Review

Soundcore Liberty 4 True Wireless ANC Earbuds

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Soundcore Liberty 4 True Wireless ANC Earbuds

It has been a year since we posted our Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro review! That means that is now about time to check out the latest and greatest from Anker’s Soundcore wireless ear bud line. Here, we have the Soundcore Liberty 4, featuring the line’s latest sound technology via the ACAA™️ 3.0 Coaxial Acoustic System. The Soundcore Liberty 4 is a set of wireless earbuds, featuring Adaptive Active Noise Cancelation (ANC), a new heart rate sensor, new listening modes, and a new approach to wearing and comfort. Having loved the Liberty 3 Pro from last year, it needless to say we are more than excited to see how this new headset iteration performs.

Let’s dive into the Soundcore Liberty 4 True Wireless Earbuds to check out the kind of performance and feature set that $149.99 can get you.

Build, Controls and Comfort

The Liberty 4 earbuds and their charging case comes with four CloudComfort Ear Tips and a USB-C cable. They are available in two different color schemes: Midnight Black and Cloud White.

This time around, the Liberty 4 ear buds latest design features a stem on the ear buds themselves. This stem is mainly used for the new Squeeze Control scheme, where you can control various functions by squeezing either ear bud stem. Functions are controlled by single, double, and triple squeezes of the stems. Through the free Soundcore app, you can customize these controls to suit your tastes.

I booted up the app and set up my usual preferred scheme of ear bud control setups. On the right ear bud, one squeeze controlled play and pause, a double-squeeze performed a “Next Track”, and a triple squeeze triggered a “Previous Track”. For the left ear bud, I stuck with only single squeezes, where each squeeze moved between the listening modes: Active Noise Cancelation (ANC), Transparency Mode, and “default”.

Having used headsets with either buttons or touch controls, I was a little skeptical about the Squeeze Control concept of these ear buds. To my surprise, the Squeeze Controls were shockingly intuitive, actuating only when I squeezed with intent. At no time did casually adjusting the ear buds in my ears or removing them trigger a Squeeze Control action. Even the triple squeeze action actuated as intended, without any hiccups. As a bonus, you can even control the level of “pinch” force needed to actuate a function using the app.

The charging case supports both USB-C wired charging and wireless charging. The ear buds themselves can give you up to nine hours of usage on a single charge, with the total playtime at up to 28 hours when you factor in the charging case. Of course, those usage totals can vary depending on the volume you have set as well as the various listening modes you use. It takes one hour for the case to fully charge the ear buds and two hours to fully charge the case. What is especially impressive here is that it takes only 15 minutes of charge from the case to give you up to 3 hours of ear bud usage. That is a very minimal amount of downtime should you fully deplete the ear buds during a long listening session.

Diving into comfort, the Liberty 4 does a great job at not only remaining comfortable for hours on end, but also assisting you during the fitting process. After you figure out which ear tips feel the best, you can use the Soundcore app to test the acoustic seal of those tips. The Fit Test feature will walk you through the steps and will use its external and internal mics to test for sound leaks. The testing process takes less than a minute.

As far as build quality goes, the Liberty 4 does not disappoint, giving you both hours of use and comfort. You have the latest and greatest audio from the Soundcore brand, the best battery life from their ear bud line yet, intuitive controls, and a whole set of new features. Before even diving into sound performance, the Liberty 4’s latest design impresses from the moment you take them out of the box.

Features and Performance

The Liberty 4 wireless ear buds feature the latest version of Soundcore audio technology, ACAA 3.0. This technology features dual dynamic drivers, a coaxial structure for wide frequency range and accuracy, a treble tube for delivering crisp highs and a resonance peak for extending hi-res sound to up to 40kHz. The Liberty 4’s also features a built-in gyroscope for the headset’s new dynamic head tracking feature and a built-in heartrate sensor.

The bulk of the sound-oriented features of the Liberty 4 are made available to you through the free Soundcore companion app. Here is where you can change the headset’s control scheme, update firmware, and control the bulk of your experiences.

Of course, with that comes the option to toggle through the many listening options of the Liberty 4. First off, I found myself immediately activating the LDAC codec on the Liberty 4’s. LDAC increases the transmission rate going to your headset, maximizing the audio quality you are hearing from Bluetooth transmissions. It is a feature that I refused to turn off with the Liberty 3 Pro’s. Given the even longer battery life in the Liberty 4’s, I had no intention of listening without LDAC on here. This allowed me to properly hear the best sound that the Liberty 4’s had to offer.

Like with the previous iterations of this headset line, there are plenty of premade EQ’s to use as well as the option to manually make your own custom EQ if you so chose. As there are many EQ’s available, I will touch on the ones I found to be the most notable with the Liberty 4.

Signature Sound – This is the default EQ sound presentation of the Liberty 4’s. This default features a very balanced sound where each of the sound ranges are showcased clearly. You have clean vocals via the mids, crisp percussion in the highs, and you get a great presence of bass through the lows. None of the sound ranges feel particularly more emphasized than the others. Especially with LDAC running, I felt as if I could live happily with this EQ setting if no others existed. Overall, Signature Sound is a solid EQ that can be used to consume any sort of media.

Bass Boost – Here you get a very noticeable bump in bass with a softening of highs and percussion sounds. The mid-range seems to stay untouched from where it was with Signature Sound. Even with the noticeable boost in the lows, the bass still keeps from becoming too overwhelming. If you like bass, this is a good EQ for you if you do not mind a little bit being taken away from the drums.

Hip Hop – I found this to be an interesting EQ for the Liberty 4’s. In this EQ, the bass and lows are suppressed ever so slightly with vocals and highs getting a very noticeable boost. This is the perfect EQ for music where you want hear song lyrics in the forefront.

Treble Boost – Highs and percussion gets a very noticeable bump while the lows and bass are almost non-existent. If you love drums and hate bass, then this is the EQ for you. However, I do like my bass as much as I like my percussion, so this EQ however was simply not for me.

Acoustic – As it was with the Liberty 3 Pro, the Acoustic EQ is yet again my favorite EQ. I have always had a preference of mostly-instrumental music over lyrical. As such, the more life I hear from instrumentals, the better. With this EQ, it feels like my favorite aspects Signature Sound got a boost. Bass becomes more vibrant and the mids feel as if there was more life to them. The bass does not get nearly as potent as what I heard from Bass Boost, but the increase was there and was appreciated. Percussion sounds feel more or less unchanged, which is fine since they already had a good presence by default.

Spatial Effects is a new listening mode, which works independently from the EQ settings. While I preferred mostly leaning on the Acoustic EQ, the Spatial Effects feature was an interesting one to try out. With Spatial Effects in play, the EQ settings are no longer in play. You get to choose between a fixed “surround sound” effect and a head tracking one. You also have two choices of sound fields: Music Mode and Movie Mode. Regardless which mode you choose, when Spatial Effects is activated, all sound feel as if they are a pinch louder than in the other listening modes.

Music Mode leans more on highs and mids, yet still maintains a good presence of bass. Meanwhile, Movie Mode gives you the same amount of mids, a noticeably stronger bass and a pinch lighter dose of the highs. While both modes felt interchangeable based on what I was listening to, I did find myself liking Movie Mode more.  I also liked the Fixed Spatial Effect more than I did the Head Tracking one. Head Tracking worked as intended, shifting the direction of the sounds I was listening to between the ear buds as I turned my head. However, I just simply could not find a practical use for this feature.

HearID, a feature seen in previous Soundcore Liberty products, gets a big improvement with the Liberty 4’s. The HearID feature is a Soundcore staple where you can personalize your listening experience by answering queues from the Soundcore app. The app will test your hearing, ask you your preferences and then automatically create an EQ based on your responses. What I particularly liked here, is that you can now also blend that created EQ with one of the packaged EQ’s from the app. This allows you to close the gap between what could be a good auto-created EQ and an EQ that is perfect for you. I found myself really liking what came from blending the packaged Acoustic EQ with what HearID created for me.

Moving onto Active Noise Cancelation, the ANC on the Liberty 4’s is effective and gets the job done. Ambient low range sounds are practically canceled out completely. Riding the New York City subway, the rumbling sounds of the train moving through the tunnels is completely nullified, as if the train is not moving at all. The closer that sounds get from low to high ranges, the less effectively the ANC performs.

That said, the ANC is still effective enough in noisy scenarios. I took the Liberty 4’s to a couple of bars during the weekends, when it was the busiest. All conversations are drowned out with only the occasional high pitch squeals from more “excited” patrons leaking through. The music, depending on the volume, was also muffled well in most places where only high-pitched sounds like the high hat on drums consistently leaking through. Despite all of that, the ANC is still plenty good enough to keep you focused on your media and not your surroundings.

Transparency Mode works without a hitch, giving you two levels of ambient sound to play through your headset as you listen to your media. Vocal Transparency Sound mode does a decent job at only letting spoken word play through the headset. Fully Transparent Mode, as expected, gives you all your background noise. I mostly used Full Transparency whenever I would walk the streets of NYC. As always, it is handy being able to keep an ear on my surroundings and oncoming traffic walked around outdoors.

Best of all, activating either ANC or Transparency Mode did not affect the media I was listening to. Whether I was mid-commute or stationed somewhere where I needed to block out my surroundings, the Liberty 4’s sound quality never dipped.

Call quality was good with the Liberty 4’s for the most part. Loud ambient sounds like car horns or loud talkers will leak into conversations with those on the other end of calls. However, as distracting as that could get at times, call participants still said they heard me clearly throughout the call. So, while the headset does a good job at keeping a constant focus on your voice, it will still occasionally fall victim to the louder distracting background sounds.

Finally, the battery life of the Liberty 4 was quite impressive.

I found that a full charge of the headset and its case lasted me a little more than an entire week before the unit as a whole needed a recharge. That is from a week consisting of about 2 hours a weekday of usage and about 7 hours in a weekend. I would use Transparency Mode during the week and ANC during the weekend. When ANC is on, the nine hours of single charge usage is reduced to about six, due to the additional power consumption from both ANC and LDAC. Even then, six hours of continuous listening is still plenty. This is especially the case since you can regain three more hours of usage by charging the ear buds for only 15 minutes in the charging case.

Final Thoughts

The Soundcore Liberty 4 True Wireless Earbuds demonstrates Anker’s continued improvement and development in the audio department. The sound on these earbuds is impressive. That sound presentation is then back by an array of customization and personalization options. If the Liberty 4 is not already giving you the kind of sound you desire right from out of the box, the Soundcore app has plenty of tools that do a solid job at closing that gap between the headset and your dream sound. Best of all, the app is very easy to use, walking you through the bulk of the processes to get you there.

At $149.99, the Liberty 4 is an easy purchase for me to suggest for anyone looking for a respectable pair of wireless earbuds. You get high quality sound, long lasting comfort, and a robust battery life from a full charge. If you are in the market for a new pair of Bluetooth ear buds, do yourself a favor and check out the Liberty 4 for yourself by clicking here.

†As usual, there are no affiliate links contained within this post. We were provided a Soundcore Liberty 4 headset for review purposes and were not compensated for this review.