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4-Way Wireless Earbud Showdown

The Final Trio

So it's been a couple of years since I last posted a review on wireless earbuds. Or posted about anything in general really. But I recently found some notes I had jotted down during my last round of earbud comparisons late last year so figured I'd get around to posting them now since well, if there's anything I have plenty of these days it's free time. But anyway, after I last reviewed the original Apple AirPods back in 2017, the wireless earbuds that I eventually wound up using on a daily basis was the ERATO Verse. And they stayed my go-to buds until late 2019 when I decided to test out 3 other contenders: the Apple AirPods Pro, the Jabra Elite 75t, and the Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro. Did the ERATO retain its place as my daily earbuds or did one of the new usurpers take its place? First, my notes on the 4 contenders...

ERATO and AirPod Pro

ERATO Verse
Pros:


  • Very light, can wear a long time w/out issues.

  • Audio quality is best I've heard. Superb all around. Excellent bass and wide soundstage. More mid prominent.

  • Has on unit controls for navigating tracks and volume.

  • Relatively easy to pair with devices. Remembers last paired device well.

ERATO and AirPod Pro Open

Cons:


  • Drops connection too much. Busy street intersections in NYC is bad news for it. Sometimes re-connecting helps.

  • Phone calls only use the main (left) earbud. Not the best microphone.

  • Not confident that earbuds are paired to each other at times. Will often turn off and back on just to be sure.

  • Fits really snugly in audio canal. Great to block out outside noise but some people may not like that earplug feeling.

  • Need to disconnect with one device first before connecting with another.

Apple AirPod Pro

Apple AirPod Pro
Pros:


  • Light weight, no issues with fit.

  • Audio quality is pretty good overall. Clear mids and highs.

  • Active Noise Cancellation works well. Good balance between sealing in your ears and letting enough outside noise in.

  • Ease of use is superb. iOS devices detects it pretty much immediately. Can switch between devices w/out having to disconnect first.

  • No random drops while walking around at all. Awesome.

  • Better unit controls. Can now forward/back tracks by clicking on either earbud.

  • Phone calls use both earbuds. Good sound quality overall.

  • Automatic stop/continue when earbud is removed from ear works very well.

  • Likes how it automatically reads incoming text messages to you.

Apple AirPod Pros in Charging Case

Cons:


  • Bit of a congested soundstage. Recessed bass. Not for bassheads.

  • Still can't change volume w/out using phone.

  • Transparency is a little random. Sometimes accentuates sounds that don't really need to be.

ERATO and AirPod Pro Slant View

Jabra Elite 75t
Pros:


  • Comes w/app, can update firmware (must be in case), play with equalizers

  • Can connect to two devices at the same time. But sound won't come from both devices at the same time. Music/video apps take precedence over games.

  • Good bass but low bass can be very recessed. Excellent mids. Overall good sound.

  • Can use earbuds separately from each other.

  • Full assortment of on-ear controls.

  • Magnets in each earbud so they can stick together when not in ear.

The Trio Charging Cases

Cons:


  • Big earbuds. Hurts my ears after awhile.

  • Soundstage a bit narrow.

  • Volume control keeps going up or down depending on how long you continuously press the button. Doesn't skip one level at a time. This could either be good or bad, depending on personal preference.

Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro in Charging Case

Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro
Pros:


  • Can update firmware (while outside of case)

  • Widest soundstage

  • Pretty prominent bass, too forward at times, overshadowing the mids

  • Surprisingly comfortable fit despite size

  • Didn't cut out at all when walking around Manhattan

  • Wireless charging

Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro

Cons:


  • Biggest earbuds.

  • Volume controls aren't mapped by default, but luckily can change them via app.

  • Wider soundstage makes treble and mids sound a little thin.

Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro

When it came to the audio quality of the four, the AirPod Pro still lagged. And of the remaining three, the Verse has a tighter, less full/impactful bass. But beautiful mids. The Jabra has fuller mid-bass but recessed low bass. Its narrower soundstage makes it feel like the bass bleeds into the mids a bit too much. And the Soundcore has full, all-around bass but thinner sounding treble and mids. It's marketing that states, "Delivers an expansive soundstage with rich details" is pretty accurate. But realistically, when out and about, the sound quality of the three are all excellent. The differences I heard were only when sitting and paying close attention while in a quiet room. If you just randomly picked one of them, I don't think you'd be disappointed with their audio quality. Especially after burn in or when your ears get accustomed to their sound signature.

So which set did I eventually choose as the winner?



The Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro.


It was a really tough decision though. Really tough. While I thought the ERATO still held a slight edge in overall audio quality, I was getting tired of its easily broken Bluetooth connections. The AirPod Pros were really easy to use w/my iPhone but the audio quality simply wasn't up to par still. So it came down to the Jabra and the Soundcore. While I think the Jabra is tops in overall useful features, I couldn't wear it for over 20 minutes w/out my ears hurting. Which was a darn shame. So the Soundcore came out ahead of the rest. It has excellent sound, a comfortable fit, all the controls I normally use on the earbuds themselves, wireless charging, and it didn't cut out all the time when walking the busy streets of the city. But, as usual, YMMV since everyone hears things differently and places importance on different aspects of a product. Anyway, hope someone finds this useful and I guess I'll be back again in another 2 or 3 years to see how the wireless earbud landscape is like then.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 4, 2020 7:05 PM.

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