BeyerDynamic Free BYRD TWS headphones
“Silky sound and large stamina make for set of Apple options.”
- Nice sound high quality
- Good ANC and transparency
- Wi-fi charging
- Wonderful battery life
- Superb controls
- Put on sensors
- IPX4 water resistance
- No Bluetooth multipoint
- Wants app for finest sound high quality
- Mediocre name high quality
- Attainable match points
- Restricted customization
By no means heard of Beyerdynamic? You’re not alone. That’s as a result of the almost 100-year-old firm has centered on the wants of audio professionals and audiophiles for many of its existence. In reality, excluding its rising lineup of gaming headsets, it makes only a handful of merchandise aimed squarely at day-to-day music listening.
However with the launch of its first set of true wi-fi earbuds, the aptly named $249 Free Byrd, Beyerdynamic has joined the ranks of Sony, Bose, Apple, Sennheiser, and Jabra with an audio product anybody can get pleasure from.
The Free Byrd convey with them Beyerdynamic’s spectacular repute for high-quality audio, big battery life, and sound personalization software program. Is that sufficient for these byrds to fly above the gang? Let’s test ’em out.
What’s within the field?
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Contained in the absolutely recyclable, plain cardboard field, you’ll discover the Free Byrd earbuds, their charging case, a USB-C charging cable, a set of printed directions, and a really beneficiant set of eartips — 5 sizes of silicone suggestions and three sizes of reminiscence foam suggestions.
The earbuds come from the manufacturing facility with none of the following pointers put in, encouraging you to strive completely different sizes and kinds earlier than you agree in your favorites. To get probably the most out of the Free Byrd, you’ll want the free Beyerdynamic MIY (Make It Yours) app for iOS or Android.
Simon Cohen / Digital Traits
Accessible in white or black, the Free Byrd are pretty chunky. They’re smaller than the Sony WF-1000XM4, however bigger than the Sennheiser Momentum True Wi-fi 3. A black, brushed-metal band with a discrete, embossed Beyerdynamic “Y” brand cuts throughout the teardrop form of the buds’ outer floor. The emblem additionally acts because the contact management. Every earbud has a big LED indicator to let you know how a lot battery cost is left, or aid you decide if the buds are in pairing mode.
Although they’ll protrude out of your ears a bit, it’s nonetheless a slick, refined design that manages to distinguish itself amid a sea of wi-fi earbuds.
The scale truly is helpful in the case of getting grip on the buds, each for eradicating them from their charging case (which is simple), in addition to with the ability to twist them securely into place in your ear.
Consolation grew to become a problem, particularly after an hour or so of steady put on.
The Free Byrd are rated IPX4 for water safety, which suggests a little bit of sweat or rain isn’t any trigger for concern, however as we’ll see in a second, they won’t be well-suited to exercises.
The case itself is simply sufficiently small to be pocketable — although nonetheless huge when in comparison with that of the AirPods Professional — and the lid and hinge are very well-built, snapping open and closed with ease. You may cost it up with the included USB-A to USB-C charging cable, or you possibly can cost it wirelessly with any Qi-compatible charging mat. A clearly seen LED on the entrance exhibits you the case’s charging standing and its battery degree when not plugged in.
Consolation, controls, and connections
Simon Cohen / Digital Traits
It’s price being attentive to how the inside portion of the Free Byrd is formed. Although smaller than the outer shell, and really easy and rounded, it’s obtained a comparatively massive floor space. The sound tube (the half the eartip is connected to) is sort of stubby, and this mix may show problematic for each these with small ears and people whose ear canals sit somewhat deeper.
With the usual silicone suggestions put in, I merely couldn’t get the Free Byrd to grip the doorway of my ear canal. It’s not the information — they’re very properly made — it’s that the big inside floor I discussed prevented me from with the ability to push them in far sufficient.
The contact controls are wonderful. Due to the raised metallic band, you understand precisely the place to faucet.
Fortunately, the medium foam eartips proved significantly better at giving me the seal I wanted. Beyerdynamic says it included the froth suggestions “to be used throughout sporting actions,” however for me, they had been a requirement it doesn’t matter what I used to be doing.
However even with the froth suggestions, I discovered I needed to commonly give them a little bit of a double twist and push to maintain them safe. They proved wonderful for strolling and low-impact cardio like stair climbing and elliptical machines, however I can’t suggest them for any sort of higher-impact actions. I additionally discovered that consolation grew to become a problem, particularly after an hour or so of steady put on. Usually, I’d say this stuff are subjective (as a result of they’re) and your mileage could fluctuate. However I discover most earbuds fairly comfy, which tells me Beyerdynamic might need to revisit the form for the following model of the Free Byrd.
Simon Cohen / Digital Traits
The contact controls are wonderful. Due to the raised metallic band, you understand precisely the place to faucet, and every faucet is accompanied by a brief tone to let you understand you’ve tapped appropriately. It even gives a lot wanted suggestions for multi-tap gestures, with a low-medium tone combo for double-taps and a low-medium-high combo for triple-taps.
Your largest problem is likely to be memorizing all of those gestures, as a result of the Free Byrd allow you to do all of it, together with play/pause, change lively noise cancellation (ANC) modes, skip tracks, change quantity, name reply/finish/reject, and entry your most popular voice assistant (Siri on iOS gadgets and Google Assistant or Alexa on Android). Nonetheless, when you select to make use of only a single earbud, you’re diminished to play/pause, name reply/finish/reject, and voice assistant entry.
The Free Byrd sound unbelievable, with a greater total efficiency than the equally priced AirPods Professional.
The one factor lacking is the power to customise these gestures inside the MIY app. The earbuds are additionally outfitted with put on sensors, which auto-pause and resume your tunes whenever you take away or reinsert them. I’m an enormous fan of damage sensors, however on this case, Beyerdynamic has diminished their worth considerably by not offering two key features: The power to show them off, or to resolve if you would like them to auto-pause and resume or simply pause.
Android customers get an nearly prompt pairing expertise through Google Quick Pair. It’s not a lot slower on iOS gadgets; pairing solely requires the additional step of going into the Bluetooth gadgets listing web page. I discovered the connection was nearly 100% dependable, with solely two very minor, split-second dropouts over all the weeklong interval I used them. Wi-fi vary is pretty normal for Bluetooth earbuds — about 20 to 25 toes indoors and as much as 50 toes exterior.
Sadly, there’s no Bluetooth multipoint for connecting two gadgets to the Free Byrds concurrently, which is a little bit of an inconvenience whenever you wish to transfer between a telephone and a PC (for instance) a number of occasions throughout the day. Nonetheless, there’s no must disconnect manually whenever you wish to change — so long as the earbuds have been beforehand paired with a tool, you possibly can merely choose them from that Bluetooth menu, and the buds will change over painlessly.
Sound high quality
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The Free Byrd sound unbelievable, with a greater total efficiency than the equally priced AirPods Professional and Sennheiser Momentum True Wi-fi 3, and with comparable efficiency to the Technics EAH-AZ60. However, with the intention to get probably the most out of those earbuds, you’ll want to make use of the Mimi sound personalization characteristic that’s constructed into the MIY app, after which fine-tune the sound utilizing the app’s EQ presets.
Mimi is without doubt one of the few sound personalization techniques that I’ve discovered to be persistently useful in getting higher sound. It’s successfully a listening to check. Every ear is fed a collection of tones performed in opposition to a white noise backdrop. For every tone, the amount degree begins loud after which progressively drops off. You let the check know when you possibly can now not hear it distinctly. After about 5 minutes of this, the app figures out if there are any frequencies you battle with and adjusts the earbuds’ EQ accordingly.
As soon as Mimi has carried out its factor, you possibly can flip the ensuing EQ modifications on or off with a easy toggle button within the app, so you possibly can hear the distinction it makes. Or, you should utilize a slider to resolve how intense that modification ought to sound — from nothing to 100%. And in case your outcomes match mine, you’ll merely depart it cranked up — it’s like night time and day.
With out the Mimi mod, the Free Byrd really feel constrained and flat, missing in each vitality and dynamic vary. Flip it on and these Byrds fly free, producing a large, deep soundstage the place the subtleties contained in every track may be heard and appreciated.
There’s loads of bass, with a robust, resonant authority, in addition to wonderful element in each the midranges and highs. In case your telephone helps aptX Adaptive or aptX HD, you’ll be handled to the chances of wi-fi, hi-res assist (assuming your music supply helps it), however even on the non-hi-res iPhone, it’s a rewarding listening expertise.
Beyerdynamic doesn’t offer you full rein over your EQ — there aren’t any guide changes — however you do get a collection of six EQ presets, together with V-shape, which boosts bass and treble (excellent for exercises or motion films), and speech, which improves readability for content material like podcasts.
ANC and transparency
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The Free Byrd possess respectable lively noise cancellation. It’s not the perfect you’ll discover at this value — each the AirPods Professional and the $230 Technics EAH-AZ60 supply higher protection of frequencies for a simpler total degree of quiet — but it surely’s greater than sufficient to take the sting off a busy workplace, espresso store, or site visitors sounds.
Transparency mode additionally works properly, however with the identical caveat: it could actually’t beat the distinctive AirPods Professional, but it surely’s completely enough for having conversations or simply usually being conscious of your environment when that’s a safer/extra fascinating factor than blocking out sounds.
By default, a double-tap on the left earbud will change you shortly between ANC and transparency modes, however if you wish to shut them each off — maybe to save lots of on battery life — you’ll want to try this within the app.
Sadly, there’s no strategy to flip off the voice immediate that says these mode modifications. Your solely choice is to resolve if you wish to hear them in English or German.
Elective sport mode
When you prefer to sport, whether or not on a cell machine or a pc, Bluetooth connections can usually introduce an unacceptable quantity of delay between when an motion takes place within the sport and whenever you truly hear it. This tends to be very true when utilizing higher-quality codecs like AAC, as a result of these codecs prioritize sound over immediacy.
Like an rising variety of wi-fi earbuds, the Free Byrd supply a gaming mode that makes an attempt to cut back this lag time as a lot as potential. Beyerdynamic says it could actually shorten delays by as a lot as 100 milliseconds, which is appreciable. However have in mind, there’s solely a lot you are able to do to cut back Bluetooth latency, and even with sport mode engaged, delays of between 32 millieseconds and 60 milliseconds are nonetheless to be anticipated.
Name high quality
The Free Byrd have two mics per earbud, which helps them choose up your voice clearly for telephone calls and videoconferencing, however you’ll must discover a quiet location. Wind noise is comparatively properly managed, however when competing sounds are launched, just like the din of a espresso store or the abrupt quantity modifications related to site visitors, the earbuds battle to maintain these noises in test whereas preserving your voice audible.
If name high quality is a high consideration, you might wish to contemplate different fashions.
Beyerdynamic claims you’ll get about eight hours per cost on the Free Byrd when ANC is lively and quantity is maxed out at 100%, however you possibly can prolong that lots — so long as 11 hours when you hear at a extra affordable degree and maintain ANC turned off. Sadly, as a result of there’s no strategy to defeat the earbuds’ put on sensors, and the buds energy themselves down robotically once they aren’t being actively used, it was inconceivable to confirm these claims in full.
However based mostly on the MIY app’s reported battery ranges after a couple of hours of use, they appear to be comparatively correct. That’s wonderful efficiency for a set of wi-fi earbuds, and the charging case extends that life to a most of 30 hours, which can also be superb.
The one factor that might do with some enchancment is the fast-charge characteristic, which delivers a claimed 70 minutes after 10 minutes of charging. That’s on the gradual facet, with the AirPods Professional and Jabra Elite 7 Professional each delivering 60 minutes after 5 minutes of charging.
Beyerdynamic doesn’t get every thing proper on the Free Byrd — in any case, these are its first set of true wi-fi earbuds. However with nice sound high quality, wonderful battery life, good controls, and succesful ANC, they’re a robust different to Apple’s AirPods Professional for individuals who need higher sound and a set of earbuds that don’t have to be returned to their charging case after each on-line assembly.
Is there a greater different?
The Free Byrd are good, however there’s sturdy competitors at this value. The $249are extra comfy and have higher noise canceling and transparency, however they’ll’t compete on sound high quality or battery life. Each have wi-fi charging, however neither supply Bluetooth multipoint,
In the meantime, the $229ship very good sound, ANC, hi-res audio, hands-free Alexa, Bluetooth multipoint, and an infinite variety of app-based customizations. Nonetheless, they lack wi-fi charging and put on sensors. And battery life at seven hours per cost and 25 hours complete is sweet however nothing particular.
How lengthy will they final?
At all times laborious to say, particularly for a brand new product with no observe file, however since batteries are normally the one element in a set of wi-fi buds that decide how lengthy they’ll final, I’d say the Free Byrd ought to find yourself being higher than most, because of their massive capability.
Beyerdynamic backs them with a two-year guarantee, which is one 12 months longer than most producers.
Do you have to purchase them?
Sure. The Free Byrd are an amazing selection for audio lovers searching for earbuds that outperform different selections at this value. Simply bear in mind that, relying in your ears, the match may very well be a problem.