Soundcore Space One vs Sony WH-CH720N - more mature SonySony offers more mature sound, but Soundcore has better NC Tuesday, September 05, 2023 - by Soumya Roy
Soundcore is not a new player in the audio game. They have been making audio products for quite a while now. Their Life Q30 is an amazing headphone still to this date. But people like to blend in with the latest products out there, even though latest is not always better. In this article, I will focus on the latest Soundcore Space One headphones, and together we will see if the Sony WH-CH720N is any better or not. There are a lot of improvements to the new Space One. I will discuss everything transparently with you guys, let's dive in.
So let’s start with the Soundcore Space One first, as it’s the main focus today. Space One comes with a really nice-looking soft carrying pouch. The pouch is color-matched, so a black carrying case for the jet black model and a blue one for the sky blue model. There is also a color-matched 3.5 mm male-to-male connector to hook this up with a 3.5 mm supported device. The type-a to type-c charging cable is not color-matched, a black one in each version. Some instruction manuals to get you up and running without hassle. There is a lot going on here with the accessories included in the Space One’s package - amazing.
On the contrary, there is not that much going on with the Sony WH-CH720N. We are missing a carrying case here, but we do have a 3.5 mm male to 3.5 mm male right-angle connector to do - you know what. This is kinda little weird because the type-a to type-c charging cable is super short in length. Also, some documents are there too. I think clearly Soundcore is offering more for 100 USD in terms of accessories, so Space 1 wins.
Design & Build Analogy
Both of them are mostly made out of plastic, but the Sony has a more subtle and professional look. The Space one looks more fancy, even though it costs like 30 dollars less than the WH-CH720N - as of writing this article. Guess what - the Space One is faking its fanciness! To be honest, the headband base kinda looks like it's made of metal, but it's actually plastic. So it’s just the coating over plastic that’s giving the headband a different accent, which looks cool but doesn’t feel like metal or high-quality plastic.
Don’t get me wrong - they both have really good design. I think the Soundcore is more eye-catching. It can fold too, and you can literally put them in a smaller pouch that is already included in the package. On the other hand, the design of Sony’s may not be as thoughtful, but they feel more right, professional, classic and high-quality. So, I feel like they try to offer their best at their retail price in terms of design & build.
Fit & Comfort Check
It’s kinda related to the build & design of the headphones, like the Space One is heavier at 264 grams than WH-CH720N at 192 grams. This makes the Sony more comfortable to wear for a longer period of time. Also, they are more stable on your head if you are running or working out. The Sony just sits naturally on your head, which may not be the same for everybody. But they do have better quality more soft padding on the headband and earcups.
The earcups on the Space One look slightly smaller, but the body looks slightly bulkier. The 8° floating-axis design on the Soundcore helps with the comfort. However, because the earcups are not that soft and they are heavier, Sony wins the game here. Neither of them put too much pressure on the ears. Sony just feels more right when you put them on. Soundcore is saying all-day comfort for the Space One, which is just a marketing tactic.
They are both closed-back stereos without any doubt. It’s pretty straightforward for headphones and earbuds, but portable speakers are not always stereo. The Soundcore Space One has a single 40 mm dynamic driver on each side to handle bass, mids and highs. This is not any complex acoustic architecture like the ACAA in the Liberty series earbuds. I think these drivers probably have neodymium magnets. On the left side of Space One, we have a USB Type-C port for charging and a 3.5 mm socket / female connector for AUX-in.
The Sony also has proper left and right channel separation. Sony is using 30 mm dynamic drivers for their WH-CH720N model. There are some important technical specifications on Sony’s website - about the drivers. Frequency response 7 Hz - 20,000 Hz when in active operation, probably via a wired connection. However, the response will be 20 Hz - 20,000 Hz at 44.1 kHz sampling when playing via Bluetooth. The impedance is 325 ohms at 1 kHz when connecting via the headphone cable with the unit turned on, and 31 ohms at 1 kHz with the unit turned off. The sensitivity is 108 dB / mW with the unit turned on, and 99 dB / mW when connecting via the headphone cable with the unit turned off.
Both of these headphones have detachable audio cable included and both charge via a Type-C connection. There is no clear winner here because both sides don’t provide similar information. The Soundcore has bigger drivers than the Sony, but this alone or generally a bigger diver doesn’t mean better sound. More important details are in the sound-quality section.
Controls & Mics Comparison
You will find controlling buttons on both sides of the Space One. The left unit has a power button and an NC (Noise Cancelling) button. Press and hold the power button for 3 seconds to turn on/off the device. By default, the Space One will be in ANC mode. To change it in transparency mode, just press the NC button once.
The right unit has a multifunctional button and a volume up/down button, which can also skip tracks if you press and hold for 2 seconds. The multifunctional button can be used for play/pause, call receive/reject, voice assistant trigger and mute mic functionalities. The power button on Space One can also be used to connect two source devices at the same time. You gotta understand the LED signals too. The LED will flash in red when the battery is less than 10 percent. Steady red while charging and off when fully charged. Blue LED blinks when in pairing mode, steady blue when connected, and after 3 seconds of being connected, the light will turn off. Check the official user manual here for more details.
Control buttons on the Sony’s also work pretty similarly. I recommend you download the Sony headphones app and the Soundcore app. The app will guide you through the process. Sometimes I find the user manuals pretty messy and hard to understand. You can find some instruction manuals here for Sony headphones.
There are 3 mics in each unit on the Space One headphones. These mics are responsible for a lot of work like blocking outside noise, taking calls and more. On the contrary, WH-CH720N has 2 mics in each unit. This is like Soundcore has 6 mics in total vs 4 mics on the Sony. So, Soundcore wins in numbers here, but we'll see if there is any difference in the real-world environment. More details about ANC & transparency are in the later sections.
Sound Quality Comparison
Sound quality is one of the most important aspects of an audio device, besides design & build. Features do matter a lot, but sound is more important in my opinion. When the sound is already good, then you can think about other stuff. Here the Soundcore Space one doesn’t shine in any particular aspect of sound - in terms of bass, mids and highs. I mean the space one doesn’t sound bad, but kinda mediocre. You have the option to EQ the heck out of it, though. The 8-band EQ is a really good and effective one.
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There is not much detail and shimmer to the sound of Space One. So it lacks in resolution and refinement. Because of that the sound is not as open and airy as you would like it to be. The soundstage is not there. You can fix the default sound signature by quite a lot by taking advantage of the built-in equalizer. But the nuances, like using the EQ to extend the sub-bass or making the sound more airy and open are not possible.
You need to have a pretty balanced default sound signature, especially an extended frequency response to cover the lows and highs properly. You don’t need to pay a whole lot more for this. There are amazing headphones at a cheaper price. I think some other cheap Soundcore headphones sound better than the Space One. Soundcore tries new things with different models. Some may sound bass-heavy, some treble-heavy and some even sharp. The Soundcore Q30 is a really balanced one, EQ helps a lot with that too.
Here the Sony has an overall better well-rounded sound. The WH-CH720N sounds more mature and has a more extended frequency response. So as a result, it sounds more open, airy, dynamic and impactful. The bass frequencies are more extended in the sub-bass region than the Space One. Sony can output more bass impact and rumble without over-blowing the mids. The mids are also pretty well-defined, and the details on the highs are also well-maintained. So I think the WH-CH720N was built to satisfy more people.
Overall, the bass impact on the Soundcore Space One needs improvement. The soundstage on the Sony is better. The high-end details and overall balance of the sound can be a lot more refined on the Soundcore. So Soundcore will probably push out software updates to fix some of these issues, but I think you should not buy based on future promises.
ANC & Transparency
There are some key differences between Active Noise Cancellation and Adaptive Noise Cancellation. Active noise cancellation uses microphones to detect ambient noise and then creates a sound wave that is 180 degrees out of phase with the ambient noise. This cancels out the ambient noise, making it quieter for the wearer. ANC is effective at canceling out low-frequency noise, such as engine noise and airplane cabin noise.
Adaptive noise cancellation is a more advanced type of ANC that uses algorithms to constantly monitor the environment and adjust the noise cancellation accordingly. This means that adaptive ANC can be more effective at canceling out noise in a variety of environments, including those with changing noise levels. Adaptive ANC is also better at canceling out high-frequency noise, such as human speech - more complex technology.
Even though adaptive sounds more expensive, some midrange headphones have it like the Space One. The Life Q30 also has Adaptive Noise Cancellation. Adaptive ANC on the Space One does a very good job of blocking out most ambient noises, especially if it’s below 2 kHz. So low frequencies are easily blocked but some struggle going on with the high frequencies. This new headphone from Soundcore has a much better ANC than their Life Q30. The wind noise is also better controlled. The ANC is where the Space One shines.
On the other side, WH-CH720N is rocking Sony Integrated Processor V1 to help with the Active Noise Cancellation. It’s active ANC here, but it’s nowhere near as strong as the Sony WH-1000XM5. The more affordable version like the 720N is not very impressive at 150 USD in terms of noise cancellation. They do a decent enough job of blocking wind noise, low-end noise and subtle ambient noise. The high-end blocking is not good at all.
So, at 100 USD, Space One is playing a much stronger role here. You can clearly hear that the Soundcore is much better at blocking low-end noise. Sometimes slightly better at blocking high-end noise too, but there are some spikes here and there. I think, Soundcore is playing smart here and overall the ANC is noticeably better.
When you listen to music with ANC on, the sound doesn’t change that much on both. In my opinion, if you don’t travel a lot, the Sony will be a better choice because, in a moderately noisy environment, they both do a similar job of blocking noise. Only when the environment is super noisy, the adaptive ANC works harder on the Space One. I am not sure whether or not Sony has some sort of algorithm that ensures more efficiency in that particular device, but the Adaptive Sound Control is a totally different scenario.
Soundcore is like reducing 4 dB more than Sony in the low-end. Transparency is a bit more natural on Sony than on Soundcore, but they are nowhere near ideal. You can fine-tune the level of transparency in the app. The transparency mode is also known as the ambient sound mode in many headphones. These headphones have a lot of smart features. Read the next section to know more about battery life and features.
Battery Life & Features
This is all for average listening volume, like around 55 percent on the volume scale. So the Soundcore Space One will play for 55 hours with ANC off, and 40 hours with ANC on, on a single charge. Sony WH-CH720N is rated for 50 hours with NC off, and 35 hours with NC on when listening to music continuously. Soundcore has fast charging support, only 5 minutes of charge will provide for 4 hours of backup time.
Both of these headphones have advanced smart features like Adaptive Sound Control. They can understand and remember the environment around you, even can have location access too. So if you start talking the music will become low on the Soundcore. Soundcore also has a feature called easy chat that you can enable by covering the left earcup. It’s kinda weird because when you block your ear, you want to block the outside noise. But here it triggers ambient mode to hear outside noise/voice.
Soundcore has the latest Bluetooth 5.3 vs 5.2 on the Sony. They both support multipoint connection. Space One supports high-resolution audio codec like LDAC, and can play Hi-Res on both wired and wireless connections. Sony cannot do that, only supports SBC and AAC. It’s a high-end feature, not a big deal. Soundcore has HearID, which may or may not work for you. The Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE) combined with V1 Processor is committed to produce balanced, natural and crystal clear sound like the artists intended.
So both of them look pretty promising to me. I forgot to mention that it will take approximately 3.5 hours to fully charge the Sony, but not sure about the Soundcore - my guess will be pretty similar. I will share my detailed verdict in the conclusion section.
I like to be open and transparent about my work. This article is based on my research, I personally didn't review or test these headphones. I have got passion, expertise and love for writing content like this. So I will say that the Sony WH-CH720N is a more mature-sounding headphone, which is also gonna be a good match for mature people. If you're into like, party-type vibe then Soundcore is a better choice. If you want a more natural, accurate and critical listening experience, Sony is the way to go. Overall the sound quality is better on Sony, but the noise cancellation is better on Soundcore.
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They are both pretty decent headphones and will attract different groups of people. The Sony is 30 - 50 USD more than the Soundcore. But the design & build of the WH-CH720N is also slick and premium. So If you are looking for AI advanced features, Space One has it, but if you want quality over quantity then choosing Sony will be wise. Don’t just take and believe my words, you need to make your own judgment and validation. Check out the official product page for Soundcore here and for Sony here - good luck.