The 1More True Wireless ANC is their first active noise controlled TWS earbud system featuring BT5.0, aptX, and up to 22 hours battery life. It is priced at $199.99
Disclaimer: The 1More True Wireless ANC sent to us is a sample in exchange for our honest opinion. We thank 1MORE for this opportunity.
To learn more 1MORE reviews on Headfonics you can click here.
Note, this review follows our new scoring guidelines for 2020 which you can read up on here.
This is our second ANC TWS and also our second 1MORE TWS system we have reviewed in the last month or two. The first was their entry-level Stylish TWS and the second, the True Wireless ANC is their active noise canceling variant. Currently, this is their flagship TWS and retails for an SRP of $199.99.
It does seem to me that for TWS, the year 2020 is all about noise-canceling and variations thereof. I can see the appeal of that considering these are universal form factors and predominantly used on the go such as travel and noisy environments.
Sony’s Sony WF-1000XM3 has been the benchmark but recent launches such as Huawei’s Freebuds 3 have put an interesting spin on what is possible with ANC. Given the 1MORE form factor, it is the former, rather than the latter that most will likely benchmark against.
Whilst ANC is the big call to action on the True Wireless ANC I thought it would be worth starting with the driver configuration. This is the first single dynamic driver and balanced armature hybrid design I have encountered in TWS since the KZ T1 which is now discontinued. I know there are a few more out there and I hope to test them all eventually.
A hybrid design brings a very different dynamic to the sound signature. You could argue it is the best of both worlds with dynamic driver power and timbre combined with BA speed and clarity. That being said, the KZ T1 was not exactly a success performance-wise so it is not always a given that a hybrid will be superior.
The precise configuration is a single 10mm titanium dynamic driver and a single patented design balanced armature. The precise tuning was a collaboration with one of their long-time pro partners, 4-time Grammy award-winning producer, Luca Bignardi. If that name rings a bell its related to the 1MORE Triple Driver Over-Ear Headphones which were also tuned by him.
There is no mention of the precise type of crossover in the True Wireless ANC but the BA is mentioned as covering the highs and the DD the lows and mids. I am also told the configuration is also pending THX Certification which would be a nice bonus.
The True Wireless ANC uses a dual-mic ANC set up with an outside mic or a feedforward mic and an inside or feedback mic design. This circular loop allows external noise to be suppressed before being processed via a dedicated DSP on the SoC in real-time to ensure sound quality is not hugely affected.
I have to note here that we are using the latest firmware version, (3.44), of the 1MORE True Wireless ANC released in late March 2020. This version has brought some improvements to the DSP aspect of the True Wireless ANC performance. It is that version we will be reviewing and not the older version.
I would say this is the minimum you should expect in terms of Bluetooth standards in 2020. Even the $30 Airdots from Redmi have a BT5.0 standard. Some of the earlier units I have encountered have offered BT4.2 but these are competitively non-existent unless some awful cheap OEM from AliExpress land on your desk.
Decoding is as good as you can expect with every possible codec included outside of aptX LL. That includes aptX, as well as A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, HFP, SBC, and AAC so Apple guys are covered.
TrueWireless Stereo Plus
TrueWireless Stereo Plus technology dictates how the two drivers pair, both to the source and each other. You can find it in TWS such as the Lypertek TEVI, Freebuds 3 and Noble Audio’s Falcon.
In a traditional ‘non-Plus’ system, there is a master and slave relationship whereby one driver pairs with the source and in turn creates a secondary connection with the other driver.
The Plus version allows each driver to connect directly to the source “in stereo” and do away with that master-slave connection between each other. The software inside the Qualcomm TWS Plus optimized chipset then syncs them both as a single pair of earphones.
The master designation thus becomes more flexible. For example, if you run out of battery life on one side, the other side becomes the master so you do not lose a connection.
Well, it is that IPX rating again and the same as the Stylish. The True Wireless ANC does borrow the design of the Stylish in many ways so I am not surprised.
That does mean we cannot give 100% assurances on the Stylish for any sweat-inducing moments in the gym or wearing outside in crappy wet weather. Having said that, 1MORE is confident that will not be an issue and customers have fed back that gym use is not an issue.
The True Wireless ANC is a follow on from the design of the Stylish. However, the size and finishing is a little different. They are indeed a much bigger form factor and do make the Stylish look fairly petite in comparison. The mechanics of how you use them, however, have not changed with the continued use of the detachable stabilizing 0-ring accessories.
The shape is a traditional universal jellybean shape, however, the faceplate now has a premium carbon fiber finish to it rather than the plain matte black of the Stylish. The microphone indentation on the front panel also has a red insert, whereas with the Stylish there is no microphone placement there. You will find an additional microphone placement to the front of the True Wireless ANC also finished in red.
Those coming to the True Wireless ANC for the first time will notice just how long and stout that nozzle is. Technically the nozzle itself is incredibly short and angular. Rather the girth and length are from the main shell’s design which can accommodate the 0-ring stabilizers.
The angulation also means the main housing is nowhere near your outer ear when inserted. In fact, it sits more towards the front bottom of the outer ear allowing an easy two-finger grip. That helps prevent the True Wireless from jamming into your ear when you push the physical control button on the rear-side.
Comfort & Isolation
The True Wireless is surprisingly comfortable given its large form factor. Much of that has to do with the 0-ring stabilizer system. This system keeps everything steady but at the same time ensures the larger external housing does not create any unwelcome pressure on your ear.
The O-ring initially looks like it is part of the driver itself but in actual fact, it is a slip-on rubber ring that is shaped to mimic the contour of the True Wireless ANC body. That keeps it low-profile and prevents it from creating fitting and stability issues. A small hook at the rear also keeps the O-ring from sliding off unexpectedly.
The O-ring also comes in several sizes so if the one out of the box is too small or big you can slide off the tip, then the O-ring and change it for one that suits you better. They are also left and right specific for the small hook at the back to fit so make sure you get them on correctly.
The True Wireless ANC comes with 3 types of single bore silicone tips, a traditional dome version in translucent grey and thick red stems and an all-black mushroom type.
I was not wholly convinced by the mushroom type tips. They felt comfortable but not as steady as the traditional foam versions. They also did not seem to isolate quite as well as the aforementioned traditional designs.
The dome tips are pretty secure and the depth of insertion just that little bit better which in turn improves the perceived performance of the ANC.
The other thing to note is that you have to be careful with rolling as the nozzle lip is an oval shape not round. That means it is quite an unusual shape and some tips might not fit so well. I did find standard FiiO and Final E tips to work but there is some stretching required. Foam tips worked better than long stem regular round and stiffer silicone tips.
1MORE allows two levels of ANC on the drivers with an optional pass-through that gives an enhanced perception of environmental noise as well as the ability to simply turn it off. The option cycle is linear so you do have go through each one methodically to get to the one you want to use.
Levels of ANC
The two levels of ANC, 1 and 2, simply denote the amount of dB attenuation with Level 1 the strongest, Level 2 denoted as mild and option 4 is off altogether. Option 3 is your pass-through and can also be individually activated via the 1MORE Sound app. I found the difference between level 1 and level 2 ANC to relatively marginal. You can tell level 1 is stronger but the gap isn’t huge.
The performance level of the ANC from the true Wireless ANC was interesting and quite different from the Sony WF-1000XM3 for example. I actually think the 1MORE attenuation on the low-end of the FR (say around 20-250Hz) to be slightly better than Sony’s but on the flip side, the 1MORE does not attenuate as well above 1k.
I use an aircon 1m away from me that I need to turn off when taking coupler measurements of monitors. It tends to spike the 50Hz marker on my resulting calibrated charts if I do not turn it off.
That low-end rumble is more or less gone on the 1MORE but what is left is a lot of high-frequency noise. The Sony seems to have a broader coverage of db attenuation across the FR but not as extreme sub-250Hz as the 1MORE.
At this point, I do feel the one critique I have with this system is the touch-plate sensitivity. It is not so much as a tap but a proper poke. I get why the reduced sensitivity. The last thing you want is accidentally touching it when in use and the reduced sensitivity does help avoid that.
However, the effect of the poking can be quite jarring when cycling through the options. If you have the app handy it is much more comfortable to adjust your settings there.
The 1MORE True Wireless ANC is controlled through a mix of physical, touch and app integration. The subset groups of controls are neatly organized under 3 broad headings; call, music and ANC. Only the ANC makes use of their touch faceplate and you can read up on how to use that in our ANC section above.
Volume control is the only option spread across the two physical buttons (up and down). There is no feature to change them in the 1MORE Music app so they are what they are.
My advice is to pair with both the source and the app at the same time. I am not a fan of the forceful nature required to activate the touch controls so the app’s overlap means less poking.
The physical controls are nicely balanced at the rear. The driver shells stick out of your ear a bit so you can grip it easily between finger and thumb and operate the rear buttons without them moving or becoming uncomfortable.
The primary app used is 1MORE Music and is used for firmware updates, ANC control, auto-play, and pass-through quick access. You can also easily see the amount of remaining battery life in each driver via a graphical battery % bar at the top of the screen.
It is a slickly designed app and it does seem to take an inspiration or two from the Sony TWS app in layout. However, the options available are not quite as varied. It does not mean the 1MORE Music is a bad app. Rather, it is better than most but if you strip away the slick design and you will find it has less features than the Sony version.
What I find most useful about the app is that it allows me quick access to ANC and pass-through level controls. The in-ear voice support between level 1 and level 2 is not that clear for me to hear which level I am on so glancing at the app or adjusting via the app helps a lot.
The additional of auto-play control in the new firmware is a nice touch. This is a feature that auto stops what you are playing when you take the drivers out of your ear, similar to Sony. You can now decide from the ap whether to have them automatically play when you put them back in your ear.
Although the new cradle is slightly bigger than the Stylish version. This is an aluminum, smooth curved and nicely finished cradle and better than the plastic egg design of the Stylish. The internal slot cradle is still a hard plastic but its discreet and blends in nicely with the metal exterior.
Of course, it has to be bigger than the Stylish cradle as the True Wireless ANC drivers are also much bigger. However, 1MORE has upgraded the charging to USB-C and added quick charge as well as Qi compatible wireless charging.
The battery life in the ANC drivers and cradle is just ok for me, nothing really stands out aside from the 10 min quick charge giving 60 mins of use. At the moment, however, ANC performances for most TWS is below that of class-leading non-ANC TWS by up to 50% so this is not just a 1MORE challenge.
For example, the non-ANC Noble Falcon and Lypertek TEVI have a driver battery life of 10 hours with cradles that range from 30-70 hours. The 1MORE is a max of 6 hours with the ANC off and 5 with the ANC on and a total of 22 hours including the case. The Edifier TWS NB has the exact same battery measurement and the Sony WF-1000XM3 so slightly better at 6 hours with ANC on.
Accessories & Packaging
1MORE always do great packaging. Right across their range, they have streamlined the retail box design so there is a degree of familiarity with their sketchy guidelines on the inner lid and clean clear display of the goods on the opposite side. It is a slightly larger box but the contents are well laid out.
Inside you get the following accessories:
- 3 pairs of silicone triangular ear tips (S/M/L)
- 4 pairs of silicone circular ear tips (XS/S/M/L)
- 3 pairs of silicone O-hooks (S/M/L)
- 1 pair of silicone bullhorn hooks (XL)
- 1 pair of silicone hook clips (XS)
- Carrying pouch
- Short USB-C charging cable
The carrying pouch is a nice touch. I do not see a lot of TWS include a pouch outside of premium brands like Fostex. Certainly, it can provide a small degree of protection as well as allow you to throw in all the tips, rings and charging cable without them getting easily lost.
Click on Page 2 for sound impressions & comparisons