Soundcore takes 6 shots at AirPods with new earbuds lineup

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The Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro brings high-end audio, thanks to a coaxial driver setup.
The Liberty 2 Pro brings high-end audio, thanks to a coaxial driver setup.
Photo: Soundcore

Soundcore wants to “democratize premium audio” with its new Bluetooth earbuds. The new wireless headphones continue the company’s pursuit of delivering quality products at affordable price points.

“It’s a value proposition for us,” said Soundcore rep Adam Weissman in a demo at the Cult of Mac offices in San Francisco. He showed off two lines of headphones — one for regular audio fans and one for fitness fiends. All the new models deliver features similar to AirPods, but at price points far below Apple’s smash-hit product.

Soundcore, a sub-brand of popular electronics-maker Anker, became the face of the billion-dollar company’s audio product lineup in 2018. (Similarly, Eufy now handles Anker’s home appliances biz, selling everything from robovacs and smart plus to security cams and connected scales.)

Soundcore updates Liberty and Spirit earbud lines

The new Liberty and Spirit earbuds lineups come in shapes to fit anyone's needs.
The new Liberty and Spirit earbuds lineups come in shapes to fit anyone’s needs.
Photos: Soundcore

Under the Soundcore by Anker label, the company offers a wide variety of Bluetooth speakers as well as wireless earphones. In just over a year, Soundcore earned a solid reputation for reliable products with attractive price tags.

Today’s unveiling of upgrades to Soundcore’s headphone lineup shows a company that wants to deliver the perfect Bluetooth earbuds for almost any possible consumer. The six new models fill out the company’s existing Liberty and workout-focused Spirit product lines.

New Soundcore Liberty Bluetooth headphones

The Liberty Pro 2 brings Soundcore's best audio quality.
The Liberty Pro 2 brings Soundcore’s best audio quality.
Photo: Soundcore

The most interesting product in the lineup is the Liberty Pro 2. For this model, which has no direct predecessor, Soundcore set out to deliver high-definition audio, with great bass and treble and a “wide and natural soundstage,” said Weissman. To accomplish that goal, the company developed a coaxial acoustic driver that pairs a Knowles balanced armature driver with a Soundcore dynamic driver.

Unique coaxial earbud driver

The first-of-its kind coaxial earbud driver borrows from a design commonly used in car stereo speakers and home audio products. The two drivers line up directly in the wearer’s ears to fire high-definition audio right where it belongs.

“By positioning the Knowles balanced armature driver directly in front of the dynamic driver and aligning both with a listener’s ear canal, the resulting sound is sonically accurate,” said Rock Gao, general manager of Soundcore’s headphones business, in a press release.

“During the initial stages of design, we were not happy with the soundstage and looked into creating the coaxial architecture. This new design provided us not only with crisp treble, full and rich bass and a delicately balanced midrange but true audio alignment of all frequencies. Additionally, working with 10 Grammy-award winning recording engineers, we were able to tune these earbuds to be sonically accurate to give listeners the same experience that comes out of the recording studio.”

Hi-fi Bluetooth earbuds?

The end result is a pair of in-ear wireless headphones that the company says delivers remarkably high audio quality and advanced features like Qi charging, with a price tag that’s much more affordable than AirPods. That $149.99 price tag might even be too affordable, Weissman said: Hi-fi fans used to shelling out big bucks for gear might think they don’t cost enough.

“With audio people, they’re just snooty,” Weissman said.

Still, Soundcore sent out demo units to some high-end audio publications, he said. “We’re getting some good feedback,” Weissman said. “They like ’em.”

Also in the Liberty 2 lineup: The Liberty Air 2, which uses a sticklike design similar to AirPods, and the Liberty 2, an in-ear style similar to the Liberty 2 Pro. Both include diamond-coated drivers and software features like HearID, which tests the user’s hearing, then tunes the frequencies to optimize for the individual’s ears.

New Soundcore Spirit Bluetooth headphones

Soundcore designed its Spirit lineup, including the Spirit Dot 2, for fitness freaks.
Soundcore designed its Spirit lineup, including the Spirit Dot 2, for fitness freaks.
Photo: Soundcore

For the fitness-focused Spirit lineup, Soundcore’s engineers put an emphasis on bass that can drive your workouts. They include: the Spirit 2, a classic sports style with two earbuds connected by a wire; the Spirit X2, with a wraparound look similar to Powerbeats Pro; and Spirit Dot 2, a smaller, truly wireless in-ear bud.

All feature Soundcore’s SweatGuard, “the world’s first truly sweatproof technology that was inspired by submarines and helped lock out and protect audio components from being exposed to sweat and salt,” the company says.

More on Liberty 2 and Spirit 2 lines

While Cult of Mac has not tested the Soundcore headphones, the expansive features sets look quite compelling (as do the prices). Due to the long list of very similar features in the six new models, we reproduced a portion of the Soundcore press release below.

Soundcore earbuds: Liberty 2 line

Liberty 2

● Classic in-ear style True Wireless Earbuds
● 10mm Diamond Coated Drivers for accurate audio reproduction
● HearID personalized sound profile
● cVc 8.0 and four noise-cancelling microphones for crystal clear phone calls
● Support for aptX
● Bluetooth 5.0 with Push and Go pairing technology
● Up to 8 hours of playtime / 32 total hours of playtime with the case
● GripFit Ear wing technology for secure fit
● IPX5 Waterproof rating
● Price: $99.99
● Availability: Early October in Walmart, Amazon.com, Soundcore.com and in early November at Best Buy.

Liberty Air 2

● Wireless “Stick” form-factor True Wireless Earbuds
● Diamond Coated Drivers for accurate audio reproduction
● HearID personalized sound profile
● cVc 8.0 and four noise-cancelling microphones for crystal clear phone calls
● Qi Wireless Charging
● Support for aptX
● Bluetooth 5.0 with Push and Go pairing technology
● Up to 7 hours of playtime (45% increase from 2018 model)
● 28 total hours of playtime with the case (40% increase from 2018 model)
● IPX5 Waterproof rating
● Price: $99.99
● Availability: Early October at Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon.com and Soundcore.com

Liberty 2 Pro

● Classic in-ear style True Wireless Earbuds
● Astria Coaxial Acoustic Architecture (ACAA)
● Large 11mm Dynamic driver combined with Knowles Balanced Armature
● HearID personalized sound profile
● cVc 8.0 and four noise-cancelling microphones for crystal clear phone calls
● Support for aptX
● Bluetooth 5.0 with Push and Go pairing technology
● GripFit Ear wing technology for secure fit
● Up to 8 hours of playtime / 32 total hours of playtime with the case
● Qi wireless charging
● IPX4 Waterproof rating
● Price: $149.99
● Availability: Pre-order on soundcore.com on Sept 26th , Available on October 8th on Amazon.com and Bestbuy.com

Soundcore earbuds: Spirit 2 Line

Spirit 2

● Classic in-ear wireless Bluetooth earbuds
● 10mm composite bio-cellulose drivers for full and rich Bass
● Dual-EQ with BassUp Technology
● AirWing cushion for secure fit
● Up to 14 hours of play time
● Fast charging through USB-C
● IP68 Waterproof rating with SweatGuard TM
● Price: $49.99
● Availability: Currently Available on Amazon.com, Soundcore.com

Spirit Dot 2

● Classic in-ear style True Wireless Sport Earbuds
● 8mm Diamond Coated Composite Driver surrounded by elastic material for full and rich Bass
● Soundcore BassUp – bass boosting technology
● AirWing cushion for secure fit
● Up to 5.5 hours of play time / 16 total hours of playtime from the case
● Fast charging earbuds while docked
● Recharge case through USB-C
● IPX7 Waterproof rating with SweatGuard TM
● One Step Pairing with Push & Go
● Price: $79.99
● Availability: Mid-October on Amazon.com, Soundcore.com

Spirit X2

● True Wireless Earbuds with Earhook form-factor
● 12mm composite drivers for full and rich Bass
● Soundcore BassTurbo – A uniquely designed acoustic chamber design that adds powerful bass to the mix.
● Soundcore BassUp – bass boosting technology
● Up to 9 hours of playtime / 36 total hours of playtime from the case
● Fast charging earbuds while docked
● Recharge case through USB-C
● IP68 Waterproof rating with SweatGuardTM
● Price: $99.99
● Availability: Early October on Target.com; October 20th on Amazon.com and Soundcore.com