If you’re looking for active noise cancelling, a good set of earbuds can be difficult to find. This is understandable. Not only does noise cancelling drain batteries faster, it also requires additional hardware. As a result, the majority of active noise cancelling headphones are traditional, over-the-ear headphones. But that design isn’t always suitable. Even a small pair of traditional headphones can be too clunky for a workout session or other athletic activities. Sure, you could always use a cheap pair of old-school foam headphones. They’d certainly be lightweight! They also wouldn’t offer much in the way of quality or noise cancelling.
A good compromise between earbuds and traditional headphones is a pair of neckband earbuds. And, despite their name, the Rock Space ANC Neckband Headphones are earbuds, not headphones. The difference is night and day. Instead of going over your ears, they fit inside them. But just because they’re easy to wear doesn’t mean they’re actually any good. To find out how well they perform, we took a deep dive into their features, benefits, and specifications. Here’s what we found.
As we’ve already explained, the Rock Space B2 Fancy ANC Neckband Headphones are a compromise between earbuds and headphones. What makes them similar to headphones is their large battery. Traditional headphones have plenty of space for batteries, oftentimes with a large profile that looks like Mickey Mouse ears. But where are you going to put a big, powerful battery on a pair of earbuds? Neckband headphones get around this problem by building the batteries into a strap that surrounds the back of your neck.
The neck strap itself is very comfortable. It’s flexible in the middle, and it’s constructed from a lightweight silicone. This is useful for two purposes. To begin with, the standard design is fairly narrow. As a result, it will put gentle pressure on your neck while you’re wearing it. This prevents the earbuds from falling off, and it supports the batteries without putting strain on your ears. The second purpose of this design is comfort. Unlike many rubbers, the silicone won’t wear away easily, and it won’t cause you to get excessively sweaty.
The batteries themselves are located towards the front part of the neck strap. This is also where you’ll find the controls and the charging port. The right band features three different controls. There’s a power button, which is also used for syncing. There’s also a pair of “+” and “-“ buttons, which serve two purposes. Tap the buttons to skip tracks, or hold them down to adjust the volume level. Beneath those buttons you’ll find a USB Type-C charging port. On the left side, you’ll find an additional button. This can be used to turn the active noise cancelling on and off. When the noise cancelling is active, a small green LED will illuminate on the button.
The earbuds themselves are connected to the ends of the batteries by slender cords. The cords are just over six inches long. This is enough to allow you to move your head without a bunch of slack hanging off. They come with three sets of ear tips, which can be swapped out for a perfect fit. When properly seated, they should form a comfortable seal inside your ear canal. The tips are angled at 45 degrees, so they should be a comfortable fit for the majority of people.
These earbuds weigh a total of 4.6 ounces. At first glance, that would be totally unacceptable. However, most earbuds don’t have a large battery pack. Considering how much is built into the Rock Space earbuds, even 4.6 ounces is impressively light. Besides which, it’s not as if all of that weight is hanging from your ears. The vast majority of the weight rests gently on your neck. The earbuds themselves feel even lighter than an old-school pair of wired earbuds. First off, you’re only supporting a few inches of cord. Secondly, the built-in batteries don’t add any bulk to your ears.
One common complaint about earbuds with wires is that the wires can get easily tangled. Rock Space took that into consideration, and designed their earbuds for tangle-free storage. The backs of the earbuds are magnetic, and they stick together when you’re carrying them.
Rock Space ANC Neckband Headphones are IPX4-rated for water resistance. This is a middle-of-the-road rating which is commonly found on workout headphones. They’re not rated for submersion. However, they’re more than tough enough to withstand sweat, rain, and other everyday moisture.
All of this being said, not everyone is looking for a pair heavy-duty earbuds with a heavy-duty battery. If you’re trying to minimize your weight as much as possible, there are lighter earbuds available. That said, they’re generally not as durable. For a well-designed pair that has a comfortable fit, consider the Origem HS-3. They’re very well designed, and they’re reasonably priced.
Battery and Charging
As we’ve mentioned, the batteries on the Rock Space earbuds are fairly substantial. But just because they’re large doesn’t mean they offer an insane amount of listening time. In fact, the performance is very good, but it’s not exceptional. When fully charged, you’ll get up to 8 hours of performance. The exact lifetime is going to depend on your volume and other variables, but 8 hours is a good guideline. This is especially impressive considering the fact that the Rock Space has active noise cancelling. Typically, we’d have expected less, and it’s good to see Rock Space using such well-designed batteries.
The batteries charge via the USB Type-C cable that’s included in the kit. When fully drained, it takes about 90 minutes to 2 hours to charge them, depending on your amperage. If you’re in a pinch, you can also utilize fast charging. This gives you a full hour of use on only a fifteen minutes’ charge. If all you need is to get through your morning run, you’ll be able to do that.
Connectivity and Compatibility
Rock Space ANC Neckband Headphones connect via the Bluetooth 5.0 protocol. This allows for smooth, lag-free connection at a distance of up to 33 feet. Whether you’re jogging, watching a movie, or walking around your house listening to music, you’ll have plenty of range. You can also connect to older devices that use the 4.2 or 4.0 protocol. These earbuds are also designed to integrate with Apple iPhones. When they’re paired, a battery status bar will appear at the top of your iPhone screen. This makes it easy to keep track of how much juice you have left.
One disappointing thing about the Rock Space earbuds is that they don’t support voice controls or hands-free calling. There’s no internal mic, so there’s no way for this to work. That said, hands-free calling or voice controls would only be a bonus feature. The earbuds are designed for workouts, not for driving to work.
That said, there are some noise cancelling earbuds on the market that have a built-in mic. But adding a microphone leaves less room for other hardware. As a result, you’ll end up making sacrifices, whether regarding quality or battery life. Earlier this year, we reviewed the dyplay ANC 30 Neckband Bluetooth Headphones. They offer noise cancelling, but typical battery life is only about 6 hours.
If you’re looking for noise cancelling headphones, we’re guessing that sound quality is important to you. This is doubly true if you’re considering the Rock Space, since it doesn’t have a microphone. Fortunately, you’ll get excellent audio quality. The 12mm drivers push out a lot of sound, with excellent balance. Unlike a lot of wireless earbuds, you’ll actually notice a difference when you adjust your phone or MP3 player’s EQ.
To begin with, the highs are crisp and clear. You’ll notice plenty of shimmer on hi-hat cymbals, as well as rich, vibrant stringed instruments. Classical and country music really shine on a flat EQ, since those genres rely heavily on these frequencies. Moving down the scale, the mids are also very clear. This is essential for good vocals. And while you may not be using these earbuds for phone calls, you’ll appreciate the clarity on vocal-heavy songs. You’ll also be able to listen to podcasts and audiobooks without any muddiness. But all of that pales in comparison to the quality of the bass. On a flat EQ, it’s clear and present. But if you’ve got your bass cranked up, you’re going to notice. For punchy bass and driving dance music, it’s tough to do better.
And how could we end our review without talking about the active noise cancelling? The Rock Space earbuds are designed to reduce ambient noise by up to 25 decibels. Now, this isn’t going to make your surroundings totally silent. No earbud can do that. But it will reduce normal conversation to a whisper. It will make a passing diesel truck sound like a normal conversation. And it will make a speeding motorcycle sound like a toilet flushing. This will significantly enhance your listening experience.
Of course, if you want the best noise cancelling and the richest sound, there’s no replacement for traditional headphones. For a studio-quality listening experience, consider the V-MODA M-200. They’re bulky, and they’re not for workouts, but the sound quality is unparalleled.
The Rock Space B2 Fancy ANC Neckband Headphones are among the best in their class. It’s not often that we can offer an unequivocal recommendation, but this is one of those times. There’s so much to like that the Rock Space’s few shortcomings don’t even matter. The one exception to this is the inability to make phone calls or use voice controls. This is unusual, but it makes some sense given the Rock Space’s market. It’s made for audiophiles, not for commuters.
And boy, oh boy, does Rock Space deliver. There aren’t many earbuds on the market with this kind of quality. Clear mids and highs are par for the course, but the bass is exceptional. That alone makes these earbuds well worth the cost of admission. Throw in active noise cancelling and an innovative design, and you’ve got yourself a winner. They’re also perfect for workouts. With the comfortable, secure neckband, you won’t lose your earbuds even if they fall out.