The Soundcore Space One: An Unfortunate Disappointment in Sound Quality

by Alex Chang

Bluetooth technology has significantly improved over the years, and many companies are now producing wireless headphones with impressive sound quality. However, the Soundcore Space One falls short in this aspect. In this article, we will discuss the features, build quality, comfort, and most importantly, the sound quality of this sub-$100 headphone.

Features and Build Quality

The Soundcore Space One is a wireless active noise-canceling headphone manufactured by Soundcore, a company owned by Anker. Soundcore has gained a reputation for offering value-oriented products with decent active noise-canceling capabilities at affordable prices. While the company has always focused on comfort, sound quality has never been its strong suit.

The headphone features comfortable pads with a decent amount of depth, allowing for extended listening sessions without discomfort. It also offers various input controls, including volume adjustment, play/pause, power, and noise-canceling toggling. There are additional touch-sensitive controls on the sides, enabling the activation of modes that enhance transparency and enable conversations. In terms of build quality, the headphone is well-made and durable.

The Soundcore Space One: An Unfortunate Disappointment in Sound Quality


The Soundcore Space One excels in terms of comfort, especially for long listening sessions. The padding on top provides ample cushioning, allowing users to wear them for extended periods. The swivel and tilt mechanism further enhances the fit, and the earcups can lay flat or fold, making them suitable for travel. Overall, the headphones are comfortable and well-suited for activities like airplane travel.

Sound Quality

Subjectively, the Soundcore Space One offers a mixed experience. While it provides better detail, soundstage, and imaging compared to previous Soundcore models, its sound quality suffers greatly. The vocals, usually a crucial aspect of audio reproduction, exhibit poor timbre, sounding boomy on the low end and thin on the high end. Despite good vocal clarity, the vocals can be sibilant, harsh, and unpleasant. Overall, the sound quality is disappointing and fails to deliver an enjoyable listening experience.

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Objectively, the frequency response graph reveals significant shortcomings in the headphone’s sound signature. The bass response is excessive, resulting in an overpowering and bloated sound. The mid-range suffers from a deep dip, exacerbating the already poor vocal timbre. The emphasis in the upper part of the vocal range contributes to good vocal clarity but highlights the shortcomings in the lower part of the vocals. Furthermore, the headphone fails to elevate the necessary frequencies in the mid-range, resulting in a distorted and unpleasant sound.

The Soundcore Space One: An Unfortunate Disappointment in Sound Quality


The Soundcore Space One is a prime example of a headphone that prioritizes comfort, build quality, and features but neglects sound quality. Despite being a part of a company with ample resources like Anker, Soundcore failed to deliver a headphone with respectable sound quality. While it may be suitable for tasks like phone calls and active noise-canceling, its sound signature is so poorly tuned that it becomes difficult to find a use case in which the headphones provide an enjoyable listening experience. Unless users plan to use it strictly for noise canceling or as a comfortable accessory during travel, the Soundcore Space One falls short as a headphone for music enthusiasts.

In conclusion, the Soundcore Space One disappoints with its unfortunate sound quality, making it a poor choice for those seeking a well-rounded headphone experience.

The Soundcore Space One: An Unfortunate Disappointment in Sound Quality
Build QualityComfortable pads with decent depthDurable constructionVarious input controls, including touch-sensitive onesSound quality not prioritized
ComfortAmple cushioning on topSwivel and tilt mechanismEarcups can lay flat or fold, suitable for travelNone mentioned
Sound QualityBetter detail, soundstage, and imaging than predecessorsGood vocal clarityPoor vocal timbreSibilant and harsh vocalsOverpowering bass responsePoor mid-range frequencies
PriceAffordable (sub-$100)The sound quality does not match the price, even at sub -$100
Use-CaseComfortable for long listening sessionsSuitable for travel (due to folding earcups)Unsuitable for music enthusiasts due to poor sound quality
The Soundcore Space One: An Unfortunate Disappointment in Sound Quality

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Rodney November 14, 2023 - 3:27 am

Inside the box, you’ll find the headphones, a carrying bag, a standard 3.5mm audio cable, and a surprisingly short USB-A to USB-C cable which, it turns out, is purely for charging and does not support data transfer. Right out of the box, the headphones were at a 70% charge.

There’s not a whole lot to wax lyrical about regarding the Space Ones’ design—it’s pretty nondescript. The physical controls are what you’d expect, and there are just a couple of minor points to note: the ear cups are a bit on the small side, especially when I compare them to my old Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones, and the finish has a subtle roughness to it, rather than being made of smooth, hard plastic. It’s a nice touch, although I do wonder how it will fare against the inevitable scuffs and scratches.

Now, the battery life is something to write home about, even though its capabilities aren’t initially made very clear. The advertised 40 hours of battery life with noise cancellation activated is pretty much on the mark.

The real catch with the Space Ones is that you’ve got to roll up your sleeves a bit to extract the best sound quality, thanks to their firmware. You absolutely need to download the soundcore smartphone app since the default settings are quite underwhelming:

Spend a minute pairing the headphones with your phone via the standard Bluetooth interface.
Take about five minutes in the soundcore app to switch to LDAP via a firmware update—this step alone vastly improves the sound quality.
Allocate around ten minutes to create a HearID sound profile, which tailors the audio to your hearing by playing various tones that you respond to, and also lets you specify your preferred music genres.
A quick minute to set the noise cancelling to ‘Adaptive’ rather than a fixed level. Keep Wind Noise Reduction off unless necessary, and set Ambient Sound to Noise Cancellation.
An additional couple of minutes to tweak the Wearing Detection feature for automatic on/off. There’s a tiny, almost invisible plastic film over the sensor in the left ear cup that you’ll need to peel off.
All these steps add up to about 20 minutes, but the difference they make to the sound quality and noise cancellation is nothing short of astounding.

I’ve got my Space Ones paired with an Android phone, the Pixel 7a, and after going through the setup rigmarole, I can barely tell the difference between these and my old Sony headphones, which, considering inflation, probably cost about four times as much.

I’d say the noise cancellation is about 80% as effective, but after the initial break-in period (which another user mentioned), and especially after the setup, the sound quality, particularly the noise cancellation and bass, improves noticeably.

In terms of usage, I’ve only encountered a couple of issues. The first is likely a bug in Android 14, where the Bluetooth notification always shows the battery at 70%. The soundcore app displays the correct level, but only as a graphic, not a percentage. The second issue was an occasional loss of background sound, fixable by restarting the music or video app. However, an Android 14 update seems to have permanently resolved this.

A few days into using the headphones, a soundcore update fixed another bug where some obscure settings would revert to default on restarting the app. There were three updates in the first week alone.

Post-update, switching the headphones between my (work) iPhone SE and (personal) Pixel 7a was seamless, with all settings intact, suggesting that they’re stored in the headphones themselves. Despite Anker nudging towards setting up an account in the soundcore app, it’s clear it’s not needed, and I haven’t bothered.

In conclusion, the Space Ones don’t falter in sound quality—it’s just the journey to get there. Hence, a solid four stars instead of five. ‘Sensible defaults’ in software is something that’s often overlooked, and Anker could really step up their game here. They could also do with a bit of an overhaul on the soundcore user interface, as the options are somewhat scattered. But these are minor gripes, really. I’ve never been let down by an Anker product before, and the Space Ones continue that commendable streak.

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Alex Chang November 14, 2023 - 3:28 am

Wow. Thank you for such a detailed comment.

Mishka November 26, 2023 - 9:41 am

Recommended to the 100, quality aluminum and plastic finishes, 10/10 sound, well packed, recognized by soundcore application.

RalfMi December 16, 2023 - 1:53 am

The “Soundcore by Anker, Space One Wireless Headphones” represent an impressive combination of modern technology and first-class design. The outstanding features of these wireless headphones make them a first-class choice for music lovers and audiophiles alike.

The headphones’ adaptive active noise canceling (ANC) is remarkably effective. With 2x stronger voice cancellation, it provides an immersive listening experience by effectively minimizing ambient noise. This makes the headphones ideal for traveling, the workplace or simply for focusing on your music or calls.

The impressive battery life of 40 hours in ANC mode sets the benchmark in the industry and allows for a long period of use between charges. This is especially handy for long-haul flights or everyday use.

The app control offers an additional level of customization. This feature allows you to fine-tune the sound to your personal preferences and configure the headphones as needed. This kind of customization is extremely welcome for discerning users who want to individualize their sound quality.

Hi-Res Audio support ensures first-class sound quality that meets even audiophile standards. The headphones deliver clear highs, rich mids and deep bass, creating an immersive listening experience.

The lightweight design of the headphones makes them comfortable to wear, even during long listening sessions. The use of Bluetooth 5.3 ensures a stable connection and smooth wireless audio transmission.

In summary, the Soundcore by Anker, Space One wireless headphones offer an impressive overall package of high-quality sound, effective noise-canceling, long battery life and comfortable design. For anyone looking for premium wireless headphones with modern features, these headphones are definitely worth considering.


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