For less than one hundred euros, 1MORE offer the SonoFlow, over-ear headphones with effective noise cancelling and high wearing comfort. In view of the price, one should not expect any sound miracles despite the LDAC codec. For everyday mobile use, however, the SonoFlow delivers quite remarkable results and listening pleasure. There is no competition for Sony & Co, but it’s amazing what’s on offer here for the money.
Over-ear headphones with noise cancelling have enjoyed great popularity for years. The larger models from Sony, Bose and Sennheiser have proved impressive in each new generation and are among the bestsellers on the market, along with compact true-wireless devices.
With its first wireless over-ear model, the SonoFlow, 1MORE now also wants to get in on the action in this category.
This will be interesting to see because the Chinese manufacturer already has a number of products on offer, all of which are available at reasonable prices and have regularly received high marks for sound quality in our tests. The SonoFlow model starts with a price tag of 99 dollars. For a pair of closed, dynamic headphones with 40mm carbon diaphragms, LDAC codec, noise cancelling, Bluetooth 5 and a battery life of up to 70 hours, that’s an amazing price.
Externally, the matte black plastic construction of the 1MORE SonoFlow has a thoroughly appealing modern design and reminded me of the current top-of-the-line Sony WH-1000XM5. The adjustable headband and the movable, foldable and rotatable earcups feature pleasantly soft cushions. At the same time, the headphones can be transported in a space-saving way, for example, in the supplied fabric-covered case. The leatherette covering of the pads seems less robust than those of more expensive competitors. The left/right imprint on the red membrane protector is worthy of praise, as it prevents the protector from being accidentally twisted when put on.
Similarly to Yamaha’s YH-E700A, there are no touch functions. Instead, the manufacturer relies on four buttons on the right earcup and the complementary app “1MORE Music” for iOS and Android.
At 250 grams, the 1MORE SonoFlow is quite lightweight and fits securely and, thanks to the soft padding, remains comfortable over the ears while also providing good passive attenuation of external noise. Four buttons on the right side are used to control functions: switching on and off, pairing, starting/pausing music, managing phone calls, calling up voice control, volume control and track jumps, as well as mode switching for noise cancelling are offered. With a little practice, the controls are quite reliable, as the buttons can be felt easily.
However, with the current firmware (0.12.3), the title jumps were done with twisted logic. The functions themselves are fixed and not configurable. As mentioned before, there is no touch function, which is why the transparency mode (see Noise Cancelling) cannot be activated temporarily either.
The familiar app offers further setting options. Noise cancelling can be switched here, and a mode for pairing two devices (multipoint) can be activated.
The sound can be changed with the help of twelve genre- and application-specific, non-editable equaliser pre-sets. Not quite up to date: unfortunately, the SonoFlow lacks automatic functions entirely.
1MORE claims a volume-dependent runtime of up to 70 hours (50% level) with inactive noise cancelling and 50 hours with activated ANC. The charging time is 80 minutes but is supported by a powerful quick-charge function. In practice, the SonoFlow is, therefore, equally suitable for daily use and longer trips. In addition to Bluetooth wireless connection, the headphones can also be used with a cable. However, unlike most competitors, this operation is only possible passively, as the headphones automatically switch off when the cable is plugged in. Unfortunately, operation with noise cancelling is, therefore, not possible for at-seat cinema on a plane, for example. In this context, by the way, I must criticise the shamefully brief documentation.
With a range across several rooms, the wireless link proved to be stable in our test and sufficiently serviceable.
The 1MORE SonoFlow’s noise cancelling goes by the name of “QuietMax” and works with and without music playing. It is complemented by a transparency mode that uses the external microphone and passes environmental noise to the drivers for better communication. Both modes do not require any control options. You just move through the three operating modes (ANC, transparency mode, ANC off) via the dedicated button or use the app to switch. I missed having the mode for suppressing wind noise, as is featured on the same manufacturer’s model, PistonBuds Pro.
The 1MORE SonoFlow’s noise cancelling delivers quite good results in combination with its passive isolation. Static and low-frequency noises were significantly lowered, thus providing an enhanced quiet space on public transport or train/aeroplane journeys, which was not disturbing, but often provided more relaxation on the contrary. This can also be used to advantage in an all-too-sociable office. However, the headphones we tested did not perform at the level of headphones from Sony or the Apple AirPods Max.
Unfortunately, noise cancelling also changed the reproduction of sound significantly. The signal sounded fuller and less open. This was somewhat irritating because such a large effect on the overall frequency response shouldn’t be occurring. Therefore, the following sound evaluation was carried out with noise cancelling switched on.
With LDAC, the 1MORE SonoFlow was, in principle, ready for a Bluetooth wireless link with higher audio resolution. The codec offers a transfer speed of up to 990 kbps, but this, of course, requires the corresponding compatibility on both sides. In the 1MORE app, a corresponding option for activating LDAC codecs appears on correspondingly compatible smartphones, a Sony Xperia 10 in my case. Unfortunately, switching requires a restart of the Bluetooth connection and a reset to the standard output level. Comparisons with other codecs were thus hardly possible.
Codecs aside, the essential sound quality ultimately results from the raw material, the actual construction of the headphones as well as the associated electronics. A poor basic construction will not be improved by LDAC, and good headphones will also be convincing with AAC.
In practice, my iPhone 8 with AAC did not have a worse sound impression at all. In fact, the Apple product delivered an even higher maximum level than the Android test device, which turned out to be quite an advantage in combination with the SonoFlow.
According to the manufacturer, the sound tuning of the 1MORE SonoFlow took place (again) in cooperation with Grammy winner Luca Bignardi. To begin with: the SonoFlow are certainly not audiophile headphones. There is also a clear gap between them and the more expensive products from the competition that was mentioned at the beginning of this review. Nevertheless, with SonoFlow, 1MORE succeed in creating a product that proves useful in everyday life. The sound of the test unit was quite coherent for daily use. Considering the price range, it sounded quite powerful from a certain minimum level. A slight bass emphasis was acceptable. At the top, the headphones were rather rounded and not particularly open (without ANC, the sound was a bit more open). Unwanted harshness did not occur, but you won’t get the fine details and the “air” that you might find in more expensive designs.
In the mid-range, voices and instruments of all kinds were well audible, even in dense mixes. The bass was punchy and well-defined. It reached down into the low bass and, thus, provided listening pleasure and plenty of thrust, even with modern production, like “Systemagic” by Goldfrapp. AC/DC’s “Fire Your Guns” also pushed powerfully out of the drivers. The reproduction of dynamics and space, on the other hand, is rather average.
At a retail price of one hundred euros, one can hardly expect more from this design and equipment. The equaliser pre-sets were varied and can support your own genre preference quite reasonably. You can quickly achieve a result, and fortunately, the frequency response correction is rather discreet. Nevertheless, I missed having an adjustable equaliser with its own memory location.
I would describe the passive cable operation as a mere fall-back solution when the battery has reached its end. The overall bass-emphasised sound simply lacked transparency. Unfortunately, this is an argument against the quality of the mechanical construction, which obviously needs significant active correction.
Finally, the call quality of telephone conversations was rated just as good by those I spoke to during the tests. This was ensured by directional microphones and AI-assisted algorithms for suppressing background noise, even in windy environments. Thus, the SonoFlow earns our recommendation, and I would also recommend them for conference calls in the office.
With the SonoFlow, 1MORE offer an appealing pair of over-ear headphones for less than one hundred euros. In the active mode, they still delivered a good sound result, high wearing comfort and effective noise cancelling, so you could say that they have a good price-performance ratio. The LDAC codec was also a highlight that almost no competitor in this price range offers. Nevertheless, the SonoFlow should be classified as what they are: an inexpensive headphone for daily and mobile use without audiophile demands.
- Attractive price
- LDAC codec
- Sound quality in passive wired mode
- No touch functions
- No adjustable equaliser
- Ear couplingOver-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Impedance32 ohms
- Weight without cable250 g
What's in the box
- 2.5 mm to 3.5 mm audio cable
- USB-C charging cable
- Carrying pouch
- BT codecs: SBC, AAC, LDAC
- BT version: 5.0
- BT profiles: HFP, A2DP, AVRCP