2022-Beyerdynamic Free Byrd earbuds review: soaring sound and long battery life

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Similar to the Sennheiser Momentum True Wi-fi 3s I not too long ago reviewed, Beyerdynamic’s new Free Byrd earbuds are squarely aimed 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 nicely additionally they stand out in different respects: the $249 Free Byrds ship marathon battery life, good energetic noise cancellation, and have a design that breaks from the usual, unmemorable components.

Nice sound high quality is simply the place to begin of a formidable 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 a superb 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 particularly, 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 ideas with the Free Byrds. There are 5 units of silicone ideas to decide on between (XS, S, M, L, XL) and three pairs of foam-style ideas. 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 ideas that appears nice. Inform me you’re an audiophile with out telling me you’re an audiophile — that’s the sort of vibe these mission. (The Free Byrds additionally are available black.) The wi-fi charging case is on the taller facet however feels nicely 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.

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Should you can’t discover the correct match with this many ear tip choices, there could 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 tune “Horses,” her vocals come via clearly with heat and resonance, whereas the crunchiness of electrical guitars beneath is well-preserved. Muna’s “Unfastened Garment” is a pleasant demo observe for the soundstage, with vocals and strings floating between the left and proper channels in the course of the tune, 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 may take a listening to check to personalize the sound profile or select from presets like “heat” or “v-shaped,” however there’s presently no technique to fully customise the EQ. Total, I nonetheless want the constancy of Sennheiser’s newest pair over these, however they’re not wildly far aside.

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

For codecs, these Bluetooth 5.2 earbuds help aptX Adaptive on Android — permitting for higher-bitrate wi-fi playback — and the usual AAC on Apple units. Sadly, they don’t provide multipoint Bluetooth for pairing with two audio sources without delay, however handoff between units could be very fast and doesn’t require disconnecting from one supply earlier than you may swap to a different. The Free Byrds do embody help for Quick Pair on Android, elective Alexa integration, and you should utilize both bud standalone in mono. There’s additionally a low latency mode that may be activated when taking part in 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 persons are extra delicate to this than others, and I by no means observed it when audio was truly taking part in. Transparency mode is a bit more run of the mill however serves its objective for those who 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 via with out aggressively gating it to chop down on background noise. This works nicely on calls at house however is much less ideally suited 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 persistently. The essential Free Byrd instructions are superb: you faucet as soon as to play or pause, twice to change between ANC and transparency mode, or thrice to skip tracks or return. Quantity is the place issues get a little 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 often pause the music by mistake these instances once I didn’t nail it. It’d be good for those who might customise every of those gestures to your choice, however that’s not attainable in the intervening time.

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

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 gives an added 19 hours (with ANC disabled), so you may 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 implausible sound with element and depth, top-tier battery life, and good noise cancellation. I respect the overabundance of ear ideas that come included, and a minimum of for my ears, they match nicely and stayed snug over time. However that final level will differ for each particular person, and I can foresee circumstances the place these earbuds will likely be a little 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 correct match. However with some refinements to the onboard controls and perhaps a smaller type issue subsequent time round, Beyerdynamic will likely be proper up there with the perfect gamers within the sport. That’s assuming, not like within the tune, this Byrd can change.

Pictures by Chris Welch / The Verge

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