The SOUL SYNC ANC is the first noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds from SOUL Electronics. I have reviewed several SOUL wireless earbuds in the past and they give me generally good impressions. For instance, SOUL Run Free Pro Bio is an advanced wireless earbuds with sensors to track your running form. The more recent SOUL ST-XS2 is a solid audio performer for workouts with IPX7 water rating.
As 2020 comes to a close, most of the audio brands serious in surviving in the challenging personal wireless audio industry would already have released a product with active noise-cancelling. It has become a default feature with the price dropping aggressively. As the feature get commoditized, one probably has to question how much prowess does one need from ANC. Would a moderate ANC work well enough, or would everyone need the best ANC to achieve environmental bliss?
Let’s summarise the features of the SOUL SYNC ANC:
- 12mm drivers
- Bluetooth 5.1
- AAC Codec
- ANC and Audio Transparency Mode
- Full touch control including volume
- 5.5 hours (without ANC), 25 hours with case
- IPX4 sweatproof
The earbuds may appear chunky but they fit in ears comfortably. The short stem has the benefit of handling the earbuds without contacting the touch panel to accidentally trigger the controls.
It’s simple to pair them: as long as there are no active connections, the earbuds go into pairing mode for the next device to discover and add. Tap right button to play-pause, double-tap right button to skip next track, triple-tap right button to go previous track. Tap left button to increase volume, double-tap left button to reduce volume. Tap-hold right or left button to switch ANC modes, triple-tap left button to activate voice assistant.
At moderate volume, the SYNC ANC is not bright-sounding, its highs are rather blunt and recessed, so you won’t be able to experience the exciting percussive shimmers of the hi-hats and cymbals. The bass is moderately bloated to fill up the aural cavities, which affects the midrange clarity as well. Main treble instruments are rounded and warm, delivering overall comfortable listen. Classical genres lack the airiness and fusion jazz tracks lack the snappiness.
Turn the volume up higher and you will get a more immersive balance, as the treble pushes forward in the mix, the midrange is left muddy, while the bass sounds less overpowering. Run the earbuds through heavy pop vocal tracks and you will not experience excessive harshness, though lower treble could still get a little hot.
The ANC implementation is average and overall usable. While toggling the ANC (press-hold either earbuds for 2 seconds), the voice prompt will disrupt the music. The ANC removes the midrange effectively, while the upper frequency is slightly more revealing than the thecoopidea Beans Pro 2. Low boomy noises like engines are reduced only to reveal higher-pitched rotary whirls.
As for Audio Transparency, it doesn’t sound naturally open, as the midrange is muffled up, as if wearing an open-back headphones. But the Transparency is adequate to be aware of the surrounding, especially higher-frequency events like vehicle horns, traffic sounds, and the incessant human chatter at food centres.
The SYNC ANC hands over the call between the earbuds very smoothly, allowing the user to pick up any earbuds for conversations. When you dock the main earbuds for charging, the other earbud takes over the streaming to continue voice conversation without disruption. The audio quality is not very sensitive, and I reckon it’s due to the background noise cancelling effect to gate any soft ambient sounds. Under windy conditions, the earbuds could not pick up the voice over the wind noise.
Like most TWS, it’s difficult to expect great call quality except for very few models. Even so, there are network dependencies and quality may even differ with different smartphones. My recommendation is to hold the earbud with the active mic and speak into it like holding a lavalier mic while using the other earbud for listening. This way, you can speak softly and ensure the mic picks your voice at the highest clarity instead of raising your voice and hoping that the mic can pick up your voice. To me, the only way to get the best mic pickup is when the mic is at the lips, not anywhere else.
The SOUL SYNC ANC earbuds offers comfortable treble presentation and prominent bass tuning that works if you like to listen music a high volumes. Between this and thecoopidea Beans Pro 2, the Beans Pro 2 has more satisfying bass, but neither has the treble presence as the PaMu Quiet, which also has solid bass. And since everyone has different listening preference, choose the one that meets your needs, be it design or sound quality.
In Singapore, SOUL SYNC ANC is distributed by McBay, sold at their Shopee Official Mall, and comes with 1-year local warranty. Official retail price is S$199.90 with ongoing promotion at S$149.90.