Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro ANC Headphones Review
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The Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds are the follow-up to the Liberty 2 Pro from a couple of years ago. How do they compare and are there any news features that are worth the upgrade? Let’s break it all down.
We saw a big leap forward in sound quality for Soundcore with the Liberty 2 Pro, thanks in part to their Astria Coaxial Acoustic Architecture (ACAA). This allows Soundcore to deliver a wider soundstage and greater detail in your music.
Soundcore has improved this even further in the 2nd generation of their ACAA that is included in the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds. This brings even more detail and less distortion in sound to push the sound quality even further.
How does this work in the real world? I’m not an audiophile, but I did listen carefully between the Liberty 2 Pro and Liberty 3 Pro and could notice a slightly stronger bass and more separation in the sound, but unless I was specifically listening for it, I probably wouldn’t have noticed. So I’m sure audiophiles will appreciate the new architecture and improved sound performance, but for the casual listener, you will likely be perfectly content with the Liberty 2 Pro.
At any rate, the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds sound amazing, and the Soundcore app allows you to tweak the equalizer settings as you see fit. Soundcore Hear ID feature is also included with these earbuds, which will perform a sort of “hearing test” with you and adjust the sound quality to be fine-tuned to your ears.
While the earbuds performed very well, I did notice an occasional Bluetooth interruption, especially when near my router. This makes sense since WiFi and Bluetooth can use the same frequency, but it seemed to occur in areas where it did not occur on my Apple AirPods Pro.
Active Noise Cancellation in the Liberty 3 Pro
One of the biggest new features — and probably the main reason to upgrade from the Liberty 2 Pro — is the inclusion of Active Noise Cancellation in the Liberty 3 Pro earbuds. This allows you to block out the outside world and listen to your music and podcasts at a comfortable volume.
I tested this feature by turning up my white noise machine close to its max volume to help simulate the “hum” of an airplane. While it did not completely eliminate the sound of my white noise machine (and, to be fair, nor did my Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphones), it reduced it by probably about 70-80% so that I could listen to my music without cranking up the volume to compensate. I found the performance to be similar to my Apple AirPods Pro. The Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II headphones did a slightly better job an eliminating the sound, but they are much larger in size and fit over the whole ear. As a compact “on-the-go” option, the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds do a great job with Active Noise Cancellation and can easily fit in your pocket.
Soundcore takes Active Noise Cancellation a step further by implementing their Hear ID technology to adjust the Active Noise Cancellation to your environment. Again, the Hear ID performs a sort of “hearing test” to gauge the sound outside of your ears against the sound making it into your ear canal, and suggests an Active Noise Cancellation mode to offset it.
Soundcore has included a “Transparency Mode” feature that allows you to hear what is going on around you without removing the earbuds. This works well, but it’s not quite as natural sounding when compared to my Apple AirPods Pro. However, I’m still able to have a conversation without needing to remove the earbuds.
Thanks to Astria Coaxial Acoustic Architecture v2.0, Soundcore has reduced the size of the sound components by about 33%, resulting in an even more streamlined earbud. The Liberty 3 Pro earbuds are a little smaller than the Liberty 2 Pro and, in turn, the case is more compact as well.
I’m glad Soundcore kept the same “slide” design on the case. When you slide the door open, the earbuds power on and start pairing with your phone. By the time you put them in your ear, they’re probably already paired to your phone.
Inside the case, there are two white LEDs under the Liberty 3 Pro earbuds that create a cool lighting effect. This also makes it easier to grab the earbuds in the dark.
The earbuds themselves sport a shinier exterior with gold-colored ear tips. There is no “stem” on the earbuds which makes them a little more discreet than the Apple AirPods. I found the out-of-the-box fittings to be fine for me, but there are several other ear tips and wings to play around with if you do not find them comfortable at first.
Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro Features
- Active Noise Cancellation: As noted earlier, the Liberty Pro 3 earbuds include Active Noise Cancellation that can be controlled either within the Soundcore app, or configured as a touch button press on either earbud (be default, holding down either earbud for 2 seconds will cycle between Noise Cancellation and Transparency modes).
- Hear ID for Active Noise Cancellation: The Soundcore app can test the earbuds in a noisy environment and determine the best way to counteract the sounds around you by comparing the sound on the external mics and the internal mics. Hear ID also offers a “comfort mode” that will keep adjusting the level of noise cancellation to help reduce the feeling of air pressure.
- Transparency Mode: This feature allows you to hear what is going on around you without removing the earbuds.
- LDAC: If you have a phone that supports the LDAC format (currently limited to certain Android phones), you can enjoy the high quality sound of this format on the Liberty 3 Pro.
- Auto-pause: When you remove either earbud, your music is automatically paused and it resumes when you put the earbud back in.
- Multi-point connection: You can pair the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro to 2 Bluetooth devices at the same time, which is handy if you’re using one device for music and a different device for calls.
- Noise-cancelling microphones: The Soundcore Liberty 3 Pros now have 6 microphones (up from 4 on the Liberty 2 Pro) to help with noise cancelling during phone calls. In my sample calls, the microphones seem to perform very well. You can listen to a comparison in my video review below.
- IPX4 water resistant rating: This rating means that the earbuds are resistant to splashing of water, but not for submersion in water. You’ll still want to wipe them down with a slightly damp cloth after a workout because sweat can be more corrosive than water.
- Customizable button presses: While the earphones will always play/pause with a single tap of the small button located on each earbud, you can customize the double-tap and the 1-second hold to either adjust the volume, rewind/skip tracks, or summon your phone’s voice assistant. This can be configured in the Soundcore app but, unfortunately, the setting is not retained when pairing your earbuds to another phone.
- Single earbud use: You can use either earbud by itself which is convenient when you need to hear what’s going on with your other ear.
Battery and Charging
The Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro can achieve up to 8 hours of listening time on a single charge with Active Noise Cancellation turned off. With the charging case, you can get up to 32 hours of playback before you need to charge the case as well.
The charging case can be charged with a USB-C cable or a wireless Qi charger.
Video Review of the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro
The Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro offers even better sound quality than the Liberty 2 Pro in a smaller size and adds an effective Active Noise Cancellation system and a convenient auto-pause feature.
- Great sound quality with plenty of EQ options
- Active Noise Cancellation
- Auto-Pause when removing earbud
- Occasional Bluetooth blips
- LDAC requires phone support