While we’re currently living through some very weird times it’s easy to forget that most people normally don’t sit at home all day. Whether you’re headed to the office, going on vacation, or just doing some errands around town, people are always on the move. Over the last few years one of the companies that has been making headphones for people on-the-go is 1More. You’re probably most familiar with the Triple-Driver earbuds that made basically every best list on the internet for earbuds under $100, but its newest product is a pair of active noise cancelling earbuds dubbed the 1More Dual Driver ANC Pro. So how are they?
Who is it for?
- Office workers (or stay at home workers who need some peace and quiet). The active noise cancelling might not be able to put up much of a fight against the likes of Bose or Sony over-ears, but for a pair of earbuds these are good enough to get rid of the ambient sounds of the office. Plus, the microphone sounds great so taking calls is a breeze.
- Commuters. If you want a pair of lightweight earbuds with active noise cancelling but don’t like the idea of something as small and easy to lose as a pair of true wireless earbuds like the AirPods Pro or the Sony WF-1000XM3, then these should be on your shortlist. Especially since at just $149 USD they’re way cheaper than the true wireless alternatives.
What’s it like to use the 1More Dual Driver ANC Pro earbuds?
The 1More Dual Driver ANC Pro buds aren’t like the true wireless model we previously reviewed. Even though true wireless earbuds are all the rage right now, 1More took a step back and tried to make something a little more practical. While the neckband design has always been divisive, I never really minded it. This design isn’t for everyone, but sometimes that’s a good thing. When you narrow your goals and nail the execution, sometimes you come away with a great product. That’s how I feel about these headphones. If you hate neckband-style earbuds then there’s nothing I can say here that’s going to change your mind.
At first glance, there really isn’t anything that screams “premium” here in the way that some other models. There’s no soft metal or leather to speak of, instead the neckband is made of a flexible rubber that wears super comfortably. It’s lightweight, and conforms to the shape of my neck easily. I used these constantly for about three days and it was never uncomfortable. They also never fell off while I was doing things around my apartment thanks to the two metal earbuds snapping together magnetically. Sure, it looks like a weird necklace—but again, it’s just a practical feature that keeps the earbuds from flopping all over the place as I go about my day. The one thing that I wish 1More did here is add an auto-pause feature when the earbuds magnetically stick to each other. As it is, the music keeps playing even when they’re hanging around your neck and clearly not in your ears.
While I can vouch for their comfort for everyday use, I can’t say how they would hold up for running or working out. While these do have an IPX5 rating making them water and sweat-resistant, I haven’t had a chance to take them out for a run yet so I can’t say how well they hold up in this aspect. What I can say is that regardless of whether you’re out for a run or not, there’s a bit of a learning curve remembering where exactly the buttons are for controlling playback and some of the extra features. They’re all located on the left side of the band so until you memorize which button is where expect to accidentally pause the music every now and then.
As far as the earbuds themselves go, I found them to be pretty comfortable for long listening sessions once I swapped out the ear tips for one of the other included pairs that fit my ears better. Thankfully, 1More includes a few in the packaging—which is good, seeing as these don’t have the typical nozzle shape that most earbuds do. Instead of being perfectly circular these are slightly elongated so none of my personal memory foam tips that I have lying around fit them. One of the cooler features here is that the 1More Dual Driver ANC Pro earbuds have active noise cancelling and wind reduction built in. The microphones are built into the neckband itself, which means the earbuds can stay at a relatively normal size since they don’t have all the tech packed inside like you’ll find in some true wireless earbuds.
How do you pair to the 1More Dual Driver ANC Pro earbuds?
While you won’t get the auto-pair functionality of something like a Beats product with Apple phones (or even the new Google Pixel Buds), pairing to these isn’t difficult at all. You just need to hold down to the power button for a few extra seconds when turning it on. You’ll hear a jingle that will let you know the headphones are in pairing mode, and the small LED light will begin blinking. From there, just open up the Bluetooth settings on your device and pair to them as normal.
As far as connection goes these are rocking Bluetooth 5.0 and are compatible with both AAC and LDAC, which I think might be the first pair of headphones I’ve reviewed with that particular combination of codecs. If you’re on iOS then you’ll automatically be set to AAC since that’s the only codec that Apple supports, but if you’re on an Android device you have the option to choose between either AAC or Sony’s LDAC.
While LDAC also isn’t perfect, it does have a higher bitrate, meaning that more data is transferred over Bluetooth resulting in slightly better sound quality. Fair warning though, because the more data you transfer the less stable the connection gets. Still, in my testing the connection was solid, and I didn’t experience any noticeable skips and stutters. On top of that, I didn’t have any issues while watching videos either so you won’t feel like you’re watching a badly dubbed kung-fu movie the next time you watch a YouTube video.
One of the coolest things about these headphones is that it really takes advantage of the USB-C port on the end of the neckband. Not only is it the input for the charging cable when you need to juice them up again, but you can also use it to hard-wire in the headphones to devices that don’t support Bluetooth thanks to the included USB-C to 3.5mm cable. Does it look a little ridiculous? Sure, maybe a little, but who cares? I think it’s a pretty great feature that lets you use these even when you don’t have Bluetooth available. Plus, these are high-res certified so if have high-quality files that you want to enjoy you can enjoy them with these thanks to the wired aspect.
How is the battery life on the 1More Dual Driver ANC Pro?
1More claims that at 50% volume these will give you about 20 hours of constant playback, but in my battery test I only managed to squeeze out 11 hours and 38 minutes at a constant playback of 75dB. That said, I did have both the active noise cancelling and the wind reduction turned on, so I’m sure if you’re not outside and don’t need to turn on wind reduction: you can get a bit more battery out of this. As I mentioned earlier, there’s also a USB-C input on the end of the neckband for charging and these also offer quick-charging. Just 10 minutes on the charger will get you another three hours of playback time.
Does the 1More Dual Driver ANC Pro earbuds have a microphone?
The 1More Pro ANC has a really good mic too seeing as the microphones are on the neckband and much closer to your mouth then the earbuds are. I spoke on the phone constantly with these and even did a Zoom video conference with them and I didn’t have any complaints with them at all. They do a good job at picking up some of the lower frequencies around 100Hz that other earbuds usually struggle with, however, that’s not a great thing for everyone. Especially low-voiced folks will find that the microphone can suffer from what’s called the proximity effect, making a strange sort of bassy sound overpowering some of your speech when you talk.
1More Dual Driver ANC Pro microphone demo:
How good is the active noise cancelling and isolation?
One of the most important factors when it comes to earbuds is the fit, and thankfully: these do a good job at blocking out the outside world. The active noise cancelling does a good job at keeping sounds in the lower frequencies from reaching your ears meaning that you can easily hear the lows without anything getting in the way. I will say though that I only achieved this good seal after swapping out the eartips like I mentioned earlier, so I would highly recommend doing so when you get these. While I haven’t been able to test these with some of the more egregious sounds like plane engines and trucks on the streets thanks to quarantine, I did use these while my AC was turned on high in my room and it significantly cut out the low drone. It wasn’t completely gone, but it was still impressive.
How do the 1More Dual Driver ANC Pro sound?
As far as sound quality goes, these really impressed me. I used them mainly via Bluetooth (since that’s how I feel most people will use them) most of the time and they didn’t disappoint. The lows are nice and neutral just how I like it (meaning they don’t overemphasize any of the bass notes) and if you’ve been reading SoundGuys for a while you know that’s our jam. It still gives you a good idea of what the bass is in the particular song that you’re listening to but without rattling your eyeballs in the process. That said, if you are a basshead that flat frequency response is going to work in your favor since it’ll give you more room to play with if you want to EQ some more low end into your music.
The bass throughout the song Cafe Amarillo – Jonathan Wilson Remix was strong enough to keep my head thumping without masking of the vocals, which aren’t masked or overpowered by other nearby notes. The somewhat quiet guitar that plays in the background of the chorus during the song Omaha by Toro y Moi is clear and easy to distinguish, even with all the other instrumentation going on.
The one thing that I wasn’t a huge fan of with these earbuds was the highs which have a bit of emphasis to them which I feel might have been to make up for the lack of clarity in the highs. Hi-hats and cymbals consistently came in and out depending on what else was going on in the song. While they’re audible they weren’t super easy to pick out among a lot of instruments.
Should you buy the 1More Dual Driver ANC Pro earbuds?
If you’re in the market for an affordable pair of active noise cancelling earbuds, these should definitely be on your shortlist. One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is the price, and at $149 USD I feel like these are a great deal. The only factor that’s probably going to hold people back from getting these is the neckband design, but if you don’t mind not having the newest true wireless form factor: then these are a great pair of buds that’s hard to beat. They’re comfortable, versatile, sound great, and have some solid active noise cancelling for when you’re in a noisy environment. On top of that they have a decent battery life that should easily last you through the day and they also have a great microphone that could come in handy for conference calls or just speaking on the phone. If you’re not a fan of true wireless earbuds but want something a little more portable than some of the more popular over-ear headphones I think the 1More Dual Driver ANC Pro earbuds are for you.