1More Dual Driver ANC Lightning Review – Traditional Audio, Evolved Features

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Sound –

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Tonality –

Being a traveller’s earphone, the DD ANC is warm and smooth to minimise fatigue. However, it avoids the dull sound that the majority of ANC in-ears carry through tastefully enhanced upper midrange and lower-treble energy. As such, they assume a u-shaped signature with bass drawing the most attention followed by lower-treble. This added crispness serves to liven up their sound and heighten both engagement and clarity. They still remain very much on the unfatiguing side overall, designed to be listened to for hours on end, but when compared to the vast majority of noise cancelling in-ears, these are the most sonically balanced and the most revealing I’ve heard yet.

 

Bass –

The 1More ANC doesn’t excel with the technicalities, rather focussing on a warm, natural tonality that remains listenable for hours on end. These qualities stems from their mid-bass focused low-end that imbues body and fullness to their bass response but also bloat and bloom. Bass has great extension with clearly apparent rumble and nice slam when called for, but sub-bass takes a backseat to their enhanced mid-bass response overall. As a result, the DD ANC produces a low-end presentation that is lush and full if not particularly physical in its impact, thereby avoiding fatigue. Finally, upper bass is enhanced but less so than their mid-bass, feeding into a warmed lower-midrange that avoids excessive spill.

This tuning does come with some caveats as with any sculpted signature, and it doesn’t help that bass is on the sligthly slower side with longer decay to each note. Combined with their mid-bass bloat, the earphones do lack some definition and create a thicker note size that compromises separation between instruments. Still, their warm response is intentional with a rich and dynamic sound that makes for an easy listen. Furthermore, though this response can be a little heavy-handed for home listening, they still aren’t nearly as bass-skewed as the ADV 747 or as tubby as the Bose QC20 while remaining full enough to sound balanced in louder environments where bass tends to become drowned out.

 

Mids –

This added low-end warmth extends to the DD ANC’s midrange that delivers a full-bodied, laid-back presentation. Mids do sit slightly behind the bass but vocals and midrange instruments never become overshadowed. In addition, due to a lift in the upper midrange approaching their similarly elevated lower-treble response, clarity is enhanced throughout and the earphones never come off as veiled or overly dark as a result. Lower mids are notably warmed but male vocals are well expressed and instruments such as guitar and piano are presented with fullness while avoiding excessive bloom. Upper mids are well balanced but with greater clarity and less colouration from the bass. As a result, female vocals and instruments residing within this frequency range sound more neutrally bodied and transparent if not explicitly neutral in the grand scheme of things.

Through this presentation, the earphones don’t fatigue but also don’t sound blunted, they are even admirably revealing within their upper midrange. The DD ANC is a very natural performer with clear and immediate vocals that lack any artificial sheen or raspiness and sibilance is kept in check. Midrange tuning is also relatively linear with no notable peaks or troughs resulting in consistent, natural voicing. Due to tinges of warmth and a smooth high-frequency tuning, the 1More’s don’t excel with separation and layering, but each element is still given its own space within the mix even if some background details do become overshadowed. The 1More’s don’t flatter the listener with absolute resolving power and clarity but they do strike a fine balance between engagement, balance and long-term listenability.

 

Highs –

This is probably the most interesting aspect of the DD ANC’s sound and what differentiates it from most other ANC earphones; it is within the higher-frequencies that their dual driver setup comes into play with a faster balanced armature driver offering up superior treble attack than conventional dynamic drivers. And in listening, the 1More is indeed one of the most detailed noise-cancelling in-ears I’ve heard but it also balances this with smooth, gradual tuning that avoids harshness and stridence. As such, though not well extended, the 1More’s effectively combine smooth, laid-back middle and upper treble with heightened lower-treble that gives them a crisp detail presentation that avoids fatiguing over longer listening.

Moreover, lower treble itself is nicely done, with tasteful, linear emphasis producing clear cymbals and guitars while maintaining accurate body and decay. Strings are nicely textured and the earphones possess pleasing shimmer without additional ring or sharpness. Due to the gentle nature of the roll-off above, instruments residing in higher up such as higher strings and high-hats do sound more distant than usual, but they remain well-resolved without sounding truncated or blunted. Moreover, sibilance is tamed entirely and some air is present, enhancing separation. They don’t compare to non-noise cancelling models including 1More’s own Quad and Triple Driver when it comes to resolving power or balance, though they are immensely smooth without sounding remotely dull.

 

Soundstage, Imaging and Separation –

With a somewhat rolled-off high-end, the Dual Driver’s don’t construct the largest, most delineated stage, erring more on the intimate side. Still, it keeps the presentation coherent and I didn’t detect any DSP strangeness artificially altering the sound during my testing. Otherwise, vocals are well centred and instruments are accurately placed overall, but the 1More’s clearly lack pinpoint precision and transience. Separation is above average due to enhanced upper midrange and lower treble clarity though they don’t excel with complex or faster songs.

 

Drivability –

The Dual Driver ANC’s employ in-built amplification circuitry and will sound identical from every source. Though I can’t comment on all of the qualities of that circuity, they aren’t susceptible to EMI interference and are free of any background noise and hiss regardless of source. That said, users also won’t be able pair the earphones with non-lightning devices or external amplifiers to provide additional volume. Still, they have decent sensitivity, achieving higher volumes than Apple’s Earpods at the same volume level and they block far more external noise than the vast majority of in-ears, meaning that volume doesn’t have to be turned up quite as high in louder environments. Ultimately, the nature of their design has its share of benefits and annoyances but 1More’s implementation provides an optimal experience.

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About Author

Avid writer, passionate photographer and full-time student, Ryan's audio origins and enduring interests lie within all aspects of portable audio. An ongoing desire to bring quality audio to the regular reader underpins his reviewer ethos as he seeks to bring a new perspective on the cutting edge and budget dredge alike.

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