1MORE Review: SonoFlow Headphones and PistonBuds PRO Q30

1MORE Review: SonoFlow Headphones and PistonBuds PRO Q30

Review by Angie Kibiloski

SonoFlow Headphones in black, front product view    PistonBuds PRO Q30 earbuds in black, front product view with charging case

1MORE Personal Audio Options

If you’re tuned into the world of independent personal audio companies, you’ll no doubt have heard of 1MORE, and maybe even own one of their line of wired or wireless headphones and earbuds. I recently picked up a wireless set of each, and in this review, we’ll be taking a look at both the SonoFlow Headphones and the PistonBuds PRO Q30. I’ll give you a run down of the features and specs of each, and my own experiences using them. The TL;DR for those in a hurry is that these are both decent audio products at an affordable price, with basic features that get the job done, and some limited connected app functionality as a minor bonus. You’ll be happy with the performance of either, as long as you’re not expecting a lot of fancy bells and whistles.

SonoFlow Headphones at a Glance

3 views of SonoFlow Headphones with close-ups on earcups, buttons, and headband

1MORE‘s SonoFlow Headphones are wireless via Bluetooth 5.3, with a lossless LDAC codec to provide high-res wireless audio at a fast 990kbps transmission speed. The 40mm dynamic driver with DLC composite diaphragm, which has been expertly tuned for balanced, recording studio accuracy, will deliver a wide frequency range of 40kHz, emitting solid bass levels, a warm mid-range, and crisp highs. In addition to this very decent audio output, there are 5 ENC beamforming mics onboard, with an AI-powered algorithm to filter out ambient sound for clear vocal audio input during phone calls. SonoFlow has QuietMax active noise canceling (ANC) technology, with 3 levels of noise cancelation to fit different listening situations. Depending on your usage of the ANC, you’ll get up to 70 hours of battery life at full power, and when that runs low, a brief 5 minutes of charging will give you an extra 5 hours of listening time.

Externally, SonoFlow Headphones have soft leather earpads that encircle your ears with cushioned comfort, and a padded adjustable top band that supports the 250g device on your head. This headband is spring-loaded for a stable fit, and adjustable from a 10.5″ to a 13″ arch between the top of the earcups for a variety of head sizes, with 2.25″ of height inside each earcup. On the rim of the right earcup are the control buttons, which include power, pairing, volume, and play/pause/track skip. There’s also a 3.5mm jack if you want to switch from wireless to wired modes, in the case of low power for instance. The zippered, compact carrying case with semi-hard shell and earcup indentions, keeps your headphones protected while folded flat. Pick up a set of SonoFlow Headphones in black, silver, or a very attractive blue for only $99.99.

My Thoughts on SonoFlow

I have mixed feelings about the SonoFlow Headphones, and I think I want to like them more than I do. I can tell they house good quality tech with their nice, clear sound, and the noise canceling function actually works really well, even when someone is speaking within arm’s reach of you. The battery life is also satisfactory, with the quick-charge extension much appreciated. However, structurally I’m not thrilled with the build. I find the headband springs to be too tight, and the device as a whole to be too heavy, so both my temples and neck were becoming uncomfortable after about 20 minutes of wear. To be fair, my ears were nestled quite comfortably within the earcups, and they didn’t hang too low and press on the tops of my ears, both issues that I (a smaller woman) have had with other over-ear headphones. I liked the SonoFlow well enough to say they’re worth the money, but they won’t be replacing my slightly more expensive set from another company.

PistonBuds PRO Q30 by the Specs

Internal view of PistonBuds PRO Q30 with mic placements

1MORE has a much wider range of earbuds than they do headphones, with the PistonBuds PRO Q30 being one of their latest additions. Like their SonoFlow cousins, these earbuds have Bluetooth 5.3 for super fast wireless connection speeds, but there’s also an extra low-latency gaming mode for when you need to hear critical in-game sounds within 80ms for an added gaming edge. They have a 10mm dynamic driver with a DLC diaphragm, creating those deep bass notes, bright highs, and clear details everywhere in between. The 3-mode QuietMax active noise cancelation provides up to 42dB of cancelation depth, which can be adjusted through the connected app. They also have 6 ENC mics with an AI-powered algorithm to smartly learn and recognize your voice, to more effectively filter out the background sounds for clear vocal input. Finally, the earbuds and charging dock provide a total of up to 30 hours of battery life, with 7.5 hours loaded in the earbuds per full charge, and a quick-charge mode of 2 extra hour for 10 minutes of charging.

These wireless buds are comparable in design to many of the popular brands at the moment, featuring an oblique-angled in-ear module with your choice of 3 sizes of flexible silicone earbud tips and an external mic stick, accompanied by a magnetic charging dock carrying case. With an IPX5 water resistant rating, these earbuds are great for working out, as you won’t have to worry about damaging them with sweat or a light drizzle on your early morning run. All controls, like ANC modes, volume, track selection, and play/pause are activated through tap sequences on either stick, and can be reassigned through the app. The PistonBuds PRO Q30 come in white or black for a surprisingly affordable $49.99.

My PistonBuds Perspective

Again, I liked these earbuds well enough, and you really can’t beat the price. The sound quality when listening to music was fine, and though not as great as the headphones, the battery life is decent for mid-range earbuds. The fit of the module that sits inside the ear isn’t amazing for me, as it’s a little too large to nestle far enough in my ear to feel secure, but it’s better than other brands I’ve tried recently that don’t even attempt to shape their buds for a human ear. Where I really think this model falls short is the noise cancelation, which was definitely inferior to what I experienced with the SonoFlow Headphones. This may be due to the module not actually fitting snuggly within my ear, which could limit its effectiveness, but even so, I couldn’t detect any noticeable difference between the 3 ANC modes, and none of them were impressive. I also didn’t like that the default controls were the same for both earbuds, and you are required to reprogram them in the app to allow each side to control different commands.


Screenshots from 1MORE MUSIC app, with settings menu, custom EQ, and soundscapes

Both the SonoFlow Headphones and PistonBuds PRO Q30 earbuds are controlled by their fairly basic 1MORE MUSIC companion app, available for Android and iOS. This app allows you to unlock 12 studio-quality Sonarworks EQ presets for either device, which adjust various levels to better suit a range of music and other audio styles, like Acoustic, Hip-Hop, and Podcast. You can also create custom EQ presets if you like micro-adjusting your own levels. You can use the app for pairing and controlling your devices, and you’ll need it to reassign controls like volume, track selection, play/pause/answer, and ANC mode to your right and left earbuds. A fun, unexpected in-app feature is the ambient noise player, where you can choose from 30 relaxing soundscapes to enjoy while wearing your SonoFlow or PistonBuds, like summer rain, bamboo forest wind, waterfall, and medium fire.

1MORE Purchase or Pass?

Both the SonoFlow Headphones and PistonBuds PRO Q30 earbuds are decent products, especially for the reasonable price tags. The audio playback quality is satisfying for low to mid-range wireless devices, and the other features are fine. The ANC is great on the SonoFlow, and even though the physical design and comfort of both could be better, they’re good enough for the price range. If you’re looking for wireless audio that’s going to blow your socks off, these probably aren’t it, but if you have less than $100 to spend, and you want something that will get the job done, either of these devices should suit your needs. Don’t just take my word for it, though, decide for yourself among all of 1MORE‘s personal audio catalog.

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