With help from the great Soundcore community, we’ve established that the Life A2 nc’s have one additional mic per bud over the Life dot 2 nc’s, (3 per on the A2’s / 2 per on the dot 2’s) but what are they specifically responsible for? Soundcore is downplaying this small change for what I’m assuming are marketing reasons, but it’s impossible that they would perform identically. Where exactly the difference in performance? Thanks and HUGE props to whoever can answer this one!
I think there are extra mics for the noise cancellation. I don’t have any of those earbuds, but I have had a pair of noise canceling earbuds and they had two extra mics (4 total, 2 on each earbud), so I think the extra mics are for noise canceling.
I don’t know.
Life dot 2 nc is product A3931
Life A2 nc is A3935
The fact they are tested under same FCC codes means they are just a cosmetic difference.
You need to find a teardown of these. I’d very skeptical of marketing.
A difference in number of microphones can be two types of noise cancellation. You can use added microphones to detect the human voice being symmetric down the center between buds and eliminate other sounds - to improve the sound being detected when speaking.
Another is there are two types of source of sound for cancelling, forwards is when you place micrphones outside, backwards is when right in the ear canal, each have pros/cons, and you’d ideally want both.
This is why you can’t really use marketing claims, you have to physically break them apart and see the chipset and the microphone locations. If none are brave enough to do a teardown then it’s side by side reviews on call quality and ANC quality.
There is no A3935 listing only A3931 which says A3931/5 ,
It could be 1 in the inside. Life Dot 2 NC show image of mics (both outside) but nothing on A2 NC so I’m just guessing at this point
I know @winfred is an admin on here at times answering question. Any thoughts on this…
Thank you for your educated input! I’d definitely be interested if anyone out there has the capabilities to perform such a procedure. The main reason behind this is because I love my life dot 2 nc’s, but the one area where it could use some help is in the anc department. And because anc played such a big part in why I purchased these in the first place, if the A 2 nc’s are better, then I will most likely pass my dot 2’s along to one of my kids and get the A 2’s for myself. To me, coupled with the already phenomenal sound quality, even better anc would bring it all home. Does that make sense to anyone else? Thanks!
I’d not upgrade unless someone owns both and states one is better than the other.
They are so similar in hardware it’s likely the performance is so similar and the microphone makes little impact. Same hardware means same processing.
The argument of which is better would be worthwhile knowing if you owned neither.
We don’t know if the ANC is better, the extra mics may improve call quality or have no impact. You should really seek a side by side review before assuming anything.
On the other hand, there’s no reason for a drop in performance by adding a mic, so it’s just whether and what is a performance increase. If you’re willing to get no performance increase its a safe investment if you like the fit and other aspects already.
Just remember how ANC works. It calculates an out of phase difference sound it feeds in. If it senses that sound externally, depending on the direction the sound came from you could end up magnifying the sound, or more typically it is not exactly out of phase so you get a higher frequency sound generated, so a hum becomes a hiss. So ideally you’d want the microphone physically inside your ear canal, which is a challenge engineering. So I’d expect two identical engineered products to have virtually the same ANC performance.
Good ANC is expensive. You ideally need 6 microphones and a high performance processor. In-ear ANC is incredibly challenging as you’d struggle to fit the speaker driver and then the microphone in the narrow space. A good indicator the ANC is not going to be that good is price. You get what you pay for. There is not a teardown of the A2NC but if you looked at say the L2P the 11mm driver and the armature leaves almost space to then fit a microphone between the armature and the grill.
This is why I suspect the added microphones are not for better ANC but for the other aspect of noise cancellation which is picking up external sounds other than from your voice and not transmitting them in the outgoing call sound.
I had posted something a while back and it talks about how both microphone number and microphone placement can impact noise canceling. While number of microphones doesn’t directly equate to better noise canceling that is often the case that we see in many product
Explains in a different context but still educative.
Due to phase alignment ultimately the microphone in the ear canal is the most important, thereafter it is processing and then external microphone. So why I don’t think for fundamentally the same product an added microphone cannot improve ANC, it may help with voice quality transmission in calls.
I believe background noise suppression is one term for that. Very similar to ANC but in the other direction.
Amazing how important that is when we are all working remotely. I have had barking dogs, doorbells, leaf blowers, and various other background noises on calls recently - people will mute, unmute to talk, and then mute again to manage it, but still a challenge. Some software does a decent job of handling this now, but nothing beats a quiet environment.
I think you’re right. At first I thought the extra mics would improve the anc, but I’ve since been educated in that department and learned if anything would be improved, it would most likely be the call quality, which I barely use. So, unless someone credible says otherwise I’m sticking with my life dot 2 nc’s.
I don’t know when Soundcore will do this, how far down the line they are in beta, alpha, prototype, glint in engineer’s eye. But you certainly can help make it happen by asking for it - to add to a markets requirement document “MRD” - which justifies investment.
- Use microphones in both earbuds, so left and right, and in each bud fore and aft, to detect a sound coming centrally front and discard all other sounds, so the loudest central front sound is likely your voice. Humans do this naturally, you can concentrate on one sound in one direction.
- ambient mode, transmit in-phase not out-of-phase to amplify rather than suppress sound.
- intelligent active ANC and application, which learns key sounds, and then move from ANC to ambient when heard. e.g. you teach it to answer to your name so people around you say your name and ANC moves to ambient.
- detection of in / out of ear, and auto pause/play , turn on/off each bud. This is easy as the sound from the inside microphone changes relative to the sound from outside microphone as the ear canal blocks sound passively.
- intelligent ANC which you app configure to change to ambient when particular sounds while moving / location, e.g. ambient comes on on aircraft when human voice is heard.
It is engineering challenge to do these in wireless in-ear buds so I’d expect them all here last. It is easier in over-ear and wired in-ear, because the volume space required for the electronics and all the microphones and the battery all to fit in-ear is more challenging than some of these outside.
Those are all great features that I wouldn’t complain about if done well. Especially if they actually felt smart and natural, and could learn the difference between voices I would likely want passed through and the sounds of my children having a fight nearby.
It seems like there is lower hanging fruit though. Like not having this current bluetooth multi profile mess on PCs.
The Spirit X2s, with their larger size and over ear loops seem like a good candidate to do this kind of new stuff in a slightly larger profile, but they aren’t the premier product, so…
I get it now. But, like you say, until I can actually obtain the teardown imagery we can’t say anything for sure. I’m going to work on that and see what I can find. If I can find it would you be able to explain what it is that we’d be looking at? Because I wouldn’t know what I’d be looking at whatsoever. Thanks.
A microphone facing the ear canal would be key.
But in your case you own the buds and so I suggest simply enjoy them until they break and then when that happens then know your priorities. In any given year you’ll see small incremental technology improvements and it takes 2-3 years for something accumulated meaningfully better - that is a typical product life before dies.
Hey there! The two products actually have the same Mic quantity. The difference is the algorithm. In many situations, the call quality on both products works the same. Life A2 NC may have better performance for situations when you are in quite noisy environment.
Thanks for the info, it’s much appreciated. When you say better in noisy environments do you mean call quality or anc quality? Thanks!
Okay, thanks. I’m glad because the most important option to me is anc and I really don’t use them much for calls. If it would have been anc then I may have considered upgrading. I appreciate the info. It was difficult to find someone who knows the specifics between these two models.