Similar to the Sennheiser Momentum True Wi-fi 3s I not too long ago reviewed, Beyerdynamic’s new Free Byrd earbuds are squarely geared toward those that prioritize sound high quality over virtually all the pieces else. When you think about that these are the corporate’s first-ever set of true wi-fi earbuds, I’ve been pleasantly shocked at how effectively additionally they stand out in different respects: the $249 Free Byrds ship marathon battery life, good lively noise cancellation, and have a design that breaks from the usual, unmemorable system.
Nice sound high quality is simply the place to begin of a powerful first effort. And I can’t ignore the title, which is clearly a nod to the Lynyrd Skynyrd basic — and a really cliche live performance request. However no set of earbuds is ideal, and the Free Byrds are introduced down considerably by unintuitive controls and a bodily design that may show troublesome for smaller ears.
The Free Byrds aren’t small or understated. They weigh a hair lower than Sony’s 1000XM4 earbuds however are an excellent deal heavier than the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2, Apple AirPods Professional, and different earbuds that present an ethereal really feel and extended consolation. Beyerdynamic’s buds are extra chunky by comparability, and specifically, there’s a bulbous center space of the earbud design that may make the Free Byrds uncomfortable in small ears. I don’t match that description, so I by no means skilled any soreness or ear fatigue.
I ought to have anticipated as a lot from an audio model, however Beyerdynamic features a beneficiant assortment of ear suggestions with the Free Byrds. There are 5 units of silicone suggestions to decide on between (XS, S, M, L, XL) and three pairs of foam-style suggestions. I at all times gravitate towards foam when obtainable, and there’s one thing in regards to the mild grey end of the earbuds mixed with the orange foam ear suggestions that appears nice. Inform me you’re an audiophile with out telling me you’re an audiophile — that’s the sort of vibe these venture. (The Free Byrds additionally are available in black.) The wi-fi charging case is on the taller facet however feels effectively made. I haven’t had any cases of those earbuds remaining related whereas within the case, which is one thing I’ve encountered increasingly from the Sennheiser Momentum True Wi-fi 3s post-review.
Sound high quality is detailed and crisp however doesn’t go shy on bass. However there’s no muddiness or harshness anyplace within the frequency vary. On Maggie Rogers’ new track “Horses,” her vocals come by clearly with heat and resonance, whereas the crunchiness of electrical guitars beneath is well-preserved. Muna’s “Unfastened Garment” is a pleasant demo monitor for the soundstage, with vocals and strings floating between the left and proper channels throughout the track, and the drums and cymbal faucets are nonetheless completely distinct with their very own spot within the combine. Every part in regards to the Free Byrds feels partaking and refined. With Beyerdynamic’s cellular app, you possibly can take a listening to take a look at to personalize the sound profile or select from presets like “heat” or “v-shaped,” however there’s at the moment no option to utterly customise the EQ. Total, I nonetheless want the constancy of Sennheiser’s newest pair over these, however they’re not wildly far aside.
For codecs, these Bluetooth 5.2 earbuds assist aptX Adaptive on Android — permitting for higher-bitrate wi-fi playback — and the usual AAC on Apple units. Sadly, they don’t supply multipoint Bluetooth for pairing with two audio sources directly, however handoff between units could be very fast and doesn’t require disconnecting from one supply earlier than you possibly can swap to a different. The Free Byrds do embody assist for Quick Pair on Android, elective Alexa integration, and you should use both bud standalone in mono. There’s additionally a low latency mode that may be activated when taking part in cellular video games, and the Free Byrds are rated IPX4 for water resistance, making them appropriate for train.
Energetic noise cancellation on the Free Byrds is above common, if not fairly on the extent of Sony, Bose, or Apple. There’s a really faint hiss that you simply may choose up on in completely quiet environments. Some individuals are extra delicate to this than others, and I by no means seen it when audio was really taking part in. Transparency mode is a bit more run of the mill however serves its goal should you want a fast check-in with the surface world. Name high quality is passable however not mind-blowing; Beyerdynamic favors letting extra of your voice by with out aggressively gating it to chop down on background noise. This works effectively on calls at house however is much less supreme open air.
Beyerdynamic’s contact controls might use some revising, nevertheless. I want bodily buttons the place attainable however can accept faucet gestures so long as they make sense and work constantly. The essential Free Byrd instructions are effective: you faucet as soon as to play or pause, twice to modify between ANC and transparency mode, or 3 times to skip tracks or return. Quantity is the place issues get a bit awkward, requiring two faucets and a maintain after the second to regulate loudness. It really works okay when you get the sequence down, however it’s not what I’d name an intuitive gesture — and I’d sometimes pause the music by mistake these instances once I didn’t nail it. It’d be good should you might customise every of those gestures to your choice, however that’s not attainable in the intervening time.
Battery life is an sudden energy, with the Free Byrds capable of attain round eight hours of taking part in time with ANC enabled and as much as 11 with it off. That’s greater than sufficient for many wants, and the charging case supplies an added 19 hours (with ANC disabled), so you possibly can probably attain a complete of 30 hours in eventualities the place you don’t require the noise cancellation.
For the corporate’s first swing, Beyerdynamic’s Free Byrd earbuds ship improbable sound with element and depth, top-tier battery life, and good noise cancellation. I admire the overabundance of ear suggestions that come included, and a minimum of for my ears, they match effectively and stayed snug over time. However that final level will differ for each individual, and I can foresee instances the place these earbuds shall be a bit too stout for some. What’s here’s a robust debut within the wi-fi earbuds marketplace for a longtime audio model. I like to recommend the Free Byrds as they’re so long as your ears are the proper match. However with some refinements to the onboard controls and possibly a smaller type issue subsequent time round, Beyerdynamic shall be proper up there with the easiest gamers within the sport. That’s assuming, in contrast to within the track, this Byrd can change.
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