First of all Id like to thank Headphones.com for the Earphones, I won them in the weekly giveaway and of course AudioTechnica.
I received them about a week ago, they arrived nicely packed, so no complains about that.
The IEMs have a very strong built quality, the exterior finish is nice and attractive with a brass like color, the cable is ok, but the way its coiled in the package makes it hard to manage once you start using them; its like it has a mind of its own.
The ATH-ANC23 has a control attached to the cable that houses the noise canceling circuit and it uses one AAA battery, this control is pretty simple, on and Off button, and a volume knob on the side and a clip on the back.
The package includes the IEMs, a battery, a small velour bag, a pair of foam tips, and silicon "olive" tips in small, medium and large sizes; and an airplane adapter.
First I want to point out that I'm not an IEM user, I really like full size headphones and I had 4 over the ears pairs, so this is my second pair of IEMs, of course besides the apple buds and so.
Putting things inside your ear canal can be tricky and some people don't like it, in my case Im not used to, but I can say that you can live with them, this is the first time I have them in my ears for more than 10 minutes and so far, they put some pressure on the ear canal specially on the right side, but only customs get rid of that issue. Maybe its my ear that has to get used to them.
I let them burn for about 40hrs using as source a MACBookPro-e7-MeierCorda-HeadFive setup. Just to be fair my pair of cans is a DT990s so you understand that I like bass and treble and it is my main reference for comparison.
The first thing I noticed is that this IEMs are midcentric, with very forward mids, too much for my taste, I found a hump on the 1khz to 3khz. They are clean but not as detailed as the mids in DT990s.
The Highs have some sibilance around 8k and I expected some grain but there is not, they have great extent. In some songs they can get kind of harsh.
Lows had great extension and quality too, but I felt it a bit bloated, it has punch and you can hear the lower end very clear, of course not with the punch of a full size can, but if they are correctly inserted in you ear canal, they have a very interesting frequency response.
I coincide with DavidMahler about the soundstage on this IEMs, is great, good imaging, you don't feel the sound behind your eyes, in fact is more like the singer is singing 2 inches in front of you, the center image is a bit diffuse but I've heard some closed cans that can't even compete with the ANC23's soundstage quality.
WOW! that resumes my experience with the isolation with this IEMs, in my case the Silicon "Olive" like tips isolated better than the foam tips. Im a frequent flyer, but I never thought of buying noise canceling HPs or IEMs, most of the flights I take are 2 hrs or shorter, so I really thought noise cancel was a luxury, I can wait 2 hrs to hear my music… OH I WAS SO WRONG!!!! as soon you turn on the noise cancel function the plane roar disappears, I did it first without music and you hear only a very low frequency hum, thats it… once you play some music the plane is completely gone, I mean TOTALY gone, the great thing is that you still can pick the voices in a low level, and the ability to turn the volume up or down with the knob on the side of the noise cancel unit is a great feature, the noise canceling is kept but the music goes up or down. I even took a trip to the plane's bathroom and let them on, without music cause my source was the macbookpro. I LOVE THEM… Im sure I wont fly again without them…
Great sound for the price
Amazing soundstage for an IEM
This is a great option for those who travel a lot, with little space and need really good isolation, you wont regret getting a pair of this IEMs.