Like the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3s I recently reviewedThe new Free Byrd earbuds from Beyerdynamic are aimed squarely at individuals who prioritize sound high quality over nearly all the things else. When you think about that these are the corporate’s first set of true wi-fi earbuds, I’m pleasantly stunned by how properly they arise in different respects as properly: the $249 FreeBirds have marathon battery life, good energetic noise cancellation, and a Design that breaks from the usual, unchanging components.
Great sound high quality is the place to begin for a formidable first try. And I can not ignore the title, which is clearly a nod to the Lynyrd Skynyrd traditional — and a really cliche live performance request. But no set of earbuds is ideal, and the Free Birds are introduced on by considerably unwieldy controls and a bodily design that may show troublesome for little ears.
Free birds are usually not small or few. They weigh lower than Sony’s 1000XM4 earbuds, however are heavier than the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2, Apple AirPods Pro, and different earbuds that supply an ethereal really feel and longer-lasting consolation. The Beyerdynamic’s buds are comparatively extra chunky, and specifically, the earbud design has a bulbous center space that may make small ears uncomfortable for freebirds. I do not match that description, so I by no means skilled any ache or ear fatigue.
That’s as a lot as I ought to have anticipated from an audio model, however Beyerdynamic contains an eclectic assortment of ear suggestions with Free Birds. There are 5 units of silicone suggestions to decide on between (XS, S, M, L, XL) and three pairs of foam-style suggestions. I all the time gravitate in direction of foam when it is out there, and there is one thing concerning the earbuds’ mild grey end mixed with the orange foam ear suggestions that really feel nice. Tell me you are an audiophile with out telling me you are an audiophile – that is form of the vibe. (FreeBirds additionally is available in black.) The wi-fi charging case is on the longer facet however feels properly made. I haven’t got any examples of those earbuds staying linked to the case, which is one thing I’ve encountered increasingly with the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3s post-review.
Sound high quality is detailed and crisp however would not shrink back from bass. But there isn’t any turbidity or hardness wherever within the frequency vary. On Maggie Rogers’ new music “Horse,” her vocals come by means of with distinctly heat and resonance, whereas the crispness of the electrical guitar under is properly preserved. Muna’s “Loose Garment” is an efficient demo monitor for the soundstage, with vocals and strings floating between the left and proper channels all through the music, and the drum and cymbal faucets nonetheless utterly distinct with their very own place within the combine. . Everything about Free Birds feels charming and complicated. With Beyerdynamic’s cell app, you may take a listening to take a look at or select from presets like “warm” or “V-shape” to personalize the sound profile, however there’s presently no solution to absolutely customise the EQ. Not there. Overall, I nonetheless just like the constancy of Sennheiser’s newest pair of those over these, however they are not far off wildly.
As for codecs, these Bluetooth 5.2 earbuds help aptX adaptive on Android — permitting for high-bitrate wi-fi playback — and commonplace AAC on Apple units. Unfortunately, they do not provide multipoint Bluetooth for pairing with two audio sources without delay, however handoff between units may be very fast and would not require disconnecting from one supply earlier than you may change to the opposite. Is. Free Birds contains help for Fast Pair on Android, non-compulsory Alexa integration, and you should utilize Buds standalone in Mono. There’s additionally a low latency mode that may be activated whereas enjoying cell video games, and Free Birds is rated IPX4 for water resistance, making them good for train.
The energetic noise cancellation on FreeBirds is above common, if not fairly on the stage of Sony, Bose or Apple. There is a really faint hiss that you would be able to decide up on in a totally calm atmosphere. Some individuals are extra delicate to this than others, and I by no means seen it when the audio was truly enjoying. Transparency mode is a little more run of the mill however serves its goal when you want fast check-in with the skin world. Call high quality is passable however not mind-blowing; Beyerdynamic allows you to give extra to your voice with out aggressively gating to cut back background noise. It works properly on calls to residence however is much less supreme exterior.
However, Beyerdynamic’s contact controls might use some modification. I favor bodily buttons the place attainable, however can accept faucet gestures so long as they make sense and work persistently. Basic Free Byrd instructions are wonderful: you faucet as soon as to play or pause, twice to change between ANC and Transparency modes, or 3 times to skip or return a monitor. Volume is the place issues get a bit of awkward, requiring two faucets and one maintain after the opposite to regulate the loudness. It works wonderful when you jot down the sequence, but it surely’s not what I might name an intuitive gesture – and I generally unintentionally pause the music after I have not nailed it. Had given. It could be good when you might customise every of those gestures to your liking, however that is not attainable in the intervening time.
Battery life is an surprising power, with Free Birds in a position to play for about eight hours with ANC enabled and as much as 11 with it. That’s greater than sufficient for many wants, and the charging case offers a further 19 hours (with ANC disabled), so you may probably attain a complete of 30 hours in situations the place you do not want noise cancellation Is.
For the corporate’s first swing, Beyerdynamic’s Free Byrd earbuds ship nice sound with element and depth, top-tier battery life, and good noise cancellation. I recognize the plethora of ear suggestions which can be included, and no less than for my ears, they match properly and keep comfy over time. But that final level can be totally different for each individual, and I can predict instances the place these earbuds can be a bit harsh for some. Here’s a powerful begin to the wi-fi earbuds marketplace for a longtime audio model. I like to recommend the Free Birds as they’re so long as your ears are the best match. But with some enhancements to the onboard controls and maybe a smaller kind issue subsequent time round, Beyerdynamic can be proper up there with the perfect gamers within the sport. Assuming, in contrast to the music, this fowl can change.
Photography by Chris Welch/The Verge