loading
loading

Dark or Light
logo
Logo

Status Audio Between 3ANC True Wireless Earbuds Review

Christopher Coke Posted:
Category:
Hardware Reviews 0

Status Audio is out to do things different. For one, they’re all over social media, talking about how their approach to true wireless earbuds is new and redefines the sound quality you can expect. They’re earnest. Their ads aren’t super flashy. Instead they get right into the brass tacks of the earbuds’ design and what sets them apart. It gets right to the heart of why you might want the Between 3ANCs instead of the competition. 

And you know what? It works. When the company reached out to us to see if we’d like to take a look and try a pair for ourselves, I was especially excited. Would they live up to the hype? 

In fact, they do. Mostly. The combination of two balanced armatures and a dynamic driver in each earbud, paired with effective mid-frequency ANC perfect for office and school settings, makes these a compelling buy. But they’re not perfect. At $249, they’re an expensive set that goes toe-to-toe with the biggest players in the industry in some ways and falls short in others. We’d recommend picking them up on sale, but they’re still a good set that’s worth considering if you can find them at a good price.

Specifications

Current Price: $248.99 (Amazon

Status Audio Between 3ANC - First Impressions and Key Features 

The Between 3ANC is the flagship pair of true wireless earbuds from Status Audio. It’s the successor to the Between Pro, which was released in 2021 and was claimed to be the first pair of triple-driver true wireless earbuds. That same design has been carried through to the 3ANC, adding redefined sound and active noise cancelation.

The earbuds are unique in more ways than one. Starting with their look, they abandon the usual bud and stem design popularized by the Apple Airpods and its countless followers.  Instead, the faces are rectangular, trimmed with glossy metal rings on the bottom half and plastic on the top half. The flip side features a cylinder which widens out before tapering into the nozzles you’ll insert into your ear. It’s a love it or hate it design, but in a world of “me too” earbuds, it’s nice to see the 3ANCs breaking the mold.

Internally, they also set themselves apart with a driver arrangement usually reserved for wired in-ear monitors (IEMs). While most true wireless earbuds use a single dynamic driver for all of the frequencies, the 3ANCs derive their name from the three separate drivers the work collectively to deliver your music. The bass is handled by the dynamic driver. The mids and highs are split between two balanced armatures. These tiny speakers are typically found in hearing aids (and audiophile IEMs) and, as Status makes clear in its advertising, were chosen hear to add clarity and detail to the listening experience. 

Out of the box, they deliver a weighty listening experience that isn’t short on detail. The dynamic driver is bold and boomy, really filling out the low end in bass-heavy songs. The BAs are right in the nozzle and make sure that the upper mids and treble are still crisp and clear. It’s not quite a have your cake and eat it too scenario without delving into the app, but the sound signature is notably clearer than many mainstream buds. And if you do play with the app’s different EQ settings, you can pull a great, balanced sound from them. 

The other part of the name comes from the new active noise cancellation tech present in these buds. Using its array of six microphones (three on each earbud), they deliver a hybrid ANC solution that’s able to block out up to 38dB of noise. It works quite well, but not in the way you might expect. While most ANC solutions focus on the lower frequencies typical of engines and motors, the Between 3ANC focuses more on the middle frequencies common to school and office settings. Voices, keyboards, PC fans are all caught in its net. 

The active noise cancellation is quite good at filtering out these noises, but total reduction doesn’t lead the current crop of TOTL true wireless earbuds. Sony and Bose still rule the roost, but the 3ANCs join a growing class of still-great ANC earbuds, like the NuraTrue Pros we reviewed in January. If you do need ANC for your commute, however, you might find yourself wishing they blocked out a little bit more of the lower end of the frequency spectrum.

The microphone array can also be reversed to engage Transparency Mode. Rather than take the buds completely out, you can simply tap the button on the top of either earbud and pipe in the outside world. It’s clear, though a bit thin, and works well for quick conversations or when you need situation awareness. 

The buds feature impressive battery life, which Status quotes at eight hours with ANC on and 12 hours with it off. The buds get quite loud, so you won’t need to crank the volume and cut that battery quote too short either. In my testing, eight hours with ANC enabled was actually pretty spot on! The case is also good for 2-3 full recharges. When the case does run dry, you can charge them wirelessly using a standard Qi charger or the included USB Type-C cable. 

Status has also put effort into making sure these buds offer a snug comfortable fit even with their unique design. There are small, medium, and large silicone eartips in the box, as well as three sizes of silicone Fitwings. These Fitwings are small sleeves that fit over the body of each bud, giving it a bit more grip in your ear. Given their design and multi-driver configuration, they are a bit bulky and will stick out of your ears some (there’s a reason most of the pictures are taken from the side in the marketing material). It’s not terrible, and they stay in place well, but they’re not as low profile as I expected just looking at pictures online. 

Since they stay in place well, they’re a good choice for active wear. If you like to listen to music while working out, these should stay in place and not fall out mid-run. They’re also IPX5 dust and water resistant, which means they can withstand gentle sprays of water. Sweat and even mild rain shouldn’t be an issue for these buds. 

Call quality is also decent and blocks out a substantial amount of background noise. My callers were able to hear me clearly, but in test recordings, there’s definitely a bit of compression being applied, so aren’t the most natural I’ve tested for MMORPG.com. They work though, and can be used reliably in a variety of noisy environments without fear. 

The buds are controlled using a mic of button and capacitive touch controls. Each bud has a single button on the top while the face of each is also touch sensitive. The physical buttons can be tapped up to three times to change ambient noise modes, summon your virtual assistant, check battery status, and power the buds on and off. Touch, on the other hand, control track navigation, call management, and can be held to raise or lower the volume.

The sound of the buds can be controlled using the Status Audio app. The app is relatively simple, offering basic toggles for ANC and transparency mode, as well as the ability to choose from three EQ presets: Status Signature (V-shaped), Status Audiophile (Balanced), and Original Between Pro (Warmer V-shaped). These three tunings each offer a unique sound signature that has a big impact on the overall sound you’ll enjoy. You can also dial in your own eight band EQ if you’d rather tune the buds yourself.

The app is otherwise pretty sparse. There’s no way to remap controls, no ANC or Ambient Sound Mode level control, no tutorial, or much else at all. The only other functionality it offers is the ability to update its firmware.

The buds are also sparse in other areas. There’s no wear detection, for example, which is a staple feature at this price point. There’s no fast charging either, which is a pain if you happen to run the buds dry before the end of your day. There is also no support for high res codecs like aptX or LDAC, which is quite surprising for a set that prides itself so much on its sound quality. Does this make a big difference? Not really. But it’s still an odd and relatively big omission for a flagship pair of true wireless earbuds. You won’t want to use these for gaming as there’s no built-in low latency mode. 

On the plus side, they do support multipoint connectivity with up to two devices and it worked quite well to reliably switch back and forth between the two. 

Status Audio Between 3ANC - Listening Impressions 

The Status Audio Between 3ANC have a V-shaped tuning that caters to mainstream preferences, but balances that with enhanced clarity and detail in the mids and highs. It’s playing to a middle-ground between bass-centric mainstream buds and the type of tuning music enthusiasts might enjoy. It works well, overall, and EQ presets with the app let you dial it in to your own taste. 

My impressions below are based upon the default tuning within the app. It’s important to note, however, that the drivers built into the 3ANC are very capable, and with a custom or preset EQ can accommodate many different tastes. 

With the default EQ, the 3ANC delivers powerful bass that may be too much for some. The way that Status Audio has balanced that (bumping the treble) can also sound a bit too hot. Yet, with a different EQ preset or custom curve, you can tame both. The Audiophile EQ, for example, pushes the sound much closer to a place of balance and sounds the best to my ear. Your taste may be different, but this set is resilient enough to accommodate many different tastes with just a little effort on your end to tailor the sound. 

These are my thoughts using the out-of-the-box, no-app-necessary sound:

Bass: The bass on the Between 3ANC is powerful and punchy. It reaches low and offers a good amount of rumble as a result. This makes them a good fit for mainstream pop and hip-hop. The bass tends to encroach on the mids but doesn’t sound muddy or remove detail thanks to the two balanced armatures integrated into its design. Bass isn’t the most detailed, nor is it the fastest I’ve heard in true wireless earbuds, but it’s decent and sounds good.

Mids: The mids are well done overall. Vocals pop forward in the mix but don’t sound shouty. I especially like the sound of crunchy electric guitars in this region. There’s an edge that gives them bite without sounding harsh. There’s a resonance and depth in the mids that I really like, especially with atmospheric genres like chillstep. 

Treble: The highs on this set are quite good. There’s an emphasis in the treble region to bring out extra clarity and detail and the balanced armatures do a good job of realizing that frequency response. At times, guitars and strings can sound a bit sharp, though it’s not something I found grating and wasn’t sibilant. Just a note if you’re a treble-sensitive listener. Pianos sound beautiful on the Between 3ANC, as do acoustic and orchestral songs. I’m overall pleased with the tuning of the highs and the way they crystallize the sound. It’s a good balance for the strong lows. 

Technical Performance, Soundstage, and Imaging: The technical performance on the Between 3ANC is right on par with the competition at this price. The soundstage doesn’t sound artificially closed in, though is expectedly closer in than over-ear headphones. Compared to competitors like the Sony WF-1000XM4 and the NuraBuds Pro, they fall right in line, which is good for the price. The same is true of layering and imaging. You’re not sacrificing anything here compared to Sony, Bose, or Nura.

Gaming: The Status Audio Between 3ANC are not good gaming earphones. There is not low latency mode and there is noticeable audio-visual delay when connecting with a PC. Mobile gaming on Android is a bit better, so casual gaming is still on the table, but PC and console gaming aren’t great options here. 

Overall Impressions and Final Thoughts

The Status Audio Between 3ANC are very good. The out of the box sound signature isn’t going to be for everyone, but by playing with the different EQ options, it’s resilient enough to fit many different tastes and sound good doing it. The ANC is also well suited for office settings as it focuses more on middle frequencies than pure rumbly lows. I wish that it had a low latency mode for gaming and that they were a bit more low profile, but Status Audio is onto something with these earbuds. 

At just under $250, they’re coming up against some of the best buds in the business. Those other buds, for the most part, don’t require tweaks to balance out their sound. Most of the competition also supports at least one high-resolution codec, while the 3ANC doesn’t support any. That makes them a harder sell at the current price. While I like them quite a bit, I would recommend waiting for a sale before pulling the trigger on these. 

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes. Articles may include affiliate links from which we may earn a small commission to help support the site. Authors do not earn affiliate revenue or commissions.          

7.0Good
Pros
  • Unique design
  • Great sound quality
  • ANC fit for school and the office
  • Great battery life
  • Easy to use, reliable controls
Cons
  • No LDAC or aptX HD
  • No low latency gaming mode
  • Design may be off-putting for some users
  • Missing features like fast charging and wear detection


GameByNight

Christopher Coke

Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight