Libratone Track Plus Review
- Useful active noise cancellation
- The fit works for runners and gym fans
- Not the most resilient design
- Relatively short battery life
- Review Price: £169
- Eight-hour battery life
- Three-level active noise cancellation
- IPX4 water resistance
- microUSB charging
- Bluetooth wireless
What are the Libratone Track Plus?
The Libratone Track Plus are £169 wireless neckband headphones with active noise cancellation. They are perfect for noisy commutes and great for exercise too.
Their sound is big and fun, the noise cancelling is useful and quite rare for in-ear headphones, and the fit works much better for runners than Sennheiser’s neckband alternatives. We don’t love all aspects of the hardware design, but they’re flexible and versatile.
Libratone Track Plus — Design and Comfort
The Libratone Track Plus are fairly pricey Bluetooth headphones, so quite a bold move from a brand less well-known than some of the obvious alternatives from Bose and Sennheiser.
Libratone audio gadgets often combat this effect with a pretty design that stands out on the shelf or a web page. The Libratone Track Plus are pretty plain, though, because most of us don’t want our headphones to stand out too much.
They have a flexible rubber part that sits around your neck, two metal control boxes by your collarbone and a cable with rubber sheath that snakes up to the earpieces.
This style works well for exercise and general comfort. Unlike the Sennheiser Momentum, they don’t jog around your head as you run. And while the silicone capsule-with-hook skin used on the earpieces looks like an ear canal-clogger, they’re actually very comfortable, a little like the Bose SoundSport.
On the down side, you can’t fold them up easily to fit in a pocket like the OnePlus Bullets Wireless and, over a couple of weeks of testing, one part of our Libratone Track Plus headphones has already failed. The rubbery sheath that covers the final part of the cabling is only lightly glued onto the earpiece stalk, and it has come apart.
The UK’s 2018 heatwave probably didn’t help, but it shows one of the issues of using such a style, rather than a traditional cable. It hasn’t broken the Libratone Track Plus. They still work. But had we bought them, they’d already be heading back to Libratone for a replacement.
Libratone Track Plus — Wireless and Noise cancelling
Active noise cancellation (ANC) is the main feature that sets these earphones apart from the many, many other neckband wireless pairs. ANC quality is variable outside the big names, but it’s fairly good here.
Pressing a little button on the left stem of these earphones switches between four levels of noise cancellation, gradually increasing its power. If you use the Libratone app you can also use an “adaptive” mode that scales the ANC up and down to match ambient noise.
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Just like Bose’s noise cancellation, it’s great at reducing low-frequency sound, but doesn’t touch the higher frequencies as much.
The Libratone Track Plus are pros at near-nullifying the din of public transport, and can also counteract loud music played in the gym or pubs. With the lower frequencies taken out of the picture, your own music has less trouble competing.
Only those particularly susceptible to the sensation of increased sound pressure, caused by the active noise cancellation, are likely to want to use anything but the highest setting, though. It has very little effect on the sound, a sign of a good ANC headphone.
Libratone suggests you might want to use a lower setting for safety. But as you can still hear higher-frequency sound fine (unless your music is set too loud), I happily wear then when running on the street. The Libratone Track Plus are IPX4 certified too, good enough for a little sweat. Although, obviously, my pair no longer is thanks to the damaged cabling.
Wireless performance is great and these earphones support aptX for a higher-quality stream.
Battery life is not great, though. The Libratone Track Plus last for up to eight hours, the least I’d expect in an earphone of this style, However, they do have battery-sapping ANC, and the more expensive Bose QuietControl 30 only last 10 hours. If Bose made a brand new pair now, it could likely squeeze out some extra hours, though. The longevity of some of the latest wireless pairs is fantastic.
The Libratone Track Plus are fast-charging, though, filling up in an hour rather than two or three, and use a microUSB connector on one of the rigid control units.
They also use a motion sensor to judge when they can switch themselves off because, unlike normal wireless earphones, they can’t just turn off when the music runs out. Some will want to use them with just ANC active.
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Libratone Track Plus — Sound Quality
The Libratone Track Plus have solid sound. It’s vital and energetic, forwards but also spacious enough. And the soundstage is wide.
They are a fun listen, but do fall slightly behind the Sennheiser Momentum In-ear. Mid-range texture is less rich in the Track Plus, and they are slightly more prone to sounding confused with dense arrangements like Kamasi Washington’s Fists of Fury.
There’s also a slight, specific treble spike that adds to the sense that the frequency make-up of vocals isn’t consistent, smooth and natural.
However, these aren’t really earphones for listening in a quiet room. They’re made for the real world, and as such they’re good. The bass is punchy without an overblown low-mid-range, and there’s enough higher-frequency clarity and energy to the delivery.
Why buy the Libratone Track Plus?
The Libratone Track Plus’s main benefit is that they offer something slightly unusual: useful noise cancelling in a wireless neckband earphone. Bose has better ANC, as usual, but the rival QuietControl 30 are also almost double the price.
These earphones are comfortable, and sound good too.
However, battery life is only passable and the design is not as compact or resilient as some. There are surprisingly few options around the price, propping up the Track Plus’s appeal. The high price means they’re at the same level as the true wireless Sony WF1000X, though, which we also love.
Solid wireless neckband headphones with a surprisingly unusual feature: active noise cancellation