It’s been a bit of a wait, but finally, Brooklyn-based Status Audio has released its latest Active Noise Canceling earbuds. Founded in 2014 by James Bertuzzi, the company’s first earphones were the Between Pro. The company has announced the Between 3ANC, a pair of true wireless and noise-canceling earbuds with a premium finish and sound. Perhaps there’s something in the Brooklyn water, but the place is also home to Grado Labs, a family company in its third generation with a history of making excellent headphones.
Status Audio’s launch of the Between 3ANC earphones follows the success of the company’s Between Pro model, which was well received in 2020. The Between Pro launch raised over $1.4m on Indiegogo and now Status Audio has doubled down with these latest true wireless earphones, developed after feedback from the company’s loyal customer base.
The Between 3ANC earphones feature a powerful hybrid ANC (Active Noise-Canceling) system, including a transparency mode that’s handy when listening out for travel announcements while still enjoying music. The design has a smaller charging case than its predecessor, touch controls as well as the addition of tactile buttons for extra functions.
The wireless circuitry in the Between 3ANC is based on Bluetooth 5.2 and supports multipoint connectivity. The charging case can be topped up using USB-C or wireless charging; plus Status Audio has developed a smartphone app for customizing the Between 3ANC settings and updating the firmware. Finally, the Between 3ANC earphones are available in bone or onyx finishes.
These features are all fine and dandy, and they’re pretty much what you might expect from almost any pair of true wireless earbuds costing over $100. However, to make an impact these days, earphones need to offer something extra and that something extra is a special triple-driver system.
Instead of using a single driver to reproduce all the frequencies, from the lowest bass note to the tiniest cymbal tap, the Between 3ANC use a 10mm dynamic driver for the bass and midrange. Meanwhile, upper frequencies are reproduced using two balanced-armature drivers. These special miniature drivers are widely used in hearing aids because they make speech sound much clearer. Balanced armatures can reproduce treble frequencies with astonishing clarity and, when paired with a dynamic driver, you get a more coherent sound with a sharply focused soundstage.
Regarding noise canceling, Status Audio has employed a hybrid method of ANC that has six microphones to cancel out sound from the outside environment. The microphones can also monitor and subtract any external noise that makes it past the passive noise canceling offered by the Between 3ANC’s silicone ear tips. The result is an excellent level of active noise cancelation that makes the music sound better when turned on. There’s no reason why you would turn the ANC off unless you needed to save battery.
The Between 3ANC uses Bluetooth Version 5.2 and supports multipoint connectivity, meaning you can connect two devices to the earphones simultaneously. Why would you want to do that? Well, imagine you use a business phone for work calls, but you have your phone for personal calls or listening to music.
With multipoint connectivity, you can listen to your favorite music and then take a call from a friend. Meanwhile, your boss calls on your work phone. With multipoint connectivity, you can seamlessly switch back and forth between the two devices without any fuss. Multipoint connectivity means no pairing and re-pairing is needed.
The codecs supported by these earphones could be an Achilles Heel. Although SBC and AAC codecs are included, there’s no support for Qualcomm’s aptX Adaptive or LDAC. This omission seems a shame for earphones at this price level unless you’re an iPhone user. Apple iOS only supports AAC. Although AAC isn’t a bad codec, it can’t handle higher bit rates and resolutions like aptX Adaptive and LDAC. If you own a smartphone that supports hi-res audio over Bluetooth, such as one of the new Android phones with support for LDAC or Snapdragon Sound, you might want to consider a different model of earphone.
The design of the Status Audio Between 3ANC is quite beautiful. The earphones feel large but look great and are supplied with silicone ear tips and sleeves in various sizes, making the Between 3ANC incredibly comfortable to wear, even for lengthy listening sessions. The earpieces fit perfectly in the ears, but it’s a good idea to take time to fit the correct size of tip and sleeve to suit your ear size and shape.
Unusually, the Between 3ANC earphones have touch controls and physical buttons. The touch controls on each earpiece are for the usual things like adjusting volume, pausing, playing, or skipping tracks. The two clickable physical buttons (one on each earpiece) are used for ancillary functions like cycling through the ANC modes, triggering a voice assistant, checking battery power, plus turning the earphones off altogether. The controls can’t be customized but offer almost every function you could ever wish for.
The Status Audio smartphone app can also be used for toggling through the ANC functions, adjusting the EQ settings or selecting one of the preset sound signatures built into the app. There’s also a feature for applying firmware updates to the earphones.
In terms of stamina, a full charge of the Between 3ANC can deliver up to 12 hours of playing time with the ANC turned off. The charging case holds another three total charges, taking the maximum theoretical reserve power to 36 and 12 hours in the earphones. That’s 48 hours of total playtime before the case needs to be recharged.
Now we move on to the sound. These earphones benefit from the triple-driver array. The foundation provided by the dynamic driver is solid and has a beautifully deep bass and an open midrange that opens up vocals. Meanwhile, the two balanced armatures add real focus and precision to the overall sound without ever being scratchy or harsh. These earphones sound divine. I listened to Rhiannon Giddens’ new single “You’re The One” from her latest album Tomorrow Is My Turn.
While listening, I used the Status Audio app to switch the preset sound from Status Signature to Status Audiophile. The Signature preset is a bit boomy, while the audiophile setting cuts back on the lower end and slightly boosts the midrange. The balanced armature drivers bring out the tiny details in the recording, making for a soundstage that’s well-focused but not impossibly wide.
Verdict: The overall sound of the Status Audio Between 3ANC is beautifully balanced and can make almost any genre of music sound great. The sound has real depth and plenty of detail but is never harsh or uncontrolled. The other big plus with the Between 3ANC is the comfort. These are great earphones to wear. They sit in the ear perfectly and feel well-balanced. If you’re looking for an audiophile pair of earphones with class-leading ANC and all the controls you could ever want. The one drawback is the lack of support for aptX Adaptive or LDAC, which you might expect to see with a pair of earphones at this price. That said, if you are an iPhone user, the Status Audio Between 3ANC earphones are well worth a listen.
Pricing & Availability: The Status Audio Between 3ANC earphones are available now and cost $249.
More info: status.co
- Drivers: 10mm dynamic, 2 x balanced armature.
- Charging case included
- Waterproof rating: IPX-5.
- Charging method: USB-C / Wireless.
- Playtime: 8 hours (ANC on) / 12 hours (ANC off).
- Charging case capacity: 36 hours.
- Bluetooth version: 5.2.
- Audio codecs: SBC/AAC.
- Multipoint connectivity: Yes.
- Microphones: 6 x external.
- Frequency response: 5 – 25,000Hz
- Sound pressure level: 105dB SPL (1kHz / 1mW).