True Wireless (TWS) Earphones

Those Sony’s look super interesting. Proudly a member of the Gbuds Pro fam here though! Very happy with it to tide me over until I get my first proper set of IEMs.

Great writeup @generic.

2 Likes

That Jekyll / Hyde photo is so racist. Look at those creepy washed out eyes on Dr. Jekyll. And he’s scrawny too.

2 Likes

These look very sexy…

Side note: This dude made it sound like lossless formats are snake oil…lol

I’m just going to post some of the measurements I’ve been taking recently of some budget TWS IEMs. There will be an upcoming comparison video, but I figured this is the best place to post the data for now.

For the target, this is my own personal preference target - not what I think is 'neutral’ (with apologies to Sean Olive). It’s what I like, and in general, it’s loosely based on the tuning of the Thieaudio Clairvoyance.

  1. Earfun Free Pro Oluv Edition (ANC) ($70):

  2. Moondrop Sparks ($90):

  3. Powerbeats ($110):

  4. Powerbeats Pro ($150 - $250):

  5. Aukey T21 ($30):

  6. Soundcore Life P2 ($40):

  7. Soundcore Liberty Air 2 ($80):


  8. Tozo T10 ($30-$50):

  9. Raycon R25 ($80):

  10. Tozo T6 (wtf is this???) ($36 - $60):

I’ll be adding more to this list, but for the moment, the two clear winners in my opinion are the Moondrop Sparks, and the Earfun Free Pro Oluv Edition. Neither are perfect, with some question marks still surrounding the balance between upper mids and treble. The Sparks handles that better, but is still a bit too shouty for me there (not unlike the typical Moondrop tuning), while the Earfun lacks the lower and mid-treble to balance out the upper midrange, yielding a more forgiving tuning generally, but still ends up being a bit congested sounding at times. Additionally, the Sparks has noticeably better technical performance than everything else on this list. It’s still not on the level of the Starfield/Aria/KXXs etc., but not far behind - while the rest compromise more significantly for TWS convenience.

In third place, surprisingly it’s the Powerbeats. Its limited mostly by just being overall a bit congested sounding due to some minor imbalances - but really it’s not that bad for the price. The only other consideration here is that it’s not strictly a TWS, because it has a cable that goes between the units (behind the neck).

The other two TWS IEMs are truly some of the most horrendous sounding products that are capable of producing sound that I’ve ever heard. The Soundcore Liberty Air 2 wouldn’t be so bad if not for the stabbing sibilance peak, and being marred by some of the worst grain I’ve come across ever, but its saving grace is that the Tozo is so much worse at everything else.

10 Likes

Just posted my latest vid doing a comparison between the Sony WF-1000XM4 and WF-1000XM3. Check it out here:

6 Likes

Wonderful review as always @resolve, and it caught me at the right time. I have a pair of Senn MTWs that are losing their battery capacity and need to do something different, and it seems like in the short term the XM4s are my best bet.

Personally, I’d glady spend well out of this pricepoint for a stellar true wireless option, but no one seems to be targeting us yet.

3 Likes

Ran out to try to find these after I posted this. Stock is low right now, it and it took me a half dozen phone calls to find a store that had a single pair left in stock.

They don’t sound as good as the Senn MTWs to me (less clarity, less separation, warmer by default), but the ANC, ambient sound control, and call quality are outstanding. Do I wish they had the drivers from the Andromeda? Of course, but their day-to-day utility makes them an easy, enthusiastic, recommend.

Thanks for pushing me over the edge on these, @Resolve posted this. Stock is low right now, it and it took me a half dozen phone calls to find a store that had a single pair left in stock.

They don’t sound as good as the Senn MTWs to me (less clarity, less separation, warmer by default), but the ANC, ambient sound control, and call quality are outstanding. Do I wish they had the drivers from the Andromeda? Of course, but their day-today utility makes them an easy, enthusiastic, recommend.

I use generally use Sonarworks for mobile listening, they don’t have a profile up for these yet, and I tried the M3 version and experienced a few drop-out issues that didn’t happen with the MTWs or Airpod Pros. I have no idea why.

Thanks for pushing me over the edge on these, @Resolve

1 Like

Here a comparison by Appleinsider… Apple AirPods Pro vs. Klipsch T5 II ANC:

:slight_smile: Flavio

1 Like

Just picked up the wf-1000xm4 and I LOVE them. I’ve been using the airpod pros for maybe 6 months now and I’ve hated them every day. I couldn’t have the airpods in my ears for more than 10 mins before my ears were super sore and tender. I cannot grasp how so many people claim these are the most comfortable in-ear they’ve ever worn. When I have to wear them for 8+ hours a day I could cry when I take them out. Due to the unusual oval shape and lack of stem, they will not stay in my ears. If I was doing anything but sitting with my jaw shut, they would be sitting on the edge of my ear canal only. They fall out of my ears completely if I eat. I tried them with custom comply bullet tips and they didn’t work. To top all that off the ANC nor sound was anything good. I was super disappointed considering they’re worshiped by so many people. I just want to be a cool apple fan. :frowning: The features are only kinda cool. To get to the really neat stuff you have to dig into accessibility settings like they’re categorized to be hearing aids? Instead of just sound, or it’s own settings menu. The stem controls were ok I guess, but still not intuitive if I hadn’t looked up how to use them.
The Sony’s solve all the issues above. Immediately after I put them in I notice how cozy they are to wear. I was concerned how the bulbous shape sits on my ear would put too much weight on that one spot, but they seem to match the shape of my ear perfectly so they just do it just right. I not only didn’t want to take them out after a long-wear, but I didn’t even want to take them out when I got into my car. They sound so very good too. Not any sort of subjectively good. I also have some wh-1000xm3’s and to me, they sound muffled and bland. I wasn’t excited for the wf-1000xm4, or even the wh-1000xm4’s because I assumed they’d sound just as muffled. But the wf-1000xm4’s surprised me! They’re quite pleasant, clean, and have relatively good detail. They don’t have any obvious flaws that the above headphones had. Again, they’re something I enjoy listening to, opposed to being just some utility I have to deal with.
And if comfort and sound weren’t enough, the ANC is really neat. Compared to the wh’s above, they work noticeably better. I work in a data center so fan noise is a concern. Both the airpods and wh’s had a hard time getting a seal. And when the wh’s did seal it still didn’t feel that impressive. But the wf’s do really well. I contribute it to the ear tips.
I’m pretty picky about tips. Silicone always fall out, and foam is hit n’ miss. I’ve had an assortment of comply foam tips that didn’t work. Even tried the silicone hybrids on the airpods, but didn’t fit. I have a pair of tin t2’s that I would say the sony’s are comparable to. There is a certain sticky tackiness to them that sticks to earwax-flesh well. The sony’s have a long stem length that penetrates deep so that they give more surface area to grab, oppose to the studies I mentioned on the lame airpods.
The controls were easy to use and I got used to them very quickly. They’re still not as perfect as I imagine headphone controls could be. The wh-1000xm3’s controls were clunky at best. There was only a 50% chance I’d get them to work on the first try. The wf-1000xm4’s are so snappy and responsive that it makes me realize how long of a delay all other wireless headphones have with controls. The voice is a nice addition and is pleasant to listen to. Although the wf’s do not have a way of adjusting volume unless there’s a way to custom set it.
I found pretty much any feature I’ve wanted in a wireless ANC headphone in these. The touch to pass through ambient sound is instant so there’s no asking someone to repeat what they’ve said if someone starts talking to you. A new additional feature is when you talk, the headphones immediately detect your voice and will pass through sound without the need to touch the controls at all! This is SO COOL. This is the futuristic stuff I’m excited to see in tech. In 2021 you’d think neat innovation like this would exist but does not. It should not be as good as it is. It’s so responsive I actually trigger it if I simply clear my throat! It will resume ANC after 15 seconds which is just long enough for someone to finish what they’re saying, and if you accidentally trigger it you can reenable it with a single tap.

2 Likes

Moondrop Nekocake

As always, for the Spanish speaking crowd, you can find this review in Spanish on Youtube and my blog, links at the end of the post.

The Moondrop Nekocake have been sent to me by Shenzen Audio in exchange for the publication of this review. They have not requested anything specific but my usual warning stands, I will do my best to be as honest and impartial as possible but it is always good to consider that these earphones have not cost me anything.

As always, I avoid posting purchase links (even though they are non-affiliate) outside of my own blog and channel, so to see the link to the Nekocake via Shenzhen Audio, please visit the version published on my blog.

Intro…

As some may already know, I am a fan of Moondrop. My experience with them has been that they offer quality that is at least as good as the price range they sit in, sometimes competing with others that are quite a bit higher in price.

This was one of the main things that made me happily accept to review the Nekocake when Shenzen offered to send them out, although I don’t usually review many bluetooth products, mainly because I am not a huge user of bluetooth.

I do have a few TWS IEMs, although they are getting a little long in the tooth (in Chinese product release time at least), but my main bluetooth set up of choice (when I want to be cable free) are the Moondrop Aria connected to the Shanling MW200. The Moondrop Nekocake come in quite a bit cheaper than that, costing less than 40€ (around 100€ cheaper than the MW200+Aria option) and placing them easily inside the sub 50€ bracket that I focus on.

The IEMs themselves use a 13mm dynamic driver, with a titanium coated dome and a Daikaku ultra-thin CCAW voice coil imported from Japan, which they say is to “ensure the lowest possible suspension system mass, so that the earphones can offer a more rapid transient response and further enhance detailed performance”. This sounds pretty impressive on paper, especially for 40€, but let’s see what it’s like in the real world.

Presentation…

Continuing with the anime theme that Moondrop have on the majority of their products, the box is a white box with a sketch of an anime girl on the cover. On the back they show the specs along with a graph of the FR, but we’ll get to sound in just a moment.

Inside the box we find the IEMs along and the charging case on the top level, with a manual, 3 sets of spare silicone tips and a charging cable underneath.

There is nothing really exciting about the presentation or contents but for 40€, I would much rather see that not much has been spent on packing and accessories.

Build and aesthetics…

The aesthetics of the IEMs are very reminiscent of the Apple options. Although not identical, they do have that kind of vibe to them and I could see someone who has never heard of Moondrop mistaking these for some kind of Apple imitation. On the part that extends down there is the logo of the cat (which I guess I should have mentioned that Nekocake means “Cat Cake”, not sure who came up with that name but it is at least a break from the usual Pro, X and Neo that we keeps seeing everywhere) along with Moondrop, both in brown.

The charging case is also a very simple white case with the cat logo on the front and Nekocake across the top cover. It is actually quite a nice and compact case, not the smallest I have ever seen but compact enough to easily be carried in a pocket.

The comfort of the IEMs is not bad, not the most comfortable but they don’t irritate me over periods of 2 or 3 hours, and they are nice and light.

The build quality seems to be pretty decent, it is obviously still completely plastic but in general it does seem to have been well put together and I see no obvious flaws.

Functionality…

The functionality of the Nekocake is simple, much the same as 90% of the TWS offerings available. You take them out of the case, they connect to your phone and you are ready to go. The only thing that is slightly different is that you enter pairing mode by holding the button on the case while the IEMs are in it (with the cover open). Other than that, you get play/pause by tapping either side once, you get next/last track by tapping the right or left side (respectively) and you get the assistant by triple tapping. You can also activate ANC by tapping and holding either side for a couple of seconds, with a VTuber voice that tells you it has been activated or deactivated. You can also answer calls, hang up and refuse calls by using the same system.

The functionality of these single/double/triple taps can be reassigned in the Moondrop Link app, letting you choose which you would like each combination of taps to do, although there are no extra functions you can assign. To be honest, I have no issue with the way the functions are assigned as they are, however, I do miss not being able to raise and lower volume from the IEMs themselves, something that I would like all bluetooth IEMs and headphones to have, as getting my phone out of my pocket to change volume is something I would rather avoid when going wireless.

In the app you can also change the EQ of the IEMs and it gives you a choice of 5 different settings, I will mention more about these in just a second.

I can’t say that I have had any issues with connectivity, although I haven’t really tested the distance (10m according to the spec) and the battery life has been enough for my daily use, which is 4 hours for the IEMs and 12h with the case (according to the manufacturer). As I usually place them back in the case when I don’t have them in my ears, they have never run out of battery on me and the case has lasted over 2 days easily (no warning light for the battery), although I automatically recharged it at the end of the second day.

I made a few calls and the other end said that while I didn’t sound perfectly clear, they could easily understand me, so I can’t complain about using them for calls either.

The last thing to mention is codecs. While the Nekocake uses bluetooth 5.0, which seems to be good to not experience any glitches in connection or lag, they only support SBC or AAC codecs. Now, I would much prefer to have the option of a higher quality codec, such as LDAC, but I haven’t found it to be that important, my opinions on sound will probably clear this up.

EQ Presets…

As I just mentioned, the Moondrop Link app (which is the same app for the Moondrop Sparks) allows the choice of 5 EQ presets: Balanced (the default option), Moondrop Classic, X’ Dynamic, Nobass and Wennebostel.

Balanced is, as I just said, the default option and, in my opinion, is the only one that I found to be usable for me. I will talk more about this preset in the sound section, as it is the one I have been using and have based my opinions on.

This is what the Balanced EQ looks like on paper:

Moondrop Classic is strange as it seems to cut the volume level in half, I mean, it actually drops the output by about 8dB in comparison to the Balanced option. I have no idea why this is a preset or who came up with the idea but here is the graph of it vs Balanced:

X’ Dynamic is a bass boost but not in a good way, at least in my opinion. I know that I am someone who is not a bass head and that I don’t favour overly present bass (except on occasions) but this preset just seems to make everything muddy and, well, wrong. It boosts everything all the way through the mids also. This is the graph of the ‘X Dynamic vs Balanced:

Nobass is just that, no bass. This is certainly not a tuning that I would choose but, to me at least, it is much better than the X’ Dynamic option. This is what it looks like on paper, vs the Balanced option, although the impression when listening is of even less bass:

Finally we have Wennebostel, a very strange name for an EQ preset. Wennebostel is a place in Germany and from what I have read, this preset brings “Sennheiser like” characteristics. Now, I haven’t had much experience with Sennheiser TWS IEMs, except for some brief tests, but this doesn’t remind me of any Sennheiser I have heard, at least that I can remember. Maybe I am remembering wrong and it is reminiscent of a Senn product but I certainly wouldn’t have guessed it if I hadn’t read it, it reminds me more of the X’Dynamic preset than anything else.

Here is the Wennebostel graph vs the Balanced:

Sound…

So, finally, on to the sound section. As I said, I chose the Balanced profile and all of my opinions are based on using this preset.

Starting off with the subbass, I would say that it is on a par with the rest of the frequencies. There is a roll off that happens due to the fact that there is no boost and our hearing rolls off naturally as we get to the lowest end of the spectrum. There is some rumble present when listening to “Chameleon” but by no means is it to a level that I would consider “bassy” in comparison to so many other sets. This is not really an issue for me with the majority of music I listen to but it is something to consider if you like deep rumbling subbass.

Moving into the mid bass frequencies, as you can see on the graph, there is a bit of a dip going on. This dip works fairly well to stop any muddy transitions between the bass and mids but can also remove some of the lower body of acoustic instruments. To be fair, it is not as bad as it looks on paper, I still find acoustic guitars and basses to have a nice body to them but they are missing a little bit of warmth down there.

The lower mids are clean due to the dip in the upper mid bass that I mentioned and are actually fairly well balanced up until the higher mids where there is again a bit of a dip. This does avoid the vocals becoming harsh in their upper mid range but may make some voices feel a little further back than usual. For example, Leonard Cohen has a voice that is usually placed quite a bit forwards in comparison to the instruments (using “Happens to the Heart’’ as an example) yet on the Nekocake it is much more balanced. It is as though Moondrop has used these two dips (upper bass and upper mids) to stay safe and it seems to work ok. It is not my favourite FR in this regard but it is definitely not offensive.

The higher ranges are rather smooth, once again avoiding any harshness or even sibilance. My usual “Code Cool” test did not present any more sibilance than it should. However, in this same track, the treble itself does sound a little wrong.

I know that wrong isn’t really a good way of explaining anything, but it sort of sounds like there is a slight delay between the hit and the roll off of the higher notes, giving a sort of strange misaligned effect. Again, this is not exactly a very comprehensive way of explaining it but I am struggling to describe it.

The higher end of the treble does roll off, lacking a little bit of extension and air, but that is something that I find on 99% of single DD IEMs that I try.

The soundstage is actually rather decent, better than I would have expected, with a placement of images that is actually fairly well done. No, this does not make you close your eyes and focus on images with millimetric accuracy but I find it to be better than many of the wired alternatives at similar prices.

As far as detail, these are not the most detailed of IEMs. There is a bit of a smoothness to the overall sound, meaning that small details do get lost in the overall picture of things, but that doesn’t really take away from the enjoyment of the Nekocake for what they are, which I guess brings me to the…

Conclusion…

I feel that the Moondrop Nekocake are a set of TWS IEMs that don’t pretend to be something that they are not. They are a simple, economical, set that just delivers sound in a smooth and simple way.

I found myself using them with Spotify most of the time and enjoying them. I did not spend my time focusing on the music and looking for details (except when actually consciously doing so for this review), I just got on with my life with the freedom that TWS brings. That is, in my opinion, what these IEMs set out to do, they give you a way of listening to some background music while you go about your day to day.

They follow a tuning that is fairly balanced and safe, at least in “Balanced” mode, which some may think is a bit boring but I, personally, found it quite pleasant and non offensive, again, meaning that my attention wasn’t really brought to the music, it was kept on whatever other tasks I was doing at the time.

The ANC is not the greatest but it does tame constant rumbles (such as the AC) reducing them by quite a bit, although voices and other non-constant sounds are still easily audible.

I don’t have a huge amount of experience with TWS IEMs, so I really don’t know what these are up against in the price bracket they sit in, but I certainly don’t think they are bad value for 40€ if what you want is the commodity of TWS and not ultra defined high resolution audio. Yes, I could pick plenty of things that I would prefer to improve on them but they are things that are not really important (to me) when I am doing something that brings me to choose TWS.

I think that the vast majority of people who just want some wireless buds to go with their phone for when they are out and about would be more than happy with the Nekocake, unless they are someone who wants a lot of bass, but then they could just turn on the X’ Dynamic mode and have more bass than they wished for :wink: In fact, I think if moondrop could release a few more (i.e: better) EQ presets for these, they would be a great buy for the price.

4 Likes

hello Resolve…can u put the eq seting for the earfun free pro oluv edition?.i whant to equalize my earfun with ur measurement,thx so much,

I haven’t done an EQ profile for those, nor do I intend to. For best results, you should probably reach out to Oluv for that. I know he’s got that stuff far more dialed in on those earfuns.

thx,i have all the oluv eq profiles for earfun free pro and free pro 2 but i am curious how whe sound for ur measurment for earfun free but,but i am understand u only measured this ,u don t have eq profile,th so much and good day.

Drop x Grell. Reviewed this a while ago but here’s a copy pasta

Axel Grell is a prominent name in the headphones world as he was previously involved with the creation of some of the most beloved headphones from Sennheiser. This collection includes the HD580, 600, 650 and HD800 series, among others that are widely revered amongst the audiophile community. He left Sennheiser a few years ago, and now has started his own brand, simply called Grell. The first product introduced in this new company is a true wireless earphone called the Grell TWS1.

Popular online storefront, Drop, came in and partnered with Grell and created an exclusive Drop version of the unit called the TWSX/1, which is also priced at the same $199 price tag as the Grell version. As far as I can tell, the only differences between the two versions is the removal of the Grell branding on the Drop outer shell, and the addition of the Drop blue-colored ear wings for improved fitment on some ears. I do use these when wearing these IEMs personally.

As a disclaimer, this review unit was shipped to me directly by Drop. I have a Drop Affiliate account, however, I normally don’t ever use it, so that’s my spiel. The item can be purchased directly from Drop.com as this is an exclusive item to their store.

User Controls & Experience

Before I begin too far into this, I do want to point out that there have been a significant amount of user disdain and negativity around this TWS IEM’s controls and overall experience. And for the most part, its all true to me, especially when I received the first unit, which was not only pretty messed up from a touch interface standpoint, but also a sound stand point. I ended up getting a new set from Drop that clearly worked a lot better and did not come from that original batch.

That said, the original firmware it ships with is quite problematic, from touch buttons being mapped incorrectly, to random changes in playback, and other anomalies. To fix this, you’ll need to get the SonarWorks Sound ID app to pair with the TWS1/X and upgrade its firmware, which isn’t as simple as you’d think it would be. But after, a couple attempts, I was able to successfully upgrade the firmware, and most of the incorrect mappings were resolved.

Most of…

I no longer have the experience of the left and right controls only working, in harmony (or chaos) on only the left side, which has been resolved and the proper playback buttons are now mapped on the right side and noise canceling/transparency and “Noise Annoyances Reduction” modes are on the left side.

That said though, I still have some issues with either extreme sensitivity in some cases where ANC turns on quickly, or Transparency does, or off, or both turn on at the same time?! OR, the touch controls don’t respond at all, even after taps or long presses. It’s still a bit scatter-brained in its touch effectiveness, and leaves me quite frustrated and leaves a lot to be desired.

The transparency mode is typically my go-to though, as I really enjoy using this mode on my Samsung Galaxy Buds series of TWS. The Grell version seems to have much higher sensitivity than the Galaxy Buds and it can be so amped up that you get a lot more background noise than I’d like, giving off a kind of white hiss sound thats quite audible. It’s not really a problem during music playback however, but when music is off, that noise can be an annoyance.

The ANC and NAR modes are average compared to other noise cancelings I’ve tried and is about on par with the Galaxy Buds. I really don’t know if theres a major difference between the ANC and NAR modes to be honest, and so I’d probably need to test it in a louder setting (which is hard to do during Pandemic Times).

Sound Impressions

The Grell TWS1/X has a bass-leaning tuning with a warmish mid-range and a decent and extend treble range. It’s an overall warm tuning, but has some big bass bumps occasionally that I find sometimes overly dramatic and a little muddy, but it’s pleasant enough for most music as well.

The biggest and most noticeable sound quality is definitely the bass range. That is, because to me, the general frequency response is in-line with what I consider neutral for the most part, but the bass has a life that hits around 150Hz and its quite audible and heavy in many tracks that demand a big bass boost.

While add a bass shelf around 150Hz typically leaves a clean bass line with just an emphasis on sub-bass rumble and slam, the way this shelf is done leaves it more with a strange “not really punch, not really slam” sound that is more or less muddy and lacking definition. It feels like its midbass bloat, but its not necessarily mid-bass that’s bloated. I can’t really describe it, but this aggressive low end tuning makes this IEM generally sounding a bit blunted and un-refined.

The mid-range and treble tuning are solid in quantity and delivery. I don’t have much really to say other than there’s nothing wrong with how its tuned in this area. It gives off a pleasant enough range that I’d say it works across many genres well.

Now comes the other issues with my sound impressions of the Grell/Drop collaboration. The tuning is generally fine. It’s not wholly different than say the Sony WF-1000XM3 nor my current favorite and daily driver Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro. In fact, they probably share more similarities in tuning than not. If one wanted to make the bass similarly, a simple toggle in the app can make them slightly more bassy.

I find the Grell TWS1/X to really lack good quality technical capability. It just lacks definition and any sort of dynamics. Everything sounds like its masked in some sort of mushy, soft glaze and when a proper acoustic string instruments wants a delicate detail presented, it’s either missing or rounded and glossed over.

This IEM has the technical capabilities of something much, much less expensive, but tuning of something that is probably on-par with other TWS of its price range.

Overall Thoughts

The Grell IEM came with a lot of hype, a lot of hope, and a lot of excitement, but after my 2 months of using this through several trials and tribulations, anger and frustration, and generally “meh” listening experiences, I am a bit disappointed in the package completely.

From the strange looks, the poor controls and sensitivity, the mediocre noise features, and generally mediocre quality sound, it has left me wanting more. A lot more. Even the generally decent tuning can’t save it from its own self-destruction. Maybe future firmware updates will resolve some of the UX issues, but I don’t think simple DSP fixes can resolve some of the issues with the limitations of its hardware.

(And yes, I did try to EQ it)

4 Likes

The new Beyerdynamic Free BYRD

Pretty soon I will be posting my full review/impressions! With that, I have some initial impressions for anyone interested in these.

First of all - do you like bass…or sub-bass? If the answer is YES, then read on. If the answer is NO, then I just saved you from a 249.00 purchase :slight_smile:

So these extend under 20hz in the bass region which is crazy good if you like that. I have found that this emphasis on bass seems to go on up to the lower midrange. Kick drums and bass guitar lovers rejoice here.

The mids get a bit lost on these earbuds however. They stick around till somewhere around 1k from what I am hearing and I can definitely tell this with vocalists. A bit…thin sounding at times depending on the track of course. However they do pick back up in the 4k region it seems and you get some edginess with them.

As for highs, thankfully being a Beyerdynamic, I didn’t pick up sibilance unless the track naturally had some of it. I didn’t get piercing from these. I did hear a nice splash from cymbals which was nice since the bass could get so heavy. I would not call these the most detailed of earbuds…but from my experience I haven’t had an earbud with a ton of detail.

Guitars are a mixed bag here but I found typically enjoying rock music with these.

I truly believe these were made for the use case of an Earbud (I’m generalizing here of course) and that is to be on the move. To be engaged. To get some energy from the music to make you move. I want to try these with gaming because other than some possible muddiness, I could see these sounding fantastic with games.

I’m not sure if I will be keeping them or not…too soon for that. I love the build of them. The battery life has been great. They synced up immediately on my S22 Ultra. The app you download is nifty though possibly not needed. The case is nice and you get a great assortment of eartips. Oh and I need to try out the foal eartips just to see if it gets better/worse on the bass.

Here are a couple of pictures for now as well. Please ask away if you have any questions. I would have made a separate topic for this but didn’t see anywhere I could do so.



5 Likes

Nice first impressions. Good to see newer members contributing like this. I’m glad I read this because I’d assumed being Beyers that they’d skew in the other direction. The forum’s bass track (See old reviews by @Torq, current reviews by @SenyorC and sporadic comments by everyone else is

The sub-bass kicks in just before the half-minute mark. If you reference this track, pretty much everybody here knows what it can and should - or somehow doesn’t - sound like.

3 Likes

Holy hell. Yes, at exactly :31 I could hear that sub-bass…or should I say feel that sub-bass. I’m sure there are many others out there that can do this, just first time I’ve heard an Earbud do it well. It softened at about 2min mark and then picked right back up at 2:10. Easy to tell on these Beyers. Highs poked through in this one.

I’m typing as this is playing to capture it exactly. Lots of distortion sounds but not from the earbud, I’m assuming the track is this way. I’ll have to take a listen on the Radiance. Ah, just hit the 5:50min mark, energy time…that sound…almost like the sound of marbles smacking together. No idea why that came to mind just a describer.

Well, what I heard anyway, that was interesting. I’ve now built myself a playlist for MIdrange, Bass and Treble. Plan to add one for Image and Stage too. So much fun to listen this way.

2 Likes

Ok, more time spent with the BYRD. I found the sibilance lol. It had to show up eventually right?

So to give some quick background I was asked to listen to some Metal tracks from someone interested in these. Now I actually was able to listen to quite a few tracks without much issue other then Metal fatigues me over time either way when listening in my ear such as an IEM/Earbud. I can tolerate and appreciate it much better on speakers.
Anyway, I found a Slipknot song where Corey Taylor’s voice was just too much for it. That led me to look into it further.

I remembered when I used to listen on my TYGR 300 that I was at the time watching quite a few BadSeedTech videos (still do by the way). Well Brian from BadSeed can be pretty sibilant on the right or wrong headphone. Yep, he definitely is on the Free BYRD too.

I think the positive thing here is they aren’t sibilant all the time. Some of the Beyers I know can be. Probably also because of the upper mids being recessed a bit and pushing the vocalist back could be what also lowers the pierce factor. Still, it is there depending on the track. I’m also going to gather that also will depend on each persons ear and listening frequency range.

I’m actually digging this Earbud though. I’m torn on keeping it or not since I don’t listen to my Galaxy Buds much…but these are fun…and I’m rambling…gotta save something for my video next week ha!

Impressions: AirPods Pro

I recently acquired these guys, and have a few comments.

There are plenty of reviews out on this aging product, so I leave it to others to go into the details.

Fit: Good in my ears with the largest tips, but one side doesn’t stabilize easily. I’ve found that pushing the little tail near my cheek does the trick. My other/older IEMs often fit better, to include my Sony WF-XB700 above in this thread.

Ear Tips: Apple uses a weird oval “Tupperware” snap on ring for the silicone tips. These create a much larger opening than a standard cylindrical IEM tube, but are quirky. When I swapped the factory M tips for L tips, one side came off easily. The other side required a lot of tugging, and I thought I’d tear the silicone. The proprietary design also prevents the use of my other tips.

Sound quality: “Good” and “typical” of Bluetooth products. They are clean and smooth, but suffer from common characteristics in this genre: not much high range, no feeling of space or openness, and excessive bass. I was surprised that the tone was pretty similar to my much cheaper Sony WF-XB700, not that different from my boomy over-ear Sony noise cancelling headphones, nor my very old BeatsX neck collar IEMs. Many manufacturers seem to be aiming for a mainstream, people pleasing, warm and thick, easy on the ears profile.

Noise Cancelling: WOWOWOW! These are really good versus my old generation Bose and Sony over ear airplane headphones. My older products do a good job with droning background noises, such as airplane hiss and train rumble, but not with isolated and distinct sounds. In contrast, these AirPods Pro do a decent job with voices…err…making my wife silent when speaking to me…err… The button on each tail toggles between noise cancelling and ‘transparent’ mode, which is useful when interacting with other people or when needing to hear oncoming traffic.

Apple Ecosystem: WOWOWOW! These pair with my MacBook Pro, iPhone, and Watch. It’s trivially easy to shift between devices, sometimes with no drop outs or just a second of silence. I’d never considered using IEMs with my MacBook before, but these make sense sometimes. [Apple Music is sometimes bonkers, but that’s another story.]

Charging Case: Good battery life and has wireless charging, but the rounded bottom makes them tricky to use. I want lay them down and stick in the IEMs…the case snaps shut on me. The round bottom doesn’t stand up and the flip top gets closed by a table/desk. Bad, obviously bad.

Overall: Good product for Apple users, and often on sale for <$175 now. There are rumors of a new edition coming out this fall, so do not pay full $250 retail.

2 Likes