turn off any audiophiles they are trying to attract.
In the end, the 3ANC duke it out in a super-competitive market with the Apple and Samsung heavyweights. What they do, they do well, but I’m not sure if it’s enough to capture consumer attention.
AAC support makes them more suitable for iPhones than Android devices limited to SBC or substandard AAC connections. However, consumers deciding to buy a non-Apple product and forgoing the H2 chipset found in the AirPods makes purchasing the 3ANC a compromise. Compared to the Samsung or Apple competition, the 3ANC are a tough sell.