First of all Id like to thank Headphones.com for the IEMs, I was the lucky and happy winner of the weekly giveaway a couple months ago and of course AudioTechnica.
I received them about a couple weeks 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 and finally it is a bit noisy the microphonics are very present.
The ATH-ANC23 has a control attached to the cable that houses the noise canceling circuit and one AAA battery, this control is pretty simple, On and Off button, and a volume knob on the side and a belt 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 connector 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 earbuds and so.
Putting things inside your ear canal can be tricky and some people don't like it, in my case I'm 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 custom IEMs get rid of that issue. Maybe is my ear that has to get used to them.
I let them burn for about 40hrs using my office system a MACBookPro - FiiOe7 - MeierCorda HeadFive (only 500 were made). Just to be fair my main pair of cans are 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 from Head-Fi and Headphones.com 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 TOTALLY gone, the great thing is that you still can pick the voices around you but 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'll never fly again without them…
Great sound for the price
Amazing soundstage for an IEM
This is a great option for the frequent traveler, they take very little space and have really good isolation, you wont regret buying a pair of this IEMs.