Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro TWS headphones Test

 Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro TWS headphones test

Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro TWS headphones Test

I tested the Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro headphones exactly a year ago - and I still remember them. Because few people could offer such sound quality in this price range. And if you add to this a sound calibration system for specific ears, which really works, unlike some others, the headphones become completely unique.

The only thing they lacked in line with current trends was noise cancellation. But in the next generation model - Liberty 3 Pro - this moment was corrected.

Anker, of which Soundcore is a subsidiary, continues to grow rapidly in the field of audio devices. Traditionally, those who actually work with music were involved in the creation of Liberty 3 Pro, so the word “Pro” in the title is quite out of place. 20 Grammy-nominated producers acted as a focus group - like last time, they promise an honest-studio sound. But with additional features.

Pebbles from another galaxy

Headphones still look alien - they have a rounded, pleasant case, similar to pebbles, with a neatly sliding lid. Light bulbs were added to the case: the LEDs are inside the headphone seats. Transparent ear cushions beautifully diffuse light, adding to the futuristic feel.

Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro TWS headphones test

The headphones are attached to their seats on magnets - the bulbs light up only when there is contact. And this is an excellent indicator, because in my test sample, for example, the left earpiece did not fit correctly the first time into the recess prepared for it - and, accordingly, did not charge. And due to the LED indication, I could immediately understand that it was somehow wrong - and quickly fix it.

The magnets on the headphones are of different polarity, so they can be hooked to each other if you don’t want to put them in a case. There are several color options: I had a bluish-silver, but there is also a pale lilac, black and white. 

The batteries of the headphones will last for eight hours of continuous operation - in my case it was more like seven and a half. The case will give the headphones three more full charge cycles. It's IPX4 water and sweat resistant, just like the Liberty 3 Pro, so you can play sports and run in the rain with peace of mind.

Headphone cases have an unusual multi-stage shape, which resembles a tower of the same pebbles. The lowest “pebble” is the wide and flat main part of the headphones. It has a hole covered with a mesh on the outside and a touch panel decorated with the brand's logo.

A silver stripe runs along the end, separating the outer glossy part, covered with transparent plastic, from the velvety matte one. On the sidewall there are contact pads for recharging.

Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro TWS headphones test

Next, the second structural element is attached - a hemisphere, on which the intra-ear silicone spacers are pulled. On the outer side of the hemisphere, on a small step, a sensor blackens, with the help of which the headphones determine whether they are inserted into the ear or not. It is for this step that the ear struts are attached.

From the hemisphere - like a pipe of a huge telescope - a sound guide protrudes. It is highlighted with glossy plastic in the color of the body and decorated with a small engraving.

By the way, the ear pads are unusual: they are not just silicone - they snap into place on the sound guide using a special plastic ring. It will be easy to choose the right ones - there are already four pairs of them in the kit, plus the same number of intra-ear spacers. If you suddenly lose your native ear pads, you don’t have to be upset: the usual ones, without a plastic ring, sit quite firmly on the sound guide, so you can find a replacement.

Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro TWS headphones test

The headphones are quite large, but if you choose the right spacers and ear cushions, their dimensions are not felt at all. What's more, Soundcore also shows you how to put on the headphones correctly: first insert vertically into the ear, and then rotate a little so that the spacer fits exactly in the desired cavity of the shell. Everything seems to be intuitive, but the developers decided to duplicate this moment with pictures - both on the box with the headphones itself and in the application.

In general, Soundcore was very respectful of inattentive users: each spacer is signed with an alphanumeric index indicating size and channel. The standard ones are R2 and L2, right and left spacers of the second size. There are two more smaller pairs (0 and 1) and one larger one - also with symbols embossed on the sides. And the ear pads are also numbered.

Customize everything you can

The main feature of the Soundcore headphones from this series is in the emitter. This is ACAA's proprietary coaxial design - Astria Coaxial Acoustic Architecture - embodied in the second generation.

This coax is not simple, but hybrid: dynamic and armature drivers are coaxially located in it. That is, not only does the system play like a small two-band, but also with a perfectly matched phase in a point source format.

High frequencies are handled by Knowles armature, specially commissioned by Soundcore, while a large 10.6 mm driver plays the mids and lows. The sound guide hole is covered with a plate resembling a turbine impeller.

Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro TWS headphones test

From a connectivity point of view, the headphones make it possible to fully appreciate the features of such a sophisticated design: they use Bluetooth 5.2 and support the LDAC codec, and even have Hi-Res Audio certification.

However, one of the most striking features of the Liberty 2 Pro was sound customization, and it carried over to the next generation of headphones - albeit in a slightly modified form.

The test itself in the Soundcore application is a little different - you need to press the button if you hear a sound of a certain frequency, gradually becoming less and less loud. However, in my case, the test results were not the most interesting: I heard all the sounds, and therefore the headphones did not correct the frequency response for me.

If you wish, you can also adjust the sound with an equalizer, choosing either one of the 22 presets available, or manually setting the sliders - eight bands are available. When using codecs other than LDAC, the 3D sound function appears. It adds a little reverberation to the melody, slightly lengthens the overtones and deepens the midbass, creating the illusion of volume - with it, the AAC codec sounds noticeably livelier and more cheerful.

However, the headphone customization does not end with the frequency response. You can also adjust the amount of noise reduction in the Soundcore app. This is also a small test that needs to be carried out in the most noisy environment - I stood next to a flyover under construction and received a maximum of 79 dB of roar. The headphones listen to the environment, correlate external noise with what the microphones already inside the ear pick up, and calibrate the system depending on the result.

And the effect turns out to be interesting: the low-frequency noise practically disappears, decreases to the level of a barely noticeable peripheral hum, but the mid frequencies, where voices dominate, become brighter against this extinct background, although they practically do not change themselves.

It turns out a kind of hybrid system of noise reduction and noise transmission. Perhaps if testing is carried out in some crowded cafe, the votes will be extinguished much more efficiently - but I could not find such a location, so I stopped at a construction site.

A system that dampens wind noise has been put on a separate switch in the settings - and it works. In many headphones with active noise cancellation, the wind blows mercilessly into the microphones, which noticeably spoils the sound experience - and if this problem is usually solved by the correct design of the case, then here the developers also rely on electronics.

The noise reduction system has two modes: in one it automatically selects the degree of noise reduction, in the other it offers to set it manually. The intelligence of the headphones does a good job of assessing the environment: after all, information comes from six microphones.

But the most striking moment in the settings concerns not the sound, but the control. I have never seen such flexible customization of gestures in any headphones. The Liberty 3 Pro has four options for pressing the headphones: short single, double, triple, and hold for three seconds. And for each of these actions for each earpiece, you can configure a specific command - a total of eight comes out.

I followed the proven path: a single touch on the right earpiece plays the role of a pause, a double one turns on the next track, a long hold switches the noise reduction modes. From the left earpiece, I turned down the volume with a single touch, added it with a long press, and launched the previous song with a double tap. I refused the triple taps.

The sensor felt great in 15-degree frost - it reacted instantly to finger touches, did not confuse double clicks with single ones and did not require deep pressing of the headphones. The main thing is not to get confused in management.

Two-in-one, but different

In the Liberty 2 Pro, I really liked the two-in-one effect, which was achieved by switching between the standard sound and tuned to my ears. Here, too, you can do this by turning noise reduction on and off.

In the standard version, the sound is similar in character to that of the Liberty 2 Pro, but with more drive - it is thick and dark in a good way. Not enough to hide all the details, but enough to add a perky mass.

The lingering Morcheeba, the funky soundtrack to “Super Crooks” by Towa Tei, the oppressive dark jazz in this mode sound amazing: they envelop, immerse themselves in themselves, lock them together with the performers in one small room, make them a participant in those events and part of those feelings that are laid in tune.

This sound twists intimacy to the maximum level, does not allow you to escape from the dialogue with the musicians, forces you to hear and feel every slightest detail - and you don’t want to resist this. Enveloping, the sound does not press at all - it becomes a cozy feather bed, a heavy blanket, from under which one does not want to crawl out.

Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro TWS headphones test

But the plus is that you can still get out - just turn on noise reduction. And this is the most unusual moment. Most often, noise-canceling headphones, on the contrary, lock the music deeper, reduce the stage, move the performers closer, but Soundcore has the opposite effect.

The walls are breaking down, the stage goes on - not to infinity, but diligently strives for it. The basses subside a little and the overtones shorten, the midbass loses its share of funk enthusiasm, and voices, strings, keys and gentle high-frequency modulations come to the fore. 

Soft synthpop, non-noir retrowave variations, Madonna, Idem, anything with a slow and beautiful piano are ideal options for this mode. At the same time, the hard Noisia sounds great: the meat becomes a little less, the effect of the wall of sound that floods everything around becomes less pronounced, and it is possible to immerse yourself in the music more consciously. The ball begins to be ruled by small overtones and details that stand out favorably against the background of a less dense, but clearer substrate.

Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro TWS headphones test

As a result, the first hours after tuning pass in an endless enumeration of these modes and in an attempt to understand which one is better - the one that gives the compositions more space, allowing you to take the position of an outside observer, or the one in which you are in the thick of things.

But you can't choose: both work out their characters to the fullest, suit one or another track, one or another mood. Is that the mode with noise reduction also turns off the outside world - and this is a great bonus.

All this applies both when listening with the LDAC codec and with AAC - except that with AAC the sound seems to be generally more empty and simple. But the effect between modes is preserved. Perhaps I was lucky with the setting, and those who calibrate the noise reduction in other conditions will get a different effect.

And yes: the background noise that interfered with the Liberty 2 Pro has been virtually eliminated in the new generation.

Not evolution, but development

It's hard to make good headphones even better, but Soundcore did it. The Liberty 3 Pro is a significant step up from the last generation, and that goes for everything.

They have even more settings, which allows you to get exactly the sound from the headphones that suits a particular user, taking as a base a funky, perky and at the same time detailed character that goes a little into the dark.

Ergonomics has become much friendlier to different ears - the struts seem to have softened, the cases themselves seem to have lost a little weight and do not stick out so much, and the transparent plate on the outer panel gives the design visual harmony. The control setup is the most detailed of those that I have met, and this is a huge plus.

Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro TWS headphones test

Noise reduction works quite peculiarly and, perhaps, does not reach the top representatives - but Liberty 3 Pro cost one and a half to two times less. And besides, in addition to turning off the background rumble, noise reduction gives another advantage - the second version of the sound character.

And this variety is one of the best features of the headphones. I want something thick, noir, dense - please. I want open spaces and breathtaking keys - no problem. One touch of the earpiece (or the screen in the app) and the world changes. 

The bundle has become a little simpler - there are not seven pairs of ear pads, but only four. But at the same time, Liberty 3 Pro is devoid of the shortcomings that I noticed in the second model - and, on the plus side, they are endowed with a bunch of advantages.

ADVANTAGES

Lively and detailed, albeit a little dark sound, a detailed, convenient and working sound calibration and noise reduction system that dampens noise reduction well, support for the LDAC codec, wide control options, solid equipment, price

FLAWS

None at this price

OFFICIAL SITE

Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro

Specs Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro

Headphone type: in-ear, completely wireless

Driver type: ACAA 2.0 coaxial driver (Astria Coaxial Acoustic Architecture), consisting of a dynamic diameter of 10.6 mm and custom reinforcement from Knowles

Frequency response: 20 Hz - 20 kHz

Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2, SBC, AAC and LDAC codecs, support for simultaneous connection to two sources

Battery life: earbuds up to 8 hours, case up to 24 hours, quick charge for 15 minutes provides 3 hours of use, supports Qi wireless charging

Microphones: six microphones

Additionally: support for voice assistants, sound calibration system, four pairs of ear pads and four pairs of in-ear spacers included, IPX4 protection

Weight: headphones - 8 g each, case (with headphones) - 58 g

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