Here at MajorHifi, I often find myself inundated by wave after wave of big-name headphones. From Sennheiser to Audio Technica to Beyerdynamic, the headphone game often seems to be dominated by big fish in a small pond. However, every once in a while, a scrappy little underdog busts out onto the scene with a game changer. Enter the Anker Soundcore Space NC – a nifty over-ear headphone retailing for a surprising $99. But how good can it sound?
Anker Soundcore Space NC Review
The Space NC comes in a fairly innocuous cardboard box. Inside, you’ll find the headphones, an impressive carrying case, a micro USB charging cable, and an aux cable.
Holding the headphone in your hands, it’s easy to assume these are cheaply made. However, this feeling seems to stem from a lightweight design. Build quality hasn’t been compromised, though, thanks to a metal headband and overall solid construction. The result is a headphone that feels light to wear or carry, while still being able to take a decent beating.
This Anker headphone sports wireless connectivity and active noise cancellation, as well as touch controls on the right ear cup, with a dedicated button for taking phone calls. Unlike some high-priced models from bigger brand names, the Space NC can operate with either noise cancelling or wireless functionality turned off.
Battery life is a solid 20 hours in wireless mode with noise cancelling turned on. However, used wired with noise cancellation turned on will result in 50 hours of battery life. And all of that with only a three hour charge time. Take that, Bose.
Frequency Response: 16-20,000 Hz
Nominal Impedance: 32 ohms
Sound Pressure Level: NA
I was half-expecting Anker to skimp on the specs entirely. However, on paper, this headphone boasts some impressive chops. The frequency response shows a little emphasis on the low end and some possibly smoother highs. The low nominal impedance of 32 ohms is expected, allowing the Space NC to work perfectly with phones and laptops. While sound pressure isn’t rated, I’d put this baby at a solid 108 dB, ensuring you can find adequate listening volume in almost any situation.
The low end on the Space NC houses a fair amount of detail. While not quite audiophile-territory, sound here is impressive, with notes sounding natural and energetic. Bass isn’t overblown or muddy, as I would expect from a bluetooth noise-cancelling headphone at this price. Instead, there’s some decent impact that lends itself well to rock and eletronica, and there’s still enough detail to carry some choice tracks from Kanye or Kendrick Lamar.
When it comes to inexpensive headphones, the mids are usually the “make-or-break” part of the sound. Here Anker delivers some decent quality. To be honest, there’s a little distortion at play here, but as a minimal distraction, it’s hardly a deal breaker. There’s still good detail where vocals or instrumentation are concerned, and this midrange is still better-sounding than some models that cost twice as much.
Not bright, but slightly relaxed, the high end on the Space NC offers buttery smooth vocals and pleasing instrumentation. Fans of classical music (especially pieces featuring tons of violins) may balk at this sound, but I personally find it easily compliments the overall warm sound of the Space NC – especially that throbbing, primal low end. Suffice to say, this may not be the ideal high end for some Beethoven, but it sounds fantastic with some Synthwave or R&B.
The Space NC packs a decent sense of depth and a modicum of placement. Soundstage isn’t phenomenal, but it’s still impressive for a closed-back set of cans retailing for $99. While not enough to really give you a completely three-dimensional sound, there’s still enough space in any given track to keep the music mesmerizing.
Anker’s noise cancellation is on point. It does as good of a job blocking out sound as the Bose QC35, and remains more comfortable in doing so. Some cheaper noise-cancelling models tend to emit low-frequency waves around fans or vents, but the Space NC doesn’t do this. I’m usually pretty touchy about ANC because it irritates me to no end, but this is actually quite comfortable.
Overall sound quality is actually quite good. Driver size is a decent 40mm, but aside from that, there’s some solid audio engineering behind this consumer-priced headphone. Granted, it’s probably not the kind of headphone you want to recommend to hifi snobs, but it’s still pretty freaking sweet for a bluetooth noise-cancelling headphone.
But wait, there’s more! The Anker warranty lasts a whopping 18 months – that’s six more months than Bose, though not as long as the 2 years that come with Audio Technica and Sennheiser. Personally, I’d bet this headphone would last at least 3 years, give or take some rough handling, but those who are particularly abusive toward their cans may find that 18 month warranty convenient.
If you need a noise-cancelling wireless headphone and don’t want to spend $300 or more on the Sony WH1000MX2 or the Beyerdynamic Aventho Wireless, buy this headphone.
If you’re looking for a decent sounding headphone at $99 that delivers decent bass and a smooth high end, buy this headphone and enjoy the noise-cancelling feature and wireless functionality.
Really, the only reason I wouldn’t recommend this headphone is if you’re (a) open to spending more on the Sony or Beyerdynamic models at $348 and $449, respectively, or (b) you’re an audiophile.
But if you like good sound, forgo the more expensive options from Bose or Sennheiser or Audio Technica. The truth is, even if you spend $350 on a big-brand headphone, they still won’t sound as good as this.
Personally, I prefer in-ear headphones, but I’m already looking at buying multiple pairs of these and giving them away as gifts. Even if I could get a discount on models from Audio Technica or Sennheiser, the sound still wouldn’t compare.
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.
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