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Beyerdynamic Free Byrd earbuds overview: hovering sound and lengthy battery life

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Similar to the Sennheiser Momentum True Wi-fi 3s I recently reviewed, Beyerdynamic’s new Free Byrd earbuds are squarely geared toward those that prioritize sound high quality over virtually the whole lot else. When you think about that these are the corporate’s first-ever set of true wi-fi earbuds, I’ve been pleasantly stunned at how properly in addition 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 method.

Nice sound high quality is simply the place to begin of a powerful first effort. And I can’t ignore the identify, which is clearly a nod to the Lynyrd Skynyrd traditional — 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 which 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 which 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 accessible, and there’s one thing in regards to the gentle 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 properly made. I haven’t had any situations of those earbuds remaining linked whereas within the case, which is one thing I’ve encountered increasingly from the Sennheiser Momentum True Wi-fi 3s post-review.

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In the event you can’t discover the correct match with this many ear tip choices, there may be no hope.

Sound high quality is detailed and crisp however doesn’t go shy on bass. However there’s no muddiness or harshness wherever within the frequency vary. On Maggie Rogers’ new track “Horses,” her vocals come by way of clearly with heat and resonance, whereas the crunchiness of electrical guitars beneath is well-preserved. Muna’s “Free Garment” is a pleasant demo monitor for the soundstage, with vocals and strings floating between the left and proper channels in the course of the track, and the drums and cymbal faucets are nonetheless completely distinct with their very own spot within the combine. All the pieces in regards to the Free Byrds feels partaking and refined. With Beyerdynamic’s cell app, you’ll be able to 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 technique to utterly customise the EQ. Total, I nonetheless choose the constancy of Sennheiser’s newest pair over these, however they’re not wildly far aside.

The Free Byrds do stand proud of your ears a bit.

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 gadgets. Sadly, they don’t provide multipoint Bluetooth for pairing with two audio sources directly, however handoff between gadgets may be very fast and doesn’t require disconnecting from one supply earlier than you’ll be able to change to a different. The Free Byrds do embody assist for Quick Pair on Android, elective Alexa integration, and you need to use both bud standalone in mono. There’s additionally a low latency mode that may be activated when enjoying cell video games, and the Free Byrds are rated IPX4 for water resistance, making them appropriate for train.

Lively 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 just would possibly choose up on in completely quiet environments. Some individuals are extra delicate to this than others, and I by no means observed it when audio was really enjoying. Transparency mode is a bit more run of the mill however serves its goal when 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 way of with out aggressively gating it to chop down on background noise. This works properly on calls at dwelling however is much less superb outdoor.

Beyerdynamic’s contact controls might use some revising, nonetheless. I choose bodily buttons the place potential however can accept faucet gestures so long as they make sense and work persistently. The essential Free Byrd instructions are high-quality: you faucet as soon as to play or pause, twice to change between ANC and transparency mode, or 3 times to skip tracks or return. Quantity is the place issues get somewhat awkward, requiring two faucets and a maintain after the second to regulate loudness. It really works okay when you get the sequence down, but it surely’s not what I’d name an intuitive gesture — and I’d sometimes pause the music by mistake these occasions after I didn’t nail it. It’d be good when you might customise every of those gestures to your choice, however that’s not potential in the mean time.

The earbuds can final for as much as eight hours with noise cancellation enabled.

Battery life is an sudden power, with the Free Byrds in a position to attain round eight hours of enjoying 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’ll be able to doubtlessly attain a complete of 30 hours in situations 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 recognize the overabundance of ear suggestions that come included, and at the very least for my ears, they match properly and stayed comfy over time. However that final level will differ for each individual, and I can foresee {cases} the place these earbuds shall be somewhat too stout for some. What’s here’s a sturdy 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 correct match. However with some refinements to the onboard controls and perhaps a smaller kind issue subsequent time round, Beyerdynamic shall be proper up there with the perfect gamers within the sport. That’s assuming, in contrast to within the track, this Byrd can change.

Images by Chris Welch / The Verge

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