Relative to their price (159.99 euros RRP), the new Soundcore by Anker Liberty 3 Pro are outstanding True Wireless in-ears. They have individual sound profiles, adaptive noise cancelling (ANC), a high-quality LDAC codec and an extensive feature list. In short: We can expect sound and technical excellence with only a few compromises!
The new flagship model from Soundcore by Anker goes by the name Liberty 3 Pro and sets the bar very high in terms of sound. With their technical and functional completeness, the concept behind them is impressive, but in practice, this occasionally reaches its limits. All in all, however, it is fair to say that the Soundcore by Anker Liberty 3 Pro is the right choice: They are extremely good in almost all disciplines. While the Soundcore by Anker Liberty 2 Pro had positive testimonials from 10 Grammy winners, the Liberty 3 Pro have 20. I’ll say this much in advance: I largely agree with their recommendations.
There is everything you need in the box: These generously dimensioned earbuds weigh 6 grams each and are water-repellent according to protection class IPX4. Next, you’ll find the pleasantly slim, flat oval charging case that will fit in your pocket. A USB-C cable with a length of 60 cm is also included, but it can remain in the slipcase if you have a charging mat to charge the case wirelessly.
A couple of nicely designed pictograms in the box point out that the first steps towards good sound and proper noise reduction start with an optimal fit for the earbuds and the appropriate earpieces. Four pairs of these and the same number of ear hooks are included. Attention should be paid to selecting the right earpieces and fitting them so that the electronic sound optimisation aids can be effectively implemented. If you have done everything right, the Soundcore by Anker Liberty 3 Pro fit firmly and securely in your ears, but due to their size, they protrude like mini-mushrooms and are thus vulnerable to wind noise (see below).
Bluetooth and Multipoint
To connect to an external player, these earbuds must be in the open charging case. Pairing the first time is automatic, and after that, it is activated by pressing the button on the charging case. The wireless connection is stable; it allows a movement radius of ten metres through the walls of an apartment and almost 25 metres in open spaces with visual contact. If the process is repeated a second time, a second device, e.g. a laptop, can be connected. This multipoint connection then allows seamless switching between the two players.
The “Soundcore” app is the control centre; this provides convenient operation of the Liberty 3 Pro – which is not to say that they wouldn’t work without an app. It’s just that they work much better with the app!
Firstly, all essential information such as connection status, battery life and firmware version is displayed here. The latter can also be updated quickly and easily via the app.
In addition, the controls can be adjusted extensively to suit the individual. As standard, volume, track forward/back, play/stop, and the special functions (voice assistant, transparency mode and noise cancelling) can be reliably controlled by various tapping gestures on the left or right touch surfaces. But that is just the beginning.
HearID – the personal sound profile
The app also offers you access to an extensive collection of EQ pre-sets, as well as the option to create an individual sound profile. Soundcore calls this “HearID”. A series of tones are played to the left and right ears, each of which has to be confirmed. My individual sound profile, with just a few minor corrections, hardly differed from the basic settings of the Soundcore by Anker Liberty 3 Pro, which is called “Soundcore Signature” in the EQ settings.
The sound of the Soundcore by Anker Liberty 3 Pro
“ACAA” or “Astria Coaxial Acoustic Architecture” – this is the name of the design principle used in the previous model. Soundcore uses a balanced armature driver from Knowles, placed in front of a 10.6 mm dynamic driver. This is supposed to provide less delay, more powerful bass, better midrange and clearer treble. The second version is used here, and this technology is supposed to work even better while at the same time being more compact than its predecessor.
Our sound test with an Apple iPhone 12 and Lossless Audio via AAC confirms this without a doubt: The sound was very good, balanced, fresh and deep. Fine trebles fly over richly saturated basses that either has the dry thump of rock or roll with boom and dynamics. In the wide mid-range, instruments and voices can develop their effects clearly and distinctly. The result was a natural and approachable sound that flowed warmly and softly through my head and gave me great pleasure when listening to complex neo-classical music, electronics as well as guitar-oriented fare. Large, open spaces with clear localisation and depth are created that almost transported me to the Royal Albert Hall with Steve Hackett or very close to the cranked-up piano of Ólafur Arnalds. And with current chart music, for example, tracks by Montero, dynamic and powerful sound was delivered. In summary, an excellent imaging performance with a stunning freshness, along with precision and power, are the hallmarks of the Soundcore by Anker Liberty 3 Pro.
With an Android smartphone, I tried out the LDAC codec introduced by Sony, which is not available for iOS devices. Three times the amount of data was now pumped into the Soundcore by Anker Liberty 3 Pro. The sound became finer, more refined and much more accurate. Small nuances became more apparent; the sound image became sharper and more versatile, more colourful and at the same time more direct and lively. You can simply hear more differentiation. This was a real pleasure, especially when listening to high-resolution music that fills the wider spectrum in a meaningful way. This is great sound entertainment, and no, the free service from a certain streaming service from Sweden is not enough to achieve this. If you have decided to use LDAC for streaming, you have to do without multipoint and 3D surround sound. The latter is not really a loss, however, as this simulation is not very convincing.
Adaptive noise cancelling
In the Soundcore by Anker Liberty 3 Pro, the noise cancellation works adaptively, i.e. it adjusts its performance to the ambient volume. To do this, you have to stand in the noise and trigger the HearID ANC test in the app. Measurements are then taken in the ear canal, and the resulting profile then serves as the basis for adaptive noise reduction. This sounds quite complex, but the result after this process is normal or average, at best.
Low to medium-low frequencies are cancelled out and disappear from traffic noise, which is then reduced to a gentle whisper. The power of the ANC is automatically reduced or increased in three stages depending on the strength of the ambient noise. This can be done either via a rotary knob in the app or manually.
The background noise during operation is extremely low, and the sound graduation towards a stronger emphasis on the mids is inconspicuous. The diving bell effect is barely present, and this is due to air channels in the earbuds that provide pleasant pressure equalisation.
A similar verdict applies to the Transparency mode. Switch it on, and the Soundcore by Anker Liberty 3 Pro become transparent to outside noise via the built-in microphones. As always, this sounds slightly noisy, but it is still useful for a quick listen to your surroundings. Incidentally, wind suppression can be switched on in both modes, but it hardly has any reducing effect. When cycling, this did not seem to work at all, as there was a lot of noise and hiss both in the ANC mode and in the Transparency mode.
In mixed operation – sometimes with, sometimes without ANC, sometimes with the battery-straining LDAC codec – I finished after six hours, which was pretty much exactly what the manufacturer predicted. The Soundcore by Anker Liberty 3 Pro were fully charged after about 45 minutes in the case. If you listen at medium volume via AAC or SBC, eight hours are easily possible. Overall, these are good values.
Six microphones and an AI should have a positive effect on the voice quality, and this works excellently in a silent room for a Zoom conference. The voice is present and very intelligible. In a noisy environment, the electronics succeed in reducing the background noise to almost zero, but this is at the expense of the naturalness of the voice, which now obviously appears to be electronically treated, but still comes across as robust.
With the Soundcore by Anker Liberty 3 Pro, the manufacturer has hit the jackpot! This is true for the hardware, software and sound. Thanks to the very good app, for just under 160 euros you can have, in my opinion, the best overall package that you can currently get in this price range. The “merely” average adaptive noise cancelling and the high wind sensitivity of these in-ears are slight drawbacks that hardly detract from the overall positive impression.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principleDynamic + Balanced Armature
- Weight without cable6 g each g
- Cable length60 cm
What's in the box
- 4 pairs of ear tips (XS, S, M, L)
- 4 pairs of ear hooks (XS, S, M, L)
- UBC-A to USB-C cable
- Charging case
- available in black, white, grey and purple
- BT codecs: SBC, AAC, LDAC
- BT version: 5.2
- BT profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, HFP