The Verge: Anker’s new audio line has few frills, some faults

The party speaker is a winner, but the headphones are not

Read the full article on The Verge:


Ouch, I think the space NC are ok but could definitely be improved to have better noise cancellation and
constructive criticism like this helps. Still not bad at all for a first attempt. The flare shines again and for the price is a very impressive and great sounding speaker. It’s nice for Anker to even be considered for an article like this they deserve the recognition and exposure and being compared to other high end audio products.

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outdated micro usb

This is what we’ve been saying, and not just a few of us here on the forum

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Regardless of everyone domains of micro USB, all the top end products still use it aswell. But, the biggest difference is no one screams for them to make change. It’s always the lower priced products that get castrated for using micro USB.

Agreed. It is a very popular idea.

I got some issues with this statement:

The Soundcore headphones block out sounds like wind, but similar to many noise-canceling headphones, they’re not very effective at blocking out higher-pitch noises, such as people’s voices.

Is there any headphone able to really cancel out every external sound? If I understand correctly, the way active noise cancelling works is by detecting external sounds and emitting a counter-frequency to cancel it out, and that’s the reason they work for most ambient sounds - wind, turbines, air-conditioners, regular city sounds, anything that has a constant and somewhat always regular sound. In other words, noise. People’s voices are constantly changing, because that’s how we create words, hence it can’t be cancelled by the same system. That’s where the other part of the noise cancelling would enter: physically blocking the sound. But even the best of the best ANC headphones can’t cancel out everything. At best, they reduce the ambient noise to a nice hum, and lower the volume on chatter. I’ve never heard of a complete noise cancellation - not even industrial-grade noise-cancelling headphones can. Isn’t this something a reviewer on a vehicle such as The Verge should be aware of?

The same bias goes for the review of the other products in the article. Did the reviewer expected the lights on the Flare to be able to illuminate a room? Come one, does anyone really expected that? The mention of the outdated Micro USB goes the same way: so far many premium products still use it, as @elmo41683 mentioned.

Regardless of being an article criticizing Anker, I get really mad at writing such as this. It’s like the writer’s only goal was to list the cons. The amount of misinformation and bias is so great I wonder how an editor approved it - maybe there wasn’t an editor?


Not sure myself, but when @nigelhealy saw the NC chart, I think he expressed disappointment.

Noise isolation where it is a good tight seal in the ear does a good job of blocking higher frequencies but transmission through the physical material transmits lower frequencies.

Noise cancellation in personal non-military class noise cancellation is not able to remove high frequency sounds as:

  • the wavelength is so short it is a computationally expensive to calculate exactly the inverse wave, the electronics is not there yet with good battery life
  • the most popular use of noise cancellation headphones is for flying, to cancel the lower frequency hum off the engines and the airlines prefer passengers to hear the announcements and instructions from crew.

Probably a mix of a tight in-ear bud to best of noise isolation combined with noise cancellation is most likely to work but you’re fighting the conflicting need of computing the noise cancellation inside a bud light enough to not fall out. I’m sure these will come eventually.

In the short term I recommend noise cancellation with white-noise generating as the white-noise reduces the conscious reaction to human voices.

Aircraft engine noise peaks around 400Hz, the wavelength is 0.85 meters.which is order of magnitude larger than the domestic headphone so it is computationally lightweight to compute the inverse sound and do a half decent job. That wavelength is so long that only a small % of the wave is inside the ear, sound coming from slightly different angles therefore cannot move too far front/rear so a simple single microphone and emiting one inverse wave is going to do a decent job.

The human voice is up to 8Khz, phones allow upto 3400hz, so the wavelength is as short as 0.04M so then you’re talking the wavelength is about the same size as the headphone so you’d have to be extremely precise in quickly generating the inverse sound and precise to place that sound. 4cm means 1 to 2 full wavelengths is bouncing inside the ear, so you’d have to be much more precise with sensing the direction of the sound to cancel it. It is possible if you threw enough computational power at it. That power will come eventually, so I expect domestic consumer electronics will steadily improve.

The over-ear headphones have more challenges than in-ear buds for noise cancellation. The sound would have to be sampled from multiple directions and then sent within in the same direction, so a sound wave coming from your front generated one going backwards, etc. The in-ear buds would find it easier but then they get uncomfortable itchy in a long haul flight.


I totally agree with @nigelhealy about noise cancellation challenges at lower frequency. Great explanation :thumbsup:

Verge author probably don’t understand the concept of noise cancellation. Higher frequency sounds are never the target of NC, it’s the low frequency.

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another review majorhifi

Final Analysis
There are few headphones that are universally loved. But at $99, the Anker Soundcore Space NC might just be the final word in noise-cancelling and wireless sound. Add to this a fantastic sound quality and you have one sure-fire headphone, folks.


Higher frequencies. Shorter wavelengths. Sound has more space relatively to move around.

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Sorry for the confusion. I meant lower frequency for 20 Hz - 250 Hz (Bass range). This is where the noise cancellation becomes a challenge and ANC actually works. Below is Bose QC35II NC graph with ANC on/off

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The ONLY true way to cancel sound bleed, is to use WHITE NOISE. this is what professionals like pilots use, to cancel out the engine etc.

In fact, my stepdaughter plays white noise for our grandchild, to help her sleep at night, as they live near a city center.

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Good chart.

You see at lower frequency how noise cancellation helps, but it offers no advantage to the high frequencies.

Noise isolation works better at high frequencies as it basically reflects off the bud but needs a tight seal so the small wavelengths have no gap to get through the ear canal. Lower frequencies bypass the bud isolation.

I’d say if you really wanted the best noise reduction then find a noise cancellation in-ear bud with a good fit. The noise cancellation will remove the lower frequencies and the noise isolation will remove the higher frequencies.