STEREO GUIDE verdict
Thanks to a software update, the Libratone Air+ 3 now sound a little fresher and more spacious. The Bluetooth in-ears also have very good ANC. The Earbuds are just as easy to use as the simple app, which does contain some valuable functions.
- Sound tuning and wearing comfort for relaxed listening
- Effective, continuously adjustable ANC
- Handy case with easy removal of the in-ears
- App with few functions
Sound: tonal balamce / transparency8.5
Sound: Bass / Dynamics8.9
Practice / Connectivity9.2
When it comes to the most effective and latest noise-canceling technology for true wireless inear headphones, the big names in the headphone industry immediately come to mind. So we were a little surprised that the Danish specialist Libratone , otherwise known for its stylishly designed Bluetooth loudspeakers, should come up with superlatives with its new TWS called Air+ 3. And at a rather attractive list price of 170 euros.
Active noise canceling (ANC) with -40dB attenuation is mentioned, a new algorithm for suppressing sudden and spontaneous noises and ANC performance that is three times as effective as its predecessors. In addition, the Danes confidently name the largest driver in the segment at 11 mm, which made us curious.
Buy the Libratone Air+ 3 at a great price:
Sport and more
A mint green color variant meets the design requirements, while black and white, both matt, are available as alternatives. The housing design follows the “Lollipop” structure of the Apple Airpods Pro 2. In the case of the Libratone Air+ 3 with a slightly wider stick, not dissimilar in shape to the JBL Tune 230NC, and a very pleasant surface.
The range of applications is particularly wide, with special operating modes of the transparency mode for road traffic and sport. The IP54 splash and dust protection also speaks for the latter. However, you should not immerse yourself too deeply or sweat too much with the Libratones.
The important question of battery life remains to be answered: the earbuds themselves last for 6 hours, with a further 18 hours of juice in the charging case. That’s good average, but nothing more. The case can be recharged wirelessly, which is very practical.
A few more tricks on the pan
With Bluetooth 5.2, the Libratones are at the cutting edge. However, we do miss a high-quality codec such as AAC for iPhone and Mac users. For all those who have a suitably equipped Android smartphone, however, there is aptX support.
Up to five devices can remain connected to the Libratone Air+ 3, which makes switching between smartphone, tablet and computer quite convenient.
The touch-sensitive surfaces on the outside of the sticks are based on a new technology and can also be operated with gloves. In our self-experiment, we were unable to reproduce this. With leather gloves, operation was hardly possible, and with fabric gloves it was no more reliable than with the handsets used for comparison. The assignment can be customized via the app.
Noise-canceling and Libratone app in practice
For effective noise-canceling, a TWS must of course fit well in the ear canal. Libratone supplies four different sizes of rubber adapters. The most important functions of the stylish but purist Libratone app are undoubtedly the infinitely variable control and switching to sports mode for the ANC, which was really very effective in our practical test. The individual customization of the touch commands and the option to install updates are also very practical. The latter took on a special significance in the Libratone Air+ 3 listening test. This is because the new firmware also changed its acoustic tuning – to put it bluntly – for the better.
This is what the Libratones sound like
The sound of the new Air+ 3 has been criticized in numerous reviews. In fact, the most positive thing that could be said about the sound at the beginning of our practical test was that there were no rough edges and the Bluetooth in-ears sounded warm and pleasant. Despite global warming, one would have expected some Nordic freshness from “Libratone’s renowned Nordic audio tuning philosophy”. The chapters kick, liveliness and resolution were neglected in the Air+ 3. The fact that this rather lackluster sound was not due to the absence of the AAC codec became apparent after the software update via the Libratone app.
The new firmware installed over the air included a new sound tuning for the TWS in-ears. And this resulted in a significant upgrade in terms of sound. All of a sudden, the earphones got rid of their muffled highs, which also made voices sound somewhat muffled and undifferentiated. On top of that, the bass now also seems a little crisper. In particular, fine dynamics and transparency were enhanced. However, voices like that of Don Henley from the Eagles also sounded a little rougher than before. The added freshness and ability to differentiate is definitely very positive for the in-ear. But even after the update, the Air+ 3 are not a miracle in terms of resolution and spatial audibility.
What is convincing after the firmware update, however, is the punch in the bass. Instead of relying on a thick upper bass in superficial showmanship, the Libratone is relatively low in frequency and reproduces beats like in “New York State Of Mind” by Jay Z very precisely and dryly. The dynamic reserves are also very decent. This means that the sound performance is absolutely fine with its own note in the price range, although the newcomer, which is very comfortable to wear, only manages to set a real exclamation mark in terms of noise canceling.
Verdict and alternatives to the Libratone Air+3
From the compact, skillfully shaped charging case to the effortless removal from the case and the effective ANC, which can be infinitely adjusted in the app, Libratone offers a successful mix with the Air+ 3. The sound is also perfectly fine after the software update. This is despite the fact that it is difficult to argue with the higher price compared to cheaper competitors with a similar profile, such as the MiiEgo MiiBuds Play. The Denon PerL earbuds also offer a dry bass, but with more kick and, on top of that, much finer vocal reproduction and high-frequency resolution. On the other hand, the ANC of the Denons can’t quite keep up with the Air+ 3, especially since the transparency mode of the PerlL is accompanied by strong noise.
Technical data Libratone Air+ 3
- Manufacturer’s suggested retail price: 170 euros
- Type: In-Ear
- Transducer principle: Dynamic
- Weight: 4.9 g
- Special features: Bluetooth 5.2, aptX, SBC codecs, IP54 dust/splash protection, active noise-canceling, app control, hands-free microphone for phone calls, 24 battery life with three recharges in the case that can be charged wirelessly
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