Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro Earbud Review – The Best Earbuds I’ve Ever Heard?
There are so many earbuds on the market these days, it is very hard to stand out. Some manufacturers do it with marketing, some with gimmicks, and others by just being way better than anyone expected. At $170 retail, the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds certainly aren’t the cheapest. But they are also far from the most expensive. What’s important to me, as a reviewer, is how they sound, their fit and comfort, and their features. Let’s take a close look at the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds and see how they stack up.
- Brand: Soundcore
- Driver: 10.6mm coaxial dual driver
- Battery Life: Up to 8 hours, up to 3 charges with the case
- Bluetooth: 5.2
- Additional Tips/Wings: Yes, 4 total pairs each (S, M, L, XL)
- Noise Cancellation: Yes
- IP rating: IPX4
- Codec support: SBC, AAC, LDAC
- Wireless charging: Yes
- Microphones: 6 microphones
- Multipoint support: Yes (2 devices)
Getting to Know the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro Earbuds
If Soundcore, an Anker company, can do one this right, it is packaging. Everything I’ve gotten from them has been impecibly packaged. The Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds were no different. They come with a slew of eartips and earwings (four each). The box folds open to reveal the case, earbuds, basic instructions, and integrated eartip/wing holder. Tucked away was a charging cable plus a couple of manuals.
The earwings, in particular, are of note. They are specific to each ear (right or left) so you’ll have to keep track of them. The eartips, of course, or universal. Swapping each out isn’t difficult but it is important that you get a proper fit. More on that in a bit.
Charging is done via included USB-C cable. Again, as seems to be the norm these days, there was no included wall adaptor. The Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds promise up to eight hours on a charge with the case providing up to three charges. The case can be quick charged for 15 minutes to provide up to three hours of listening. That’s pretty handy when you are waiting for your next plane.
I already had the Soundcore App downloaded from my time with the Soundcore Frames. The app detected the Liberty 3 Pro headphones and immediately prompted me to update the firmware. For updates, you are asked not to play anything through the earbuds and return them to their case. You’ll need to leave the case open or it will disconnect the earbuds from your phone. None of the updates (I went through at least two or three) took longer than 10 minutes.
The app is full of all the features you’d expect. You can enable/disable transparency mode and active noise canceling, set up the controls, and enable different EQ functions. One thing I really liked about the Liberty 3 Pro earbuds was the Wind Noise Reduction function. With either ANC or Transparency mode, you could activate the Wind Noise Reduction function. If you’ve ever experienced Transparency mode on a pair of earbuds, you would know how loud even soft breezes can sound as they are amplified by the earbuds. This cuts all that out. Now, it is VERY dramatic. The wind noise goes from fairly loud to nearly nothing in the space of a moment. It takes the earbuds a second or two to kick in, but when they do, the wind noise is eliminated. This does affect the sound quality, but it is surely worth it.
Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro Earbuds EQ
When you first open the Soundcore app, it will ask you to do their HearID Test. This takes you through a number of listening tests that will tailor the sound of the Liberty 3 Pro earbuds for your ears. It also helps customize the ANC. That said, don’t do it! At least not yet.
You want to wait until you have a dead silent room (the middle pic above shows how it will help you determine that) and a perfect fit with the earbuds. The hearing tests consists of a bunch of test tones played at various volumes. If you can’t hear the test tone because of the fit of the earbuds or the external noise, it will skew the test. This will cause the Liberty 3 Pro earbuds to boost some frequencies that it shouldn’t.
If you don’t like the HearID custom curve, there are a slew (way more than pictured) of EQ modes. Plus, you can set your own manual EQ. For my tests, I just used the a manual EQ and set everything to flat. I wanted to hear what the earbuds did without any EQ. The fact that there are so many options means that you can definitely tailor the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds to your liking.
The Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds support not only SBC and AAC codecs, but also LDAC. LDAC offers up to 3x’s the bitrate of other Bluetooth codecs. It will use more power and is less stable than other transmission solutions, but it promises greater fidelity. I tried it out and it seemed about as stable as the other codecs. It takes about 10 seconds to switch between the LDAC and other codecs so a direct A/B comparison wasn’t really possible. Definitely something for owners to try out.
Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro Earbuds Sound Quality
The most important aspect of any earbud is how they sound. As you will likely use them for calls now and then, others reported that I sounded pretty good. I was definitely on a set of headphones, but they could hear me clearly and there were no dropouts. That’s about as good as it gets.
As I mentioned, I kept the Soundcore Liberty Pro 3 earbuds in manual EQ with no adjustments. I just wanted to hear how they sounded without any EQ. In a word: Amazing. For $170, these earbuds stand up to some of the best headphones I’ve ever tested. I started with sweeps and the Liberty 3 Pros kicked in right at 20Hz and stayed flat all the way through the sweep. This may suggest that the bass was a little tipped up (as humans can hear treble better than bass), but it certainly wasn’t egregious.
In actual playback, vocals were crisp and clear, the instruments were as lifelike as I’ve ever heard. I’ve tested planar magnetic headphones that weren’t any better than the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds! If they didn’t have any EQ functions, I’d say you should buy them. Since they do, and you can absolutely tailor the sound to your tastes, these are a no brainer. For under $200? I wouldn’t even know where you should look to find something that could compete. They are that good!
I will note, that the Liberty 3 Pro earbuds will reveal any problems with your music. Stuff that sounds great in your car, will sound like garbage on these. The Liberty 3 Pros will reveal all the compression and distortion included in any mix. When I was listening to well recorded tracks, they sounded great. Mass market stuff? They had me wanting to adjust the EQ to roll off the top end.
Control and Fit
As you might expect, the app allows you to personalize the capacitance controls of the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds. Each ear can have specific controls for single, double, and triple taps as well as a two-second hold. Those commands can be duplicated if you desire and each control type (tap or hold) can be disabled. If all you want is to have a single tap do something on each earbud, you can disable everything else. Very convenient.
The Soundcore Liberty 3 Pros are fairly large for earbuds, likely because of the coaxial driver. They tend to stand out from your ears a bit more than you’d expect at first. This caused me to have problems locating the controls at first. Practice makes perfect. My one issue is that the wearing detection didn’t work as well as I would have liked. When I would remove the Liberty 3 Pros, I would often cause a command to be registered. If you are going to swap out the eartips/wings, you’ll want to disconnect it from your phone or it will send out dozens of commands (I found some new music on Tidal that way).
Comfort was about what you’d expect for an in-ear earphone. While the earwings take some of the pressure off the eartip for holding the earbuds in place, long listening sessions can cause some discomfort. I found that I needed a break every couple of hours.
I’m continuing to be impressed with the Soundcore line of products. Their app gives you all the control you expect and, usually, a lot more. The customized hearing test was certainly unexpected but welcome! The sound quality of the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds is just spectacular for their price point. You could make the argument that their app has too many functions, but who would? Once you set up the EQ and controls, you never have to open the app again if you don’t want to. I’ve very impressed with the Liberty 3 Pro earbuds from Soundcore. Try them out, you will be too.
For more information, check out Soundcore.com.