TaoTronics SoundLiberty 94 Active Noise Cancelling Truly Wireless Headphones Review
Typically, headphones with active noise cancellation are the large, over-the-ear types that can take up a good bit of space in your carry-on. TaoTronics SoundLiberty 94 are truly wireless earbuds that incorporate this technology at a fraction of the size.
From the outside, the SoundLiberty 94 earbuds look like many other truly wireless earbuds such as the EarFun Free and the Soundcore Liberty. The addition of the active noise cancellation technology has not seemed to increase the size of the earbuds. The earbuds fit comfortably inside my ears, but as these “seal” into your ear canal, I find they do fatigue my ears after an hour or so which is common for me with these types of earbuds.
The earbuds are all black with no physical buttons (touch sensors only). There are two other sizes of ear tips included in the packaging so you can be sure to get the ideal fit for your ears. There are no “wings” or stabilizers, so these earbuds are OK for gym workouts but may work themselves loose during more vigorous exercise such as running.
The sound quality of the earbuds is very good, with strong bass and great mids and highs. If you’re buying these earbuds on sound quality alone, you should not be disappointed.
The active noise cancellation works, but it is not quite as effective as the noise cancellation you would find on much more expensive headphones such as the Bose QuietComfort 35 or the Sony WH-1000XM4. However, the design of the earbuds themselves provides some passive noise cancellation as they seal to your ear canal and naturally block most sounds. The active noise cancellation feature further offsets the outside world, but it is most effective for more “constant” sounds such as the hum of an airplane or the whir of a mower. It is less effective for more “sharp” sounds such as someone yelling or a baby crying.
However, the active noise cancellation works well enough that you can listen to your music or your podcast at a more comfortable level without needing to turn up the volume to simply overcome the external sounds. And at a fraction of the size of most noise-canceling headphones, the SoundLiberty 94 earphones hardly take up any space in your bag.
I’ve been using these earbuds while on my riding mower and found the noise cancellation to be almost as effective as some of the over-the-ear headphones I have, such as the TaoTronic Active Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones.
- Ambient Mode: One of my favorite features of these earbuds is “ambient mode,” which allows you to hear outside sounds without needing to remove the earbuds. This is not simply turning Active Noise Cancellation on and off: it actually uses the microphones on the earbuds to relay the sounds to you. Just a double-tap on the left earbud enables and disables this feature and allows you to answer a quick question from a coworker or hear an announcement over a PA system.
- Single Earbud Use: Like the AirPods, you can use both or just one SoundLiberty 94 earbud. You can use either the left earbud or the right earbuds by simply placing the unused earbud back in the charging case and closing the lid.
- Touch controls: You can tap on the earbuds to control the volume, answer calls, and skip tracks. I found that there is a bit of a delay between my tap and the unit responding, so I ended up tapping more times than I intended. What I really like about the touch controls is that a single tap adjust the volume, so if you touch them by accident, you’re only changing the volume slightly (and not skipping tracks).
- Water-resistant: These earbuds are not as water resistant as some of TaoTronics other earbuds geared towards sports and running. However, the SoundLiberty 94 earbuds are rated at an IPX5 level, meaning they can occasionally get wet up to the pressure of a light water jet, but they are not meant for submersion in water. I’ve been wearing them while mowing in the hot summer sun and my sweat has not appeared to cause any issues, but I am careful to wipe them with a damp cloth afterwards.
The SoundLiberty 94 earphones feature Bluetooth 5.1 technology (which is backwards compatible with older Bluetooth versions, so don’t fret if your phone doesn’t have the latest version of Bluetooth). The SoundLiberty 94 earbuds will work up to 50 feet away from your phone line-of-sight, however I find I’m able to walk around most of home with only minor hiccups in the sound quality.
The earbuds themselves can last up to 8 hours with the Active Noise Cancellation feature turned off. The charging case can provide up to 3 additional charges, providing a total up to 32 hours of playback before you need to find a wall outlet to recharge the case.
The charging case can be recharged with USB-C, but does not feature wireless Qi charging.
The SoundLiberty 94 earbuds are a decent alternative to much larger Active Noise Cancelling headphones and are much more portable. The Active Noise Cancellation technology is not quite as effective as what is found on larger over-the-ear style headphones, but they are still fine for shorter trips or for mowing the lawn.
- Great sound quality
- ANC technology in a ultra-portable size
- Long battery life
- Active Noise Cancellation not as effective as larger headphones
- Case has no wireless Qi charging